Get ready to satisfy your chocolate craving with this easy chocolate sheet cake recipe. Step-by-step photos teach you how to bake this cake.
Growing up we often had sheet cakes for a party- they're just easier. There is enough going on to think about decorating a cake. Sometimes don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, but other times no thank you. This recipe is based on my chocolate layer cake recipe, a tried and true recipe I have made hundreds of times. The cake has the best chocolatey moist texture.
This cake is made easily, much faster than driving to the grocery store and buying a boxed cake mix. I used my chocolate buttercream recipe but there are plenty of options here for frosting recipes.
Let's get to the recipe
For this simple cake you will need:
- Granulated Sugar/ Caster Sugar. The sugar helps the cake rise, be tender, and sweetens the cake.
- All-Purpose/ Plain Flour. Make sure to measure your flour properly, I highly suggest a scale to weigh it as opposed to packing it into a cup to measure by volume.
Baking is a science and to really achieve the best results I highly recommend investing in a kitchen scale. This OXO Kitchen Scale is the one I use and is also the number one recommended kitchen scale by Cook's Illustrated. Think about it -what one person scoops into a "cup" is completely different from what someone else scoops!
- Dutch Process Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. Be careful not to use natural cocoa powder, Dutch process has had the acid stripped to create a smoother, richer chocolate flavor. I am currently using Rodell Dutch Process Cocoa Powder.
- Baking Soda. The baking soda needs an acid to activate it while cooking and the sour cream and potentially buttermilk act as that.
- Salt. The salt balances out the sugar and helps all of the other ingredients' flavor profiles shine through.
- Baking Powder. This chemical agent does not need an acid to activate. We use both baking soda and baking powder since we are using Dutch process cocoa which has had the acid stripped.
- Large Eggs. Your eggs should be at room temperature so they evenly combine with all of the other ingredients. You can do this quickly by placing them in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes before using.
- Pure Vanilla Extract. Just a splash of vanilla helps enhance the chocolate notes.
- Vegetable Oil. In a white or yellow cake, you often need to use butter as it is the base of the flavor as well as the fat, but in the chocolate cake, the cocoa powder is so overpowering you can get away with using oil. This also works better because oil stays moist for longer and cocoa powder is naturally drying.
- Sour Cream. Sour cream is a moisture bomb creating an incredibly tender and moist cake. In a pinch, I use full-fat Greek yogurt but I prefer sour cream. This ingredient should be brought to room temperature.
- Whole Milk or Buttermilk. I have made this cake numerous times with either whole milk or buttermilk depending on what I have on hand. Just make sure it's at room temperature so it properly incorporates into the rest of the ingredients.
- Hot Coffee. The hot coffee does two things here; first, the heat helps bloom the cocoa creating a rich chocolate flavor, and second the coffee enhances the notes of the chocolate without making the cake taste like coffee! Some recipes call for boiling water but I find the hot coffee adds that little something special.
I highly suggest using a metal cake pan versus a glass one. Metal conducts heat much more evenly and cools much faster after coming out of the oven.
For ingredient quantities please reference the recipe card below. On the recipe card there is a button for US or M (Metric) measurements.
Preheat oven to 350F/180C and grease a 9" X 13" pan. Set aside. You can totally use a stand mixer if you want but it is not necessary in this simple recipe.
In a large bowl sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Mix to combine the flour mixture. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer or large bowl with a whisk combine the eggs, vanilla, oil, sour cream, and milk and mix until fully combined.
Slowly add in the dry ingredients, and stir until fully incorporated. Add in the hot coffee and mix until evenly combined.
The cake batter will be very thin. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake for 33-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean/ only moist crumbs, no wet batter. Set cakes on a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling prepare chocolate frosting. When the cake is fully cooled begin frosting. Depending on what frosting you use store the cake at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to a couple of days. The cake is best enjoyed at room temperature
I love to add sprinkles for an automatic fun look. This cake is incredibly moist, soft and tender. I hope your family loves this cake at birthday parties as much as mine does.
How to freeze
This chocolate cake recipe is perfect to freeze. Once the cake has cooled completely wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, twice, then once in aluminum foil; the three layers helps prevent freezer burn. I like to place the cake on top of the bottom of the pan flipped over so the cake has a flat surface to keep it from breaking. You could put it on a sheet tray too. Once the cake is frozen you can remove the pan. To thaw the cake place it at room temperature for a couple of hours. It is actually easier to frost cakes that are chilled.
Can you double
You can most certainly double this cake by pressing the 2X button on the recipe card below and using two pan
More chocolate cake recipes
This chocolate peanut butter cake is my sisters favorite cake, truly a great combo.
If you are cooking for a loved one who is gluten-free then check out my flourless chocolate cake recipe.
This was Queen Elizabeth II's favortite cake- chocolate biscuit cake.
★★★★★ Please let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a star rating and comment below!
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Chocolate Sheet Cake
Get ready to satisfy your chocolate craving with this easy chocolate sheet cake recipe. Step by step photos teach you how to bake this cake.
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 12-16 Slices 1x
- 400 grams (2 Cups) Granulated Sugar/ Caster Sugar
- 250 grams (2 Cups) All-Purpose/ Plain Flour
- 90 grams (¾ Cup) Dutch Process Cocoa Powder ( I use Bensdorp Dutch Cocoa Powder)
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 3 Large Eggs, at room temperature
- 2 ½ Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
- 4oz (½ Cup) Vegetable Oil
- 4oz (½ Cup) Sour Cream
- 4oz (½ Cup) Whole Milk or Buttermilk
- 8oz (1 Cup) Hot Coffee*
Moist Chocolate Cake
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C and grease a 9" X 13" pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Mix to combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer or large bowl with a whisk combine the eggs, vanilla, oil, sour cream, and milk and mix until fully combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients, and mix until fully incorporated. Add in the hot coffee and mix until evenly combined. The cake batter will be very thin. Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 33-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean/ only moist crumbs, no wet batter. Set cakes on a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling prepare chocolate frosting. When the cake is fully cooled begin frosting. Depending on what frosting you use store the cake at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to a couple of days. The cake is best enjoyed at room temperature.
- Prep Time: 10 Minutes
- Cook Time: 35 Minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: how to make a chocolate sheet cake, chocolate sheet cake recipe, 9X13 chocolate cake
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This cake is so rich and easy to make, I LOVE IT! New birthday cake staple! Thank you for all the recipes, they are amazing