Texas Turtle Sheet Cake

filed under: Cakes on October 24, 2018

Love Sheet Cake? You are going to flip for this over-the-top Texas Turtle Sheet Cake! The best Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake topped with caramel, chocolate, and pecans. If you love chocolate sheet cakes you can also try my Best Chocolate Sheet Cake or my Chocolate Craving Cake!


Texas Turtle Sheet Cake

Most of us already know and love Texas Sheet Cake (thank you to our Southern friends!). But when you add pecans, more chocolate, and a caramel drizzle magical things happen! I know I love a good turtle candy, so having it in cake form is win-win! I opted to use mini-chocolate chips on top, but you can use full size if that’s what you have.

Sidenote: When I tried a piece the next day and it was EVEN BETTER. If at all possible, I recommend saving yourself a slice so that you can see just what a few hours will do to this crazy good recipe!

Texas Turtle Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake (2 Ways)

In doing research for the Texas Sheet Cake I discovered that most recipes either use buttermilk or sour cream. Both are big robust fats that offer a lot to the recipe. I chose to stick with buttermilk in this recipe. (A homemade buttermilk option is right here and in the recipe notes!)

This recipe also uses coffee (one of my favorite additions to a chocolate cake), but you can certainly use hot water if you prefer to leave the coffee out. Coffee is not supposed to

The recipe I have included here is the from-scratch version. If you happen to watch the video, I used a boxed cake mix. Both options are delicious and easy, so feel free to choose whichever one suits your preferences.


Texas Sheet Cake

Caramel Sauce

You can absolutely make a caramel sauce from scratch. For this recipe I was keeping every easy and quick, so I opted for a jar of caramel topping used for ice cream. It heats beautifully and pours like a dream, as well as being easy to use. I love how it soaks into the cake make it extra moist!

The combination of chocolate, pecans, and caramel is amazing and why turtle candies are so dang popular!

How to Make Texas Turtle Sheet Cake

Tips for Baking Sheet Cake

Pick a good recipe! I prefer traditional sheet cake recipes like the Texas Sheet Cake listed below, as well as white cakes, banana cake, or chocolate mayonnaise cake. Pound cakes can be too dense for a large flat pan and won’t rise as they need too.

The frosting is as important as the cake itself. There is a lot of surface area on a sheet cake and it needs a frosting the will compliment it well. Pick a contrasting flavor like vanilla frosting for a chocolate cake or cream cheese for a red velvet sheet cake. Another aspect to think about is how you want the cake to look. If you want a rustic look, traditional American buttercream is perfect for glorious frosting swirls. If you want a smooth as silk appearance, try a ganache.

In my opinion, sheet cakes are best served right in the pan. Make sure your pan is clean and free from rust spots.

No matter how you make your sheet cake, you are guaranteed to be the most popular person at the party!

Texas Turtle Sheet Cake Recipe

No buttermilk on hand? I have 4 easy recipes for making Homemade Buttermilk!

Want more fun cakes? Try these!

Birthday Cake

Chocolate Maple Cake

Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Cake

5 from 5 votes
Texas Turtle Sheetcake
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, caramel, pecans, and chocolate chips? Yes, please!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate cake, texas turtle sheetcake
Servings: 24
Calories: 318 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (256g) self-rising flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (237g) coffee (can use hot water instead)
  • 1/3 cup (39g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (120g) buttermilk* (see notes)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
Chocolate Frosting
  • 1/4 cup (57g) butter
  • 1/4 cup (60g) buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons (22g) unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 1/2 cups (312g) confectioners sugar
Turtle Topping
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce, for drizzling over top
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 10in x 15in (or 9x13, but cake will be thicker and fudgier) with parchment paper and spray sides with non-stick spray if needed. 

  2. In a large bowl, combine self-rising flour and granulated sugar and then set aside.

  3. In a saucepan combine 1 cup butter, 1 cup coffee (or hot water), and 1/3 cup cocoa. Bring to a slow rolling boil, stirring constantly. 

  4. Pour the warm butter mixture into the flour mixture. Using a hand-held mixer (or by hand) mix until ingredients are fully combined, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the buttermilk and eggs. Mix on medium speed for another 30 seconds, or until fully combined.

  6. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. When cake is done baking it should spring back if you touch it. An inserted toothpick should be removed mostly clean, a few crumbs are perfect. (Start checking at 17 minutes.)

