Texas Brownies aka Texas Sheet Cake (Recipe)

This is more traditionally known as Texas Sheet Cake, but the recipe I've always used calls them brownies. It's from a 1988 recipe card from Great American Recipes, one of those companies that used to send you free cards to entice you to subscribe to monthly recipe deliveries. (Which, of course, I never did).

What makes this weird is that most of the prep is done on the stove. There's no creaming of butter for either the cake or the frosting. It has a unique flavor and texture as a result. This is not a gourmet, chocolate aficionado's type of cake. It's a family potluck type of dessert. It's a cake-like brownie (or a brownie-like cake). Very sweet, slightly chocolate-y, and makes a huge pan!  I don't own a 17x11 pan. Mine was 15 x 11 and worked fine. Just adjust the baking time to your pan and test the center with a toothpick. I got 36 brownies from my smaller pan.

Make sure you pour the frosting on while the cake is warm and resist cutting into it while it's still warm. It cuts much more cleanly after it cools.

Makes 1 17x11 inch pan (48 brownies)

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening (you could probably use more butter. I used Butter Flavored Crisco)
1 cup strong brewed coffee (or water)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk (or add 2 tsp lemon juice to 1/2 cup milk)
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp cocoa
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

  • In large mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar.
  • In heavy saucepan, combine butter, shortening, coffee (or water) and cocoa. Stir and heat to boiling.
  • Pour boiling mixture over the flour and sugar in the bowl. Add buttermilk (or sour milk), eggs, baking soda and vanilla.
  • Mix well, using a wooden spoon.
  • Pour into a well buttered 17 x 11 jelly roll pan.
  • Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until brownies test done in the center.
  • While the brownies bake, prepare the frosting. In a saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa, and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring. 
  • Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla until frosting is smooth. Don't worry about a few small lumps of sugar. It's not supposed to be perfect.
  • Pour warm frosting over brownies as soon as you take them out of the oven. Cool. Cut into 48 bars.
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  1. Thank you for posting this. This particular recipe has been a family favorite since the recipe card pack arrived in the mail back in 1993. Recently I went to get the recipe and, after a recent move, the recipe card was missing. I was both surprised and delighted to find this. We always made this as a cake because we never had the right size pan! Delicious either way. Thanks!

    1. Yea! I'm so glad this was the recipe you were looking for. We love these. I especially love how many it makes. It's perfect for those 'please bring a dish' events. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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