photo of a white texas sheet cake in a 9 x 13 inch pan on marble table with slices removed

About This White Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

This white Texas sheet cake recipe is a chocolate-free version of my popular Texas Sheet Cake Recipe For 9 x 13 Inch Pan recipe (that was featured in The New York Times)! Like the chocolate version, this white Texas sheet cake is smaller batch. Why?

While most Texas sheet cake recipes instruct you to bake the cake in a 13 x 18-inch jelly roll pan, this recipe instructs you to use a 9 x 13 inch pan.

However, most Texas sheet cake recipes are also flavored with chocolate. This recipe skips the cocoa powder and instead flavors the sheet cake with almond extract, making it a white Texas sheet cake!

The sheet cake is made with a thin layer of incredibly moist cake, flavored with both tangy sour cream and aromatic almond extract. The cake is then topped with a butter glaze that is studded with almonds and cracks into sugar shards when sliced.

For even more unique sheet cake recipes, check out Hummingbird High‘s collection of sheet cake recipes (including this vibrant pink Guava Cake and this Small Batch Funfetti Sheet Cake).

photo of a white texas sheet cake in a 9 x 13 inch pan unsliced

Why You Should Make The Recipe

The recipe is a smaller batch version of traditional Texas sheet cake.

I mentioned this earlier, but traditional Texas sheet cake recipes are typically 13 x 18 inches large. According to this Wilton cake chart, that size cake serves 72 people. Yowza!

Because I’m not throwing any large parties any time soon, I wanted to make a small batch version of white Texas sheet cake. I used a 9 x 13 inch pan to make a 9 x 13 inch cake. According to the Wilton chart, this size serves 36 people.

But real talk: because the cake is so thin, I legit ate a third of the pan by myself, no problem. So I guess take those serving sizes with a grain of salt?

And if you’re interested in even more small batch baking recipes, definitely check out Hummingbird High‘s collection of small batch recipes!

The recipe does not use “specialty” baking equipment like a jelly roll pan or a stand mixer.

Because Texas sheet cake is a vintage recipe, it does not rely on modern equipment like stand mixers and other specialty baking equipment. All you need are some sauce pans (the kind that you use for cooking), rubber spatulas, and a whisk! Why? Unlike the modern cake recipes that instruct you to cream ingredients together in a mixer, this recipe instructs you to cook the batter in a pan. It sounds intimidating, but it’s actually pretty easy!

And because this is a small batch version of Texas sheet cake, you won’t need a specialty jelly roll pan or half sheet pan.

Instead, I instruct you to use the more-commonly available 9 x 13-inch size. You can use a 9 x 13-inch sheet pan like I did, or even a 9 x 13-inch rectangular cake pan for this recipe.

The recipe comes together quickly.

Another cool thing about this recipe? Because you need to melt and cook most of the ingredients on the stovetop, you won’t need to bring any ingredients to room temperature beforehand. They’ll get cooked to the right temperatures as you make the batter. Cool, right?

Similarly, there’s no need to sift any ingredients like all-purpose flour and confectioners’ sugar. Again, because these ingredients will be cooked over the stovetop, the heat will help smoothen any lumps in the ingredients without sifting!

photo of michelle from hummingbirdhigh setting down a white texas sheet cake unsliced in its 9 x 13 inch pan

Ingredients and Substitutions

Now that I’ve convinced you to make the recipe, here’s everything you need to make it:

Shopping List For White Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

  • all-purpose flour
  • granulated sugar
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • kosher salt
  • unsalted butter
  • large eggs
  • sour cream
  • almond extract
  • whole milk
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • almonds

And let’s talk about some key ingredients and potential substitutions:

Common Ingredient Substitutions For Ingredients In This White Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

  • All-Purpose Flour. Substitute the all-purpose flour with your favorite 1-1 Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I like the ones by Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Baking Company) to make the cake gluten-free!

  • Kosher Salt. You can replace the kosher salt in the recipe with half its amount in table salt.

  • Unsalted Butter. You can substitute the unsalted butter with salted butter without any noticeable difference in taste.

