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Best Ever Chocolate Sheet Pan Cake & Frosting

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This is the best ever chocolate sheet pan cake with perfect chocolate ganache frosting! It is a quick dessert for after dinner or to serve up for a special birthday. It is the easiest Texas sheet cake you'll ever make!  

best ever chocolate sheet pan cake

For the past couple of weeks, I've been in the test kitchen trying out new recipes like sheet pan steak fajitas and pan-roasted chicken and potatoes. It's been really fun and I'm feeling all Mad Scientist with a dash here and a smidge there creating delicious eats.  One such recipe I made was a chocolate sheet cake and let me tell you, it is the Best EVER!

This dessert is so incredibly easy and fast!

Tools needed for sheet cake recipes

To make this easy sheet cake recipe you need a few things and one important item is a sheet pan! To make this big slab cake, you need a big pan and also these kitchen tools: 

  • Sheet pan also called a sheet tray or even a cookie sheet. For this recipe, make sure your baking pan has 1-inch high edge and is at least 17 inches by 11 inches. I used this USA sheet pan and it was perfect. 
  • Mixing Bowl Set is good to have on hand as you'll need more than one bowl for this chocolate sheet cake recipe. 
  • Saucepan a medium saucepan is the perfect size to make the chocolate ganache frosting if you choose to frost your sheet pan cake.

What I love most about this easy sheet cake recipe is that it is simple, and I know exactly what ingredients are going into the recipe.  A homemade chocolate cake from scratch is just what was needed for a special after-dinner treat.  

Related recipes: Lemon Pound Cake, Pumpkin Pound Cake, Chocolate Chip Dessert Ball, Monster Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Nutella Cookies

Ingredients for chocolate sheet pan cake

Cake:

  • Flour- all-purpose flour is perfect and is probably what is in your pantry. If you want to try making this a gluten-free sheet cake, try King Arthur gluten-free flour. 
  • Sugar- use granulated sugar for baking, and powdered sugar to make the frosting! 
  • Butter salted or unsalted butter is fine to use. Whatever you have on hand will taste great. 
  • Cold water– straight from the tap! 
  • Cocoa– powdered cocoa is the reason chocolate cake tastes so chocolatey! I've always used Hershey's cocoa, but if you have a favorite brand, use it. 
  • Canola oil
  • Buttermilk
  • Eggs, beaten
  • Baking soda
  • Vanilla If I'm using store-bought vanilla, I always use Nielsen-Massey, like in our yummy cinnamon swirl bread! Did you know it's also really easy to make homemade vanilla extract?! Homemade extract makes a thoughtful gift too!  
Chocolate sheet cake

Frosting:

  • Butter can be salted or unsalted
  • Cocoa
  • Milk
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Pecans, chopped (optional)

How to make chocolate sheet cake

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour and sugar.
  • Combine butter, water, cocoa, and oil in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and pour into the flour mixture.
  • Stir carefully until completely mixed.
  • Add in buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir well.
  • Pour into a well-greased jelly roll pan (17×11) and smooth out over the entire pan.
  • Bake 20 minutes.

While the cake is baking, you can make the frosting if you choose to frost the cake and I would say yes, frost the cake! 

Combine butter, cocoa, and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Add powdered sugar, vanilla. If you want to add nuts, you can do so at this point. Mix well. Pour the frosting over the hot cake.

Be careful; if poured too quickly or all at once, it will definitely drip over the sides! 🙂

So, so good!

Serving suggestions

This dessert is also known as a Texas chocolate sheet cake because the pan is big, the cake is big, and it's big on sweet flavor! Here are some serving suggestions to try:

  • This sheet cake recipe is perfect for parties or cookouts because it can serve a crowd! Cut in small squares so guests can help themselves.
  • Cut the cake in half and place one half on top of the other to create a layered masterpiece.
  • For fun, Halloween treats, cut personal bites with cookie cutters shaped like pumpkins, bats, or cats.

Any way you slice up this chocolate sheet cake recipe it is bound to please all! 

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Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake

DID YOU MAKE THIS? PLEASE RATE THIS RECIPE BELOW!

Yield: 24

Best Ever Chocolate Sheet Pan Cake & Frosting

Texas chocolate sheet cake

Texas chocolate sheet cake is big on chocolate flavor and easy to make! Enjoy this dessert cake after dinner or serve for a party!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • FROSTING:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 6-7 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour and sugar.
  3. In a saucepan, combine butter, water, cocoa, and oil. Bring to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat and pour into the flour mixture.
  5. Stir carefully until completely mixed.
  6. Add in buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir well.
  7. Pour into a well-greased jelly roll pan (17×11) and smooth out over the entire pan.
  8. Bake 20 minutes.
  9. TO MAKE FROSTING:
  10. Combine butter, cocoa, and milk in a saucepan.
  11. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Add powdered sugar, vanilla (and nuts). Mix well.
  12. Pour over hot cake.
  13. Be careful; if poured too quickly or all at once, will definitely drip over the sides!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 343Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 144mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 36gProtein: 4g

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Original Post: 2/27/13

Updated Post: 8/7/20

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Susi

Friday 1st of March 2013

I'm baking this cake tonight. Been meaning to check it out ever since I saw the pics on IG... I cannot wait to see my son's face when it's done. He loves all things chocolate. I've been using Hershey's Special Dark cocoa in most of my chocolate recipes - so, so good. Thanks for sharing!!! :)

Kelly

Sunday 3rd of March 2013

I'm so curious how your cake turned out with the Special Dark chocolate??!

Alisha Jaybird

Thursday 28th of February 2013

I LOVE this cake!!!! It's so tasty, moist, quick AND easy. The kids wanted to make me a birthday cake and this is what we did. It was great. I'm going to post on my blog about it tomorrow! THANK YOU for the recipe!!! :)

Kelly

Friday 1st of March 2013

I'm so glad I saw your Facebook update and that I could send this your way :) I hope you had the happiest of birthdays my friend!!! xoxoxo

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