This chocolate buttermilk sheet cake recipe hails from a Texas grandmother’s recipe card

When my husband and I were getting married, some of our friends gave me a food-themed shower. Instead of gifts, all of the guests wrote out their favorite recipe on a recipe card. I still enjoy looking through and cooking all of the handwritten recipes. My mother-in-law’s contribution was Texas Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake. It was always my husband’s favorite. She made it for him every year for his birthday. This easy, homemade chocolate cake is moist and rich, topped with a thick layer of crispy chocolate icing. My kids loved when I would make this cake for them when they were little—even though they much preferred making it with their grandmother, Gigi, during our trips to Texas. This cake can be made a day ahead of time and will last for up to five days once refrigerated.

Yields 1 (9-by-13) sheet cake

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For the CAKE:

1 cup water

1 stick butter

6 tablespoons unsweetened
cocoa powder (sifted)

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

½ cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13 Pyrex casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small sauce pot, combine the water, butter and cocoa powder. Heat until the butter has melted, the cocoa is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and set it aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the warm chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients. Whisk until combined.
  5. Add in the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Continue stirring until the batter is smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

For the frosting:

1 ½ sticks of butter

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)

1 pound box confectioners sugar (sifted)

¼ cup milk

2 tablespoons vanilla

  1. In a medium sauce pot, heat the butter until frothy. Add in the sifted cocoa and stir until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Turn off the heat and pour in the sifted confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the warm chocolate frosting over the cake. Quickly spread the frosting evenly over the cake before the frosting sets. Allow the frosting to set completely before serving.

This article was originally published in the May 2023 issue of 225 magazine.