Brown Butter Texas Sheet Cake

I subscribe to the notion that if you have to melt butter for a baking recipe, why not try browning it? When I happened upon the melted-butter-containing recipe that inspired this cake, I immediately started imagining a brown butter version. It didn’t take long to talk myself into making it as soon as possible.

And now, I encourage you to do the same.

Brown Butter Texas Sheet Cake is a nutty twist on the ever popular Texas Sheet Cake. Great for feeding a crowd!

This cake has a lot of great things going for it besides that fantastic nutty brown butter flavor. One-layer, easily frosted cakes are always a winner with me. The cake is quick to mix and doesn’t even require a mixer. The texture is perfect, too. It’s so soft and moist and really just lovely.

The frosting is not the traditional kind you usually see with a Texas Sheet Cake. I’ve mostly seen a cooked frosting, but this is a buttercream. And, instead of milk, it has sour cream. And, let me tell you, it is officially on my favorite frostings list.

Brown Butter Texas Sheet Cake is a simple one-layer cake that features the wonderful nutty flavor of browned butter.

Put together the brown butter cake, the sour cream frosting, and a sprinkling of toasted nuts, and this cake moves easily onto my short list of favorite cakes.

Brown Butter Texas Sheet Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 15-20 servings

Brown Butter Texas Sheet Cake


    For the cake:
  • 1 & 1/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 cup toasted nuts, chopped*


To make the cake:

Place butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter melts and begins to foam.

Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until brown specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and the butter has a nutty aroma. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. If desired, strain the butter to remove the browned bits.**

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 15"x 10" jelly-roll pan.

Combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add cooled brown butter, water, buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs. Stir until smooth.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

To make the frosting:

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter until creamy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and 6 tablespoons sour cream. Beat until smooth. Add remaining sour cream, a tablespoon at a time, if necessary to achieve desired spreadable consistency.

Spread frosting evenly over cake. Sprinkle nuts over the frosting.


*I used a combination of pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews.

**Once the butter has been browned, you should have 1 cup of brown butter.

Recipe adapted from Taste of the South.

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  1. This is one of those post I pinned before I even read it! Just the thought of browned butter and sour cream is enough to convince me to make this cake!

  2. Linda July 7, 2014 Reply

    Sounds amazing but you always get my attention at browned butter. I agree if you are going to melt it…might as well improve the flavor! A good one for a larger group. Thanks, Jennifer!

  3. Katrina July 7, 2014 Reply

    Ooh, looks good. I just made a chocolate Texas sheet cake for a family reunion. My mom doesn’t eat chocolate, I’m definitely going to have to make this next time we’re together!

  4. I literally just started a blog post saying if a recipe calls for melted butter I just brown it.

    Great minds! lol

    I 100% support this cake, it’s probably the best texas sheet cake I’ve ever seen, delish!

  5. KS Momma Mac July 7, 2014 Reply

    This sounds delicious! We will certainly try it!
    Thinking of browning the butter for the frosting too. Do you think it would work with the sour cream? Or would it clash?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry July 8, 2014 Reply

      You can use brown butter, but the frosting will be more of a thin icing consistency.

  6. tahnycooks July 7, 2014 Reply

    I shall be making this first thing in the morning! I love sheet cake!

  7. ATasteOfMadness July 8, 2014 Reply

    Great idea! I have never made a cake using brown butter, but I am definitely thinking about it now!

  8. I totally go the brown butter route any time it needs to be melted, too. It’s just too dang good. I bet it makes this cake taste AMAZING — sure looks that way!

  9. Joanne July 12, 2014 Reply

    Totally agreed! I mean, the browning only requires a few extra minutes for a whole LOT of deliciousness…so why not?! Great cake!

  10. Yep, if you’re melting the butter, might as well brown it! That should be a bumper sticker or something! This looks too good to be true!

  11. Donna November 9, 2014 Reply

    I made this yesterday — baked in a 9X13-inch pan for about 35-40 minutes, so it was thicker than the one in the photo. I didn’t follow directions very well (added sugar to the brown butter and it started to solidify) and I was afraid it was ruined but it was very forgiving. I made a frosting with brown butter too — I browned the butter before the butter for the cake and let it chill while I made the cake, so it had a nice fluffy buttercream-like texture. I added vanilla extract and used just enough regular whipping cream, not sour, to make it spreadable. I took it to a party and people raved about it. That toasty caramelized brown butter flavor was very prominent; it didn’t get lost like in some recipes I’ve tried. Except for browning the buter it’s as easy as a mix, and it tasted great, so for me it’s a keeper.

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