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 400ยบ 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…..

Share on Facebook39Tweet about this on Twitter2Pin on Pinterest1783Google+3

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!



  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. Laura Ellis says

    This cake is very similar to one my mother and aunts made and we simply called it Cookie Sheet Cake. None of my family has ever lived in Texas, but rather Michigan. The recipe has been in my family since the early 1900′s (as evidenced by my great-grandmother’s cookbook) and we don’t mix our ingredients in bowls, but rather in a sauce pan, bringing the butter, cocoa and coffee (instead of water) to a bubble then removing from the heat and quickly adding the other ingredients.
    The icing is cooked and poured quickly over the cake as it is removed from the oven. It never fails and ALWAYS is a crowd pleaser. We did remove the pecans from the recipe at my house because one of my brothers didn’t like them!

  9. Wendy says

    WOW I grew up very close to Nacogdoches was actually born in next town over (Lufkin) and even lived there a little while and contiue to live fairly close to Nacogdoches. Grew up eating many a Sheet Cake and never heard it referred to as the Nacogdoches cake but so tickled by this reference that I plan to print this out and reintroduce it at our next family get together as the Nacogdoches Cake.

    • Jill B says

      I’m from Lufkin, which is what led me to click on this “Nacogdoches” cake, too. This cake is in our family cookbook and I love it. However, we don’t call it Nacogdoches cake, or even Texas sheet cake. We always just called it chocolate cake. Because, really, this is the only chocolate cake that matters. :)

  10. Trisha says

    I am going to start this after I type this comment.. I don’t have any kind of nut to use but I am going to try it without and see how it turns out.. =) If we like it okay I will make it again and get some nuts to put on top. They don’t stay long in our house, my oldest loves them…

    Thank you for the tip on buttermilk also! I HATE buying a container of it because I always end up throwing it away..

  11. Trisha says

    I ended up breaking down and running to the store.. I bought walnuts (hubby’s favorite) and I knew if I didn’t like it for some reason he would eat it. lol.. But I LOVE it, I will for sure be making this again and I am going to try pecans next time!

  12. Mary Watson says

    We call this texas brownies, change the one cup of water to coffee add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. 2 teaspoons of coffee in your frosting.. Delicious. I sell them at our farmers market with my other baked goods. They fly away in no time.. Thanks for sharing. I LOVE your site :)

  13. Ruth Doherty says

    I have been making this cake for my family for many years but my original recipe was called “Michigan Sheet Cake” and had cinnamon in it. After trying it with cinnamon the first time we discovered we rather have it without. I use chopped pecans in the frosting. My recipe also said to cook in 9 x 13 sheet cake pan at 350 degrees. It is one of the easiest cakes from scratch I have ever made. My husband doesn’t care much for Chocolate but he asks for this cake because it is so moist and delicious. I am glad to see this wonderful recipe go around again no matter what it is called.

  14. Carole says

    I got this recipe from someone in Southern CA many years ago, and it was called just plain Nacogdoches (cake). At the time, I never even knew there was a place in Texas named Nacogdoches. I have used Pecans in the frosting for years now, because walnuts do cause problems for some. It has always been a total favorite with our family, as my sweet daughter, Jillee (Jill) said, and is easy to make. I particularly like it, because it goes a long ways. It is good to take to parties.
    P.S. I am going to try adding cinnamon the next time I make it. Sounds interesting.

  15. Copmomof3 says

    I cook this all the time! It is awesome! I live Nacogdoches is the town next to me! Here, it’s just a Texas Sheet Cake! It’s so cool you shared! Thanks for your blog it’s awesome!

  16. Sammie Vance says

    I make this cake for special occasions. I have never tried it with cinnamon but that sounds good. When I take the cake out of the oven and it is still hot, I use my wooden spoon handle and poke holes all over the cake. When the frosting is poured it runs into the holes. Super delicious.

  17. Tammy S says

    Small world indeed…I live just outside of Naconowhere (Nacogdoches)…someone had pinned this recipe on pinterest, and I had to click. LOL. I dont know if I’ve had this cake or not, but dang it sure looks good!!

  18. Amanda says

    I was born and raised in Nacogdoches and my parents still live there. Even though I grew up eating this cake I have never heard it called “Nacogdoches Sheet Cake”, we just always called it sheet cake…I guess the Nacogdoches was implied, LOL.

  19. Carol Hampton says

    My grandmother always made this cake and my mother followed her. As long as I can remember we knew it by Nacogdoches cake.

    I don’t know the history of the name but by whatever name is the best chocolate cake ever. I will be passing the recipe onto my daughter-in-law for it is one of my son’s favorite cakes also.

  20. Bev Wallace says

    When I was in school over 50 years ago they served this cake and called it Wacky Cake. I begged until they gave me the recipe ( which had to be GREATLY reduced) and had forgotten about it until now…I will drag it out for sure.

  21. Kelley says

    Thanks for the recipe! My daughter goes to school at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. I look forward to making this for her and telling her its name! Go SFA!

  22. Peggy Egan says

    Making this today! Just to let you know, I didn’t see a “print recipe” option but I did see “Clean Print” and checked that out…..way cool! Probably everyone else knew what that was but it was new to me and I thought it was quite clever. Thanks, I will look for that on other websites too.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *