Traditional recipes

Easy Sheet Cake with Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting

Easy Sheet Cake with Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting

Meet your new favorite birthday cake.


  1. Place a rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°. Smear room-temperature butter all over bottom and sides of a 13x9" baking dish (metal or glass is okay) with your fingertips. Sprinkle a light dusting of flour into pan, then shake pan to coat all over; tap out excess flour.

  2. Whisk 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. baking soda, and remaining 3¼ cups flour in a large bowl.

  3. Whisk 2 eggs, 5 egg yolks, 1¼ cups buttermilk, 2 Tbsp. oil, and 1 Tbsp. vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.

  4. Cut 2 sticks butter into 1" pieces and add to bowl with dry ingredients. (Now's a good time to make sure your butter is really at room temp—as in, you should be able to make an impression in the butter with your finger. If it's too firm, you won't be able to properly incorporate it into the flour.) Using an electric mixer on low speed, slowly increasing speed to medium, beat until butter is worked into dry ingredients and mixture looks like coarse meal, 4–5 minutes. There shouldn't be any dry flour or visible chunks of butter at this point.

  5. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in half of buttermilk mixture. Starting on low speed and slowly increasing to medium, beat until all of flour mixture is hydrated.

  6. Add remaining buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed until liquid is incorporated. Increase speed to high and beat until mixture is satiny smooth, light, and thick, about 1 minute.

  7. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth into corners in an even layer.

  8. Bake cake until top is golden brown, firm to the touch, and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 45–55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

  9. Make icing while cake cools. Using electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 6 oz. cream cheese and remaining 1½ sticks butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

  10. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, ¼ cup cocoa powder, and remaining ¾ tsp. salt and beat again, scraping down sides of bowl, until completely smooth.

  11. Add remaining 1 tsp. vanilla and continue to beat until fluffy and lightened in color, another minute.

  12. Smooth icing over top of cooled cake (it should not be at all warm to the touch, or else the icing will melt).

  13. Top cake with sprinkles, if desired. Cut into pieces and serve.

  14. Do Ahead: Cake can be baked and frosted 2 days ahead. Chill until icing is solid, then cover with plastic wrap and keep chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Related Video