Chocolate Frosting
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup butter, 4 tablespoons buttermilk, and 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Bring to a slow rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

  2. Remove from heat and use a wire whisk to gradually mix in powdered sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time.
  3. Spread or pour the warm frosting over the cake. 
Turtle Topping
  1. While the cake is still warm, sprinkle with chopped pecans and then the mini chocolate chips. Drizzle with caramel sauce.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

If you don't have buttermilk try my 4 easy options for Homemade Buttermilk! (Clickable link)


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  • Catherine Smith says:

    Can you make a sweet potato Ooey Gooey Cake?
    Thank you

  • Judy says:

    In your picture for the Texas sheet cake with caramel it looks like it’s a two layer I don’t understand how Ryu put parchment paper in the pan if you’re not going to take it out how do I make this a two layer

    • kim says:

      It looks like it’s either the angle of the pic or they’ve stacked 2 pieces….

  • Sandy says:

    Why can’t I print any of the recipes?

    • Amanda says:

      The print button is below the image on all the recipes.

  • Effie says:

    Very rich and every piece is sending you to heaven!!! Hello from Cyprus!!!

  • Lucretia firmin says:

    The cake looks divine I will try it tkd

  • Cathy Parks says:

    I could never find a print button,

  • Cheryl says:

    My daughter and I made this today for a dinner tomorrow. We also added Peanut Butter morsels! Can’t wait to try it out tomorrow!

  • Jessie says:

    When you are making the frosting, do you cool the cake first or do you put the warm frosting on the warm cake.

  • Lauren says:

    Is it possible to make this into a 2 layer cake?

  • Pearl R says:

    I give this five stars because I tried the recipe and it was so good tasting. I used hot water, not coffee, and it was very very moist for days even. I used a different frosting recipe than the one given here. I’m not an efficient baker so this took a lot of effort for me (also I combined ingredients to come up with self-rising flour and buttermilk, so that was a time-killer as well!), but it is highly worth it.

  • Diane Bates says:

    I just finished making this cake and it now sitting in the pan for my family to try after dinner. I just wanted to point out in the directions, under the icing it has 1/4 cup of buttermilk. That’s too much and I’m sure it’s a mistake, so I used what was written in the directions which was 4 TBS. I will be back to finish my review after I taste the cake.**This cake is awesome. Great flavor and all the aspects of the turtle candy and ice cream. My husband and I love it. Thanks for the recipe**

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Sorry for the confusion about the amounts. 1/4 equals 4 tablespoons though, so you should be good! 🙂

  • Traci says:

    If i dont have self rising flour can i use AP flour with either baking soda or baking powder? If so, many tsps would i use?

  • Tsholo says:

    Absolutely religious what an easy to follow recipe. I want to bake more 😍

  • Liz says:

    This looks absolutely sinful!! I can’t wait to try this recipe! I always forget how sheet cakes are such a great alternative to making a layer cake. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Caralee says:

    This looks divine! It reminds me of my mother’s homemade Texas sheet cake growing up! I can’t wait to try making this recipe, I can almost taste it already! Thank you for sharing another fantastic recipe!

  • Peggy LOOS says:

    Hi we cant eat chocolate,white chocolate is ok. I need easy bars,cakes,muffins that serve alot and have a WOW to them, even cake mix recipes. Keep up the great work, we love it, I can tell you love it also!!!

  • Tiah E says:

    I’ve been making this original cake for years since it’s a family favorite, but I love turtle anything so decided I needed to try it! It’s absolutely wonderful except it didn’t rise as much as my original recipe! In looking at the ingredients, my original recipe has 1tsp baking soda and 1/4tsp salt that are omitted in this recipe…I recommend adding these two if you want it to be more cake like!

  • Kimberly Mitchell says:

    I looked all over for the salted caramel recipe that you used for this cake. I clicked the link and it still didn’t show the recipe. Can you please help?

  • Gail BARTLEY says:

    Why the use of self-rising flour in the Texas Turtle Sheetcake?

  • Joy Bowman says:

    This looks amazing. Can’t wait to make it.

  • Michael Jones says:

    Hi Amanda, I love your recipes and your website.

  • Michael Jones says:

    Hi Amanda, I really love this recipe and your website.

  • Jane says:

    Instructions for the caramel sauce please

  • Renata Morgan says:

    I hate assuming but it doesnt say..coffee?? Instant like u’d make Kaluha or brewed like u drink in the mornings?

    • Amanda Rettke says: