Chocolate Sheet Cake

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This is the best chocolate sheet cake recipe ever. It’s irresistibly moist, rich & chocolatey and so easy to make from scratch. Slathered with chocolate buttercream frosting, it’s the perfect dessert to feed a chocolate-loving crowd.

a square piece of Chocolate Sheet Cake with buttercream frosting


We have a big family, which means we’re always celebrating something. And the older our kids get, the more friends they want to invite over and the more cake they can eat! So, I took our famous from-scratch chocolate cake recipe and tweaked it to make this chocolate sheet cake recipe.

I love sheet cakes because you don’t have to fuss with layers. Simply bake the chocolate sheet cake it in a giant sheet cake pan, then slather the top with frosting and spruce it up with some mini chocolate chips or sprinkles and you have yourself a delicious cake with very little effort!

Plus, this chocolate sheet cake is absolutely delicious. It’s supremely moist, intensely chocolate and completely irresistible – especially when it’s frosted with homemade chocolate buttercream.

8 square pieces of Chocolate Sheet Cake

Chocolate Sheet Cake: Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead photo of the labeled ingredients in this Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe
  • All-purpose flour. Cake flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour.
  • Granulated sugar. I suggest white sugar or organic cane sugar for the best results. 
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder. Choose your favorite variety. For an extra-dark cake use dark cocoa powder. 
  • Espresso powderalways have espresso powder on hand to make chocolate desserts. It’s worth purchasing if you love baking and it lasts a long time. You can substitute instant coffee if you must. 
  • Salted butter. unsalted butter works well too.
  • Sour cream. Full-fat, plain Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream. I recommend using full-fat ingredients for the richest, most moist chocolate sheet cake. 
  • Whole milk. I suggest using full-fat whole milk in this recipe. You can substitute half and half if desired.
  • Vanilla extract. You can switch up the extract and use almond, peppermint, orange, etc. if you prefer a flavored chocolate cake. 
  • Mini chocolate chips. These are a must. Regular-sized chocolate chips sink to the bottom of the cake while baking. Be sure to use mini chips for the best results. 
a piece of Chocolate Sheet Cake on a plate with a bite taken out of it on a fork

How to Make Chocolate Sheet Cake

We’ll walk through this chocolate sheet cake recipe step-by-step. Watch the video for further guidance.

Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and lining a 9×13” cake pan with parchment paper.

Then, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt and espresso powder in a medium bowl and set the dry ingredients aside.

two photos showing how to make chocolate sheet cake recipe - combining dry ingredients

Then, whisk together the melted butter, sugar eggs, sour cream, milk and vanilla in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth.

two photos showing how to make chocolate sheet cake recipe - whisking wet ingredients

Next, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.

two photos showing how to make chocolate sheet cake recipe - mixing wet and dry ingredients

Fold in the mini chocolate chips until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

two photos showing how to make chocolate sheet cake recipe - adding mini chocolate chips

Then, pour the chocolate sheet cake batter into the prepared sheet cake pan (this is my favorite because it has a lid for easy transport).

chocolate sheet cake in a baking pan before baking

Bake the chocolate sheet cake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Once baking is complete, place cake pan on a wire cooling rack to cool to room temperature (this takes about 1 hour.

Once cool, you can either lift the cake out of the pan and transfer it to a rectangular serving plate, or leave it in the pan and frost.

chocolate sheet cake in a baking pan after baking

Let the cake cool completely before frosting with chocolate buttercream frosting (or your favorite frosting)! Let the cake set until the frosting is hardened before serving – I usually put it in the refrigerator to set.

Chocolate Sheet Cake frosted with chocolate frosting and sprinkled with chocolate chips

Serve

Cut chocolate sheet cake into pieces and serve. You can put the lid on the cake and chill it overnight if desired. I prefer to serve this cake slightly chilled or at room temperature.

up close overhead view of 9 pieces of Chocolate Sheet Cake

Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigeartor for up to 5 days.

Freeze

Or, you can freeze this chocolate sheet cake in two ways:

  1. Freeze individual pieces in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
  2. Freeze the cake (frosted or unfrosted) in the sheet pan with the lid for up to 1 month.

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Chocolate Sheet Cake on a plate with a fork

Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe FAQS

How many people does a sheet cake feed?

This sheet cake is 18×13″ and can feed 24-36 people depending on the size of the pieces.

What’s the difference between sheet cake and regular cake?

A sheet cake is bigger, baked in a single layer in one pan. While a regular cake is usually baked in two round cake pans and layered.

What frosting tastes good with Chocolate Sheet Cake?

Here are my top recommendations:
Chocolate Buttercream
Vanilla buttercream
Peanut Butter Frosting
Vanilla frosting
Strawberry Frosting

a piece of Chocolate Sheet Cake on a plate with a bite taken out of it on a fork

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Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe

Laura
This is the best chocolate sheet cake recipe ever. It's irresistibly moist, rich & chocolatey and so easy to make from scratch. Slathered with chocolate buttercream frosting, it's the perfect dessert to feed a chocolate-loving crowd.
5 from 1 vote
Course cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 Servings
Calories 274
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
cooling2 hours
Total Time2 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a 9×13” cake pan with parchment paper, set aside
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt and espresso powder. Set aside
  • In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar eggs, sour cream, milk and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Add mini chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed.
  • Pour batter into prepared cake pan
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
  • Place cake pan on a wire cooling rack to cool to room temperature (takes about 30 minutes).
  • Once cool, you can either lift the cake out of the pan and transfer it to a rectangular serving platter, or leave it in the pan and frost.
  • Let the cake cool completely before frosting with chocolate buttercream frosting (or your favorite frosting)!
  • Cut into pieces and serve. You can put the lid on the cake pan (or cover it in foil or plastic wrap) and chill it overnight if desired. I prefer to serve this cake slightly chilled or at room temperature.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition facts calculated for the cake only (they do not include the frosting). 
Ingredient Notes/Substitutions
  • All-purpose flour. Cake flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour.
  • Granulated sugar. I suggest white sugar or organic cane sugar for the best results. 
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder. Choose your favorite variety. For an extra-dark cake use dark cocoa powder. 
  • Espresso powderalways have espresso powder on hand to make chocolate desserts. It’s worth purchasing if you love baking and it lasts a long time. You can substitute instant coffee if you must. 
  • Salted butter. unsalted butter works well too.
  • Sour cream. Full-fat, plain Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream. I recommend using full-fat ingredients for the richest, most moist chocolate sheet cake. 
  • Whole milk. I suggest using full-fat whole milk in this recipe. You can substitute half and half if desired.
  • Vanilla extract. You can switch up the extract and use almond, peppermint, orange, etc. if you prefer a flavored chocolate cake. 
  • Mini chocolate chips. These are a must. Regular-sized chocolate chips sink to the bottom of the cake while baking. Be sure to use mini chips for the best results. 
Store
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigeartor for up to 5 days.
Freeze
Or, you can freeze this chocolate sheet cake in two ways:
  1. Freeze individual pieces in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
  2. Freeze the cake (frosted or unfrosted) in the sheet pan with the lid for up to 1 month.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 227mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 369IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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