Chocolate Sheet Cake

Our favorite chocolate sheet cake recipe. It’s simple, moist, delicious and serves a lot making it our go-to party dessert – perfect with ice cream.

This is our most-requested dessert for family functions! This classic sheet cake is simple, moist and topped with an irresistible frosting making it great for holidays, BBQs and parties.

Chocolate Sheet Cake on plate

best-ever Sheet Cake

I think it’s pretty hard NOT to like cake. It’s just so good… and today’s recipe is probably the dessert that I consider the most addicting of any I’ve ever made before. It’s true – this Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake is the BEST EVER, and it’s easy (Also be sure to check out our White Sheet Cake recipe).

If you don’t believe me, just try it. I promise it will not disappoint. We got the recipe from a family friend years ago, and it quickly became a favorite.

This particular cake makes a lot, so it’s become a staple for get togethers and birthday parties (it’s big where the word Texas comes in). 😉 We change out the sprinkles based on the occasion and usually serve it with different kinds of ice cream. If you like chopped pecans you can add those too!

If I’m going to be honest, I can’t have this cake laying around at my house, because I will literally eat the whole pan. It’s just so soft, so flavorful and SO addicting!!

Sheet Cake Ingredients in bowls

How to Make Sheet cake:

Although this cake is made in a jelly-roll pan and is made with classic pantry ingredients, we omit the pecans which are classic in a Texas Sheet Cake recipe.

Can you add the pecans if you like them? Of course!! We just have so many kids in the family that sprinkles tend to get a better response than the nuts. But as I mentioned, we tend to have all these ingredients on hand which means we make this all the time!

To make this cake, mix the flour, sugar, Hershey’s baking cocoa, baking soda, and salt together. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk and hot water and mix all together.

Pour this into a greased jelly roll pan or an 11×15 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

While cake is still warm, make frosting by combining butter, cocoa, milk, vanilla and powdered sugar in a small pot. Heat and whisk until butter is melted and there are no more clumps. Pour over the warm cake and top with sprinkles right away before the frosting sets.

Can you add nuts? Of course! Most classic Texas sheet cake recipes have chopped pecans in the frosting. Our kids just happen to like sprinkles better so that is why we use them. 😉

Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake

Buttermilk Substitute

This recipe calls for buttermilk, but that is the one ingredient that many don’t always have on hand. Although there really isn’t anything that tastes JUST like buttermilk, there are plenty of buttermilk substitutes than you can use in a recipe.

    • Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup, and add enough milk until it measures 1 cup. Stir, and let sit for five minutes before using.
    • Whisk a bit of milk or water into plain, unsweetened yogurt until you get a buttermilk-like consistency (generally around ¼ liquid with ¾ cup yogurt).
    • Whisk together equal parts sour cream and water. This hack is particular good in Pancakes.
    • Whisk 1 ¾ teaspoons cream of tartar into one cup of milk.

Even though this cake may be the demise of any diet or healthy eating I’m trying to accomplish, it’s also my cheat treat! I really don’t think you can find a cake that is more soft or scrumptious!

How to store + FREEZE sheet cake?

STORING. If properly stored, which means tightly covered or in an air-tight container, sheet cake can last on the counter for up to 3 days. Place in the fridge and it should last for up to 1 week.

FREEZING. You can freeze sheet cake, but we recommend not frosting it. Wrap the cake with aluminum foil making sure none of the cake is exposed. Be sure to roll the foil seam slowly and press all the ends together to preserve its freshness, then place in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe on white plate

We love having friends and family over and typically turn to our sheet cakes to feed so many people. This is definitely one of our favorites, but be sure to check out the rest of the sheet cakes found on the site. They’re all delicious and feed a crowd.

For all my gluten-free friends, be sure to check out this Flourless Chocolate Cake.

For more sheet cake recipes, check out:

More Collections: Cakes That Feed A Crowd

Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe

5 from 28 votes
Our favorite chocolate sheet cake recipe. It's simple, moist, delicious and serves a lot making it our go-to party dessert - perfect with ice cream.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 24
Calories 223 kcal
Author Lil' Luna



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot water
  • cup vegetable oil


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cups powdered sugar sifted
  • sprinkles for topping (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • To make the cake, mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  • Add eggs, buttermilk, hot water and oil and beat together with a hand mixer until combined and smooth (it should be runny). Pour into a greased 11-x-15-inch baking dish.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • To make the frosting, melt butter in a medium pot over low heat. Add cocoa powder, milk and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.
  • Remove from the heat and pour over the warm cake. Spread frosting quickly and add sprinkles right away, since frosting sets up quickly.



