Texas Sheet Cake | Ultimate Recipe

K Keeton
by K Keeton
48 servings
45 min

This ultimate recipe makes the best Texas sheet cake ever and it is gluten-free! Texas sheet cake is a long-time tradition in my family. I cannot eat gluten, so I have adapted the original recipe to this gluten-free version. This easy, crowd-pleasing recipe will not disappoint.

Ingredients for Texas Sheet Cake RecipeThe ingredients you need are an all-purpose gluten-free baking flour mix, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, white sugar, butter, cocoa powder, vanilla flavoring, toasted pecans, and ice-cold water. If you are making the frosting you will also need maple syrup. The vanilla ice cream is optional.

Gather Your Ingredients Together

So why is it called Texas sheet cake? Well, by my reckoning “I am in agreement”, that it is large like Texas and rich like Texas oil. It is a popular cake all over the US, not just in Texas. The original name was Texas Sheath Cake dating back to the 1930s per newspaper clippings. However, the origin and date have never been verified. A similar cake recipe debuted in the Dallas Morning News in 1957 which immediately made it a big hit.

Did Texas Sheet Cake Originate in Texas?

We may never know if ‘Texas’ Sheet Cake originated in Texas or not, but the name stuck. It is likened to a ‘funeral’ cake which is common in the South. Today there are many variations to the Texas Sheet Cake. Many cooks add sour cream for extra moistness, but I promise you will not miss the sour cream. I think sour cream makes it a tad heavy and I love the lightness of this recipe.

This cake is soft as silk going into your mouth, I kid you not. It is not a heavy cake which makes it taste wonderful with only confectioners’ sugar on top. I have also included an icing recipe with maple syrup which enhances the flavor of the pecans. I make it both ways depending on my taste buds. If you are topping it with pecans the icing helps them stay in place. However, the icing is optional.

Ultimate Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

I really think this gluten-free version is even better than the original Texas sheet cake recipe. I have friends who say it is the best chocolate cake recipe in the world. Top it with the icing and pecans if desired or sprinkle with white confectioners’ sugar, it is wonderful either way!

I have picky eaters and some of them do not like pecans, so I have left this as a last step over the icing if you want to add them. I love pecans so I typically put pecans over the icing on half of the cake and only icing on the other half. The ingredient amounts, however, assume you will use pecans on the entire cake.

Texas Pecans are awesome Y’all, I’m just saying. However, any pecan will do if they are lightly toasted. I happen to have the best paper shell pecan tree in the whole town, right out in my backyard, or so they say 😊.

Warm Sheet Cake and Ice Cream

Top it off while it is still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. So Yummy!

Gluten-Free Options

Gluten-Free products we have used are:

  • Hershey’s Cocoa Powder
  • Wholesome Organic Cane Sugar
  • Wholesome Organic Dark Brown Sugar
  • McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Krusteaz Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • Clabber Girl Baking Powder
  • Members Mark Maple Syrup (Sam Club brand)

Gluten Free options are provided as a resource only. Always check your product labeling or contact the manufacturer of ingredients you are using. If there is not a gluten-free or GF on the label of the product packaging, read the ingredients label thoroughly. Check for hidden or questionable ingredients. Some ingredients may contain hidden gluten.

This Texas Sheet Recipe is great for potlucks or just rounding out that special Sunday dinner. If you don’t need a cake the size of Texas, you can cut the recipe in half and bake it in a 10” x 15” jelly roll pan.

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Try our Texas Skillet Chili for more gluten-free options.

Read about gluten-free eating here.

What is the difference between a Texas Sheet Cake and a regular cake?The main difference is that a Texas Sheet Cake is cooked in a large sheet cake pan and topped with pecans.

Why is this cake called a Texas Sheet Cake?It is called a Texas Sheet cake because it is large like Texas and rich like Texas oil.

Celiac is a serious auto-immune disease that can damage the intestines. Celiac disease is hereditary and can run in families.

Texas Sheet Cake | Ultimate Recipe
Recipe details
  • 48  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 45 min
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  • 1 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 cups all-purpose, gluten-free, baking flour mix
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla flavoring
  • 2 2/3 cup ice cold water
  • 1 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional) to go on top of the warm frosting
Chocolate Maple Syrup Icing Ingredients
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla flavoring
  • 1 cup maple syrup
Pre Prep Sheet Cake Instructions
Grease and flour (gluten free flour) a 26” X 18” sheet cake pan.
You may use butter or oil for greasing or your favorite gluten-free cake spray.
Before starting cake, add your water to some ice in a container and once itis cold you can measure it without the ice.
Texas Sheet Cake Instructions
Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl until well incorporated and slightly fluffy.
Add room temperature, well-beaten eggs, and vanilla, to the creamed butter/sugar and continue to beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides as you go.
Whisk the gluten-free flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
Alternate between the flour mixture and ice-cold water adding them to the larger bowl containing the creamed ingredients.
Continue to alternate between the flour mixture and cold water mixing until combined. Do not over-mix since you want your water to stay cold.
Slowly and carefully add your batter into the large sheet pan, and smooth out the top if needed.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until springy to the touch, and the cake tester (toothpick) comes out clean.
After allowing to cool in the pan for at least 15-20 minutes you can loosen the sides for easy serving before topping with either confectioners’ sugar or warm (not hot) icing. It is also great served with a small dollop of vanilla ice cream.
Chocolate Maple Syrup Icing Instructions
Warm your butter and maple syrup slightly before adding to the food processor or blender, followed by the cocoa powder, and vanilla.
Process until smooth and creamy, making sure there are no lumps.
Pour over the sheet cake slowly, and evenly while still in the baking sheet. Let icing set for a minute or two before cutting and serving.
  • Texas Sheet Cake is meant to be approximately one inch thick. However, if all you have is a thicker 9” x 13” rectangular it will still cook up nicely. Check it for doneness as it could need a longer cooking time in this pan.
  • Your Texas Sheet Cake probably will not last long, but you can keep it in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks. Also, it will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • If you don’t need a cake the size of Texas, you can cut the recipe in half and bake it in a 10” x 15” jelly roll pan.
  • This cake is delicious on its own, but you can add a dollop of ice cream while it is still warm for an extra special treat.
K Keeton
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