  • Sour Cream. Using plain whole yogurt (Greek or otherwise) will work instead of sour cream. And if you’re feeling fancy, I recommend substituting the sour cream with crème fraîche!

  • Whole Milk. In a pinch, whole milk can be substituted with 2% or skim milk. But using whole milk makes the cake more flavorful.

    You can also substitute the whole milk with the plant-based milk of your choice (I recommend almond, to complement the almonds and almond extract in the recipe). But note that you’ll also need to find plant-based alternatives for the butter and sour cream if you want to make the cake dairy-free.
close up photo showing white texas sheet cake slices in 9 x 13 pan

How To Make The Recipe

Here are the basic steps to make this white Texas sheet cake recipe from scratch:

First, prep the ingredients.

  1. Prep the ingredients for the sheet cake and the frosting. (Prep Time: 10 minutes)
    Let me warn you now: this recipe has a lot of ingredients for both the cake and fudge frosting! That means that prep for the recipe is twice as long as it usually is for other baking recipes. The good news is that most of the ingredients can come straight from the fridge. That’s right—there’s no need to bring anything to room temperature! Similarly, there’s no need to sift any ingredients like flour and confectioners’ sugar.

    However, it’s especially important to measure everything out before starting any of the recipe’s steps. Why? Timing is crucial for this recipe. You need to make the frosting while the cake is in the oven, in order to pour it onto the cake while both are still warm. Set yourself up for success by making sure everything is ready to go beforehand!

Next, make the sheet cake.

  1. Make the cake batter. (Work Time: 10 minutes)
    Like many vintage recipes, this Texas sheet cake uses old-fashioned methods of making its batter. Instead of using a stand mixer to cream butter and sugar, you need to cook ingredients like butter and water in a saucepan. Then, add the dry ingredients like flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, followed by a wet mixture made from sour cream, egg, almond extract, and baking soda. It’s weird, I know. But I promise that the method makes the softest, moistest sheet cake ever!

  2. Bake the cake. (Bake Time: 18 minutes)
    After making the batter, pour it into the 9 x 13-inch pan and bake for 18 minutes. Because this sheet cake is so thin, it doesn’t need much time in the oven. But don’t snooze while it bakes! You’ll need to make the fudge frosting to ensure that it goes on to the cake while both the frosting and cake are still warm.

Meanwhile, make the frosting.

  1. Toast the almonds. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
    While the cake is in the oven, toast the almonds for the frosting in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Toasting the almonds will release their oils, making a more flavorful Texas sheet cake!

  2. Make the frosting. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
    Similar to the cake batter, you don’t need a stand mixer to make the Texas sheet cake’s frosting. Instead, you melt the butter in a saucepan on a stovetop, then add the other ingredients. Doing so creates a candy-like frosting similar to chocolate fudge and New Orleans pecan pralines!

Finally, assemble and serve the cake.

  1. Assemble the cake. (Work Time: 5 minutes)
    You need to pour the frosting over the cake while it is still warm and fresh from the oven. Doing so ensures a perfectly smooth, candy-like frosting that cracks into shards when sliced!

  2. Cool the cake before serving.
    Similarly, although this cake is delicious while still warm and fresh from the oven, I recommend cooling it completely before serving. Doing so allows the frosting to cool and harden into a candy-like fudge shell similar to donut glaze. This texture is key to the Texas sheet cake experience! You want a super moist and soft cake topped off with an ever-so-slightly toothsome frosting.

