Mom’s Nacogdoches Chocolate Cake

I’m not sure why….but I have had this recipe on my mind for over a month now! I hardly ever make it…but growing up I remember my Mom making it a LOT…to rave reviews.

When I was mixing it up the other night…my kids were asking me what it was…that’s how often I have made it! Hardly ever.  But for some reason, I couldn’t get it out of my head…I just had to have some! Which meant I had to MAKE it…because I have never seen a Nacogdoches Cake in a bakery before (at least not around here.)

As a matter of fact, I’ve never heard of anyone else, besides my Mom, ever making it. I also had no clue as to why it was called Nacogdoches Cake until I did a little internet sleuthing. I thought it was some exotic German delicacy, or something like that….turns out it’s just another name for Texas Sheet Cake. Named after NACOGDOCHES, Texas to be exact.  And here I thought I’d never had Texas Sheet Cake before. :-)

So how does Nacogdoches Chocolate Cake differ from REGULAR chocolate cake? The main difference is you cook the icing and ice the cake while it is still hot. This makes for a fudge-like cake that is VERY soft and tender, and melts-in-your-mouth! I don’t think it’s a common practice, but my Mom always put chopped walnuts in her icing. I like walnuts…but they don’t like me! Give me sores in my mouth. So in keeping with the “nuts” tradition, I chopped up some of my Roasted Almonds and used those instead. mmm…mmm…mmm.

Warm, gooey chocolate + a salty crunch of almonds = happy mouth!

Mom’s Nacogdoshes Chocolate Cake

2 cubes butter (sticks)
1/2 c shortening (I was out of shortening so I substituted coconut oil and it worked fine.)
4 T cocoa
1 c water
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1/2 c buttermilk
2 c flour
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c butter
4 T cocoa
6 T milk
1 box powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

Mix together flour, sugar and baking soda in large bowl. Set aside.

This is the actual recipe from my recipe book.
Yep, I actually typed it up using a TYPEWRITER!

Whisk 2 eggs in small bowl and set aside.

Melt and bring to a boil all other cake ingredients. (butter, shortening, cocoa, water, vanilla, baking soda, and buttermilk*).   *see below for buttermilk substitute

Pour dry ingredients in the bowl over the melted ingredients and stir together, then add the 2 eggs and stir til combined.

Pour into greased and floured sheet cake pan. Bake at 400º for 12-20 minutes (depending on the depth of your cake pan).


While cake is baking, bring butter, cocoa and milk to a boil. Turn heat down to low. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat til very very smooth.

Pour onto hot cake, spread quickly and gently, let cool.

Cut up and SERVE! :-)

Buttermilk Substitute
Ever since learning this trick I almost ALWAYS use it when a recipe calls for buttermilk.

Add 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to just UNDER one cup milk. Let stand for five minutes. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

The delicious dessert with the funny name is today’s…..

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  1. Kirsten Goff says

    I would love to make this cake! I have a question – what is your connection to Nacogdoches? It seems so random to me especially since there are people in Texas who haven't heard of it, even though it is the "Oldest Town in Texas."

  2. Anonymous says

    I live about 22 miles from Nacodoches in the Community of Mt. Herman. This is known as Texas Seet Cake. It is not Missippi Mud cake, that one has marshmallows on it and then the icing. I use pecans on mine.

  3. Southernsweetie says

    My Nana used to make this cake. No one ever could make it quite as well as she did. Always moist, always chocolatey, always amazing, always with Texas pecans. She passed away two weeks ago, but a few years ago she had a baking lesson with my sister to teach her how she made all her wonderful baked goods. I have her recipes. SO even though she is gone, we still have her legacy and love through special foods.

  4. Theresa Manley says

    I too was born and raised in Nacogdoches Texas. I grew up on this cake although we just called it Texas Sheet Cake. Ours had a secret ingredient which was 1 tsp of cinnamon and it is heavenly….The Mississippi Mud cake recipe we used had marshmellow creme in it….

  5. makalove says

    my great-grandfather lived in Nacogdoches in his later years, which is what made me click on this recipe from your all-the-coconut-oil-recipes entry ;)

    Walnuts hurt my mouth, too, along with a host of other foods, and it turns out it’s all related to a latex allergy. Worth checking out, since every exposure to latex or foods that make you react can make the allergy worse. :)

  6. says

    I love this cake – I never knew it had anything to do with Nacogdoches. I grew up in Ohio and my mom made it all the time. We just called it Texas Sheet Cake, and used cinnamon in it, too. I love how moist and fudgey it is – its probably one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever had. We used walnuts, too, but I’m sure any other nuts, especially pecans, would be great.

    Thanks for posting this – its good to know that it really is (Nacogdoches) Texas Sheet Cake, and not some name we made up for it. I used to think it was because we always made a big half sheet tray full of it, big as Texas (especially to a little kid).

  7. Aggiequilter says

    This is long time favorite picnic and church potluck cake – known throughout Texas and the South as TEXAS Sheet Cake ! DELISH ! and yes it usually has Cinnamon in it

    I’ve never heard it called Nacogdoches Cake before, and I’m a native Texan … ?? My Mom and aunts made this all the time when we were kids, back in the 70’s – and always called it Texas sheet cake.

  8. Aggiequilter says

    I just looked at my Mom’s old recipe, hers called for 1 tsp Cinnamon in the cake, and native Texas pecans for the frosting …

  9. Aggiequilter says

    Thanks for reminding me about this cake, I need to make it !
    (haven’t in awhile, watching our waistlines)

    THIS CAKE is worth going off the wagon for !!