This classic chocolate sheet cake can feed a crowd and is made with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen pantry!
Sheet cake is one of those classic dessert cake recipes that has been around for many years. This cake is quite different than a traditional cake. While a normal cake is baked in a deep round or square cake pan, a sheet cake is baked using a half sheet baking pan. Since the pan is 18×13 inches in diameter, the cake is much thinner than a regular cake.
The icing is another aspect that defines a sheet cake. The icing is spread while the cake is still hot which creates a fudgy layer in the middle. It tastes so good.
Sometimes referred to as Texas Sheet Cake, this dessert is super quick to make and uses ingredients that most people regularly have on hand in their kitchen. It is perfect for those times when you unexpectedly have guests coming over for dinner or the kids have friends over after school.
This sheet cake is perfect for serving a crowd and ideal for BBQ gatherings or other parties. It is also great for kids parties as well. Kids absolutely love this cake.
The first step to making this incredible sheet cake is to melt the butter in a pot with water and cocoa. Cook over medium heat.
While the butter is melting, make sure to stir the mixture fairly regularly. I like to use a whisk which keeps it all smooth and creamy. Once the butter is melted and all mixed, remove it from the heat.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. This includes the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Pour in the hot cocoa mixture.
Using a rubber spatula, stir until the wet and dry ingredients are all incorporated. The batter will not look smooth yet. Don’t worry if it is still a little lumpy at this point.
In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs and sour cream and then pour into the batter.
Stir gently until the egg mixture is well incorporated into the batter. I stir quite slowly, so that it is actually more of a folding motion, so that I do not over mix the batter.
Pour the cake batter on a greased 18×13 half sheet baking pan.
Using a rubber spatula, spread the batter evenly, making sure to get it into the corners of the pan.
To make sure that the batter is evenly spread out, I grab opposite sides of the pan and gently shake it bake and forth. This motion works great to level the batter.
The cake is now ready to be baked. Put in a 375F oven and bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is in the oven, it is time to make the icing. Heat the butter, milk and cocoa in a saucepan over medium low heat until the butter is melted. Whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. In a mixing bowl, add the icing sugar and pour in the hot cocoa mixture.
Mix the icing until smooth with no lumps. I use an electric hand mixer, but you could also use a rubber spatula, whisk or spoon. You may need to add in some extra milk as you are beating the frosting. You want a smooth and spreadable consistency. If some extra milk is needed, add just a little bit at a time, until the consistency is right.
Once the cake is finished cooking, remove from the oven and place on a trivet or cooling rack. The cake looks just perfect. It is evenly baked with a smooth top.
While the cake is still hot, pour on the icing. Adding the icing while the cake is still hot, causes the icing to actually melt a bit and soak into the top of the cake creating a fudge-like middle layer. It is so good!
Spread the icing evenly across the cake so that it is a smooth level layer. Let the cake and icing cool completely before slicing.
The sheet cake can be cut into 20 square sized cake portions. With the pan being greased ahead of time, the cake lifts out very easily. This cake is great own its own, and also amazing served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Sheet cake is a great way to feed a crowd and over the years, I have made many different kinds. Here is a great kind that is perfect for birthdays – Funfetti Sheet Cake.
Chocolate Sheet Cake
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/3 cup milk , plus more if needed
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 4 1/2 cups icing sugar
- Heat 1 cup butter, 1 cup water and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and whisk so that the butter is all melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Pour in the butter, water and cocoa mixture and fold it in the dry ingredients until it is all wet and combined.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until smooth. Pour into the flour mixture and fold in until combined. Be careful not to overmix.
- Spread on a greased 18x13 half sheet baking pan.
- Bake in a 375F oven for 22 minutes.
- Once the cake is finished cooking, remove from the oven and place on a trivet.
- While the cake is in the oven, make the frosting by heating the butter, milk and cocoa in a saucepan, over medium low heat, until the butter is melted. Whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour in a bowl with the icing sugar and beat until it is a smooth and spreadable consistency. If needed, add some extra milk a little at a time, until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.
- Spread the frosting evenly on top of the sheet cake while the cake is still warm.
- Let the cake cool. Then slice and serve.