Chocolate sheet cake is the way to go when you’re baking for a crowd. Moist chocolate cake, thick ganache frosting ~ it’s a guaranteed hit!
I make an awful lot of desserts in the Great Island kitchen. Not all of them make it to publication. Not all of them are even my style. But nothing is more ‘me‘ than chocolate cake. If I’m going to indulge, chocolate cake is at the top of the list, so I get pretty excited when I can post a new recipe to my collection. I love this chocolate sheet cake so much I can barely stand to look at the photos. All I can think about is plunging a fork into a piece. If you feel the same way you’ll be glad to know this cake is a breeze to make. Just whisk it all together in one bowl. And because this recipe is so easy I think it could unseat the current most popular chocolate cake on my site! I’ll let you be the judge.
what you’ll need for this chocolate sheet cake
- brewed coffee
- you won’t taste it, but coffee brings out the chocolate flavor and gives it depth. I use the same effect in my Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. It’s a great trick.
- vegetable oil
- any mild vegetable oil will do, but speaking of olive oil cakes, you can use a mild olilve oil, too.
- unsweetened cocoa powder, I used Ghirardelli, just make sure you buy unsweetened cocoa powder.
- I use apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar is another good choice.
- vanilla extract
- salt and baking soda
what you’ll need for the ganache frosting
Ganache is a rich and smooth mixture of chocolate and cream. The process of making ganache involves heating the cream until scalded (not boiling), and then pouring it over chopped chocolate. The heat from the cream melts the chocolate, and the mixture is stirred until smooth and glossy. Pour it over your chocolate sheet cake and smooth it out with an offset spatula ~ it’s probably my favorite cake topping!
- heavy cream
- corn syrup
- corn syrup is not an essential ingredient in ganache, but it does add a nice glossy sheen.
chocolate sheet cake faqs
I don’t drink coffee, what can I substitute?
- You can use water, or maybe brewed tea!
Can I make this cake vegan?
- Yes, the cake itself is vegan. For the frosting you can substitute coconut cream or non dairy creamer instead of the heavy cream, and use a dairy free chocolate. Or make a vegan buttercream.
Why is there vinegar in this cake recipe?
- This type of cake originated during the Great Depression in the 1930s when baking powder was relatively expensive and not easily accessible. People started using vinegar combined with baking soda as an alternative leavening agent. When vinegar reacts with baking soda, it creates carbon dioxide gas, which helps the cake rise and become lighter and fluffier. This is so effective it’s still used today!
Can I make this cake into cupcakes?
- Yes. They won’t take long to bake, check them at 12 minutes.
Chocolate Sheet Cake
- 9×13 pan
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray your 9×13 pan with baking spray.
- In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, coffee, oil, cocoa powder, vinegar, vanilla and salt.
- Whisk in the baking soda, and then the flour. The batter will be thin.
- Turn the batter into your prepared pan and give it a rap on the counter to bring bubbles to the surface.
- Bake for 30 minutes. This cake bakes fast, so be careful not to over bake. The center will feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out without wet batter on it (moist crumbs are fine.) Put the cake on a rack to cool.
- After the cake has cooled for at least 30 minutes, make the ganache. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Scald the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan and then pour over the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir to melt the chocolate and create the silky ganache. Stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the ganache over the warm cake and spread out with an offset spatula. Allow the ganache to set up before slicing.
- Leftover cake can be kept on the counter or refrigerated.