Make Ahead: Make the cake as instructed, but do not add frosting. Once cool, cover with plastic wrap and store on the counter for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, make frosting and add it to the cake.
Feed a Crowd: This cake makes a lot, so it has become a staple for get-togethers and birthday parties in our house. We change out the sprinkles based on the occasion and usually serve it with different kinds of ice cream. If you like chopped pecans, you can add those too by mixing them into the frosting before spreading it onto the cake.

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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  1. I love your blog so much! yesterday was my birthday and I am going to make myself that cake today! Thanks!

    1. Yes, the recipe calls for buttermilk, but if you don’t have buttermillk you can use milk + 1 tsp. lemon juice – works great too. 🙂

  2. How many cups is a box of powdered sugar? They don’t sell “boxes of powdered sugar” in my area of Canada and I want to get the correct consistency.

  3. I made this cake the other day, and I must say it was REALLY GOOD. It was soft and tasty. Will make it again. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Yolanda. Glad to hear it was good… it’s one of our favorites to make for events because it makes a ton! 😉

  4. On the chocolate sheet cake recipe…..I was reading how to make the icing. What is one “cube” of butter? Is that a stick (1/2 cup)?


  5. If I’m making two half sheet cakes, can I still use this recipe and divide the batter in half? I’m making two half ones for a party and would love to use this recipe!

    1. I think it would be fine if you have sheet cake pans that are about half the size of a regular pan. I don’t have any so I’m not sure of the measurements. :/

  6. Hey there! I need a little help. In the recipe it calls for 1 cube of butter. How much is that translated to tablespoons?

    1. I would personally just make it, no more than a day in advanced. This is really so good..I hope you try it!

  7. 5 stars
    My most favorite chocolate cake recipe! You cant beat the moistness and chocolatey goodness of this cake. Everyone in my family loves this cake.

  8. 5 stars
    We love texas sheet cake. to make everyone happy, we do half the cake with nuts and half without. this is such a delicious moist cake an EVERYONE loves it!

  9. 5 stars
    Looks tasty but Would liek to ask i have half sheet cake pan with 2 inchs deep, so i think i should double the cakeningrs
    Is that right, thank you

    1. That is a good question?? I haven’t tried before. Since, it’s half the size, you probably don’t need to double it.

  10. 5 stars
    I have 6 siblings all who live within 10 miles of each other and Sunday dinners can be quite the production. I LOVE THIS CHOCOLATE SHEET CAKE Because not onLy Is it easy to maKe and feeds everyone its also yummy!!!

  11. 5 stars
    I love Chocolate Cake. This looks so delicious and the recipe is wonderful. I will try it for sure. Thanks.

    1. It’s in a paragraph above the recipe. You can use an 11×14 or a jelly roll pan. Hope that helps 🙂 Enjoy!!

  12. Had a lot of trouble. First…what was a cube of butter? We thought about 2 tablespoons off a 1/4 pound stick. But I wondered if that was enough for the frosting. Googled it. No, it’s 1/4 pound stick. Then the oven temperature. A 25º range, 350º to 375º What??? Then 4-6 Tablespoons cocoa and milk for the frosting. From 4 to 6 is a 50% difference. It was a frustrating mess. Didn’t focus in on the frosting recipe until the cake was in the oven.

  13. 5 stars
    I have an urgent question!! I’ve made this cake numerous times with complete success. I would like to make it tonight but I’m out of vegetable oil. could I use unflavored coconut oil instead?

    1. So, sorry I did not respond sooner! Did you try the coconut oil? I personally have not tried & would love to know what you thought. Thank you!

  14. When I was making this cake the batter came out a little watery.
    Is that typical? not sure if I did it right. hoping to impress my friends for a Valentine get together.
    Thanks I love the website.

    1. Awe, thank you!! It isn’t a thick, batter, but It’s not completely runny either. It’s in between. Did it turn out ok? I hope so!!

