An easy, rich 9×13 Chocolate Cake Recipe made in one bowl with minimal ingredients. Based on my popular best chocolate cake recipe, it is tender, moist, and delicious!

Piece of chocolate cake on a white plate with a fork.

This is the easiest 9×13 chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever made. From my Best Chocolate Cake that everyone loves, I’ve made the cake even easier and sized for a 9×13 sheet cake!

I love this easy 9×13 size cake for taking to potlucks, tailgating, baking, taking to friends or neighbors, and for making a quick and easy cake! It transports beautifully in the baking dish and I love that I don’t have to worry about a cake slipping or sliding on a cake plate! Another favorite version you may enjoy is my Chocolate Loaf Cake. So easy!

I originally shared this recipe in 2014 and have updated it to include the metric conversion to grams as well as updated the recipe sizing to make for a thicker cake based on reader feedback.

Best Chocolate Cake (9×13 Recipe)

Overhead photo of chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream in a 9x13 white baking dish.

What Makes a Chocolate Cake Moist?

This cake recipe includes the perfect ratio of oil, milk, and boiling water to make it moist without having to use melted chocolate. The combination of the fat, protein, and water temperature produces a moist and tender crumb.

Ingredients for Easy 9×13 Chocolate Cake

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

  • all-purpose flour – I recommend using a good quality all-purpose flour that works well in baking. You can also substitute with cake flour if needed.
  • sugar – You’ll use granulated sugar.
  • unsweetened cocoa powder – I use unsweetened cocoa powder.
  • baking powder – used to leaven the cake.
  • baking soda – also used to help the cake rise.
  • kosher salt – I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you substitute with Morton’s Kosher salt, fine sea salt, or table salt, you will only need half the amount of the salt called for in the recipe. 
  • espresso powder – Espresso powder enhances the flavor of chocolate in recipes. The amount used in this cake does not give a coffee flavor to the cake or leave a bitter aftertaste that you may get from using brewed coffee or instant coffee in the cake batter. You can use homemade espresso powder or your favorite store-bought. Many grocery stores now carry it. You can also omit it if you prefer or are unable to find it.
  • milk – You can use buttermilk, whole milk, or coconut milk.
  • vegetable oil – the oil is key for a moist chocolate cake.
  • egg – Make sure that your egg is at room temperature so that it combines more easily into the cake batter.
  • vanilla extract – Use good quality vanilla extract.
  • boiling water – helps release the chocolate flavor in the recipe. Please don’t skip it!

Chocolate Buttercream

I scaled the chocolate buttercream frosting to work perfectly in a 9×13 baking dish. The cake still rises nicely so that you have a lovely, thick cake that you then top with a generous amount of silky chocolate buttercream.

Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients: you’ll need butter, cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and espresso powder.

Square piece of 9x13 chocolate cake from a white baking dish.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Prep. Preheat the oven and prep the baking dish.

Make the cake batter. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder to a large mixing bowl. Whisk through to combine. Add the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract to the flour mixture and combine. Carefully stir in the boiling water until well combined. The cake batter will be thin.

Bake the cake. Pour the cake batter into the prepared 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool the baking dish on a wire rack until cooled completely.

Make the frosting. Meanwhile, add cocoa powder to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to break up any large lumps in the cocoa powder. Add the butter and using a hand mixer, cream the butter and cocoa powder together until well combined. Add confectioner’s sugar to another large bowl and whisk through it. Add the confectioner’s sugar and milk to the cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After combining each addition, turn the mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well. Mix until the frosting is silky and smooth.

Bite from a piece of 9x13 chocolate cake on a fork on a stack of white plates.

I put together a quick video to show you just how easy the cake is to mix together. Seriously, it’s the easiest and most delicious cake ever, I think! 🙂

As with any 9×13 cake recipe, you can cut the pieces as generously or as conservatively as you please. You can cut the cake into 2-inch x 2-inch pieces for 24 servings or 2-inch x 3-inch pieces for 18 servings.

Here’s my Easy 9×13 Chocolate Cake Recipe. I think you are going to love how simple it is!

