Classic Yellow Sheet Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting is for birthdays, special treats, family dinners, and that first cookout of the year. It’s a simple yellow butter cake with the ultimate chocolate frosting!
Nothing compares to a homemade cake and yes, of course, homemade frosting. It’s just a fact. Don’t go dragging out a pitiful boxed mix when you can whip this one up in no time at all.
And remember, baking can calm you during these crazy times, and hungry (or bored) kids would love a little homemade treat. Maybe you’ve got a family birthday coming up, or…why am I trying to rationalize this? Great cake needs no excuse, just make it!
Given the choice, I’ll always choose cake. And when it comes to cake, a sheet cake is probably the easiest way to go. When it comes to frosting, I choose chocolate, and better make that a dense, fudgy frosting, none of that whipped light-as-air stuff for me. And don’t get me started on the flavor…cheap imitation chocolate is a crime!
I’m going to dispense with the chit-chat and get right to the point, this cake is easy to make, has a lovely texture, and a weighty chocolate frosting that is pretty much the gold standard for chocolate frostings. No schmancy ingredients, just the basics: butter, sugar, chocolate, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and a little milk. I bet you’ve got them all in the pantry.
The frosting is made with melted chocolate, and I think that’s what makes it so special. I used dark chocolate chips, but you can splurge with whatever chocolate you love. The original recipe comes from my mom’s recipe box and it’s seen us through countless birthdays, so it’s tried and true.
How does homemade cake compare to a boxed mix?
First I’ll say right off the bat I’m not opposed to boxed mixes, they have a time and place, and they work fine. My brand choice is Duncan Hines and I always keep a mix or two in my cupboard for emergencies.
- Homemade cake tends to have a denser crumb than boxed mixes. Boxed cake is very fluffy and airy, actually unnaturally so, due to all the chemicals in the mix. I now associate the richer texture with homemade cake, and prefer it.
- Cake mix cakes tend to rise higher than homemade, again, due to the supercharged leaveners and other chemicals added to them.
- Homemade cake has better flavor. Good flavoring like vanilla extract or quality cocoa powder is expensive, and boxed mixes skimp on it.
- Boxed cake will stay moist longer than homemade. I’m careful not to cut my cake until I’m ready to serve it, and try to keep it under foil or a dome for storage.
- Box mix cakes are foolproof, they always come out the same. Homemade cake can be a crap shoot, let’s just get it out there. That’s why it’s so important to find a recipe you like and stick to it.
- Homemade cake is more natural, and less processed than cake mix, which gives it the edge, in my book.
When it comes to frosting, always, always, ALWAYS! make it homemade. End of discussion.
Feed them what they want ~ snack cake!
- Blueberry Zucchini Snack Cake
- Cold Chocolate Snacking Cake
- Pumpkin Crunch Cake
- Cranberry Breakfast Cake
Yellow Sheet Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 6 ounces dark chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted (measure before sifting)
- 7-9 Tbsp milk, half and half, or cream
- 1 1/2 cups (298 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 cup buttermilk, milk, or half and half
- Preheat oven to 350F Butter a 9×13 pan. ( I line with parchment paper so I can lift the cooled cake out for easier frosting, but that's optional)
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each one, and at the end to get it all smooth and silky. Scrape down that bowl as you go!
- Blend in the extract, baking powder, and salt. Lower the mixer speed and blend in half the flour, then the milk, and then the rest of the flour. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and spread out evenly, if necessary.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched, or a toothpick comes out without wet batter on it. Let the cake cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes, and then, if you've used parchment paper, gently lift it out to cool completely.
- While the cake cools, make the frosting. Melt the butter in the microwave. Add the chips and stir until completely smooth and glossy. If they don't melt completely, microwave for short 15 second bursts, stirring in between, but don't over heat. You can do this in a saucepan on the stove, too, but remember to melt the butter first.
- Add the extract and salt, and then beat in the sugar and enough milk to make a thick, spreadable frosting. I like to do this in my stand mixer, but you can do it with hand held electric beaters if you like. If your frosting is too thick, add more milk, a little at a time.
- Frost the cake only when completely cooled. Swoop it dramatically with your spreading knife, or the back of a spoon.