The Magic of Chocolate Sheet Cake

choc sheet cake piece

The first time I made chocolate sheet cake for TheRoomDad, I brought it with us to tailgate at a college football game. When TheRoomDad’s friend took his first bite, his knees got weak. Since that tasting, I have shared the cake at many group events. Last year, I brought the cake to the retirement party of the beloved receptionist at our school. I originally baked a glazed lemon cake for the event, but this happened.

lemon cake failSo, I baked the chocolate sheet cake as a back up. People again had to grab onto something for support after the first bite hit their lips. It’s that good. There are many recipes available for chocolate sheet cake. I checked. The Pioneer Woman has a no-fail version that uses butter. My recipe uses margarine. You may also see versions of something called Texas sheet cake that are basically the same thing. I have not compared the recipe I currently use to the one my mom always used, but I am sure they would be close– fudgy cake, frosting that absorbs into the top layer while the cake is hot, a little pecan crunch to balance the moistness of the cake. Heaven. We had friends join us for Easter dinner last weekend, and I dusted off the recipe and served a slice of sheet cake to everyone with a scoop of vanilla or coffee ice cream. It did not disappoint.

choc sheet cake finishedIngredients

  • 2 c. flour
  • 4 T. cocoa
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. margarine (2 sticks)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. granulated sugar

Cake Directions

  • Sift together flour, sugar, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.

choc sheet cake dry ingredients

  • Boil water, margarine, and cocoa until melted stirring to combine. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix well.

choc sheet cake margarine

  • Add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well.

choc sheet cake batter

  • Place in a greased 10 x 15 in. sheet cake pan and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
  • Prepare frosting while the cake is baking and pour the frosting over the cake while it is hot (important!).

choc sheet cake frosting pouredFrosting

  • 1/2 c. margarine (1 stick)
  • 6 T. buttermilk
  • 4 T. cocoa
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. chopped pecans
  • 1 (1-lb) box powdered sugar

Frosting Directions

  • Bring margarine, buttermilk, and cocoa to a boil in a medium pan.
  • Add vanilla, nuts, and sifted powdered sugar. Mix well. It will seem to dry at first but keep mixing.

choc sheet cake frosting

  • Pour over the hot cake. Gently spread close to the edges with a spatula. The heat of the cake will help the frosting spread to the edges.

choc sheet cake piece close

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5 thoughts on “The Magic of Chocolate Sheet Cake

  1. Looks fabulous. I am partial to Cooks Illustrated’s chocolate sheet cake but this one has me intrigued. What’s your thought on cocoa. I only use Dutch processed these days. You?

    • I have always used the basic Hershey’s cocoa. I pretty much only have this one recipe that needs the unsweetened cocoa. I should try the Dutch processed to see if it tastes even better! How does your recipe compare to this one? Butter or margarine? I made Pioneer Woman’s with butter, and I don’t think the frosting set up as well (she also calls for more than 1/2 c. of butter in the frosting).

      • Oh! You should TOTALLY try Dutch processed. It makes a HUGE difference. The CI cake melts in your mouth as well. It uses butter (I am a stickler for the real stuff) and uses some semisweet chocolate in addition to the cocoa. And it doesn’t have an icing component like yours.

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