Cookie Sheet Chocolate Cake

First off, to my followers, I am SO sorry I have not posted in forever.  Literally, forever.  I have gotten a few requests to start posting recipes again.  You see, I am pregnant with number 2 and food just has not been appealing to me lately, hence the no baking/cooking really.  But good news, I am back!  Or at least trying to be!  Haha!  So with out further ado, a new recipe! :)

This has been one of my favorite chocolate recipes since forever!  Whenever my mom would say, “I want something chocolate, what should I make?”  This was always the response.

Cookie Sheet Chocolate Cake from …This will quickly become one of your favorite cake recipes of all time! It is AMAZING!

4.8 from 23 reviews
Cookie Sheet Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 Tablespoons cocoa
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup butter
  • 6 Tablespoons milk
  • 3 Tablespoon cocoa
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • (nuts if desired, I never add them)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, measure flour and sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, combine butter, water, cocoa and shortening. Bring to a boil. After mixture reaches a boil, add it to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Add buttermilk, then baking soda, then eggs, then vanilla in that order, mixing in-between each addition.
  4. Pour into a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes
  1. Bring combine butter milk and cocoa and bring to a boil, stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  2. After cake has cooked, remove from oven and poke holes in hot cake with a fork. Pour frosting evenly over top.


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  1. The Nummy Little Blog

    Isn't this the best cake?! It's the same recipe that my Mom gave me while I was growing up. I make it for my family all the time. We love it! I think it must be a Utah thing. :)

    • linda jordan

      Made one tonight to send granddaughter ( away at college ) ..My cake recipe for the cake calls for butter – sour cream – and no vanilla..I have been told that either way – they taste the same..This cake calls for water and I always add milk instead of water (in most recipes calling for water)..This is the favorite cake recipe of all four grandchildren..

      • Helen

        I find that buttermilk or sour cream (in baking) can be swapped and the taste is the same. Sour cream tends to make the ‘crumb’ of the cake smother. I’m in Kentucky and it is often called “Texas Sheet Cake here also.

        • Carolyn

          I meant to ask since in the original recipe it calls for butter AND shortening, do you just use butter and use as much butter as the shortening? I can’t get shortening (and don’t want it) in my country, and would prefer to use butter, but want to use the same amount. Then, instead of buttermilk — sour cream? Thanks!

      • Cindy

        Yep…I have had this recipe since back in the early 70’s and the co-worker who gave it to me said it was “Texas Sheetcake”, and I only make it when kids are here and you know why–??–I cannot stop is VERY addictive!!

  2. Seven Sisters

    this looks delicious!! sheet cake…yum…
    thanks for stopping by and leavin' some love!

  3. Cynthia

    growing up my mom always made this for large group cookouts. She added cinnamon and I was never much of a fan until one day I made it without the cinnamon! YUM. I think I will make it for after church tomorrow.. I haven't made it in years!

  4. Martha n tX

    this is a good & easy little ol cake.. In our area it is known as a Texas Sheet cake I like to add just a tsp of cinnamon.. Makes it taste so good…

  5. Marle

    On the frosting you said one box of powder sugar could you tell me how many cups is that or size of box?
    Thank you!

    • Pam

      A co-worker gave me a recipe very similar to this. She called it “20 Minute Chocolate Cake” and she baked it in a glass oblong cake pan. It didn’t have shortening – instead all margarine or butter. It is to die for!!
      However, whenever I’ve made it I had to let it bake at least 30 minutes or it was soupy in the middle.
      Thanks for sharing… I haven’t made this in years and now my taste buds are asking for it.

  6. Donna

    Add a little cinnamon to both the cake and icing and chopped pecans to the icing and you’d have a Texas Sheet Cake. That was the second cake I learned to make from scratch when I was 7 yrs old.

  7. verapeter

    I’ve baked this last week n one word Delicious! I couldn’t agree more with you! This recipe is a keeper well for me

  8. Carol

    Congratulations! Can you tell me the size if the cookie sheet you used? I have 2 different size cookie sheets. Thanks

  9. I have tried to make a couple of variations of this cake before and have failed all but one time. In the past, after the 20 minute bake time, it was still soupy in the middle. What am I doing it not doing wrong? I will wait to hear back from someone before I attempt it again!! I have tasted the finished product, made by someone besides myself, and it is amazing. You don’t just eat this cake, you make love to it!

