Copycat Recipes

Pioneer Woman Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

Texas sheet cake: big state, big flavor, big cake.

Elen Rustick By Updated November 21, 2022

When you have many mouths hungry for dessert, make this Pioneer Woman Texas sheet cake! It’s a scrumptious chocolate sheet cake with rich chocolate icing — what’s not to love?

Pioneer Woman Texas sheet cake

Sheet cakes are like bed sheets — large and thin. But to get the characteristic shape, you can’t bake sheet cakes like regular cakes.

Rather than using standard cake pans, you use a very shallow pan. In this case, it’s a jelly roll pan.

You might also hear this type of cake called a sheath cake, Texas brownie cake, or Texas funeral cake. But why does it have “Texas” in the name?

Some people say its huge size inspired the name. But others say it uses Texan flavorings like pecans and buttermilk, or that it’s extremely rich.

As well, in 1957 someone submitted a recipe like this to the Dallas Morning News, and it became hugely popular. But it doesn’t matter where the recipe came from — just that it tastes incredible!

It’s also a very easy cake to make because you don’t have to separate and beat egg whites. And you don’t even have to cool the cake before you add the frosting!

So, grab your pan, and let’s get baking!

Tips and Tricks for Making Pioneer Woman’s Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

Frost Immediately

Nobody likes dry cake! So, to prevent this, add the frosting to your chocolate sheet cake right away.

Even if you’re making the cake for later, spread the icing while the cake is warm.

Don’t Overbake

Again, don’t let your cake dry out! The cook time in this recipe is a guideline, but you may need to adjust it.

Since every oven is a bit different, check your cake before the baking time is up. When you stick a toothpick in it and the pick comes out clean, take your cake out.

Don’t Use Cold Butter

To make mixing easier, bake with butter that’s been sitting out on the counter for a little while. If it’s room-temperature, it will melt a lot faster than using a stick of butter straight from the fridge.

Make Cupcakes

Don’t want a whole cake? Make cupcakes!

If you do this, don’t fill the cupcake tins all the way with batter. In fact, fill them less than you would for a regular cupcake recipe.

That way, there will be some room on top to pour icing over each cupcake.

Pioneer Woman Texas sheet cake recipe--

Pioneer Woman’s Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe

  • Prep Time20 min
  • Cook Time20 min
  • Total Time40 min
  • Servings24
  • Yield24 servings

Level: Easy


For the cake:

For the icing:



  1. Mix Dry Ingredients

    First set your oven to 350 degrees F to preheat. Then, put the flour, salt, and sugar into the mixing bowl and stir to combine.

  2. Make Butter Mixture

    In the medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. While it’s melting, boil the water in the small pot.

    When the butter is completely melted, whisk in the cocoa powder. Then, pour the boiling water into the saucepan, let everything bubble for just 30 seconds, and then turn the heat off.

  3. Prepare Wet Ingredients

    Now, pour the butter mixture over the flour mixture and stir it gently to combine. As well, this lets the chocolate cool a little so the eggs won’t scramble when you add them.

    Next, add the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and baking soda to your measuring cup. Whisk them together completely.

  4. Pour and Bake

    Pour the egg/buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir everything together. At this point, your batter should be very smooth.

    However, be careful not to overmix.

    Then, pour the batter into your ungreased jelly roll pan and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer. Pop it in the oven and bake it for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  5. Make the Frosting

    For the frosting, start by chopping the pecans into small pieces. Then, add butter to the saucepan.

    (If you wash your saucepan out, you don’t need a second one for this step.)

    Turn the heat to medium-low and melt the butter. Once it’s completely liquid, add the cocoa powder, cook it for 30 seconds, and then turn the heat off.

    To the saucepan, stir in the whole milk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. As a last step, mix in in the pecans.

  6. Assemble and Serve

    Once you’ve taken the cake out of the oven, pour the icing in an even layer all over the warm cake. Then, cut the sheet cake into squares, and get the party started!

Pioneer Woman Texas sheet cake serve

Fun Variations on the Pioneer Woman Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

This Pioneer Woman Texas sheet cake is a chocolate extravaganza! And there are lots of fun ways to play around with the recipe.

Change the Dairy

For instance, you can use sour cream instead of buttermilk. To do this, simply use ½ cup of sour cream instead of ½ cup of buttermilk.

Make It Nutty

I also love to change up the nuts in this recipe. For example, you can use walnuts instead of pecans.

Or, you can make almond icing by reducing the vanilla extract to ¼ teaspoon and adding an additional ½ teaspoon of almond extract.

To truly highlight almonds, make it a white Texas sheet cake! In this version, you leave out the cocoa powder and flavor the batter with a teaspoon of almond extract instead.

Spice Up the Chocolate

Since I’m a chocoholic, I prefer to keep this a chocolate sheet cake – and I even add extra chocolate! In the batter, I’ll add chopped milk or dark chocolate, or drop mini chocolate chips on top of the icing.

To flavor the chocolate sheet cake, you can add a teaspoon of cinnamon for a Mexican twist. It’s the best chocolate sheet cake for a Cinco de Mayo party!

Or, swap the water for black coffee to make a mocha cake. Don’t worry about the cake tasting too much like coffee: it simply adds a richer, more complex flavor.

Make It Kid-Friendly

I love using this recipe for children’s birthday parties because you can serve lots of kids easily. Plus, it’s always a hit!

When I do this, I leave out the pecans. Then, I’ll put a bowl of chocolate candies (like M&Ms) on the side so that each child can decorate their own piece.

Make It Healthier

And if you’re trying to eat a little healthier, there are a few substitutions you can make. First, you can swap the white flour for whole wheat.

This will increase the fiber content and make the cake more filling.

As well, you can use glacé icing instead of the Pioneer Woman’s frosting. That will cut down the fat content.

Pioneer Woman Texas sheet cake serve_

Storage Instructions

To keep this chocolate sheet cake recipe from drying out, cover the leftovers as soon as you’re done serving it. I like to use a layer of plastic wrap first, and then a layer of tin foil over that.

Or, you can store pieces in airtight containers.

Additionally, you want to keep leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer because they will last longer. In fact, icing made with dairy products can melt and go bad if left at room temperature.

In the refrigerator, your cake will stay good for about 3 to 4 days. However, in the freezer, you can keep it for about 3 months.

If you’re freezing the cake, make sure you use bags or tin foil made specifically for the freezer. And keep in mind that freezing the Texas sheet can change its texture.

Pioneer Woman Texas sheet cake - Pinterest

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
  • 305Calories
  • 15.7gFat
  • 41.1gCarbs
  • 2.4gProtein
Show Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 305
% Daily Value*
Total Fat15.7g20%
Saturated Fat9.5g 48%
Cholesterol54mg 18%
Sodium191mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate41.1g 15%
Dietary Fiber0.9g 3%
Total Sugars32g
Vitamin C13mcg 64%
Calcium21mg 2%
Iron1mg 5%
Potassium83mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.