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Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake

This Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake is an irresistibly moist, tender, and decadent one-bowl chocolate cake. With chocolate cream cheese frosting, this cake recipe is an winner!

easy chocolate e sheet cake slice on a plate.
This Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake is our go-to party cake. It’s tender, chocolatey, and super easy to make!

Video: Watch Us Make this Recipe

Why This Recipe Stands Out

Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake (which we also all chocolate dump cake) is the perfect party cake. Why this recipe works:

  • Serves a Crowd: This recipe makes a whopping 20 servings, meaning it’s the perfect crowd-pleaser for birthdays, holidays, or any gathering menu.
  • Tender and Moist: Chocolate sheet cake is luxuriantly soft, tender, and chocolatey thanks to the help of a few secret ingredients.
  • The Frosting: Not only is the cake itself packed with dark chocolate, it’s also covered in homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting – making it one of our best chocolate recipes.
  • One-Bowl Easy: Just like our recipe for Easy Apple Cake, all you need is one-bowl for this dump cake, which means super easy clean up: something we’re all about!

What Is A Dump Cake?

A dump cake is a super easy method of cake baking where all you need to do is mix the ingredients together and dump them into a baking tray. Once the cake is finished, there’s no need to remove it from the baking tray, you can just frost it and cut slices straight out of it. We love how easy this chocolate dump cake is to whip up for any special occasion!

Key Recipe Ingredients

  • Dark Chocolate – Use the best (seriously the best) dark chocolate you can get ahold of. Chopped dark chocolate is the key that unlocks the rich, deep, chocolatey flavors of this chocolate sheet cake.
  • Butter – We use unsalted butter for that rich, buttery flavor and dense, moist texture.
  • Instant Coffee Granules – Instead of giving the cake a coffee-flavor, these instant granules bring out the taste of the chocolate even more. Decaf is fine too!
  • Real Buttermilk – Buttermilk’s acidity makes it an expert at tenderizing sweet treats and balancing flavors in desserts.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting – Our homemade frosting recipe uses cream cheese, cocoa powder, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a dash of salt. It compliments this cake perfectly!

Substitutions And Variations

Here’s a few of our favorite substitutions for this sheet cake:

  • Butter vs. Oil: If you’d like to swap out the butter in this recipe, we recommend using coconut oil. Since it’s solid at room temperature, it will give you similar results as butter.
  • Buttermilk Substitute: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own substitute in a pinch. Our favorite way is to mix 1 TB of distilled vinegar into one cup of whole milk. But there are dozens of buttermilk substitutes.
  • Frosting: Feel free to use your favorite kind of frosting for this recipe. For a vanilla cream cheese frosting, check out our recipe for the Best Carrot Cake. Another one of our favorite toppings for any cake recipe is this Stabilized Whipped Cream. You can also never go wrong with a classic vanilla or chocolate buttercream.
  • Toppings: Add some colorful sprinkles, shaved chocolate, a sprinkle of powdered sugar, or a drizzle of this 4-Ingredient Salted Caramel Sauce for a truly spectacular finish.

Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, dark chocolate, butter, water, and coffee granules until melted together. Let cool slightly.
  2. Whisk in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.
  1. Slowly sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the saucepan, whisking gently to combine.
  2. Pour cake batter into greased pan and spread into an even layer. Bake at 375F for 30 to 40 minutes.
  1. Make the frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Sift in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add vanilla. Beat until frosting is smooth and whipped.
  2. Once cake has completely cooled, spread frosting evenly over the top. Enjoy!

For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.

Prep Ahead Strategies

Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake is really quick and painless as cakes go, but we have a few strategies to make it even easier. Here’s our best prep ahead strategies:

  • Mix Dry Ingredients: As with any recipe, you can always measure and mix all the dry ingredients (except the sugar) far in advance. Just store them in an airtight container at room temp until ready to use.
  • Make the Frosting: This cream cheese frosting will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week. So, feel free to make it in advance. You may just need to let it soften at room temperature after chilling to get it spreadable.
  • Store the Cake: Chocolate cake will stay fresh and moist in the fridge for up to 3 days. It also freezes super well, staying best for up to 3 months in the freezer. So, feel free to make the entire cake (plus frosting) in advance.
easy chocolate sheet cake close up.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is the secret to a super moist cake?

There are a few key strategies for a divinely moist chocolate cake. First, we like to use buttermilk instead of regular milk as it does an amazing job tenderizing and adding tangy flavor. Second, do not over-mix the cake batter. Always mix cake batter just until no flour streaks remain. Third, make sure not to over-bake your cake. Just bake it until a toothpick inserted comes out not completely clean, but with just a few crumbs attached. Lastly, we use chopped chocolate bars instead of dry cocoa powder. This automatically increases the moisture of the cake.

Can I substitute the chocolate chunks for cocoa powder in this recipe?

We don’t recommend skimping on the chocolate for this one. Chopped dark chocolate makes all the difference in creating the most rich, velvety, tender, and extremely chocolatey cake. Plus, swapping to cocoa powder will mess with the texture leaving the cake too dry.

Can I make this cake into cupcakes?

Yes! This recipe would make for great cupcakes. For tips and cooking times for chocolate cupcakes check out our recipe for the World’s Best Chocolate Oatmeal Cupcakes.

What’s a good birthday cake recipe for yellow cake lovers?

If you’re baking for a yellow cake lover, check out our recipe for Tender Yellow Cake with Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting.

Can I leave this cake out at room temperature?

While the cake itself will stay fresh at room temperature for about 2 days, the cream cheese frosting should be kept chilled. If your cake is frosted, you’ll want to store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Otherwise, you can chill frosting separately and frost the cake just before serving.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

easy chocolate e sheet cake slice on a plate.

Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake

5 from 21 ratings
This Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake is an irresistibly moist, tender, and decadent one-bowl chocolate cake. Together with the chocolate cream cheese frosting, this cake recipe is a winner.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 20 servings
Author: Amy Dong


For the Cake:

For the Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting:


For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 375F with rack on lower middle position. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, dark chocolate, butter, water, and coffee granules. Occasionally stir until mixture is melted smoothly together. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  • Whisk in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the pot in three additions, whisking gently to combine after each addition. Mixture will be liquidy.
  • Pour the batter into the greased pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean, 30 to 40 minutes (a few tender crumbs attached is perfect.) Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting

  • Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Sift in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add vanilla. Mix on low speed at first, as powdered sugar can fly upwards; increase to medium-high speed and beat until frosting is smooth and whipped, about 1 minute.
  • Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cooled cake.


  • If you prefer, instead of using 1 TB instant coffee granules, substitute with 1 cup of very strong brewed coffee/espresso in place of the water. We highly recommend using either the instant coffee granules or brewed coffee, as it enhances the chocolate flavor of the cake – it will not taste like coffee at all.
  • Frosted cake will stay fresh and tender in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • For an extra fluffy, delicious topping check out our recipe for Stabilized Whipped Cream.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating. We ❤️ hearing from you! 
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Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 335mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 483IU | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: Bake

More To Bake And Eat

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  • Flourless Chocolate Tort – Velvety, rich, and decadent, this flourless chocolate tort is a naturally gluten-free dessert that no one can turn down.
  • Chocolate Zucchini Bread – This sweet, tender chocolate zucchini bread is surprisingly healthy with zucchini, whole grains, and coconut oil.
  • Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake – Chocolate mousse cake is the ultimate chocolate-lover’s dream come true. It’s rich, creamy, and oh-so-chocolatey!

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