Mom’s Texas Chocolate Cake


If you’ve read a few of my posts, you know my mom is a Texan gal. She lived there up until the day she moved up north with her yankee sweetheart (my dad). Apparently, my mom’s parents would not let her leave the great state of Texas with this yankee unless they were married. So they went down to the courthouse and made it official so she could travel on up north with her parents’ blessing and her yankee husband by her side. They had a small wedding up in Illinois so friends and family could be there.  So they kind of have two anniversary dates: one for the courthouse in TX and one for the Illinois wedding. Either way, it’s been 45 years of lots of love and laughs!

One of the things my mom brought up to Illinois with her, was this trusty recipe for Texas Chocolate Cake. She’s made it as far back as I can remember and long before I was born. She has made it so much that the recipe is imprinted on her Texan brain, I’m sure. She knows it by heart and happily shared it with me after I was married. I tried my hardest to make it just like she did one time when my parent’s came up for a visit to Milwaukee. I’m not sure where I went wrong, but the cake just did not taste right. It tasted a little like soap or something and definitely did not match up to Mom’s Texas Chocolate Cake. She thought maybe I used an off brand of confectioner’s sugar. Who knows! This is one of those dishes that “mom’s is better” no matter how hard I try so I’ll continue to enjoy it when she makes it, but I wanted to share it with all of you! I’ve seen a few versions of Texas cake, Texas Sheet Cake, or Cowboy Cake, even a White Texas Cake but in  my opinion they never match up to my mom’s. If you know her, I’m sure you’ve had it at family reunions, picnics, birthdays, church meals and recognize her Texas Chocolate Cake. Well, now you can make it for your loved ones!

This cake is meant to be thin. It’s a sheet cake kind of cake so you should make it in a large pan, not a typical 9 x 13. I use a 12 x 18 inch pan from Wilton. You could make it in a jelly roll style pan, but just be careful not to over fill so you don’t have a chocolate mess in your oven.

A few weeks ago, my parents were at our house for the weekend and we made this cake for our daughter’s birthday. Well, my mom made it as I took pictures. She accidentally used Dark Cocoa Powder for the cake frosting so it appears darker than it normally is with regular cocoa powder. We prefer the regular cocoa powder as the recipe calls for. One thing to note is that you do not have to have an electric mixer for this cake. You can definitely use a large mixing bowl, good whisk, and a little elbow grease and it comes out just as nice. Mom told me that one time years ago she made this cake and our Old English Sheepdog snuck into the kitchen and put his paws up on the counter and managed to put two huge paw prints right in the freshly made cake. Luckily most of the cake was edible and untouched, oh that silly dog.


Mom’s Texas Chocolate Cake

Cake Ingredients:

1 C Water

1/2 C unsalted butter

4 TBS Cocoa powder

1/2 C Milk

1 TBS White Vinegar

2 large eggs

1 teas Baking Soda

1 teas Vanilla Extract

2 C Granulated Sugar

2 C All Purpose Flour


Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 C unsalted Butter

4 TBS Cocoa Powder

1/2 C Milk

1 lb powdered confectioner sugar



Microwave 1 C Water and 1/2 C Butter for about 1 minute until butter is melted. Add more time if needed. Pour this into your mixing bowl.

I like to use a microwave safe measuring bowl to melt the butter and water in the microwave.
I like to use a microwave safe measuring bowl to melt the butter and water in the microwave.

Add in cocoa powder to mixing bowl.


Combine milk and vinegar in a separate bowl and stir. Let this sit for a minute so that the vinegar creates a buttermilk. Pour this into your mixing bowl.


Add in sugar, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix this well.


Add in flour and mix until all combined.


My mom does not grease her pan, but if you are nervous, a little non stick spray never hurt anything.

Pour into 12 x 18 inch pan. Give it a few whacks on the counter as my mom would say so there’s no air bubbles.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 17-20 minutes until set.


Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

As the cake is cooling, you can make the frosting. You do not want to put the frosting on the cake if it is still too hot. It will just absorb all the frosting and mess with the consistency of the cake.


Frosting Directions:

Melt 1/2 C butter.


Add in 4 TBS cocoa powder and 1/2 C milk.

Slowly add in 1 lb of powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly combined and there are no lumps.



This is a thin and creamy frosting so it’s ok if it seems a little runny. You want it to be able to spread across the cake.

Pour frosting over a cooled cake and spread evenly with knife or rubber spatula.





Let it set a few minutes before cutting.



Enjoy Y’all!



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