Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake

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Ever have a craving for something so bad that you can't think about anything else?  Rewind to last weekend and all I had was chocolate cake on the brain.  O.K. that usually happens about once a week.  I can usually tamp down the craving with some other chocolate treat, but this time I wanted cake ☺.  I didn't have the time to go all out and make a layered and frosted cake.  In comes this recipe that is easy, but also delivers chocolate satisfaction in spades.  No stand mixer, no creaming, no alternating wet and dry-- just a bowl, a whisk, and a pot and you are good to go.

I am not afraid of a little fat in a recipe, but given the chance to lighten things up without sacrificing flavor or texture, I will go for it.  In fact, the substitution of some Greek yogurt for half of the butter called for in the original makes the cake even moister in my opinion.  Like most chocolate recipes that I make, I use espresso powder to enhance the chocolate flavor. While the cake is baking, you make the frosting on the stove-top and then pour it over the cake just as it comes out of the oven.  No waiting for the cake to cool before frosting.  How nice is that?

You can make the cake in a 9x13-inch pan or a jelly roll pan.  This just depends on your cake-to-frosting ratio mood.  In this case, I was in the more cake than frosting mood with a tall glass of cold milk.
Printable Recipe

Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake
serves 12-16

For the Cake

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (fat-free or low fat)
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

For the Frosting
1/4 cup butter
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3 Tablespoons buttermilk
2 1/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour a 9x13-inch pan or a 10x15-inch jelly roll pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water, butter, cocoa powder, and espresso powder to a boil, stirring constantly.  Pour the hot mixture over the dry ingredients and whisk together until smooth.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.  Pour the buttermilk mixture into the cake batter and whisk until smooth.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.

For the Frosting
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.  Remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder, buttermilk, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla, whisking until smooth.  Return to low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Pour the warm frosting over the warm cake, spreading evenly with an offset spatula.  Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from The Joy of Cooking, 1997


  1. Chocolate and lotsa' chocolate! We're craving for chocolates the whole day and ended up emptying the nutella jar. This recipe looks dashing. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is exactly the kind of cake I get a craving for, too. Love the Greek yogurt addition. Pinned it.

  3. Made this yesterday and it's half gone! Everyone in my family LOVES it! It was sooo easy to make and I love that you can put the warm frosting on the warm cake. It even seeped down the sides so if you get an end piece you get a little more frosting on the sides than others! So delicious and I will NEVER buy a box chocolate cake mix again!

  4. I made this today and it was a total hit. By far the best chocolate sheet cake recipe and I've tried a few. I love how it's so super moist. With a decadent taste that isn't too rich. This is now my go-to recipe. And it doesn't even need a mixer!!! Thanks for another awesome recipe!!!


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