Chocolate Sheet Cake

This traditional country dessert goes by Texas Sheet Cake—even Church Ladies Cake. Whatever you call it, it’s a perfect (and perfectly scrumptious) addition to your next barbecue or picnic.

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Serves 1 17x12-inch cake.
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 cup strong, hot coffee
 1/2  cup  sour cream
 2  large  eggs
 1  teaspoon  vanilla
 1  teaspoon  baking soda
 1-3/4  sticks  unsalted butter
 6  tablespoons  milk
 1/8  teaspoon  salt
 1/2  cup  Dutch processed cocoa
 4  cups  powdered sugar

You may also use buttermilk or crème fraise in place of sour cream.


Set out a 17x12-inch baking sheet or jelly roll pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


  1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa and coffee and beat until smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat.
  3. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and stir.
  4. Whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla and baking soda together in a bowl. Pour into the batter and mix until just combined. Be careful not to overbeat.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.
  6. Remove the air bubbles by banging the pan firmly against the counter, then run a knife quickly through the batter to remove any remaining bubbles.
  7. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake 15–20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. While the cake is cooking, prepare the frosting: Melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add the milk and cocoa and whisk until smooth while bringing to a boil.
  9. Reduce heat to low and stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla and nuts; keep warm until ready to use.
  10. When the cake is ready, use a toothpick to poke random holes across the surface.
  11. Spread hot frosting evenly across the cake and allow to sit for 30 minutes before serving.
Preparation Time: 
less than 60 minutes, plus 30 minutes cooling time.