Easy Yellow Sheet Cake with Quick Chocolate Frosting

Reviews SectionReally classic cake; taste is very classic, white cake with chocolate frosting, what more could you ask for except maybe some good ice cream on the side XD. It was perfect for my mothers birthday. Super retro and fun because it was made with love and brought back good memories. Thanks Claire.apalafo6San Mateo, CA07/12/20This was my first attempt at a cake from scratch in hopes of graduating it to a layered birthday cake for my grandma. And lemme tell ya I loved it! I can't stop eating it. I ate six pieces in a day I'm genuinely worried for my health. It's gotten to the point that I can't look at the pan in fear that I'll want another piece. When I wake up in the morning it's the first thing I think about. The frosting's perfectly tangy and sweet and chocolate-y. The cake is sweet and tender and stays pretty moist if you don't happen to finish it the day it's made. Just cover it. Also don't let me fool ya I still haven't finished it in three days despite my monster cravings, so yea, the recipe makes nice amount of cake. I made it a second time and made a careless mistake of putting all the butter in the cake, but it only came out a little dense not too bad tho. So if you wanted to know you can add up to a 1-1/4 cup butter and you'll still be a note-worthy baker at the book club. As for your arteries I cannot say...happy baking y'all!Ivonne ValenzuelaShreveport, LA05/31/20Loved it. Very fluffy, moist but rich cake, with frosting that kind of reminds me of chocolate soft-serve ice cream in both flavor and texture. I thought the saltiness was just right; I used salted butter and just a little less kosher salt than the cake and frosting called for. I also made it into a layer cake with two 9-inch round pans lined with parchment, filled about halfway, and made 3 cupcakes with the left over batter. If making a layer cake like this, I would definitely make sure not to fill the pans more than halfway, as mine domed quite a bit. Thank you, Claire!Ruby VaughnProvidence 05/31/20I've been making yellow cake for years, using different recipes (my mom's, Baking Illustrated, trying a few of my own) and this is one might replace them all. I didn't have buttermilk, so I used 1 overflowing Tbsp of lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and poured in whole milk until it reached the 1 1/4 c mark. When my buttermilk substitute didn't look curdled after 5 minutes, it made me wonder if my lemons weren't acidic enough, so I threw in an extra 1/2 tsp of white vinegar to the egg and milk mixture just to be safe. This is the only modification I made, and the cake turned out near perfect (moist, fluffy, super tender). Despite the rave reviews for the frosting, I actually didn't love it because I thought the cream cheese made it too sour. If I could rate the cake recipe separately, I'd give it 5 stars.AnonymousChicago, IL05/25/20I don't know why there is so many negative reviews with this recipe because personally I didn't find the cake was dry at all! The cream cheese frosting was perfect and really one of the few icing I didn't find overly sweet. One of the biggest downfall for a cake is if it ends up being overly sweet (like one of those Costo cakes) but this recipe was well balanced and I can actually eat a second piece! I'm not a baker so this cake was a lot of work to me, but would definitely make again on a special occasion.Sooooo good. Tender, buttery cake and the frosting is die for. This will be my go-to chocolate frosting from now on.Not sure why there are a lot of bad reviews about it not turning out....the instructions are very clear and it's a pretty simple recipe, people!This is probably the second best homemade cake I’ve ever made. It’s moist and fluffy. The icing is fantastic. I’m going to try and make it again as a layer cake. No idea where the bad reviews come from. Read the recipe and watch the video. If you follow the directions you’ll have a delicious and incredibly easy cake.I tried a chocolte version of this cake (just replacing about 10% of flour with cocoa powder) and it came out pretty well, the texture is a bit different, denser and heavier than regular butter cake or pound cake and maybe it is a bit less moist but it depends of course on how much you beat the batter (I used hand mixer) and how much time you bake, in any case, the texture was fine, just a bit different but good.I think 45 min. baking is a bitt too long though, at least for my electric oven. I baked for 45 min., no air, preheated at 325F and the cake had already some signs of burns, maybe 35-40 min. would be a good starting time and then test if need more.Jose GrosArgentina05/08/20the most dry and crumbly cake I’ve ever had. This is the 2nd BA recipe I made that was a complete fail. First was Chris’s brown butter cookies that had no taste what so ever, now this cake that’s drier than the Sahara desert.This is the last Claire recipe I'll try. It's a step above crappy school cafeteria cake but not a big step. I've had bad experiences with her recipes in the past by my roommate loves her so I said I'll give her one more try and figured if she couldn't convey a simple cake then that'd be enough for me to move on and so I will.I was very curious about the reverse creaming method, so I decided to give it a try: but it’s not a good cake, the texture is not right, it’s dry and i see no advantage to reverse creaming.The frosting it’s okay, not super sweet.Ana TorresPortugal05/01/20I don't bake much but thought I'd give this a go! The cake turned out well, super dense and high, but nice and moist and not too sweet. The frosting was unusual but good, but together the cake and frosting don't work for me. They're just both too savory. The kosher salt in the frosting also seems odd - resulted in some very unevenly salty bites.Okay I only made the frosting from this recipe, following comments on the BA birthday cake about that frosting being bad. So I thought I'd combine the chocolate birthday cake with this frosting. Absolute winner, this frosting is DELICIOUS. I could (and will) eat it with a spoon! I'll be saving this frosting recipe to try on top of some other cakes but it works perfectly with Chris'/Kat's birthday choc sponge.oh my goodness this cake was DELICIOUS!! I was somewhat nervous after reading all the reviews, but i trust any recipe that Claire puts out completely so I decided to make it anyway, and i’m so glad I did. the cake was so light and fluffy, tasted amazing and not too sweet like some boxed cake mixes. the frosting on top was a perfect complement. honestly don’t understand the poor results that some people experienced below...maybe they used salted butter? or the buttermilk used had extra added salt? regardless, this was amazing and you absolutely should make it—just measure well, have all the ingredients at room temperature, have the proper sized baking sheet, and follow the recipe exactly!! thank you, Claire!This recipe is phenomenal!! I’ve been a huge fan of Claire for over a year now and was waiting for the perfect time to try one of her recipes. Well, a few days ago social distancing left my mom without a birthday cake, so naturally I decided to give this recipe a go. It did not disappoint! I read some of the reviews while the cake was baking and got nervous that it would turn out too cornbready or too salty. However, if you follow the recipe (don’t use salted butter) and measure your ingredients properly (especially the flour), the cake turns out beautifully. It is dense, but the frosting complements the texture and taste of the cake so well. In summery, my mother LOVED the cake, and I will be using this cake recipe for every birthday from now on because it was THAT FREAKIN DELICIOUS! Thank you, thank you, thank you Claire!!!StephaniemacielOttawa, Ontario04/16/20I didn't make the cake but the frosting is perfection. Truly.AnonymousLas Vegas04/15/20Ended up making this mainly because I was curious to see how it would turn out given the polarised reviews! I guess I'm one of the few people for which this cake was just middle-of-the-road fine. I didn't have any issues with it bubbling over, coming out dry, or tasting like cornbread. For me, it just tastes like a normal homemade yellow cake. Which isn't really a criticism because that's all the recipe purports to be. The frosting wasn't my favourite, but it's pleasant. By no means am I discounting the negative reviews below, and my guess is that something about this recipe must make it very sensitive to discrepancies in the ingredients. Maybe something to do with the protein content of the flour (which varies a bit from brand to brand) or the temperature of the ingredients?AnonymousNew York04/15/20Listen, i REALLY wanted to like this recipe. My boyfriend and I have been watching bon appetite for YEARS so why not give one of our favorite shows a run for their money and make a fun cake during this time of isolation? We bought our ingredients, followed the instructions, and put our cake into the oven. After about 30 minutes in the oven we realize that the whole cake had over flowed into the oven. I give the recipe the benefit of the doubt and figured we may have over whipped it over something. (Even though we timed and measured everything out) we clean the situation up, but it aside to cool and make the frosting. In the moment it doesn’t seem so bad, but after assembly and final touches you realize this cake is very salty. It has a very savory taste to it. We didn’t want to believe the cornbread comments on here but really this tastes like sweet cornbread. The worst part is the cream cheese frosting exemplifies the savory corn taste. Really wouldn’t recommend. I mean this is the nicest way but I will only use this recipe if I’m looking to make sweet cornbread.I love this cake! It's simple and delicious; I've made it quite a few times and it always comes out perfect, hoping today is no exception since we've got a birthday in this socially distanced household. I'm wondering if you'd consider posting this recipe with the metric conversations and also splitting out the frosting and cake batter ingredients into 2 separate lists. Also shout out to the person below who is below who is blaming this cake for ruining their disabled son's birthday. These are strange times.AnonymousPhiladelphia04/07/20This recipe is a good guide but I did some adjustments! After reading a lot of comments I realized the problem with the cake is that is doesn't have enough butter! I added an entire stick of butter and only used half the salt the recipe called for and the cake came up perfectly! It was very light and fluffy and had the right amount of moisture!this cake was SO YUMMY. me and my brother made it for a cousin's birthday and we all love it, the cake wasn't dry at all and the frosting wasn't as sweet as I was fearing from the amount of icing sugar.Claire never disappoint, looking forward for her book!!!!!rocio_s_z3700chile 03/28/20The worst cake I’ve ever tasted! My disabled son, who is living with us during the virus had a birthday today. Besides the cost, and waste, of expensive ingredients and time spent - this is the worst recipe I’ve ever had. Shame on you!!!This cake was cool to make, but it didn't come out like I expected. It is dry and savory, and it bizarrely has a corn bread-like flavor to it. I did make it for my birthday party, and it didn't quite have the exciting, indulgent flavors that I associate with birthday cakes. Could always just be user error. I am not a super experienced baker, but I feel that successfully followed the directions and everything looked like Claire's did in the video. If you are looking for something different, this cake is for you! If you are looking for an upscale version of a classic yellow cake, I don't think this recipe will fit the bill.gktAnoka, Minnesota03/21/20This is an incredible cake! I made it for my women's meeting tonight and it got rave reviews. Between the buttermilk and the cream cheese frosting you cannot lose.Cannon Beach, Oregon02/26/20This is THE best vanilla cake I've ever made... So delicious. Thank you so much Claire for another amazing recipe.Ammu ParvathyIndia12/18/19

