Aunt Ree’s Chocolate Sheet Cake

Aunt Ree’s Chocolate Cake has been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember.  It’s a chocolate buttermilk cake with boiled icing. As a kid, I thought this was a special secret recipe. Turns out it’s similar to Texas Sheet Cake, which we never had growing up.  

As a matter of fact, I don’t think I have ever eaten or made a sheet cake in my life. Hmmm, guess I will have to remedy that soon.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

It’s the best and easiest chocolate sheet cake in our opinion. It’s Texas Sheet Cake but baked in a smaller pan so it’s thicker. It’s moist, tender, and topped with a fudgy frosting!


  • Buttermilk – If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own. Pour a 1/2 cup of milk, remove one teaspoon, and then add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes then proceed with the recipe.
  • You can add chopped pecans or walnuts to the icing.

How to Make Texas Sheet Cake Bigger

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a 13×9 baking pan, 2 8×8 baking pans, or a jelly roll pan with baking spray or butter and flour.

In a large bowl combine the flour and sugar together.

Bring cocoa powder, 1/2 cup butter, water, and oil to a boil.  Remove from the heat and pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients (flour mixture). Mix well.

Cake batter combined in a white bowl.

Add the buttermilk and mix well, then add eggs, baking soda, and vanilla extract. Mix well.

Pour into the prepared pan (or pans) and bake for 20 minutes.

Boiled icing in a metal sauce pot.

Remove the chocolate cake from the oven and start the frosting.  (The cake will still be hot when you pour the icing over it.)

Bring the butter, cocoa, and milk to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, and add the vanilla extract and confectioners sugar (powdered sugar). Mix until combined. Pour over the cake.

A slice of Texas Sheet cake on a spatula.

Allow the cake to cool completely.  Or almost completely! My husband couldn’t stand the wait any longer.  The icing will set but still be soft. A little more firm than what you see in the above photo.

This recipe divides in half beautifully! Sometimes you just want to satisfy your sweet craving, not taunt it with a HUGE cake just staring at you.


Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for about 3 days. In the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can you freeze this cake?

Yes, let the frosting set up completely. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to one month.

Aunt Ree's Chocolate Cake - This recipe is easy, made from scratch and is the best chocolate cake ever!

Aunt Ree’s Chocolate Cake Recipe

This recipe is easy, made from scratch and is the best chocolate cake ever!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: cake, Dessert
Cuisine: American, Southern
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 596kcal
Author: Don’t Sweat The Recipe



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 16 oz confectioners sugar (icing sugar)


  • Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
  • Prepare a 13×9 pan or 2 8×8 pans with baking spray or butter and flour.
  • Whisk together flour and sugar.
  • In a small pan, add the butter, cocoa, water, and oil. Bring to a boil and mix well. Pour into the flour/sugar mixture.
  • Add the beaten eggs, soda and vanilla. Mix well.
  • Pour into the prepared pan (or pans) and bake for 20 minutes.
  • When you remove the cake from the oven, start the frosting.
  • For the frosting:
  • Add the butter, cocoa, and milk to a medium pan and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly.
  • Once the mixture is to a boil remove it from the heat, add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and mix well.
  • Pour the icing evenly over the entire cake. Allow to cool completely.


You could certainly use this recipe in a jelly roll pan. The original recipe calls for an 11×16 pan.
This recipe divides in half beautifully, using an 8×8 pan.!


Calories: 596kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 255mg | Potassium: 95mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 71g | Vitamin A: 546IU | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Share With Your Friends And Family!


  1. I bet this is a yummy cake!! Thanks for sharing at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Pinned & shared.

  2. What a great recipe!! I have a similar one and when you add the frosting when its hot makes all the difference!! Yum! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday! Hope to see you again tomorrow!! Pinned!

  3. This looks so delicious! In fact I’m craving a slice right now with my coffee, for lunch. I discovered the magic of warm frosting by accident, I needed to ice a cake really quickly after it had come out of the oven. So I put the frosting in the microwave for about 30 seconds to make it a more liquid icing and poured it over the cake. The frosting sunk into the cake making it the moistest, most fudgy, cake I’ve ever had. I am definitely going to try your recipe, it looks fantastic.5 stars

  4. Oh I love the effect when you pour icing over a hot cake – Haven’t done that for ages. I wish sheet cakes were more popular in the UK than they are. Your looks so inviting! Thanks for joining in with #BakeoftheWeek5 stars

  5. Ooh your cake looks delicious. I’ve not made a cake using that method before…pinning to give it a try.
    Angela x

  6. This looks so good. I love recipes attached the are tried and true – they’re always the best. Thanks for sharing!

  7. That looks like a lovely damp cake with gloriously sticky topping. Your Aunt Ree knew a good thing when she saw it! Thanks for joining in with #BAKEoftheWEEK !5 stars

  8. Oooh that looks like a super rich. gooey chocolate cake! Delicious x #BakeoftheWeek

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