Let’s talk about the obvious. This is not a recipe that you make at camp. No, this chocolate delight is a make-at-home and throw in the car prepared kind of thing. The only thing that suits it for camping is that EVERYONE demands it. A few years ago, I tried a different dessert. A bar-type version of a camping classic. You know, the one that starts with s’m. I can’t say it. That trip I was badgered endlessly with the question, “What was wrong with the chocolate cake?” “I really could go for Texas Sheet Cake.”

Friends. So ungrateful. So honest. That is why I keep them. I quit drinking sugar a long time ago.

So here it is. The official camp dessert. You will probably never see another cake on this blog, unless someone surprises me in the Mountain Pie Cook Off.

Chocolate cake in a half sheet pan.

Texas Sheet Cake Recipe:


1 cup butter
¼ cup cocoa, natural process
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup butter
6 tablespoons milk
¼ cup cocoa (I use dutch process in the icing)
1 box confectioner’s sugar (approximately 4 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and lightly flour a sheet pan. You can use a 18 x 13 or a 9 x 13 (you will need a baking dish for this size with higher sides than a sheet pan) and the thickness and cooking time will just need adjusted. The bigger the pan, the less time to bake.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring butter, water and cocoa powder to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until butter melts.

Add the butter mixture, the sour cream, eggs and vanilla to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all of the flour is moistened.

Pour the batter into the pan and spread smooth. Bake 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, in a medium saucepan, bring butter, milk and cocoa powder to a boil over medium heat; remove from heat. With wooden spoon, stir in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, until all of the sugar is moistened.

Spread the icing on the cake as soon as it is removed from the oven. On smaller pans with low sides, do this on a cooling rack with waxed paper under it. (It may drip a bit, but the icing cools and hardens quickly.) Cool completely in a pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.

(Or just load it into the car in the pan. Trust me, people will figure out how to get it out of the pan themselves. I wanted to post a picture, but it was gone before I got around to it. I ate the last piece while looking for my camera.)