Chocolate Sheet Cake With Berry Frosting

This Chocolate Sheet Cake With Berry Frosting is a simple and elegant sheet cake that is perfect for feeding a crowd at your next gathering or party.

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Chocolate Sheet Cake slice on stack of plates with gold cutlery

Hiiii! I’m back after a little summer break and it feels so good to be back. I know, I should have mentioned that I was going to go a little quiet for a few weeks but I figured that it was the end of summer and you all are super busy doing your own things as well so I wouldn’t even be missed. And I was *mostly* right — my stats tell me that you have still been checking in and that I even have some newcomers (hi!), which I’m stoked about.

Where did we even leave off last? Since I’ve last wrote, I’ve turned 27 (!!!) which feels super weird. I have this very distinct memory of being 22, going to a friend’s 27th birthday, and sitting their thinking ‘wow! Where will I be at 27?’. I remember contemplating it over eating cake and trying to visualize what would be different for me at 27: surely I wouldn’t still be living in the Midwest (I am and grow fonder of it everyday), would I still be with Wyatt? (yup), Tuko will be so old by then (and he’s still just a big ball of boxer energy).

As usual, I thought I’d have it all figured out by now, but I’m still flying by the seat of my pants (as they say). I told my mom that I didn’t feel like an adult at our lunch date a few weeks ago and she told me she still feels like that sometimes. I found her comment very reassuring — there is still always time to reinvent myself at any age.

To celebrate my birthday, we hosted a little grill out a few weeks ago and I whipped up this homemade chocolate sheet cake for the occasion. I’ve never made a sheet cake before and kind of am now obsessed with its simplicity and ability to feed a crowd with minimal effort. I didn’t hold back at all by trying to ‘healthify’ this up in any way because sometimes you just have to treat yo’ self, ya know? Also, I crushed up freeze dried raspberries and sprinkled the dust on top of the frosting (instead of using sprinkles) and it was a total showstopper.

overhead view of slice of Chocolate Sheet Cake on stack of plates with gold cutlery

What’s Needed for Chocolate Sheet Cake?

Don’t let the pretty looks deceive you, this chocolate cake from scratch is so easy to make! Here’s what goes into this recipe:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Whole wheat flour
  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Cocoa powder
  • Water
  • Whole milk
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Blackberry jam
  • Powdered sugar
  • Freeze dried raspberries (optional)

How to Make Chocolate Sheet Cake

I’ve given detailed instructions on how to make this easy homemade chocolate cake in the recipe card below, but here are the basics:

  1. Place butter, cocoa, and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk often until butter has melted and the mixture is glossy. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.
  3. Pour all of the wet ingredients into the dry (including the cocoa-butter mixture). Mix until combined.
  4. Turn the batter into a greased sheet pan and bake until done.
  5. Once the chocolate sheet cake has cooled, make the frosting and dive in!
slice of Chocolate Sheet Cake on stack of dark gray plates

What Size Sheet Pan Should I Use?

I used a 12 x 16-inch baking sheet. It should have some decent edges so that the batter doesn’t fall out. Here is the one I used (the website calls it a jelly sheet in the link, but it has the same height as my other cookie sheets).

Can I Make Chocolate Sheet Cake in Advance?

Yes, you can bake the simple chocolate cake recipe, let it cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap. You can either freeze it for later, or frost it the next day. (Wait to make the frosting until the day of for best results!).

Tips for Making a Chocolate Sheet Cake

You want to use regular unsweetened cocoa powder for this homemade chocolate cake recipe, not Dutch process.

Feel free to use a different kind of jam in the frosting. I used blackberry jam since that’s what I had on hand, but any berry jam will do.

Also, you’re welcome to use a totally different frosting altogether! Classic vanilla buttercream, chocolate frosting, peanut butter frosting, strawberry frosting, or caramel frosting would all work here too. I mean, what doesn’t taste good with chocolate sheet cake?!

Want More Easy Cake Recipes?

Chocolate Sheet Cake With Berry Frosting
This Chocolate Sheet Cake With Berry Frosting is a simple and elegant sheet cake that is perfect for feeding a crowd at your next gathering or party. /// Slightly adapted from New York Times
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Servings: 15 Servings
Calories: 558 kcal
Author: Shelly Westerhausen
Ingredients
  • 16 Tbsp unsalted butter , plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , plus more for dusting the pan
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp . vanilla
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter , room temperature
  • 1/2 cup blackberry jam
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Crushed dried raspberries , for dusting (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and dust a baking sheet with butter and flour.
  2. Place butter, cocoa, and 1 1/2 cups of water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk often until butter has melted and the mixture is glossy. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Make a well in the center and pour in cocoa mixture, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk all wet ingredients until combined and then slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet until a thick batter has formed.
  4. Transfer batter into prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. For the frosting: Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and jam together until incorporated, about one minute. With the mixer on medium-low, slowly add in powdered sugar until a thick frosting has formed.
  6. Spread icing over chocolate cake and then dust with rasberry dust (if using).
  7. Slice and serve.
Comment

4 Comments

  • Abby @ Heart of a Baker
    September 14, 2016

    Happy belated birthday Shelly! Its crazy how it seems like a certain age is so far away, but then all of a sudden sneaks up on you in no time. I remember thinking that 28 was SO old and here I am, 28 and still not feeling like an adult 🙂

  • Laura
    September 14, 2016

    Hi there! My birthday is coming up next week and at our office, you’re supposed to bring in treats for your birthday (which I always thought was a little backwards, but whatever). This looks like an easy thing to bring, and way easier than a similar multi-layer cake I attempted a few years back! I wonder thought what size baking pan you recommend. I know it says baking “sheet” – but you don’t mean like a cookie sheet, right?
    Thanks!

    • Shellywest
      Laura
      September 14, 2016

      Happy early bday, Laura! Yes – so much easier than the layer cake (which I always tackle and then don’t even want cake after all the frosting and batter I’ve ate waiting for it to be ready). I used a 12 x 16 baking sheet and I do mean a cookie sheet! It should have the some decent edges so that the batter doesn’t fall out. Here is the one I used (it calls it a jelly sheet in the link but it has the same height as my other cookie sheets) – http://www.houzz.com/photos/26598676/Enamelware-Rectangular-Tray-Jelly-Roll-Pan-White-and-Black-Rim-traditional-cookie-sheets. Hope that helps!

      • Laura
        Shellywest
        September 14, 2016

        Thanks! I think my cookie sheets are all edgeless, but maybe I will experiment with using a brownie-type pan… Or cupcakes! 😀

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