A mom's journal of the sweet things in her life...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Super Easy and Delicious Chocolate Sheet Cake

I was craving chocolate cake. But not the fancy kind. I just wanted a good old fashioned cake that was chocolate-y, moist, delicious, but super easy to throw together. No layers, no decorating, no frills whatsoever. Having posted several chocolate cakes that I love, you'd think I'd just use one of those recipes, right? Wrong. As all food bloggers can attest to, as successful as a recipe may have been in the past, and despite loving it, it is very, very hard to repeat a recipe. We like to try new stuff. It's a curse.
Despite the plainness of the cake that I was searching for, you'd be surprised how difficult it was to find a recipe that suited my mood. I didn't want it to come from a box with add-ins, and I didn't want to melt chocolate or dirty any more bowls than absolutely necessary. I eventually stumbled on a recipe that looked promising, albeit with a few tweaks. For instance, I added more cocoa powder, because I didn't want a weak tasting chocolate cake. I used coffee instead of water and doubled the vanilla for the same reason. I subbed brown sugar for half the white sugar to ensure moisture. I used sour cream instead of buttermilk because I didn't have any of the latter. I increased the salt for flavor, and I baked it in a 13 x 9 inch pan instead of the sheet pan called for in the recipe. Finally, I decided to go for a plain old butter cream frosting, instead of chocolate. Other than those small adjustments the recipe was exactly what I was looking for. For those who don't know me, that last sentence was dripping with sarcasm.

So how did my cake turn out? In a word...awesome. It was better than I'd hoped for. The mixing instructions are not typical - so I wasn't sure if it would be heavy and dense since I didn't use a mixer. But it came out perfect. Super moist, very chocolate (but not offensively so), with a nice, soft crumb. Plus, you only dirty one bowl and a saucepan. This will now be my go-to recipe for plain chocolate cake. Despite what I said earlier about never wanting to repeat a recipe. 

Recipe for Super Easy and Delicious Chocolate Sheet Cake
(loosely based on recipe from: Willow Bird Baking)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons cocoa, sifted
1 cup brewed coffee (or water)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk flour, baking soda, sugars, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter with vegetable oil, cocoa powder, and coffee and bring to boil. Pour over mixture of dry ingredients. Stir well, then add sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Pour into a 13 x 9 inch metal baking pan sprayed generously with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups of icing sugar, divided
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract.

Cream butter with 2 cups of icing sugar until fully incorporated. Add 2 Tbsp. of milk and the vanilla. Mix well. Add remaining cup of icing sugar and mix well. Add remaining milk, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency.


  1. YUMMM!! I could go for a big piece of this cake right now! Look delicious...I may just have to make a cake this week :)

  2. Haha. My family thinks I'm crazy because I can never just repeat a good recipe....need to try something new! :) That cake looks like just the thing for tonight......but dangerous. ;)


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