Quarter sheet cake, Texas style! A small Texas chocolate sheet cake made in a quarter sheet pan!
In the past 3 years, we’ve moved 3 times. I met and fell in love with my husband in California. We talked about moving closer to family on our first date. A little over a year later, we did.
We moved outside Kansas City. We were an 8-hour drive from both sides of the family, save for some precious folks still back on the West coast. Since we left our hearts behind in California, we thought it would be okay because we jump at any chance to hop on a plane and head back there.
It’s hard to move lots, friends.
Our stint in Kansas City didn’t last long (but was full of so much good barbecue). Just as we were getting settled in, we moved to St Louis.
My husband is one of those people that is so warm, genuine and kind; he makes friends so easily. People sidle up to him quick and share their hearts. He’s just so open and trust-worthy. And you get a sense of it in the first few seconds of talking to him.
I, on the other hand, can take a bit of warming up to (read: wine). Luckily, everywhere we’ve lived, we’ve become quick friends with our neighbors. Not only is being neighborly a good tradition to have, but I can’t tell you how nice it is to have best friends next door. I don’t have to schedule a lunch date, I just go over. I don’t have to call first to ask if anyone wants to open a bottle of wine on the porch, people just show up. It’s such a warm feeling. We all need more drop-by friends. Friends that you don’t have to clean the house for. Those are neighbor friends. The best kind of friends.
We start out getting to know our neighbors by inviting them over for drinks and dessert (like this quarter sheet cake) on Friday nights. After a long work week, everyone looks forward to a cocktail and a little sugar. My husband handles the drinks, and I, of course, make the dessert.
However, I need a little more than dessert for two, don’t I? I mean, sometimes a small batch of cupcakes that makes 4 is perfect, but I always like to send people home with extra for the kiddos. This tradition has served us well everywhere we’ve lived. We’ve made life-long friends with our neighbors in every state we’ve lived in.
This Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake is perfect for smaller crowds
That is how I started scaling down the Pioneer Woman’s chocolate sheet cake. I certainly didn’t need a giant chocolate cake, but I needed one that served more than two. I halved her recipe and baked it on a quarter-sheet pan, made a few alterations, and it’s perfect! Everyone loves chocolate, and I get about 6 generous servings out of the pan. That’s enough for the 4 of us, plus if anyone wants seconds or an extra slice to take home for kids.
How big is a quarter of a sheet cake?
This quarter sheet cake is the perfect size for celebrating small things, or having a few friends over. Everyone still gets chocolate cake, but you don't have to make a giant 3-layer one. Plus, the cake to frosting ratio on Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake is ideal. My quarter sheet cake pan measures 9x13" with a heavy 1" lip on the sides.
How many pieces of cake are in a ¼ sheet cake?
You can see in the photo that I got 12 small squares of cake, but I would say this quarter sheet cake generously serves 6 people.
Our neighborly visits often go late, and I’m too tired to do dishes when everyone leaves, so I use paper plates. I think it provides a more casual feeling anyway. Last Friday, I used these pretty floral Dixie paper plates. Clean-up was a breeze, and they’re perfect for sending home leftovers, too.
So, make it easy on yourself, grab the paper plates and invite your neighbors over! Make moments that matter together!
Texas Chocolate Cake ingredients
- Flour. All-purpose regular, plain flour.
- Sugar. Granulated white sugar.
- Butter. One stick (4 ounces) of unsalted butter. It doesn’t need to be softened, because we will melt it on the stove. We also need an additional 7 tablespoons (almost one whole stick) for making the pourable chocolate icing.
- Cocoa Powder. Two heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder. You don’t need to measure this super precisely, just use a tablespoon to scoop out two scoops of cocoa powder. Repeat when making the frosting.
- Boiling Water. Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake is probably the only recipe you’ve ever seen that calls for boiling water, but trust me on this!
- Buttermilk. Buy store-bought cultured low-fat buttermilk for the best results. You can technically make your own with 1 cup of milk plus 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar, but the recipe was developed with store-bought buttermilk. We will use some in the cake and the frosting.
- Egg. One large egg, beaten.
- Baking Soda. Just ½ teaspoon of baking soda, because this cake is only going to rise to the surface of the pan you bake it in.
- Vanilla. I always recommend real, high-quality Bourbon vanilla extract.
- Powdered Sugar. This is to make the frosting that we will pour over the cake as it cools.
How to make a Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly spray a quarter-sheet pan with cooking spray. A quarter-sheet pan measures 9x13-inches with a 1-inch lip. Do not use a regular 9x13-inch pan because it is too deep for this batter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Once melted, stir in the cocoa powder and boiling water.
- In a measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk, egg, baking soda and vanilla.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, followed by the boiling water mixture.
- Stir together all cake ingredients very well, and then pour into the prepared pan. Bake cake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- While the cake bakes, make the frosting. In the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the cocoa powder, buttermilk and vanilla until well-combined. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar.
- Immediately when the cake comes out of the oven, pour the frosting over. Use an off-set spatula to spread the frosting to the edges of the pan. Let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
I hope you love this Texas Chocolate Quarter Sheet Cake! This is the exact quarter sheet pan I use and love.
How to serve this Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake Recipe
I love to serve this Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, especially if the cake is still warm.
Can I serve a sheet cake in the pan?
Yes, you can use a butter knife to slice the cake into pieces and a soft silicone/rubber spatula to remove each slice from the pan to serve.
Texas Quarter Sheet Cake storage
Can you leave a Texas Sheet Cake out overnight?
Yes, cover the sheet cake with plastic wrap and it can be kept out at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also refrigerate it to store it for 1 week.
Best Texas Sheet Cake Recipe FAQs
It’s called a Texas cake because it’s so big! It’s a large, thin cake that serves a crowd.
Sheet cake is much thinner than regular cake, and much easier to bake! Simply cut sheet cake into squares and serve.
Recipes for this started appearing in the 1950s, and I’m so glad that we still make it today.
You over-baked it, I’m sorry. Try again and watch the timer. Also, is your oven running hot?
More Sheet Pan Cake recipes you'll love
For the cake:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup boiling water
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg, beaten
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
For the frosting:
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 heaping cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Lightly spray a quarter-sheet pan with cooking spray. A quarter-sheet pan measures 12x10-inches.
- First, make the cake. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter.
- Once melted, stir in the cocoa powder and boiling water.
- In a measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk, egg, baking soda and vanilla.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, following by the boiling water mixture.
- Stir together all cake ingredients very ell, and then pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake cake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- While the cake bakes, make the frosting. In the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
- Stir in the cocoa powder, buttermilk and vanilla until well-combined.
- Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar.
- Immediately when the cake comes out of the oven, pour the frosting over. Use an off-set spatula to spread the frosting to the edges of the pan.
- Let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 100mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 1gSugar: 35gProtein: 2g