If you like chocolate, I mean really like chocolate, then this Buttermilk Chocolate Sheet Cake is your cake.  

It is not for the faint-hearted or the casual chocolate consumer.  This cake is hide-in-your-closet-and-eat-by-yourself good.  This Buttermilk Chocolate Sheet cake is one of those cakes when you take the first bite, you just have to close your eyes to revel in what simply might be the best thing you have ever decided to put in your mouth.  Involuntary oohs and aahs could quite possibly escape from your lips.

Sigh…  Yes… it’s that good.

Normally, I am not a huge fan of sheet cakes.  I really like layered cakes for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with anything but my own quirks.  However, The Engineer, being from Texas and always claiming things being far superior there, loves Texas Sheath cake.  So this sent me on a hunt, a hunt for a recipe that I could call my own.

I have had Texas Sheath cake before, having lived in Texas myself for 13 years and being married to a Texan and all.  I’ll admit that it is quite good and even goes by many names– Texas Brownie Cake, Texas Sheet Cake, Brownie Sheet Cake, Mexican Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Brownie Cake, Texas Ranch Cake, and the list goes on and on.  “Sheath” is sometimes referenced in the name because the icing goes on warm and sheaths, or envelopes, the cake.  (Maybe we should just pause right there for a few reverential minutes… warm icing enveloping chocolate cake!!)

The cake is usually made in a large jelly roll pan or baking sheet, and while it is quite large, it is only about 1 inch thick.  It is rumored that Lady Bird Johnson had a hand in creating and/or naming this cake, but that claim can’t be substantiated any more than Texas’ claim to it being a “Texas cake.”  Who knows where this cake came from or where it got its name (You can read more about its history here. It’s really quite interesting.).  All we really know is that it is good cake, really, really good cake.

The Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake recipe below is the result of a long and arduous search for the perfect “Texas” sheet cake– that heavenly mixture of single layer melt in your mouth cake that does not dry out, covered in rich chocolate-y fabulousness.  Be forewarned though. There is nothing about this that says “diet.”   It’s gorgeous, rich cake, for crying out loud, not spinach salad.

So after much research and taste testing (It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it), here is a velvety, rich cake that would hold a solid place of respectability at any gathering in Texas… or anywhere around the South… or simply in your closet while you eat alone.   I won’t tell.


Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake

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Ingredients

CAKE:

  • 2 C Flour
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 4-5 Tbsp Cocoa, heaping
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 C Hot to Boiling Water
  • 1/2 C Buttermilk
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

FROSTING:

  • 1-3/4 stick Butter
  • 5 Tbsp Cocoa (not heaping)
  • 5 Tbsp Buttermilk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 lb. Powdered Sugar (minus ½ C)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 C chopped pecans (optional)

Preparation

Note: I use a lightly greased 18 x 13 cake pan to make this cake instead of a jelly roll pan.  This Nordic Ware pan is perfect because it has a lid. I don’t know what I would do without the lid! It comes in so handy when I take this cake to family or church gatherings.  Not to mention, with this pan, my cakes always cook evenly and never stick.  I love it!

Products I Use To Make This Recipe

 

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Add cocoa and stir.

Add hot water (I heat it in the microwave).  Allow butter, cocoa, and water to boil in saucepan for 30 seconds.

Pour over flour mixture in mixing bowl, and mix lightly to cool.

In a large measuring cup, measure the buttermilk, add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla.  Stir.

Gently mix buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture.

Pour into pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.  (Taste if you must. It’s totally worth it.)

While the cake is baking, make the icing.

Melt butter in clean saucepan over low heat.  Add cocoa and stir to combine. Then remove from heat.

Add the milk, vanilla, powdered sugar, and cinnamon. Whisk together until shiny and smooth. (This is when you get awesome forearms… well, one awesomely toned forearm.)

Pour over warm cake.  Spread with a spatula if necessary.

You can serve this while the cake is still warm and gooey, and it is sooo good.  Ice cream is pretty much a must.

Bonus! After the cake has completely cooled in the fridge, the icing sets up like fudge.

*** Pin this recipe here! ***

If you like chocolate, I mean REALLY like chocolate this is the chocolate cake for you. Dense, moist, eat-it-in-your-closet-by-yourself-good, this chocolate buttermilk recipe is one of the best I've tried. Perfect for birthdays, family gatherings, church get-togethers, or just because you want chocolate cake!

Check out this and a ton of other great Southern recipes at Meal Plan Monday!

Also linking up this week with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage!

 

Want more cake?  Try these ASD favorites!

Mamaw’s Fresh Apple Cake

Old Fashioned Coconut Icebox Cake

Easy Naked Mini Cakes

 

Further Reading: “The Great Sheet Cake Mystery”  by Jennifer Harbster,  Library of Congress /Inside Adams: Science, Technology, & Business

A Southern Discourse is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake
A single layer of melt in your mouth cake that does not dry out, covered in a rich chocolate-y fudge.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 C Flour
  2. 2 C Sugar
  3. 1/4 tsp Salt
  4. 4-5 Tbsp Cocoa, heaping
  5. 2 sticks Butter
  6. 1 C Hot to Boiling Water
  7. 1/2 C Buttermilk
  8. 2 Eggs, beaten
  9. 1 tsp Baking Soda
  10. 1 tsp Vanilla
Frosting
  1. 1-3/4 stick Butter
  2. 5 Tbsp Cocoa (not heaping)
  3. 5 Tbsp Buttermilk
  4. 1 tsp Vanilla
  5. 1 lb. Powdered Sugar (minus ½ C)
  6. ¼ tsp cinnamon
  7. 1 C chopped pecans (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit, and lightly grease an 18 x 13 cake pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add cocoa and stir.
  4. Add hot water. Allow butter, cocoa, and water to boil in saucepan for 30 seconds.
  5. Pour over flour mixture in mixing bowl, and mix lightly to cool.
  6. In a large measuring cup, measure the buttermilk; stir in beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla.
  7. Gently mix liquids into butter/chocolate mixture.
  8. Pour into pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Frosting
  1. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add cocoa and stir to combine. Then remove from heat.
  2. Add the milk, vanilla, powdered sugar, and cinnamon. Whisk together until shiny and smooth.
  3. Pour over warm cake. Spread with a spatula if necessary.
Notes
  1. After the cake has completely cooled in the fridge, the icing sets up like fudge.
a southern discourse https://southerndiscourse.com/
This recipe was originally published October, 2014.

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