I feel like this cake has been a year in the making. Many of you requested a chocolate version of my vanilla cake. I tried several different variations, and nothing seemed to be working, because my standards for chocolate cake are very high. When I finally nailed the recipe I was beyond excited. Now this has become my go-to chocolate cake recipe.

It is super light and fluffy, but very moist, which is exactly what I wanted. It reminds me of my favorite doctored cake mix- but of course it tastes WAY better. The chocolate flavors isn&rsquot overly sweet or intense, which is kinda of nice because once you add the frosting, it&rsquos the perfect balance.

The best part is, this cake comes together in just a few minutes. It&rsquos an oil-based recipe, so you don&rsquot have to wait for any ingredients to come to room temperature!


  • Butter – Unsalted and softened.
  • Cream cheese – Softened – make sure you’re using bricks of cream cheese.
  • Cocoa powder – Unsweetened.
  • Vanilla extract – Any brand will do!
  • Espresso powder – If you can’t find this, you can use an equal amount of instant coffee.
  • Icing sugar – Any brand will work great – this is the same as confectioners or powdered sugar!

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
  • 1 ½ cups frozen sweetened strawberries, pureed
  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 (1 ounce) squares white chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • ½ pint sliced fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9 inch round cake pans.

Make cake per directions except substitute the 1 1/2 cups of strawberries for the water and add 1 extra egg, (if cake mix calls for 2 eggs add 3), and 8 ounces of the cream cheese at room temperature. Beat well and pour into the prepared pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the center will not come out clean when this cake is done since it is so moist. Let cake cool fully before frosting.

To Make Frosting: Heat the heavy cream until just beginning to boil. Pour it over the white chocolate (chopped) and the remaining 4 ounces cream cheese. Mix well and let cool. Once cool fold into the whipped topping. Use to frost cooled cake and garnish with sliced fresh strawberries.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more, softened, for pan
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups grated zucchini (from 2 medium), drained and squeezed of excess moisture
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Sugared Zucchini Blossoms, for serving (optional)

Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-by-15-inch jelly-roll pan. Line bottom with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides butter parchment.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, butter, and vanilla. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture until batter loosens, about 1 minute. Stir in zucchini and chocolate (batter will be quite thick). Spread evenly into prepared pan smooth top with a spatula. Bake until a tester inserted into cake comes out clean, 28 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack let cool completely. Remove from pan.

Frosting: Beat butter on medium-high speed until smooth, 2 minutes. Add cream cheese beat to combine. Reduce speed to medium-low and add confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating until thickened. Beat in vanilla. Spread frosting over cake, scatter with zucchini blossoms, and serve. Cake can be refrigerated (without blossoms) up to 8 hours.

Deliciously moist and fluffy vanilla infused sheet cake topped with a rich and creamy chocolate cream cheese frosting, and sprinkled with mini marshmallows!


For the Cake

  • 2 and 1/4 cups (280g) cake flour*
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 and 1/8 cups (225g) caster/granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90ml) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (180g) Greek-style yogurt

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup (225g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 cups (625g) icing/powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk


For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, and grease a 13x9-inch pan. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the eggs. Add the sugar, and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla extract, oil, and yogurt, and whisk until combined.
  4. Gradually fold in the dry ingredients.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and spread out evenly. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before frosting.

For the Frosting

  1. Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add half of the icing sugar, and beat until smooth and combined. Add the remaining icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and milk, and beat until smooth and spreadable.
  3. Add more milk if needed.
  4. Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled cake, and garnish with your favourite toppings. Slice and serve!


*Make your own cake flour! Measure out 2 and 1/4 cups (280g) of plain/all-purpose flour, remove 4 tablespoons, and replace with 4 tablespoons of cornflour/cornstarch. Sift well.

Leftover cake can be stored, covered tightly, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Frosted or unfrosted cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

This cake can be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Cover the frosting, and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Nutrition Information:

Nutrition information isn&rsquot always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thursday 15th of February 2018

Those frosting swirls on top are AMAZING!! Marsha, you never cease to amaze me with your gorgeous photography and food styling. I was just thinking a great sheet cake was in order! Love it & pinning of course! xoxo

Thursday 15th of February 2018

Tuesday 13th of February 2018

The Southern part of me loves a good old sheet cake and your recipe looks Devine!