    • KayDee

      Are you using the 18 x 13 pan? As you can see from the picture, this cake is VERY thin. If you use a smaller pan, the batter is thicker and it takes longer to bake in order to get done all the way through. As a previous poster stated, in a small pan you may need to cook for 30 minutes or longer to avoid the soupy center.

  10. Robin G

    This sounds great! When you say “shortening” in this recipe, can you please be more specific on what to use? Are you saying something like crisco?

  11. Denise Rutledge

    What kind of flour do you use? All purpose, cake, self rising? Sounds delicious! Can’t wait to bake it!

  12. Roland Hurley

    Hi there, maybe I’m just being a guy, but is there another term used for the ingredient shortening? Think we must know it as something different in South Africa?

  13. Andrea

    I don’t know if my comment posted or not before so will say again.. what kind of flour? And what is shortening?? Thank you :)

  14. IZ

    In the oven as I write this message, frosting is done just waiting can’t wait to try!

    Only made one modification used only 1 cup of sugar!

  15. Pia

    hi, that’s a yummy cake. I live in Europe and I would be SO happy if you could make all your’e recipes in grams, cm and degrees so it makes me and other people little easier to bake and follow your’e blogg. Thank’s a Lot

  16. Julia

    I’m from Michigan, and this is exactly the recipe my mom always called “Good Boy Cake”. She sprinkled nuts on top when we could afford it! Love it!

  17. Janice

    Looks great is the flour plain or self-rising and yes the size of cookie sheet and depth is it better to cook in cookie sheet or the foil pan that are cookie sheet sized

  18. Jane

    I have made this cake for 50 years. I always put nuts and coconut in the frosting. I will try it with only pecans the next time. I use regular flour and Crisco and not butter in the cake. I have never had a failure so I will stay with the way I make it. When I put the frosting on the hot cake, I don’t poke holes in it.

  19. Gretchen

    Thank you for posting this recipe. My mother made this all the time for every gathering as far back as I can remember, and that would be at least the l950s. We are native Texans, so of course it was a Texas Sheet Cake. After she cut it into squares she would always put a pecan half in the center of each square…Texas pecans, of course. Delicious cake!!


    My grandmother always had this for us when we came in town to visit. It was so delicious! This brings back such fond memories of days gone by. Thanks for the memories! I’m making this for my family today!!

  21. regina

    Been looking for this recipe. Love it. Do you have the pineapple sheet cake recipe by chance. My family would love it if I could find that one too. Thanks

    • KayDee

      It’s my understanding that lard was the original product before shortening was created just as whipped cream is the original product before Cool-Whip was created.
      Shortening was invented as a substitute for lard because it was processed and had a longer shelf life than real, home processed lard.
      Yes, you can use lard as a substitute for shortening. Real, home made lard would be marvelous!
      But if all you have is modern processed lard or shortening and you want to avoid the chemicals in them, butter is what you’ll want in this recipe. Some recipes need the lard/shortening in order to have the best texture but this recipe isn’t one of them.

    • Jaci

      You probably could use lard, but should consider that it has a strong distinct flavor where shortening is neutral. If you’ve used lard for baking cookies or cakes in the past and liked it, you could use 1/2 cup of it to replace the lard. My mom frequently used lard for baking when I was a kid. I loved her piecrusts, but was bothered by the lard flavor in cookies.

      • Jaci

        Also, want to add that I have a version of this recipe from 40+ years ago. I still have sweet memories of the cake and the very special aunt who made it for us during a visit. That recipe called for shortening (Crisco) in both the cake and frosting. I’ve made it that way many times over the years and it was always delicious. I recently misplaced the old recipe and found this version with a combo of shortening and butter in the cake and only butter in the frosting. I like the cake equally with or without butter, but the frosting with butter is really delicious and, to me, better tasting than the shortening version.

