Cookbook‎ > ‎Desserts‎ > ‎

Brownie Cake

Makes one 9x13 rectangular cake or two 8x8 square cakes.

Also known as Texas Sheet Cake or Texas Hot Cocoa Cake. My family calls it "Brownie Cake."

For the cake:

  • 1 cup water (or coffee!)
  • 1 stick (4oz.) butter
  • 12 cup vegetable/canola oil
  • 14 cup (4 tablespoons) dark cocoa powder (aka "dutch" or "alkali" processed)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour OR the following mixture for gluten-free baking:
  • 12 cup white rice flour
  • 12 cup brown rice flour or millet flour
  • 12 cup sorghum flour
  • 12 cup cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 12 teaspoon table salt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 cup buttermilk
For the frosting:
  • 1 stick (4oz.) butter
  • 14 cup (4 tablespoons) dark cocoa powder (aka "dutch" or "alkali" processed)
  • 6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) buttermilk
  • 12 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1⁄4 teaspoon table salt)
  • 12 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 lbs. (16oz.) powdered sugar ("one box")
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 cups pecans, toasted (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and flour one 9x13 pan, or two 8x8 pans. (For gluten-free, dust pans with white rice flour or cocoa powder.)
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, oil, and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil, whisk until smooth, and remove from heat.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt) in a large bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together vanilla, eggs, and buttermilk.
  5. Add the cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients, followed by the egg mixture. Mix until smooth.
  6. Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake; cake should be quite moist.
  7. While cake is baking, prepare frosting. You want to pour the hot frosting over the hot cake, so begin making frosting when the cake has 5-10 minutes left to bake.
  8. Combine butter, cocoa, buttermilk, salt, and cinnamon in a saucepan. (You can do this in the same saucepan from step 2 without needing to clean it.) Bring to a boil and immediately shut off heat. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until completely smooth. Add vanilla and whisk again.
  9. When cake is finished, remove from oven and scatter toasted pecans (whole or chopped, your choice) over top evenly. Pour hot frosting all over evenly, trying to leave some pecans peaking out of the top. Let cool completely (4 hours to overnight) before serving.