Texas Brownies or Chocolate Sheet Cake and Princess Cakes

Decadent chocolate cake soaked in hot frosting.

Some call it a cake or a pan of brownies. It’s a personal choice. This is one of those universal recipes that travels the kitchen circuit under a variety of names. Why a name like Texas Brownies? Might have something to do with Texas hospitality, a perfect dessert for large gatherings. However, the earliest recipes I found were from California and Illinois.

For Princess Cakes: Substitute water for coffee. Using a round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut circle shapes out of the baked and cooled sheet cake. Skip the frosting and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Certainly, choices for toppings are endless. Use your own creative intuition.

Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and you have the recipe that Former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson made popular.

I found this Indiana recipe on a yellow-lined, piece of paper of paper. The note on the side said, “Great for Potlucks.”

20150304_124127Texas Brownies: February 2, 1998

  • Need 1-17 ½” x 11” jelly roll pan
  • Makes 48 brownie squares
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup butter or margarine = 1 stick
  • 1 cup strong coffee or water
  • ¼ cup dark unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ cup buttermilk or substitute with ½ cup milk with 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large mixing bowl combine flour and sugar-mix well

In a heavy saucepan, combine butter or margarine, coffee or water & cocoa. Stir with wooden spoon and heat to boiling.

Pour boiling mixture to flour and sugar & mix well.

Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Mix well with wooden spoon and beat on high with electric mixer.

Pour into well-buttered jelly roll pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until brownie tests done in center.

While brownies are baking, make frosting.


  • ½ cup butter or margarine = 1 stick
  • 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 3 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or substitute 1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring for vanilla)

Combine in a saucepan: butter, cocoa, and milk in a saucepan and heat to boiling, stirring. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth (use an electric beater to eliminate powdered sugar dots). Pour over brownies as soon as you remove brownies from the oven. When cool and set, cut into 48 brownies.

Variations For a mocha flavor, substitute strong coffee for milk in the frosting. Add 1 cup chopped nuts to the frosting. If in Texas, pecans only.

A cake called by many names: Carol’s Chocolate Cake, Brownies, Texas Sheet Cake, Mexican Chocolate Cake, Buttermilk Brownies, Cocoa Sheath Cake, Texas Buttermilk Brownies, Church Chocolate Cake and there’s even a version called Creole Chocolate Cake.

Texas Chocolate Cake, anonymous 1970s New York Recipe Card

Need 1-17 ½” x 11” jelly roll pan

Makes 48 brownie squares

Sift together:

  • 2 cups of sifted flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Cook the following to almost boiling:
  • 2 squares chocolate
  • 1 cube margarine
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup water

While still hot, stir the above into flour-sugar mixture.


  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time.

Mix the two mixtures until smooth.

Bake at 350 degrees in a 9” x 13” buttered pan for 30 minutes


Melt together:

  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cube margarine
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 squares chocolate

Stir in ¾ pound of powdered sugar

Beat until smooth and pour over hot brownies.


Baking Remedies: Question. So the cake is lopsided and my stove is not even crooked. Answer. Check cake after the first 20 minutes. If it’s lopsided, there may be a hot spot in the oven-rotate the pan. Otherwise, when cooled, just slice the top even. Family Circle, The Cook’s Answer Book, 1997.

What to do with that extra buttermilk?

Buttermilk frosting variation:

Combine 1 stick butter with ¼ cup cocoa and 1/3 cup buttermilk in saucepan. Bring to a boiling point. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients, mixing until creamy. Frost brownies immediately upon removing from the oven. Cut into squares when cool. From Buttermilk Brownies Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, 1982