Reference Photos: How To Make The Cake Batter

The recipe instructs you to cook the cake batter in a sauce pan. When you first add the dry ingredients to the butter and water, the batter will be lumpy:

photo showing the cake batter in the pan with lumps after the dry ingredients have been added

However, mix the dry ingredients in until just combined. Be careful not to overmix! Just mix until the dry ingredients have disappeared into the liquid and no major lumps remain:

photo showing the cake batter in the pan after the dry ingredients have been mixed in with no lumps in the batter

Next, add the wet ingredients. Again, mix until just combined and no big lumps remain. The second photo shows what the batter should look like right before you pour it into the cake pan:

photo showing the cake batter in the pan after the wet ingredients have been added
photo showing the cake batter in the pan after the wet ingredients have mixed in

Reference Photos: How To Make The Frosting

The frosting recipe instructs you to melt the butter for the frosting, then add the rest of the ingredients. When you add these ingredients, the mixture will be spotty and lumpy:

photo showing the frosting in the pan after all the ingredients have been added

However, continue mixing and cooking over low heat until the frosting is completely smooth:

photo showing the frosting in the pan after it's been cooked for 5 minutes with no lumps in the frosting

When you’re ready to frost the cake, add the sliced almonds and mix them into the frosting until they are completely coated. Pour the warm frosting over the warm cake:

photo showing the frosting in the pan after the almonds have been added and stirred in
photo showing the process of pouring the frosting over the baked cake

Recipe Troubleshooting and FAQ

FAQ: Questions About The Recipe’s Techniques

Why do I need to toast the almonds?

Honestly, you can skip this step to save time, but your Texas sheet cake likely won’t be as good and flavorful as mine. Why? Toasting nuts brings out more flavorful oils within the nuts themselves, leading to deeper flavors. You also improve their texture by adding snap and crunchiness. If you skip this step, you’ll be sacrificing flavor and texture in your Texas sheet cake!

Many stores sell “roasted” nuts. These are technically nuts that have already been toasted. However, the longer they sit, the staler and less flavorful they become. So even if you have roasted nuts on hand, I suggest that you toast them anyway.

FAQ: Troubleshooting Unexpected Recipe Results

Help! My frosting was super lumpy after I added in the confectioners’ sugar. What did I do wrong?

Absolutely nothing. When you first add the confectioners’ sugar to the rest of the frosting, it will look super lumpy. This is totally normal—I promise! Just keep whisking everything over medium-low heat until the lumps smoothen themselves out. If, after 5 minutes, your frosting still looks super lumpy, don’t panic! Instead, turn the stovetop up to medium and whisk continuously. The higher heat will help smoothen the frosting.

FAQ: Storing and Serving White Texas Sheet Cake for Later

How To Store White Texas Sheet Cake

The white Texas sheet cake will keep, covered tightly in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 3 days. Alternatively, slice the cake into squares and store in an airtight container.

Does Texas sheet cake need to be refrigerated?

No, Texas sheet cake does not need to be refrigerated. It can be kept at room temperature under plastic wrap or an airtight container for up to 3 days. However, if storing for any longer than that, I recommend refrigerating it!

That being said, if you live somewhere warm and humid, the frosting has a tendency to become soft and slightly runny. I recommend refrigerating it if you want that fudge-like consistency and serving the cake chilled!

Can you freeze Texas sheet cake?

Yes, you can freeze the Texas sheet cake in the following ways:

Freeze the unfrosted cake for frosting later.

Follow the recipe instructions to make and bake the sheet cake. However, don’t make the frosting! Instead, cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, tightly wrap the cake, still in its sheet pan, in plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months.

When ready to serve, let thaw at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 10 minutes to rewarm and set on a wire rack. Pour the warm frosting over the cake and follow the instructions to cool and serve the cake.

Freeze any leftover slices of the assembled white Texas sheet cake.

Tightly wrap any leftover slices of cake in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Eat chilled, or rewarm for 10 to 20 second intervals in the microwave until room temperature.

Best Recipe Tips

Prep Tip

  • For this Texas sheet cake recipe, it’s especially important to prep the ingredients for both the cake and frosting before starting any of the recipe steps. Why? You need to pour the frosting onto the cake while both the frosting and cake are still warm. That means you’ll need to make the frosting while the cake is baking in the oven and time it so that both are ready at the same time. Set yourself up for success and make sure you have everything you need beforehand!

Technique Tip

  • This recipe uses a vintage technique to make the cake batter. First, you need to cook the butter and water in a saucepan, then add the dry ingredients. Once you add the dry ingredients, the batter will be lumpy. Don’t panic—this is totally normal! Simply mix the dry ingredients until all of them are moistened and no major dry spots remain. Once you add the wet ingredients (a mixture made from egg, sour cream, almond extract, and baking soda), the batter will smoothen itself out.

