This easy chocolate sheet cake is moist, fudgy, and way better than any box mix. Top it with chocolate frosting, and you’ve got yourself a show stopper. It’s made with simple, everyday ingredients – so it’s easy to whip up in no time. And unlike a ton of chocolate cake recipes, it’s made without coffee so you can enjoy it any time of day.
The Best Chocolate Cake
Everyone needs a tried and true, easy chocolate cake recipe. And this chocolate sheet cake is exactly that. It has a delicious chocolate flavor that’s just chocolate-y enough without being too rich, and a fudgy moist texture that makes the cake so irresistible.
And to knock it out of the park, we’re topping it off with fluffy chocolate frosting. Because seriously, whoever said no to a double dose of chocolate????
What you’ll especially love about this chocolate sheet cake is that there’s no fancy ingredients or complicated steps. We’re just using pantry staples – like oil, cocoa powder and milk – so you likely won’t even need to run to the grocery store for.
And unlike a lot of chocolate cake recipes, there’s no hot coffee in the batter. So if you’re serving it to children or if you like to stay away from caffeine – then this recipe is also definitely for you.
Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe
Making this recipe honestly couldn’t be easier. You can literally make the cake batter in under 10 minutes then it goes in the oven to bake. So here’s the details.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl beat together the oil, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs and milk.
- Then carefully beat in the flour mixture about 1/2 at a time.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan – and you’re ready to bake.
The oil keeps this cake moist and the eggs keep the batter tender and give a more fudgy consistency.
It’ll bake for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, and then it’s time to get on with the frosting.
For the Chocolate Frosting
The chocolate frosting is a simple buttercream made with butter, cocoa, powdered sugar and cream (or milk). It’s fluffy, chocolate-y and everything you could want in a frosting. And there’s definitely enough for a pretty thick layer on top too.
The chocolate sheet cake itself is super delicious, so if you don’t have time to make frosting (or if you’re just not much of a frosting person) top it with ice cream and maybe some chocolate sauce and you’re good to go.
Don’t feel like chocolate buttercream? Try these other frostings for chocolate sheet cake:
- Peanut Butter Frosting
- Strawberry Frosting
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Raspberry Frosting
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting – it almost tastes like chocolate pudding
Sheet cakes freeze beautifully. Once the cake has cooled fully:
- Remove the cake from the pan to invert it. Note that if you plan to freeze the cake, I recommend lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then greasing and dusting the sides.
- Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap (I do this at least 3 times). You want it to be tight to avoid freezer burn.
- Then wrap in aluminum foil.
- Place it your freezer on a flat surface, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw in the fridge overnight. Then decorate.
Frosted cakes can be frozen, but I find the results much better with unfrosted cake.
How Many People Does a Sheet Cake Serve?
A 9×13 inch cake will serve 18 medium pieces (2×3 inches), or about 29 small (2×2) inch pieces.
Note – if you want to use this recipe, but don’t feel like using a 9×13 inch pan, I’ve also included instructions for different pan sizes in the recipe notes.
For more sheet cake recipes, check out these other classics:
This chocolate sheet cake is an easy recipe made with everyday ingredients that you already have in your pantry. It's moist and fudgy with a delicious chocolate flavor and topped with chocolate frosting
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder , plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk , 1%, 2%, whole or buttermilk
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 4-6 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
Grease a 9x13 inch pan and sprinkle with cocoa powder.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
Beat together the oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs in a separate bowl. Then beat in the milk.
Carefully beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients about 1/2 at a time.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 28-32 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Beat the butter until well softened.
Whisk together 3 cups powdered sugar and the cocoa powder.
Beat the cocoa powder & powdered sugar mixture into the butter about 1 cup at at time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of milk.
Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of cream until the desired sweetness and consistency is reached.
Frost the cooled chocolate cake.
*You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup milk. Let sit for 5 minutes to sour before using.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.
Unfrosted cake can be wrapped tightly and frozen. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Different Pan Sizes:
For two 8-inch round pans, bake 30-35 minutes.
For two 9-inch round pans, bake 25-30 minutes.
For cupcakes, try this recipe instead.