How many times have you been craving something chocolatey, but didn't know what to bake or how to make it? This easy, double chocolate cake is here to save the day! Keep scrolling for my best chocolate cake recipe, baked in a sheet pan for easy serving, and topped off with the fudgiest buttercream ever.
What makes this chocolate cake so good?
I'm so glad you asked. Classic cakes usually have a set ratio of ingredients for the best results. A little tweaking to said ratio, and bam - you've got yourself one drool-worthy cake!
Still not sure? Let's take a look at how each ingredient benefits this delicious cake and frosting duo.
- Softened butter: Unlike various types of oil commonly used in cakes, butter lends a beautiful, creamy texture as a base. It's soft enough to allow other ingredients to be mixed in. But most importantly, it builds the structure of this cake. This recipe also includes softened butter in the buttercream. Although the name might give it away, yes - butter is an essential ingredient. Again, its creaminess blends well with other ingredients, and when softened, whips up nicely with some powdered sugar. If you are looking for an alternative, however, I would suggest shortening. It is similar in texture, kept at room temperature (no more waiting for butter to soften!), and can even be bought in butter flavours.
- Granulated sugar: I prefer to use granulated sugar in this cake recipe because of its fine-grained structure. If I used brown sugar, it would be more dense, and alter the texture of the cake. While I do love how brown sugar has the ability to make any dessert chewy, this was not the texture I was looking for in this chocolate cake.
- Room temperature eggs: Before we get into this one, I want to talk about the importance of using room temperature ingredients when specified. I'll be honest, I don't always let my butter, eggs, and milk sit out on the counter to warm up, but doing so helps the ingredients to all blend together in the best way possible. Unless, of course, you keep your sugar, flour, cocoa powder, vanilla, etc. (you get my point) in the fridge, too. Long story short: having all of your ingredients at the same temperature is ideal for this recipe. Now to the eggs: eggs add structure and flavour to baked goods. Combined with flour, this is what gives our cake height.
- Half and half cream: I prefer to use 10% cream when I bake because of its balance in fats. Not too thick, not terribly watery. This adds to the soft texture of the cake, but if you don't have any half and half cream, regular milk will do just fine.
- Vanilla extract and salt: two of my favourite ingredients ever made. Not to exaggerate, but including these simple add-ins to a recipe will boost all of the flavours in the cake to the best they can be. If you're thinking "this is a chocolate cake, Angelina, what's with the vanilla?", then that is why. Most of the time, vanilla (and salt) will enhance any other flavour. Chances are, you won't even know there is vanilla extract or salt in it!
- All-purpose flour: This one is fairly straightforward. If you don't have any dry ingredients, your cake will be a soupy (flavourful) mess. There are, of course, substitutes for flour, but I promised this was an easy recipe. The all-purpose flour helps the cake to bake up moist and tall.
- Cocoa powder: Still looking for the chocolate in this cake? Spoiler alert - this is it. I prefer to use cocoa powder in my baking for a rich chocolatey flavour, without the chocolate. Bonus points for being a dry ingredient, too - cocoa powder works together with the flour in the cake and powdered sugar in the frosting to thicken the mixture. Sifting this ingredients helps to avoid lumps of cocoa in your finished dessert.
- Baking soda and baking powder: These are the rising agents of the cake. Baking soda kick starts the action of giving the cake height. Baking powder jumps in to finish the process during the long baking time. Think of it as a tall-cake-dream-team.
- Powdered sugar: This is the main ingredient for this cake's frosting. In the buttercream, powdered sugar lends structure as it is whipped with the butter, and sweetness to balance out any bitterness with the cocoa powder. I suggest sifting this ingredient as well, although a lump of powdered sugar is far better than a lump of cocoa powder.
- Milk or cream: Last but not least, adding a liquid into the frosting helps it to thin out a whip up to a smooth, creamy texture. Without this last ingredient, your buttercream might run a little thick and be hard to spread around.
Chocolate Sheet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
Prep time: 40 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes
Serves/makes: 12 slices
The best recipe for an easy chocolate cake frosted with a delicious, fudgy chocolate buttercream
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups half and half cream, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup softened butter
- 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream, room temperature
Did you make this recipe? Let me know by tagging @sugarbutterflourbakery and #sugarbutterflourbakery on Instagram :)
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and line a rectangular 10 x 13 inch cake pan with parchment paper.
- Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the edges of the bowl as needed.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing in between each addition until incorporated. Mix in the cream in three additions, then add in vanilla extract. Mix until no lumps remain.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
- Fold dry ingredients into the wet mixture, stirring just until combined. Only a few flour/cocoa streaks should remain.
- Pour the completed mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set cake aside to cool.
- Place softened butter in a large stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or large bowl with a hand mixer. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix on medium-low speed. Once the first addition of powdered sugar has been fully incorporated, add the remaining half. Mix on medium speed, slowly adding the cocoa powder as it mixes.
- When no more dry ingredients can be seen, turn off mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in vanilla extract and milk and return to medium speed.
- Increase mixer to high speed once the liquids have been incorporated, and mix for about 30 seconds until a light, fluffy consistency is reached. Transfer the finished buttercream onto the cooled cake and spread evenly. Swish and swirl if desired, and enjoy!