Chocolate Sheet Cake

Chocolate Sheet Cake

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My mom has had a recipe in her recipe box for a chocolate sheet cake for as long as I can remember. She kindly texted me a copy of it a few weeks ago when I really, really wanted to make a sheet cake. I thought it was a Texas sheet cake. It’s not, although it’s similar. Although I thought I wanted to make a Texas sheet cake, I trusted that I’d had and enjoyed this cake before, so I went ahead with it.

slices of chocolate sheet cake on plates, and the cake in the pan, seen from overhead

It’s been a while since I’ve tried a recipe that wasn’t published online or in a cookbook, so I was a little nervous. However, the cake was delicious. It’s basically a frosted brownie. I inadvertently halved the oil in the cake, but it still came out very moist and stayed moist for a week.  The cake itself was tender and chocolatey; it’s a definite keeper.  Our least favorite part was the icing, which came out sugary – crystalline and fragile. The cake definitely needs a light icing, and although this one provided just the right amount of coverage and kept the cake from drying out. I’ll try a ganache next time for a better texture.

chocolate sheet cake, slices on plates, with pan in the background

Although when I first shared this recipe in 2016, I was less than enamored with the icing, it’s grown on me. I think I originally overcooked it back then – since you’re dissolving sugar on the stove, you need to go a little gently. Or perhaps not quite – I cranked up the heat to high to just get the icing done with as quickly as possible. I also tried to cook it as little as possible. The result was a crackly icing top that seemed almost syrupy underneath.

chocolate sheet cake on plates, with a bite on a fork

If you’d like something else that makes a large sheet pan, try Fudgy Butterscotch Bars. For rich brownies, try Fudge Brownies.

Like this recipe or have questions? Rate it or leave a comment below!

In the past:

Two Years Ago: Hamburger and Brat Buns

Three Years Ago: Lime Curd Tart

Four Years Ago: Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

Five Years Ago: Hot Tamales

Six Years Ago: Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pancakes, Pecan Blondies

Chocolate Sheet Cake
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr

A southern chocolate sheet cake, with a sugary chocolate icing. As much iced brownie as cake! 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brownies, brownies with icing, chocolate cake, chocolate sheet cake
Servings: 24
Calories: 226 kcal
Author: Leona Konkel
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (180 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar (396 grams)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (40 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (112 grams) (original called for 1 cup, but it's fine with just 1/2 cup)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water (60 grams)
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons milk (90 grams)
  • 1 cup sugar (198 grams)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (85 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and whisk well to combine. Add nuts if using. Pour into a greased jelly roll (15-inch) pan. Bake at 325F for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.

  1. Combine butter, milk, and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Add chocolate chips and vanilla. Keep over low heat and stir until chocolate chips are melted. Pour onto cake and let cool before serving.

Recipe Notes

I've cut the oil in half in this recipe, and it's a thin cake, so do not overbake. If your oven runs hot, check on the cake at 20 minutes. 

(Recipe, text, and photos updated in October 2018.)

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