Buttermilk Brownies

Buttermilk Brownies and Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream.  YUM!
Buttermilk Brownies and Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream. YUM! | Source

Forget the box of brownie mix from your local grocery store. This popular dessert is easy to make for family celebrations, potlucks and holiday picnics.

Baking from scratch doesn’t have to take a lot of time, effort and ingredients. This recipe calls for cooking a mixture of butter, water, oil and cocoa in a pan, adding the mix to dry ingredients and then pouring a fudgy icing over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Is it a brownie or is it a cake?

Buttermilk Brownies is also known as Texas Sheet Cake. But is this a brownie or a cake? Is there a difference? Well, yes there is. The two might call for flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla and in this case, cocoa, but there the similarity ends.

The main difference between the two desserts as far as ingredients go is that a cake calls for leavening agents such as baking soda and baking powder, which makes a cake such as my Italian Cream Cake lighter. Brownies don’t call for these so they end up more chewy and dense. Cakes typically call for a lot more flour, too.

The texture and appearance of brownies and cake also differ. You want brownies to have a cracked top. You wouldn’t want that for your cake, even if it will be frosted. And Buttermilk Brownies does have a smooth surface before it's frosted.

Ok, now that we’ve established that this is more cake than brownie based on the above criteria, let’s get down to the business of making it.

Cook Time

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 1 hour 5 min
Yields: makes 1 sheet cake

Don't have buttermilk?

You can make your own by adding 1 T of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Stir slightly and set it aside for a minute or two.

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 stick margerine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Other steps to take:

Prepare a 11" x14" x1" baking pan by lightly spraying it with a cooking spray such as Pam.

Preheat the oven to 400°

Set out a couple cake racks to put the baking sheet on to cool the cake.

Icing Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 pound box of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Bring the butter, water, cocoa and oil to a boil. Adding the cooked mixture to the dry ingredients for the cake.
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. | Source
Bring the butter, water, cocoa and oil to a boil.
Bring the butter, water, cocoa and oil to a boil. | Source
Adding the cooked mixture to the dry ingredients for the cake.
Adding the cooked mixture to the dry ingredients for the cake. | Source

Making the Buttermilk Browines

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Combine butter, oil, water and cocoa in a large pan on the stove. Bring it to a boil.
  3. When the mixture on the stove comes to a boil, pour it over the dry ingredients in the bowl.
  4. Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Blend well. You can do this by hand or use a small electric hand mixer.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes.
  6. While the cake is in the oven, make the icing. You will need to ice the cake immediately after it comes out of the oven so you need to have the icing ready.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
The butter, buttermilk, and cocoa used in the icing. Stirring in the powdered sugar.Stirring in the chopped nuts. The cooked icingHave the icing ready to pour over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Buttermilk Brownies (aka Texas Sheet Cake)
The butter, buttermilk, and cocoa used in the icing.
The butter, buttermilk, and cocoa used in the icing. | Source
Stirring in the powdered sugar.
Stirring in the powdered sugar. | Source
Stirring in the chopped nuts.
Stirring in the chopped nuts. | Source
The cooked icing
The cooked icing | Source
Have the icing ready to pour over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Have the icing ready to pour over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. | Source
Buttermilk Brownies (aka Texas Sheet Cake)
Buttermilk Brownies (aka Texas Sheet Cake) | Source

Making the Icing for Buttermilk Brownies

  1. Combine butter, cocoa and buttermilk in a large pan on the stove (you can use the same pan you made the cake in).
  2. Bring them to a boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the icing ingredients.
  4. Blend well (you can just do this by hand).

If I still have a lot of time left before the cake comes out of the oven, I put the pan back on the burner on low so it doesn't harden. Even though you'll pour it over the hot cake, if the icing has cooled, it will be hard to spread and might tear the top of the cake.

And by the way, this dessert freezes well so if your kids are out of the house, like mine are, you can still make this. Just cut the cake into serving-sized pieces, wrap them well and pop them into the freezer. The pieces thaw quickly (or you could warm them in the microwave) and you have dessert in no time. They should be good 4-6 months, if they last that long.

Don't forget to rate this recipe!