  22. Stephani

    This looks yummy. Will this work with dry buttermilk? If so, should I just add the dry buttermilk with the other dry ingredients, or should I mix buttermilk then add it according to directions? Thanks

    • KayDee

      Baking soda reacts with buttermilk to create the leavening. Yes, you must use buttermilk and not regular milk.
      In a pinch, you can add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of regular milk. Stir well and let sit for a minute or two to sour the regular milk. Then use as buttermilk in the recipe. The substitue isn’t as good as real cultured buttermilk but it’ll do.

  23. Jean McCartney

    Cookie sheet chocolate cake saw on fb from sister in law,first time getting a recipe from you. Will fix and comment on it. Jean McCartney’s

  24. Ellen Sedberry

    This cake is delicious! My family loves it. A friend gave us this recipe many years ago and I have made it many times. We know it as a “Scotch Chocolate Cake”. Great recipe and so easy to make.

  25. Barbara

    I know how amazing this cake is, and going to make one today. I don’t recall the pan size to use, and it isn’t mentioned. If poss., could you shoot me an email – soon – or I will just “eyevall it, ” and hope I’m right. Remember well what you’re experiencing about food…hopefully better for you soon.

  26. Cathie Holmes

    I use about a table spoon of cinnamon to the cake and 2 tsp to the frosting and we call it Texas sheet cake. By any name, it is really good!!

  27. Sandi

    My most FAVORITE cake of all time! My mom passed this down to me! Can’t make just one, always make 2 then you can double the frosting recipe without measuring the powdered sugar. At least that is MY excuse!!!!

  28. Veronica Blanco

    Hello Nikki!!

    I just stumbled across your wonderful site :)
    I was wondering if you could put together a Gluten Free recipe for your cookie sheet chocolate cake. My son and I are both celiac and both LOVE chocolate cake, and yours looks scrumptious! <3
    Thanks so much,

    • Katie

      I use namaste all purpose gluten free flour in this recipe and most of my other baking, it comes out perfect. Just leave everything the same and sub the flour in equal amounts

  29. Gail

    My family loves this cake. We call it Mother’s Sotch Cake. Mother found this recipe years ago. The only difference is the shortening, we don’t use it. Never added the nuts either. The many times this cake has been made, its been messed up a few times: no eggs once, no buttermilk just used regular and so on. Still tasted great.

  30. Bonita

    My question is about the frosting in the ingredients it calls for milk but in the instructions it says combine buttermilk and cocoa and bring to a boil I need to know which is it milk or buttermilk please

  31. Jackie

    Try putting some cinnamon in your cake batter!! This is my son’s absolute favorite cake, I got the recipe out of a really old newspaper. Only it is called Texas sheet cake, the only difference in your recipe and this one is the cinnamon :)

  32. Georgene D Hanst

    do not understand the shortening since it calls first for 1/2 cup butter. What kind of shortening for the other 1/2 cup. Can I use crisco oil?

  33. Jane

    Congratulations to you! When I was pregnant with my first I was like that. Couldn’t even look at pictures in magazines! Second for me wasn’t so…

    All the best to you and your family.

  34. Lyndsay

    When making the frosting do you leave the ingredients on the stove? Or when it has boiled do you remove and then add the sugar and final ingredients?
    Looks yummy! Thanks for posting!!!

  35. Connie

    This is an amazing cake. We have always called it Texas Sheet Cake and have a recipe similar to this. No one would ever be disappointed and the baker usually receives rave reviews. Thank you for sharing.

  36. Shari

    Congratulations on baby # 2!
    I grew up eating this a LOT~ my Mom also made this cake for EVERY occasion I think! Its so easy, moist and yummy though! My Mom has passed away and No one knew where the recipe went! TY so much for posting this! I feel like it was just for me!

  37. Ela

    I’m one of those always checking your page to see if there’s something new posted. Thanks for your delicious recipes.

    Can I use a 10 x 15″ pan w/ this recipe? Can I also line the pan w/ parchment paper? Thanks!

  38. Leigh Ann

    We have this recipe except it also has a 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. My mom made it every year for my birthday in the ’70s and ’80s. She thinks my grandmother got it from a newspaper in Texas. We make it in a regular 9×11 or 13 or whatever cake pan. And you can use sweet milk rather than buttermilk and it’s still good.

