Big chocolate flavors, with caramel and pecans, this Texas Turtle Sheet Cake is bursting with all of the best things you can put in one cake!
Decadent and rich, Texas Turtle Sheet Cake is the perfect dessert to serve all of your family and friends. A homemade chocolate cake, topped with an indulgent chocolate frosting, drizzled with caramel sauce, and sprinkled with chopped pecans and chocolate chips, this is one amazing dessert everyone absolutely loves!
SCRUMPTIOUS CHOCOLATE THE SIZE OF TEXAS
No one is sure if Texas Sheet Cake got its name from the first time the recipe appeared in a Texas newspaper or if it is because the Sheet Cake is so big, like Texas. Either way, this cake is so drool-worthy and feeds a good number of people so needless to say, I love it. The moist, richness of the chocolate cake and the buttery caramel with the slight crunch of the pecans is simply one of the most perfect bites. This Texas Sheet Cake feeds a crowd so it’s the ideal cake to serve for family get-togethers or potlucks! At most get-togethers, I’m usually hounding people to eat more or to take some food home with them so that I don’t have to deal with leftovers but when I serve this cake it’s one of the few times that I am more than happy to have leftovers.
Other Recipes to Serve with Texas Turtle Sheet Cake
- Do you love the idea of chocolate, caramel, and pecans and wish you could add coconut? These dreamy German Chocolate Cookie Bars are perfect for you.
- An easy and popular potluck dish that will feed the crowd is Easy Bacon & Avocado Pasta Salad. This light and creamy, slightly salty dish compliments every cookout!
FOR THE CAKE
Pantry Items: You will need flour, sugar, baking soda, and unsweetened cocoa powder.
Refrigerated Items: You will need buttermilk, eggs and butter. If you don’t want to use buttermilk you can substitute 1/2 cup of whole milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Simply mix the two ingredients, whisk together well and let it sit for 10 minutes. This will give you the same thick, tangy flavor as buttermilk.
Spices: Salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract are all you need.
Extra: You will also need one cup of water for this sheet cake.
FOR THE FROSTING
Refrigerated Items: You will need milk and butter.
Pantry Items: You will need cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
For the Topping
Pantry Items: Chopped pecans, chocolate chips, and a jar of caramel sauce are all you need.
How to Make Texas Turtle Sheet Cake
STEP ONE: Grease a sheet pan with cooking spray or butter. For extra easy cleanup, you could also line your sheet pan with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the four, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
STEP TWO: In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs and set them aside. In a small pot, add the butter, vanilla extract, water, and cocoa powder and set to medium heat. Once the pot begins to steam you can take the pot off of the heat and let the mixture finish melting.
STEP THREE: Add the melted chocolate to the bowl of flour and gently mix. Fold in the buttermilk and egg and mix until just combined, careful not to over mix.
STEP FOUR: Pour the batter onto the sheet pan and cook for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
STEP FIVE: To make the frosting, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In a small pot, bring the butter, milk, and vanilla extract to a boil. Stir in the cocoa sugar mixture and immediately spread this over the sheet cake. For the sheet cake topping, sprinkle chopped pecans and chocolate chips over the entire cake and then drizzle the caramel sauce over the top.
Tips for Success
- Toasting the pecans ahead of time gives the nuts a wonderful depth of flavor and removes some of the slightly bitter notes of the nuts. The pecans are delicious either way but toasting them can be a great way to take your cake over the top. Simply add the pecans to a skillet and toast over medium heat for 2-5 minutes until fragrant and slightly darker.
- When making the batter for the cake it can help speed up the process by cutting the butter into slices so that it can melt faster and get your cake in the oven sooner.
- Mixing the warm butter-chocolate mixture with the flour first will help cool the mix down so that the eggs don’t get cooked when you add them.
- When making the frosting, mixing in the cocoa later helps to get the frosting to be more spreadable and less fudgy. If you like the fudgy consistency, cook the cocoa powder with the butter and milk. Then add the powdered sugar after that’s all melted together. You’ll have to work very quickly when spreading the fudgy frosting on the cake.
What makes Texas Sheet Cake different?
Compared to other cakes, especially German Chocolate Cake, Texas Sheet Cake is relatively simple to make. There is no creaming the butter and sugar or needing ingredients to come to room temperature, you mostly stir everything together and pour it onto a sheet pan. Also, since the cake is spread over a wide sheet pan it cooks pretty quickly, in 20 minutes, versus the 35-55 minutes other cakes need to cook.
Does a Texas Turtle Sheet Cake need to be refrigerated?
Thankfully, this sheet cake does not need to be refrigerated, which is great because it’s pretty big! This cake will be fine for up to a week on the counter, either covered or in an airtight container. You can also freeze any leftovers by covering the sheet cake with a layer of parchment paper and then a layer of foil. This sheet cake will be good for one month in the freezer. When you’re ready to enjoy a piece simply let it come to room temperature.
More delectable chocolate to make
- Chocolate Overload Cake
- Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
- Chocolate Pound Cake
- Triple Chocolate Icebox Cake Recipe
- Easy Chocolate Lava Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray or butter. (It's optional, but I recommend lining the sheet pan with parchment paper too.)
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Set aside.
- Add the water, butter, cocoa powder, and vanilla to a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook until the butter has melted, stirring constantly. Once you see steam you can turn off the heat and just let the residual heat melt everything together.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour bowl and mix until smooth and just combined. (Don't overmix!) Pour in the egg mixture and fold until you have a smooth batter.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared sheet pan and spread it into an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack while you make the frosting.
- Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder together. Set aside.
- Add the butter, milk, and vanilla to a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally.
- Pour in the cocoa powder mixture and whisk to combine. Pour over the warm cake immediately and then spread edge to edge. (see note)
- Sprinkle the toasted pecans and chocolate chips evenly over the cake. Then drizzle the entire cake with caramel sauce before cutting into 15 slices.
- If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute sour milk instead. To make sour milk: Stir together 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes before using.
- To toast the pecans: Place the pecans in a skillet over medium heat. Toast for 2-5 minutes until slightly darker and fragrant. Remove from the skillet to cool.
- If you want a fudgy frosting vs a smoother spreadable frosting, add the cocoa into the pot with the butter and milk. Add the powdered sugar once everything is melted together. Pour over the cake and work VERY quickly to spread the frosting.