EASY Chocolate Sheet Cake with simple fudge frosting takes just minutes to prepare and doesn't even require an electric mixer. Such a crowd pleaser perfect for any party or BBQ!
Tessa's Recipe Rundown...
Taste: Lots of sweet chocolate flavor without being overwhelming. Texture: The cake is tender and moist and the frosting is thick and fudgy. Ease: One of my easiest homemade cake recipes! Simple to bake, frost, transport, and serve. Pros: Super simple crowd pleasing recipe. Cons: None!! Would I make this again? Definitely.
I’ve been in a cake kind of mood this month! Last week I shared my Best Birthday Cake recipe which has been a favorite for years.
This week I’m coming at you with this super quick and easy Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe!
It’s all in celebration of my TEN YEAR blog birthday. Handle the Heat turned 10 this month! Can you believe it?
I wish we could all have a piece of cake together!
Anyways, this recipe is perfect for when you need to whip something together stat but don’t want to use a box mix.
Both the cake batter and the frosting in this recipe are made without an electric mixer. The cake comes together super quickly and easily.
Some sprinkles make easy work of decorating and let’s face it, sprinkles make everything better! No assembling or piping tips or special equipment. Easy easy easy.
This recipe is also super easy to transport and serve. So it’s perfect for any potluck, BBQ, or birthday party at the park. I added some make ahead instructions below as well to save even more time!
If you plan to serve this outside in hot weather or sun, just keep it in the fridge until the party starts. That way it won’t melt as quickly.
How to Make the BEST Chocolate Sheet Cake
I can’t find or use espresso powder. Can I omit it?
The espresso powder simply enhances the chocolate flavor, you don’t really taste it. You can now find it at many grocery stores, I see it at Super Target all the time. Or even easier, order it online.
However if you’d like to omit or if you can’t find any then feel free to leave it out entirely. You can also replace the the boiling water + espresso powder with really strong hot coffee instead to get the same affect.
Why does this recipe use vegetable oil? Can I use something else?
Oil-based cakes create the sensation of moistness better than butter based cakes. They also stay moist for longer! The key is to be sure to use a high quality fresh vegetable oil. Give the oil a sniff before adding it to the batter. If it has any off aroma then you need to toss and get a new bottle.
You can replace the vegetable oil with coconut oil if you’d prefer.
This recipe is pretty forgiving, so you can use whole milk in place of the buttermilk if you’d prefer. Or even sour cream or plain yogurt.
Baking the Cake
I used a metal baking pan to test this recipe. If you use glass or ceramic, your cake may take slightly longer to finish baking.
The Fudge Frosting
This frosting recipe is super simple and doesn’t even require an electric mixer. Allow the frosting to cool slightly before pouring on the cake, but don’t let it cool too much that it’s not pourable anymore. If this happens just reheat it briefly until it can be smoothed over the cake. If you like a lot of frosting, feel free to double the amount.
Can I make this ahead of time?
Yes! This cake is made with oil so it stays moist for longer. Wrap unfrosted un-cut cooled cake completely in several layers of plastic wrap. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge (do not defrost at room temperature or you will end up with mushy cake).
The frosted cake can also be covered and stored at room temperature for up to three days or in the fridge for up to one week. Be sure to keep well sealed to keep moist.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper then spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium heatproof bowl add the chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Pour hot water over mixture. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth then set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda.
Whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth, being careful not to overmix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Don't overbake or your cake will be dry.
Let cool completely.
Make the frosting:
In a large glass bowl, microwave the chocolate and butter in 30 second bursts, stirring between bursts, until melted and smooth. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and half the milk and whisk until smooth. Gradually add remaining milk until the mixture is smooth and thickened to a batter like consistency. Pour all over cake. Allow to set before slicing and serving. Garnish with sprinkles, if desired.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram with #handletheheat so we can all see!
Recipe byTessa Arias
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.
I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)
As a trained chef and cookbook author, I share trusted baking recipes your friends & family will love alongside insights into the science of sweets. I help take the luck out of baking so you *always* have delicious results! Learn more here.
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