  39. elsa shelton

    Would be nice if you stated plain or self rising flour. I assume from the buttermilk and soda you mean plain for this

  40. Shirley

    Use coffee in the frosting instead of milk. Coffee just enhances chocolate to a wonderful flavor. Many chef’s on Food Network speak of using Coffee with their chocolate mixtures.

  41. Monica

    Im looking for a brownie recipe where you melt butter with chocolate, not cocoa powder either, can you help me. Its a real simple brownie recipe i just cant seem to find one.

  42. Marnie

    i just made this, pretty sure it was a huge fail. It puffed up like a cake would so was not flat on top, icing pooled on edges of pan and not on top.
    I also used a 9×13 pan (size wasn’t specified) and 20 minutes was not nearly enough.

    • Chef in Training

      sorry you had so much trouble. I answered in the comments the size pan I used was a 18x13x1 inch cookie sheet. I will make sure to add that to the recipe itself. This is an older recipe and needs to be updated to say so. So sorry for your experience.

      • michelle

        have made this recipe & comes out perfect every time. your coconut sheet cake is also delish. i was looking for a lemon sheet cake which i thought was on your website, but i cant find it. am i mistaken

  43. Bianca

    It looks delicious! Two questions for you:

    1. Instead of shortening can I use butter? and
    2. Could I prepare this in a cake tin as opposed to a tray

    Thank you in advance,

    Bianca xx

  44. d

    This is the first sheet cake that I have ever made and it was an absolute hit. The family loved it and I can see other family and friends enjoying it as well. I made it exactly as directed and used the recommended 18x13x1 pan. I will definitely be making this again…again…again. Thank you so much for sharing.

  45. kat

    Could you give the dimensions of your cookie sheet. I have 3 sizes of cookie sheets so I want to make sure I pick the right one to get the proper thickness. Thanks!

  46. zeenat

    Hi .I’m from South Africa. In chocolate Cake recipe, what would shortening be ? Any equivalent in a kosher \ halaal form ?


  47. isabel in spain

    Love the recipe but am not sure what size cookie sheet to bake it in? Please give a measurement… thanks!

  48. Lynn

    We grew up with this cake. We called it Gertrude ‘s cake. Don’t know why. Anyway, we were overseas and could only get peanuts. Mom would always put peanuts in the frosting and it was really good.

  49. Schmidt

    I just tried making this and my icing turned out really thin. I thought maybe it was supposed to be like that but as soon as I poured it on the cake it all slide to the sides and now there is barely anything on the cake. What did I do wrong??

  50. Nicole Betz

    This is so yummy. Has anyone made this recipe into cupcakes? If so, what changes in time/temp worked? Thanks!

  51. Cara

    I made this cake for the first time today for a Memorial Day get together. It got rave reviews and was completely devoured! Everyone went back for seconds & thirds. I’ll definitely be making this easy dessert again and again.

  52. Lynn Smith

    I never buy shortening, what can I sub it with, instead of shortening, also buttermilk, never bought buttermilk by itself as a lone ingredient, is there a sub for it? I’d like very much to try your recipe, thanks in advance.


  53. Italia Patterson

    Yes…. It is Tuesday 1:30am and I can’t sleep. So I made this cake!!!! It is easy and oh sooooo yummy! Did I say awesome? Boy will my husband be surprised when he wakes up…

  54. pam ludgate

    I made this cake for my MIL’s birthday at her request. The recipe was really easy to follow but when I put the frosting on the top of the baked cake there were clumps of powdered sugar – I thought it was all mixed up in the saucepan. I picked off a few of the little chunks but didn’t want to ruin the cake. So it doesn’t look that pretty but looking forward to eating it!

  55. Michael Rhodes

    Wondering…when the recipe says “cookie sheet” I’m wondering if you mean a 1/2 sheet pan? What I’ve seen that are called cookie sheets in the stores have no sides to them (just flat metal sheets), but what my mom used to call a cookie sheet is called a 1/2 sheet pan in the stores. About the same dimensions, but with edges that are only about 1/2 an inch tall.

    Am I guessing correctly? I’m wanting to try this, but other than the 1/2 sheet pans I have, everything else is cake pans with sides that are much taller than 1/2 an inch.