  15. Hi Kristyn, I am having problems with this recipe and I don’t know what I am doing wrong. First, I use the ingredients on the back of the lemon cake mix box, which is 1 cup water, 3 eggs, and 1/3 cup oil. Then I add the cup of but5termilk and other ingredients. I put in a 350 degree oven and bake, and bake and bake. It took almost 45 minutes in a 9 x 13 pan. May I should have used glass. At any rate, while it’s cooling, it just flops down to about an inch height, making me think that it fell. Then I make the icing, and when it’s done, it has a grainy texture which I attribute to the dry 2 tbsp of lemon jello mix. My friend loves this cake but I am always embarrassed to take it to her because I think it has fallen, but she says it’s so good and begs me to make it for her. With the info I’ve given you, can you tell me why the cake ends up an inch high when it comes out of the oven to the top of a sheet pan, about 2 inches? Help!

    1. Is this comment for the chocolate sheet cake? I’m thinking you meant it for another recipe..let me know, so I can see if I can help 🙂

  16. 5 stars
    Wow buddy!!! In this lock down period you helped me a lot… Thanks buddy.. I would like to try this tomorrow 🙂

  17. I decided to be cautious because my oven runs a little hot so i baked my cake at 350F for 20 min and when I checked on it it was still entirely liquid. So i bumped the heat up to 375F. I’m hoping it still turns our alright, ive never made a sheet cake before (but plenty of others with a hich success rate) so im just hoPing it was a temperature problem. The frosting is already done and tastes delicious.

  18. 5 stars
    Made this cake today to take to family dinner and it’s great. Very quick to put together too. I’ll definitely make this recipe again.

  19. Hi! I have a question…i swear i made this cake and loved it, especially the FROSTING but i don’t remember adding the VEGETABLE oIl. Is this a recebt change? Thanks!

    1. No, but I do have another chocolate cake on the site, that doesn’t have the veg oil. Could you have tried the other one?

  20. 5 stars
    Absolutely the best chocolate cake I have ever made. Very moist. Using oil in the cake instead of butter or shortening makes this cake so light & fluffy 🙂 I used my 17 inch by 11 inch jelly roll pan (1 Inch deep) and it just fit. Baked at 350 F for 20 minutes. I increased the Cocoa & milk a bit in the frosting as we prefer a deep rich chocolate flavor. Turned out fantastic! Will definitely be making this one again and again in the future. Another awesome Lil’ Luna recipe added to my growing collection of regular & favorite recipes in this house. Thank so much Kristyn & family.

    1. You can freeze sheet cake, but we recommend not frosting it. Wrap the cake with aluminum foil making sure none of the cake is exposed. Be sure to roll the foil seam slowly and press all the ends together to preserve its freshness, then place in the freezer for up to 2 months.

    1. I haven’t made these into cupcakes, but the time would be less. I would start checking them at 12-15 min. Hope that helps!

  21. 5 stars
    I made mine in a 13 x 9, but cooked it a bit longer, close to 30 minutes. I always test with a toothpick. This is the second time I have made it and it was wonderful. This time I made the icing as well which was nice a simple and tasty. Since I used a smaller pan, I made a bit less icing.

    This is my second go-to recipe from this site. The red enchilada sauce it excellent as well. I made the cake as I had buttermilk I was going have to toss, it was a hit all around!

  22. 5 stars
    Made this after my friend brought this to our church activity day group! Its so incredible. Moist but not too heavy and super easy to
    Throw together for a quick dessert!

  23. 5 stars
    Cake is not normally a go to in our home, but this recipe is amazing! We can’t stop eating it and it’s so simple to make.

  24. 5 stars
    Oh. My. Goodness!! This cake is absolutely amazing. I am mind blown! I am replacing this recipe with my old one!!

    1. Oh that’s good to know it turns out great with GF flour too. Thanks for sharing! So glad you enjoy the sheet cake.

  25. 5 stars
    This cake is amazing!!!! I have made several treats from Lil Luna and every recipe is SO good! It is my go-to when I want to try something new. You won’t be disappointed in any of the recipes!!

  26. I just made this recipe today and sadly, it was a hot mess. It raised as it baked and spilled over the sheet pan, falling to the bottom of the oven. The cake was a mess and my cleanup was even worse. I can not recommend this recipe and obviously will not use it again. The chocolate flavor was not very strong, from the little bits I ate from the pan. I’m very disappointed.

    1. Hi Lee! So sorry to hear you didn’t have a great experience with the recipe. Thanks for the feedback and for giving the recipe a try!

  27. 5 stars
    My favorite go to dessert! The texture always comes out perfect. Easy for a crowd and tastes sooooo good!