5 stars from 4 ratings of Buttermilk Brownies

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Comments 30 comments

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

OMG this is such an awesome dessert! I remember mom making this and trust me, if left alone with the pan, I could 'pick at it' until it was GONE! Didn't you make this for CJ's graduation? Delicious recipe I rated a 5!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Yeah, that's my problem - I just pick at it until I've eaten about half the cake myself. In fact I just pulled 2 pieces from the freezer today and had them. Thanks for the rating!


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

Holy cow does this look delicious - especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! I always was curious about the difference between brownies and cake so thanks for explaining that.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Ktrapp, the ice cream adds the finishing touch and nothing but Breyers will do, in my opinion! Thanks for leaving a comment


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

I really... really.... really shouldn't have stopped by here. These look amazing and after looking at the ingredients I can make these without even going to the store! I think these are going to be bad for my waistline. Oh - and totally cool information about the difference between cakes and brownies. I never knew that before! :)


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Oh my.. yummy!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Barbergirl28 - From what I've learned of your by reading your hubs, I think you'll manage to resist making these! Thanks for reading.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Angela, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. They do look good, don't they! :)


HawaiiHeart profile image

HawaiiHeart 4 years ago from Hawaii

wow - that looks sooooo decadent! I'm craving brownies now!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks HawaiiHeart. I hope you get your cravings filled/


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Oh yummy! What fantastic recipe. I love brownies and I love buttermilk too. My daddy used to share his with me when I was a little girl and I still love it today. Thanks for sharing this and I gave you 5*!

Gonna share this as well.


jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

Those look so good! I voted up and pinned this.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

It's interesting how we associate certain foods with memories (good or bad). Thanks for sharing yours, Vocalcoach and for the stars.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Jennzie for reading and pinning!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This recipe sounds creamy and delicious, Danette! It's just the sort of chocolate dessert that I love to eat, and combining it with ice cream sounds like a great idea. Thank you for sharing the recipe.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Alicia. Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment. I wish I still had a few pieces in the freezer but they are long gone!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

This is the actual recipe I had in mind for Marty's. I had asked Cara if she had the Texas Sheet Cake recipe and she said she never had it. But, when we talked on the phone earlier today, and I looked it up, I discovered it goes by two names. Thanks sister! UP/A and shared.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 3 years ago from Illinois Author

Hey Dee, thanks for sharing. My recipe card is marked with both names! (Don't ask me why...)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

OMG - I will be sharing this fantastic recipe! I love buttermilk. I love chocolate. I love brownies. I love your recipe!


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

Hi Danette,

Thanks for this recipe! I absolutely love brownies. Voted up


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 3 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Vocalcoach! Thanks for sharing. This is a great recipe and so easy. I made it for the 4th when my son and his girlfriend came in for the holiday.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 3 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Torrilynn - you're welcome! Enjoy them and thanks for the vote!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

It was a HIT when I brought these to a family BBQ - thanks again. :)


carter06 profile image

carter06 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

I can't figure out how this one slipped my attention..no matter got it now and have to say thanks so much for this delectable recipe..and you are so right cooking from scratch is so preferable..can't wait to try..VUUAB & pinned..cheers


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Danette,

Wonderful hub. Great read. Or I should say, a "delicious" piece of writing. I am very hungry. Thanks.

I will tell you the truth. I really love this hub. And here are the reasons why:

1. This is an excellent piece of writing. Simply amazing.

2, I loved the way you worded this hub.

3. Graphics, superb.

4. This hub was helpful, informative and very interesting.

5. Voted Up and all of the choices.

6. I loved your topic.

You are certainly a gifted writer. Please keep up the fine work.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 2 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Kenneth, thanks for the list of reasons why you enjoyed my hub. I appreciate your thoughtful comments and compliments.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I'm going t make these buttermilk brownies. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.


Cheeky Kid profile image

Cheeky Kid 2 years ago from Milky Way

Well, it doesn't matter to me if it's a cake or a brownie or both. What matters is it looks yummy and I want it. Yum yum! :D


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 2 years ago from Illinois Author

CheekyKid - they ARE good! try making them, it's easy! Let me know if you do and how they turned out.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

@ vocalcoach,

Hey, friend. I hope that I will be invited when you make these tasty treats.

Happy Halloween!

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