Tuesday 13th of February 2018

Yes, I want a slice! Are you kidding me? Seriously, this looks so yummy -- especially that frosting. Guessing I'd eat it with a spoon and be lucky to have any left for my cake. -)

Wednesday 14th of February 2018

The frosting is SO good on its own! )

Tuesday 13th of February 2018

I can never resist a good cake and this one looks really good! Plus I'm all about ease of decorating - sheet cakes are the best!

Wednesday 14th of February 2018

Tuesday 13th of February 2018

Oh my gosh, this looks SO good. I have to say I am coming around to really see the beauty of sheet cakes - every bit as delicious as a layer cake, and so much more accessible! I especially love those thick frosting swirls and the sweet little marshmallows bedecking the top. Beautifully done, as always. :)

Why Chocolate Sheet Cake Makes an Easy Potluck Dessert

In any other circumstance, I likely would have brought these chocolate chip cookies or these supernatural brownies (both of which are recipes that I’ve updated in Weeknight Baking). They’re my default potluck dessert recipes—quick and easy to make, and incredibly delicious and crowd-pleasing since almost everybody loves chocolate. But it seemed like everybody was clamoring for cake!

Knowing what a hit chocolate desserts usually are at a potluck, I decided to bring the chocolate sheet cake from my cookbook. Unlike layer cakes, sheet cake is typically better for a crowd. You can slice it in more dividable ways, and they’re definitely easier to transport from one place to another since there’s no need to worry about layers slipping and sliding. Besides that, this chocolate cake is a breeze to make at home. You don’t even need to use a stand mixer—all you need is a few big bowls and a rubber spatula.

How to make a yellow cake with chocolate frosting

First the cake

If you have made our intense chocolate cake then you know how easy it is to make a cake from scratch. That cake does not require any special techniques. Just throw all the ingredients in a bowl, give em a good stir and bake. Heck, it even calls for regular ol&rsquo all-purpose flour. It is hard to mess that cake up.

This cake is different. It is not difficult to make but it is easy to mess up if you don&rsquot follow the instructions and use the right ingredients.

By right ingredients I mostly mean cake flour. Yes, you can use all-purpose flour in this recipe but cake flour will make it better. Cake flour has a finer texture and has less gluten than all-purpose flour. Both of these qualities lead to a softer, lighter, more delicate cake. You will notice a difference if you use cake flour.

yellow cake with chocolate frosting

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

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Share This Recipe

White cream cheese frosting is fabulous over chocolate cake. So, with this frosting on a white cake, we get to turn the tables. and it's as good a team as ever!

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 / 4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups (1/2 pound) confectioners' sugar

What to Do

    In a large bowl, with an electric beater on medium speed, beat the butter and cream cheese until creamy. Add the vanilla and cocoa and continue beating until thoroughly mixed. Add the confectioners' sugar gradually, continuing to mix until well blended.


  • For plain Cream Cheese Frosting, just delete the cocoa and add an additional 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar. Since this cream cheese frosting isn't as sweet as other frostings, I like to use this to generously frost an 8- or 9-inch layer cake or a 9" x 13" sheet cake.
  • Want even more frosting recipes? Check out our collection of Homemade Frosting Recipes: 14 Frosting Recipes for Cakes, Cupcakes, and More.
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Ratings & Comments

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I see a couple comments about too sweet or too thick. May I suggest mixing one package of cream cheese, a container of cool whip, and powdered sugar. I've been using this as a filling for a dessert I make around the holidays that was originally introduced to me as "Fantasy Cake". I personally love it, and I get many requests for it, but noone can ever figure out what all is in the filling )

This sounds really good. thanks for the idea!

Excellent recipe I have been using for many years I sometimes add a little instant coffee with the cocoa for a mocha taste I have also added orange extract instead of vanilla extract and some grated orange peel Orange & chocolate naturally go together Such fun to have great ideas and try them out

This recipe is delicious, but I could not add so much powdered sugar, it would be too sweet and too thick. Same for the white frosting.

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Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

This sounds delicious and the cupcakes look so perfect!

YUM! I can't believe that as many times as I've made Cream Cheese Frosting, I've never made it with chocolate. FIXED with this recipe! Featuring when my party opens tonight.

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