This is my great-grandmother's recipe that she passed down to me, and it is quite simply the best chocolate dessert I have ever had. It's so simple and so yummy! Beware--if you bring this to a party it will go fast!

Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
cook:
20 mins
additional:
1 hr
total:
1 hr 50 mins
Servings:
48
Yield:
1 11x17-inch cake
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Ingredients

48
Original recipe yields 48 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 11x17 jelly roll pan.

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  • Mix white sugar and flour in a large bowl. Combine 1 cup butter, water, and 3 tablespoons cocoa powder in a small saucepan; stir over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is well combined. Pour melted butter mixture over sugar and flour; beat well. Beat in baking soda, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Pour batter into prepared pan.

  • Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

  • Combine remaining 1/2 cup butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, and milk in a small saucepan; stir over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is well combined. Beat powdered sugar into the butter mixture, mixing until frosting is smooth. Stir pecans into frosting and pour over cooled cake.

Nutrition Facts

161 calories; protein 1.3g; carbohydrates 22.5g; fat 7.8g; cholesterol 23.2mg; sodium 73.8mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (49)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
10/01/2011
I also have made this recipe for many years. Our recipe has half butter and half shortening in the cake. It always turns out great. I have baked it in a 9 x13 inch pan when that was what was available and it is still good. I have added cinnamon to the cake or icing for a little different flavor. I have made it without nuts in the icing for people who don't like nuts and have made it half with nuts in the icing and half without ( just pour some icing on half the cake and add nuts to the remaining icing and spread on the other half). I have a friend who makes it with regular milk not buttermilk. It is a very forgiving cake. Since the cake is very moist I have never tried layers. I use the same saucepan for the icing I use for the cake. I have seen this named Sheath Cake, Texas Sheet Cake and 22 minute cake. Happy cooking! Read More
(62)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
04/12/2020
This is not my favourite cake. We found the chocolate to be very subdued and the cake, overall, quite dense. I’ll stick with my old chocolate cake recipe, for now. Read More
58 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 46
  • 4 star values: 9
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
10/01/2011
I also have made this recipe for many years. Our recipe has half butter and half shortening in the cake. It always turns out great. I have baked it in a 9 x13 inch pan when that was what was available and it is still good. I have added cinnamon to the cake or icing for a little different flavor. I have made it without nuts in the icing for people who don't like nuts and have made it half with nuts in the icing and half without ( just pour some icing on half the cake and add nuts to the remaining icing and spread on the other half). I have a friend who makes it with regular milk not buttermilk. It is a very forgiving cake. Since the cake is very moist I have never tried layers. I use the same saucepan for the icing I use for the cake. I have seen this named Sheath Cake, Texas Sheet Cake and 22 minute cake. Happy cooking! Read More
(62)
Rating: 5 stars
10/06/2011
I have been making this cake since I was about 10 years old, and I will be 46 next month! Everyone who has ever had this LOVES it! So moist and delicious. I add extra cocoa, usually about a half cup total, and have even used the dark cocoa, that is really good. On my birthday I always want the "Mississippi Mud" version-(my mom's) when the cake comes out of the oven, (baked in 9x13 pan) spread a jar of marshmallow cream over it while it is still very warm. Then make the frosting with the nuts, and once the marshmallow has cooled very carefully spread the frosting over the marshmallow. Yes, very decadent- thats why I want it for my birthday! I have shared this recipe more than any other over the years- everyone enjoy! Read More
(57)
Rating: 5 stars
10/01/2011
I have been making this recipe for more than 25 years... Sometimes I add 1 Tablespoon more of the unsweetened cocoa powder for more of a chocolate taste in the cake and the icing!...it is a very easy and quick way for a wonderful cake.....my recipe is called "Brownie Sheet Cake".....got it from a friend of mine! Read More
(44)
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Rating: 5 stars
10/08/2011
Been making this for years with the following differences: extra tablespoon of cocoa in both cake and frosting and sour cream in place of buttermilk. I also try to prepare the frosting just before the cake comes out of the oven and pour it on the hot cake. The heat makes it easily spread as long as you are not heavy-handed and it sets up like a perfectly smooth fudge on top. Read More
(31)
Rating: 5 stars
10/05/2011
This is a simple and tasty cake to take to a potluck at the last minute. I did increase the cocoa by 1 tablespoon cuz I love chocolate. Otherwise, made as directed. Wonderful cake Mrs. Altmiller! Read More
(13)
Rating: 5 stars
09/02/2014
Chocolate sheet cake always goes over well at our family functions. While this wasn't the best sheet cake I've had or made it was good. I used a 10x15 sheet pan and it fit perfectly. Once you pour the batter into the pan be sure to pick pan up about and inch from the counter and drop to the counter a few times to pop the air bubbles. I forgot to do that and ended up with a very unevenly baked cake. I always pour the warm frosting over a warm cake. It's just the way I learned to make a cake like this. I left the pecans out of the frosting and toasted them in a dry non-stick skillet before adding them to the top of the cake. Read More
(11)
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Rating: 4 stars
12/12/2011
Just a warning: this batter is VERY runny. If it turns out like soup don't be alarmed. I used cake flour (if you do this be sure to add an extra 2 T. for every cup of flour) I also warmed the butter and water in the microwave and then added the cocoa powder (used and extra T of cocoa too). Lastly I turned them into cupcakes instead of using a jellyroll pan. If you do this be sure not to overfill the cupcake molds because I overfilled a couple and although it wasn't disastrous batter was overflowing out the middle of a couple of them. All in all the cupcakes turned out fine but I didn't find the cake itself to be all that chocolaty. I think next time I'd add even more cocoa powder or even some chocolate chips might add a lot to this recipe. Granted I did not use the frosting recipe on here instead I used a vanilla frosting so I'm sure using a chocolate frosting would help too. I used vanilla because I decorated them with Christmas sprinkles and I thought the sprinkles would pop more on the vanilla instead of the chocolate. Also this recipe yielded about 20 cupcakes and they cooked for about 20-25 minutes. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
10/02/2011
When I ask my now grown kids what cake they want for their birthday it's always been Texas Sheet Cake. I've been making this recipe for many many years. It always comes out great. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
08/31/2013
This is liteally better than anything else in existence. Ever. I usually up the cocoa amounts and add mini chocolate chips to the batter and glaze just because I'm a little over-obsessed with chocolate. This is my favorite cake to make and I've made it for my birthday for parties for others and just because I feel like having chocolate and it always pleases. Read More
(9)
Rating: 3 stars
04/12/2020
This is not my favourite cake. We found the chocolate to be very subdued and the cake, overall, quite dense. I’ll stick with my old chocolate cake recipe, for now. Read More
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