texas sheet cake

I came across this recipe in my alumni magazine. One of our alums, Jennifer Jones, is the Pastry Chef for the Rick Bayless' well-known Chicago restaurants, Topolobampo, Frontera Grill and XOCO. She makes this cake for staff meals and parties (in other words, you won't be finding this on their restaurant menu.)

Check out some of the ingredients:


 Dr. Pepper!? 

Melted together!

Doesn't that pique your curiosity? I couldn't wait to try it. Because it's baked in a sheet pan, the cake is low and thin and therefore great for cutting into smaller pieces and served in bite-size portions. Perfect for a dessert party.

The cake has a light chocolate flavor. If you like it über chocolatey, I suggest adding more cocoa powder (maybe two tablespoons?) I used diet soda for the batter— a definite mistake. You could taste the weird, chemical, sugary flavor. Stick with regular Dr. Pepper.

Jennifer's Texas Sheet Cake
from Wheaton Alumni Magazine

Printable recipe

For the cake:
1 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces mini marshmallows
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup Dr. Pepper
2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter and flour a standard half sheet pan (a 9x13-inch pan works as well.)

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, marshmallows, cocoa powder and Dr. Pepper. Set aside and let cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir together gently with a rubber spatula just to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla together. Add to the chocolate batter and mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into prepared sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through to ensure even baking. The cake should spring back when touched in the center. Cool on a wire rack.

For the icing:

1 cup butter
6 tablespoons Dr. Pepper
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 pound sifted powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)

In a medium sauce pan, heat the butter, Dr. Pepper, cocoa powder and vanilla until barely simmering.  Take the pan off stove and whisk in the powdered sugar. Stir in the pecans. Pour the still-warm icing over the cake immediately. (If icing has cooled and set a bit, you can rewarm over a low flame if necessary.)

n.b. My alternative to the pecans was toffee bits, sprinkled on top of the icing right before serving.


  1. what a strange recipe. I wonder if the Dr Pepper we have here in the UK will be OK, it isn't as sweet as the US stuff...might have to give it a go!

    1. Strange indeed! Give it a go and tell me what you think. I think the melted marshmallows do something to the texture. Overall, I enjoyed it. It's not super rich and chocolatey- if that's your thing, defintely add more cocoa powder!

  2. I cannot wait to make this. My husband's b'day is next month. That may be my moment...

  3. Maybe she was auditioning for an episode of Chopped! :-) I think she would have ended up a winner! How did I miss this recipe?


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