This fudgy gluten free Texas sheet cake tastes nothing short of a miracle. It has all of the rich, chocolate flavor of the traditional dessert, with no gluten or dairy. Baked in a 12 by 18 inch sheet pan, it's nearly the size of Texas and will definitely feed a crowd!
If you're not familiar with the classic Texas sheet cake, you're about to be. After one bite, you'll never be the same! A Texas sheet cake is a large single-layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and pecans sprinkled on top. The chocolate-on-chocolate of the cake and frosting is the perfect balance of rich, sweet, and fudgy.
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Table of contents
Why this recipe is the best!
What's not to love about this giant chocolate cake? If you love chocolate, this gluten free texas sheet cake will tick all your boxes for a dessert. Plus, if you or a loved one can't have gluten or dairy, I have a feeling you'll love it just a bit more knowing it's gluten and dairy free! Here are a few more reasons you'll love this cake:
- The prep time is around a half hour, which is great for a cake this size.
- It really will feed a crowd: this cake serves 24 (or more depending on the size of the pieces).
- You can customize the recipe by using dairy ingredients if you can handle dairy.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and enjoyed for 4 days after baking.
💭Pro tips for making this cake
Like this chocolate fudge cake, there are a few things to remember so that it turns out decadent and deliciously moist. Follow these tips for the Texas sheet cake of your dreams:
1. Measure ingredients by weight
The most accurate way to measure ingredients is by weighing them with a scale. I highly recommend using a digital scale to measure the flour mix, sugar, cocoa powder, pecans, and powdered sugar.
2. Start making the frosting right after the cake is done baking
Another great thing about this recipe is that you pour the fresh, warm frosting onto the cake right after after it's done baking. So when the cake is fresh out of the oven, go ahead and make the frosting right away.
3. Let the cake cool before serving
After you pour the warm frosting onto the cake, you'll want to let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the frosting to firm up and not run everywhere when you cut the cake.
4. Toast the pecans
For the best flavor outcome, toast the pecans by microwaving them in 30-second increments, checking them often. They will smell nutty and fragrant.
5. Helpful tools
Here are a few tools that will help you make this Texas sheet cake:
Ingredients & substitutions
- Gluten free flour mix - King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour Mix was tested in this recipe. Other brands may work but have not been tested.
- Sugar - I recommend using granulated sugar, as a sugar alternative has not been tested in this recipe.
- Baking Soda - There is no substitute for the baking soda.
- Salt - The salt can be omitted if you are following a low salt diet.
- Sour Cream - Dairy free sour cream can be swapped with regular sour cream.
- Eggs - JUST egg can be used as an eggless substitute.
- Vanilla extract - There is no substitute for the vanilla extract.
- Butter - The vegan butter can be swapped with regular butter.
- Cocoa powder - Unsweetened cocoa powder should be used, not Dutch processed.
- Pecans - The pecans can be omitted according to your preference and allergies.
- Milk - The almond milk can be swapped with oat milk, coconut milk, or dairy milk.
- Powdered sugar - There is no substitute for the powdered sugar.
Measurements for each ingredient, along with instructions for making the cake are in the recipe card below.
Note about cocoa powder
This recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa powder, which is different from Dutch processed. Unlike Dutch processed cocoa powder, unsweetened cocoa powder has not had the acidity processed out of it. Since it's acidic, it will react with the baking soda and allow the cake to rise the way it needs to.
The cake needs to be made right before the frosting. So start with a large bowl and whisk together the gluten free flour mix, sugar, baking soda, and salt (step 1 above). Set this mixture aside. In a small saucepan, stir the butter, water, and cocoa together on medium heat until melted (step 2). Be careful not to boil, then set aside. In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract until combined and set aside. (step 3). Add the sour cream mixture to the bowl of flour mixture (step 4). Stir until well combined (step 5).
Add a large ladle full of the melted chocolate mixture to the batter and stir until combined (step 1 above). Continue adding ladles of batter, stirring the chocolate mixture into the thick batter (step 2). The batter will become thin as it's combined (step 3). Preheat the oven to 350F and line the 12"x"18 sheet pan with parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray and follow the baking instructions under "Baking & serving" below.
For the frosting: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, milk, and cocoa powder on medium heat. Stir constantly and do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and sift in 1 cup of powdered sugar. For less mess, just sift it straight into the pan. Stir until combined. Sift in another cup and whisk again. Sift in the final cup and a half and whisk until combined. Add vanilla extract and pecans. Immediately pour the frosting onto the warm cake and smooth it to the edges. Smooth the frosting over the cake gently to avoid tearing the cake.
Baking & serving
Pour the cake batter into the lined pan and smooth it to the edges. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes, then remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Start making the frosting immediately after taking the cake out.
After the frosting has been made and smoothed over the cake, let it cool for 30 minutes or more. This will allow the frosting to thicken. Then slice it up and enjoy!
Store this cake in its pan with a lid (or if you have just a few pieces left, in an airtight container) in the refrigerator. I have to warn you though, you may not have any cake left over!
Sheet cakes and regular cakes are both in the cake family, but they are different textures and consistencies. Sheet cakes are baked in a sheet pan, made for a crowd, and tend to be darker, heavier and moister. In contrast, this one-bowl strawberry cake, is lighter and designed to be a layer cake. It can be baked in a sheet pan, but it is so light that you may find yourself cutting larger slices to satisfy everyone's craving for sheet cake!
No, but I recommend it for optimum flavor! It's quick and easy to do in the microwave for 30-second intervals.
It will last 4 days in the refrigerator, either with foil covering the pan or in an airtight container.
If you don't wait at least 30 minutes after pouring the frosting onto the cake, when you slice into it the frosting will run everywhere and not be sitting in a nice layer on top of the cake like it should. I know it's hard to wait, but it's worth it!
More chocolate recipes!
Fudgy Gluten Free Texas Sheet Cake (Dairy Free)
- 240 grams King Arthur Measure for Measure gluten free flour mix about 1 ¾ cups
- 400 grams granulated sugar about 2 cups
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup dairy free sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup vegan butter
- 1 cup water
- 30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder not Dutch processed
- 105 grams pecans toasted
- ½ cup vegan butter
- ⅓ cup almond milk
- 30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder not Dutch processed
- 370 grams powdered sugar about 3 ½ cups
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour mix, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, add the sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, add the butter, water and cocoa. While stirring, heat to medium heat until melted. Be careful not to boil. Set aside.
- Into the large bowl of flour mixture, add the sour cream mixture and stir until well combined. Mixture will be thick.
- Add a large soup ladle full of the chocolate mixture to the batter and stir until completely mixed in.
- Continue adding soup ladles of batter, stirring the chocolate mixture into the thick batter.
- Batter will become thin.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Place sheet of parchment paper on a 12"x18" sheet pan. Spray the paper with cooking spray.
- Scrape batter into the pan and smooth to the edges.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Immediately start the frosting.
For the frosting:
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, milk and cocoa powder over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly and do not let it boil.
- Remove the frosting from the heat and sift in 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Stir until completely mixed.
- Sift in another cup and whisk again.
- Sift in the final cup and a half of powdered sugar and whisk until combined. Add vanilla extract and the pecans.
- Immediately pour frosting onto warm cake, smoothing it to the edges.
- Let the cake cool for 30 minutes or longer and serve.
- Other gluten free flour blends may work, but they have not been tested.
- This recipe has not been tested with a sugar substitute.
- Regular sour cream may be used.
- JUST egg works well as an egg substitute.
- The vegan butter may be substituted with regular butter.
- Toast the pecans for the best flavor - add pecans to a microwave safe plate and microwave in 30 second increments, checking them often.
- The almond milk may be substituted with oat or coconut milk.
- Sift the powdered sugar directly into the saucepan for less mess.
- Store leftover cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Make the frosting right after removing the cake from the oven.
- Spread the frosting carefully otherwise the cake may tear.