White Texas sheet cake is an almond-scented, plush vanilla sheet cake draped in an easy, pecan-studded icing that’s perfect for parties!
Although I love a traditional chocolate Texas sheet cake, who can resist a buttery vanilla and almond-scented sheet cake? After testing 9 Texas sheet cake recipes in the Texas Sheet cake bake off, I used my best tips and tricks from my favorites to apply to this recipe.
This cake has a soft, plush crumb with notes of almond and vanilla and a slight tang from the sour cream (no buttermilk!). Meanwhile, the almond-scented icing is more of a glaze. It’s quite sweet, so you only need a thin layer to cover the cake. It’ll harden slightly (kind of like the glaze on a doughnut) as it dries, glazing the pecans or any other toppings you add.
The beauty of any Texas sheet cake lies in its ease to make and serve. The large surface area means one recipe will make a lot of cake! Because you can frost and serve it straight from a half sheet cake pan, it’s an easy, no-fuss recipe for any party.
Tips for making a white Texas sheet cake
- Best pan to use: For Texas sheet cakes, I use a half sheet pan (13×18″) since that’s what I have on hand. You can also use a jelly roll pan (10×15″) for a slightly thicker cake that will take a little longer to bake. In a pinch, you can use a 9×13 baking pan, but the cake will be thicker than a traditional Texas sheet cake. If you’d like to halve the recipe, a 9×13 baking sheet will work perfectly.
- Grease and flour your pan: This cake can tend to stick to the bottom of your pan. But since it’s served from the pan, lining with parchment paper isn’t ideal as parchment can stick to the cake when serving. Instead, make sure to generously grease the pan and add a sprinkle of flour before pouring in the batter. Tilt the pan around to evenly distribute the flour.
- Frost when warm! The key to a perfect Texas sheet cake is to frost the cake while it’s still warm. This allows the icing to easily spread all over and kind of melt into the cake. I like to start the icing while the cake is still baking so both are still warm when it’s time to frost.
Ingredients you’ll need for a white Texas sheet cake
- Butter: I always use unsalted butter so I can control the level of salt in the recipe.
- Oil: While most Texas sheet cake recipes use all butter, I use a mixture of butter and oil for an extra-moist texture.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar helps keep the cake texture sweet and tender.
- Baking soda: Because this batter is acidic thanks to the sour cream, we use baking soda (a base) to help leaven the batter.
- Kosher salt: If you’re using table salt, use half the amount listed. As you may know, table salt is significantly more dense and salty than kosher salt.
- Sour cream: Sour cream serves three purposes in this cake. It provides moisture to keep the cake soft, subtle tang for flavor and adds acid to tenderize the batter!
- Eggs: As the main binding ingredient, the eggs are best incorporated at room temperature as this will help them emulsify smoothly into the batter. To quickly warm up your eggs, place them in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes before using.
- All-purpose flour: For body and structure, all-purpose flour creates the base of this cake.
- Argo® Corn Starch: Replacing a portion of all-purpose flour with Argo® Corn Starch helps reduce the gluten content of the cake. It also ensures the best extra-tender and fluffy cake texture.
- Karo® Syrup: The icing on a Texas sheet cake is traditionally made with a boiled icing that gets drizzled all over the warm cake. Adding Karo® Syrup to the icing helps create a smooth, slightly gooier texture with a balanced sweetness that will melt perfectly into the warm cake. Chefs rely on Karo® Syrup for its quality and consistent performance.
- Almond and vanilla extract: Almond extract takes this from a basic vanilla cake to a bakery-worthy, almond-scented white cake! If you don’t like almond extract, you can leave it out or use a little less. (I like a lot of almond flavor.)
How to make a white Texas sheet cake?
You’ll follow nearly the same steps as a traditional Texas sheet cake with this white Texas sheet cake.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients separately: In a small saucepan, bring the butter, oil and water to a boil. Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, Argo® Corn Starch, baking soda, and salt) in a medium bowl.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients: Once the butter mixture boils, pour it into the dry ingredients. This hot mixture will help dissolve the sugar granules and the melted butter will make for a dense, moist cake texture.
- Add the rest of the wet ingredients: Whisk the eggs, sour cream, almond and vanilla extract into the batter.
- Bake until fragrant and golden: Pour into a greased half sheet pan and bake at 350 for 18-23 minutes, or until fragrant with a golden top. An inserted cake tester comes out clean (if you press on the cake with a finger, it should feel firm).
- Make the icing: A few minutes before you remove the cake from the oven, melt the butter, milk and Karo® Syrup in a saucepan. Once boiling, remove from heat and add the powdered sugar and extracts and whisk until smooth.
- Frost the cake: Add chopped, toasted pecans, stir to coat, then pour all over your warm cake!
This cake must be frosted after being freshly baked and is best served fresh. I would recommend serving the cake the same day you bake it for the best results!
Yes! If you don’t prefer almond extract, you can simply substitute the same amount for vanilla extract.
I strongly prefer making the cake the same day I’m going to serve it. However, you can bake the cake ahead of time, wrap it tightly and freeze it for 1-3 days before serving. Defrost the cake fully before making the icing and frosting the cake.
I would say a half sheet pan can easily serve at least 20, even 25 people depending on how big you cut your slices. I think a quarter sheet cake could easily yield 12 portions.
- Any leftovers can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. They can also be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
- For a coconut version, try subbing coconut extract in the cake and frosting. Add 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut to the icing instead of pecans.
- For a nostalgic chocolate version, try Grammy’s Texas Sheet Cake!
White Texas Sheet Cake
For the cake
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted 113g
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil 99g
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups granulated sugar 400g
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 240g
- 1/4 cup Argo® Corn Starch 32g
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 large eggs 100g
- 3/4 cup sour cream 170g
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the icing
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted 113g
- 1/4 cup whole milk 57g
- 2 tbsp Karo® Syrup 39g
- 3 cups powdered sugar 340g
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted 114g
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and grease and flour a half sheet pan (13"x18").
- In a small saucepan, combine the butter, oil and water over high heat and bring to a boil. As you wait, combine the sugar, flour, Argo® Corn Starch, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
- Once the butter mixture boils, pour into the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the eggs, sour cream and extracts and whisk until smooth (don't overmix or you may overdevelop the gluten in the batter).
- Pour batter into prepared sheet pan and bake for 18-23 minutes, or until the top is golden around the edges. It should smell fragrant and an inserted toothpick should come out clean (a few crumbs are fine) or the cake should spring back under your finger.
For the icing
- A few minutes before you remove the cake from the oven, start the icing. Combine the butter, milk and Karo® Syrup in a small saucepan over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and whisk the powdered sugar, almond extract and salt into butter mixture. Add the chopped pecans and stir to coat. Immediately pour warm icing over the warm cake. Let it cool to room temperature (at least 1 hour) to let the icing set before serving!