Customizing The Recipe

  • I used almonds to make this white Texas sheet cake, but you can use any nuts or extracts you have on hand. I’d love to see a pistachio version made with pistachio extract (like these pistachio pudding muffins!) and chopped pistachios.

More Sheet Cake Recipes

Get the Recipe: White Texas Sheet Cake Recipe For 9 x 13 Inch Pan

This white Texas sheet cake recipe is made with a sour cream almond cake base, topped with almond butter frosting and sliced almonds! The recipe is a small batch version of traditional Texas sheet cake and made in a 9 x 13 inch pan.
(5 stars) 21 reviews
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Ingredients

For The Sheet Cake

  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces or 128 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (7 ounces or 198 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick or 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) water
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

For The Frosting

  • ½ cup (2.5 ounces or 71 grams) sliced almonds
  • ½ cup (1 stick or 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons (8.5 ounces or 241 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces or 57 grams) whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

Instructions
 

For The White Texas Sheet Cake

  • First, make the sheet cake. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch sheet pan with cooking spray.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Melt the butter, then add the water and dry ingredients. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the water and mix together with a heatproof rubber spatula to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 30 seconds.
    Remove from the heat and place on a wire rack. Immediately add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Allow to cool slightly while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  • Whisk the egg, sour cream, almond extract, and baking soda, then add to the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, and almond extract until combined. Whisk in the baking soda, then immediately add the entire mixture to the mixture in the saucepan and mix until just combined.
  • Assemble the cake for baking. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Pick up the pan and tilt it from side to side to spread the batter into a thin, even layer across the pan.
  • Bake the cake. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the top of the cake bounces back when gently pressed and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached. 
  • Meanwhile, toast the almonds for the frosting. Spread the almonds in a single layer across a medium frying pan. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, using a heatproof rubber spatula to toss the nuts every 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant and brown. Once toasted, scrape the nuts onto a plate fo prevent them from cooking further.
  • Make the frosting. In another medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter for the frosting over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the confectioners' sugar, milk, and salt.
    Continue to cook over very low heat, whisking continuously, until no lumps from the confectioners' sugar remain and the frosting is very smooth, about 5 minutes. At this point, the cake should be done baking.
  • Assemble the cake. Place the warm cake on a wire rack for assembly.
    Add the almond extract to the frosting and mix to combine, then, add the almonds and mix until the almonds are completely coated in the frosting.
    Pour over the warm cake. Immediately pick up the pan (be careful—it will still be hot, so use oven mitts!) and tilt it from side to side to quickly spread the frosting into a thick, even layer across the cake. You may need to use an offset spatula to help spread the frosting.
    Cool the assembled cake on the wire rack for 1 hour, or until the frosting has set and feels solid when gently pressed.
  • Serve and store. Serve at room temperature. The Texas sheet cake will keep, covered tightly in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Notes

  • For this Texas sheet cake recipe, it’s especially important to prep the ingredients for both the cake and frosting before starting any of the recipe steps. Why? You need to pour the frosting onto the cake while both the frosting and cake are still warm. That means you’ll need to make the frosting while the cake is baking in the oven and time it so that both are ready at the same time. Set yourself up for success and make sure you have everything you need beforehand!
  • This recipe uses a vintage technique to make the cake batter. First, you need to cook the butter and water in a saucepan, then add the dry ingredients. Once you add the dry ingredients, the batter will be lumpy. Don’t panic—this is totally normal! Simply mix the dry ingredients until all of them are moistened and no major dry spots remain. Once you add the wet ingredients (a mixture made from egg, sour cream, almond extract, and baking soda), the batter will smoothen itself out.
  • I used almonds to make this white Texas sheet cake, but you can use any nuts or extracts you have on hand. I’d love to see a pistachio version made with pistachio extract (like these pistachio pudding muffins!) and chopped pistachios.
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Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.