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9×13 Recipe)

4.98 from 93 votes
My Best Chocolate Cake that everyone absolutely loves, made even easier and sized for a 9×13 sheet cake! It's so easy, delicious and perfect to make anytime!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 24 servings

Ingredients 

Chocolate Cake Recipe (9×13 Recipe)

  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (396 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (63 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (2.8 g) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2.3 g) espresso powder
  • 1 cup (227 g) buttermilk, whole milk, or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (99 g) vegetable oil
  • 2 large (100 g) eggs
  • 2 teaspoons (9.4 g) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (227 g) boiling water

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (9×13 Recipe)

  • 1/2 cup (42 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup (169.5 g) butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups (283.7 g) confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup (56.7 g) milk
  • 1 teaspoon (4.7 g) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon (0.57 g) espresso powder

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare one 9×13 baking dish by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  • Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together until well combined. Carefully stir the boiling water into the cake batter and pour into the prepared 9×13 dish.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (9×13 Recipe)

  • Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  • Add the butter and cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  • Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  • Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
  • If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
  • Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake. Cover and keep on the counter for up to 3 days for best taste.

Notes

Updated 11/2023 to include metric measurements for a thicker cake. 

Nutrition

Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 224mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 220IU | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9x13 Recipe) - This is the easiest 9x13 chocolate cake recipe I've ever made. Adjusted from my Best Chocolate Cake that everyone absolutely loves, I've now made the cake even easier and sized for a 9x13 sheet cake! // addapinch.com

Welcome to Add A Pinch

About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Review




403 Comments

  1. If I want a double layer, rectangular cake, is this the best recipe to use? I’ve used your chocolate cake recipe for years – it’s my absolute favorite! I’ve always made a round cake, though.

    1. Shannon, for a thicker 9×13 cake, just make the full Best Chocolate Cake Ever Recipe twice for this cake. I’ve found making the recipe twice instead of doubling works better for me. You will use all the batter for one recipe in each pan. You will want to prepare the cake pans by spraying well with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring prior to pouring in the cake batter. Then after baking, remove cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Once the cakes have cooled the 10 minutes, place a wire cake rack on top of the cake pan and turn the cake upside down onto the rack. Take a second rack and place over the bottom of the cake and, similar to a sandwich, turn the racks so that the bottom of the cake layer is resting on the rack. Repeat for the other layer. Remove the racks from the top of the cakes and let the cake cool completely. Hope this helps!

    2. Did you ever try it with the full cake recipe twice like she suggested? howd it turn out? too much cake, just right or what you think im thinking of doing double layer rectangle for my daughters birthday tomorrow

    1. Laura, don’t you just love how easy this cake is to make? I’m thrilled that you love this cake.

  2. 5 stars
    Outstanding! I’ve made it three times in less than a month for three separate occasions, including this morning, and it has received rave reviews from each group. This is not only the easiest recipe ever, but is by far the tastiest, and with the closest texture to professionally made cake that I have ever tasted. Robyn, you are genius! I’m now scouring your web page for other delightful recipes! Happy July 4th🇺🇸!

    1. Mary, you can substitute the oil with melted butter. Just use the same amount of butter as the oil. There may be a slight difference in the texture with the butter. Hope you enjoy!

    1. Lisa, I would make the full recipe of the Best Chocolate Cake Ever for the Bundt cake. The cake will take longer to bake in a Bundt pan, about 35 to 40 minutes. The oven temperature will be the same. I hope you enjoy!

    2. good morning. I’m planning on making this cake for a baby shower. I need to make a 9 x 13 cake that is 2 inches tall. which of the recipes would I use for this? thank you

  3. 5 stars
    Last year at this time my cousin asked me to make her husband’s birthday cake. It was the first time anyone had asked me to do this, but everyone knows I like to bake. Anyway, in a panic, I made the 5 highest rated cakes I could find on google in one week and had multiple people test them, using majority to pick a winner. This is the cake recipe that won and so this is what I made for them. They said it was amazing, best chocolate cake they ever had! Here we are one year later and I am making it again for another family member only this time as a 9×13. If I want to do some decorative piping to create a jazzed up border, would you recommend the full frosting recipe from the round cake version? Thanks for this fantastic recipe!

    1. Jen, if you are going to add a lot of piping and frosting decorations, I would make the full frosting recipe. If you have any left over frosting, you can always refrigerate or freeze to use later. You can store buttercream frosting in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Place it in an airtight container to store it. When ready to use, let it come to room temperature, then whip it until fluffy. You can also freeze the buttercream frosting. Put the frosting in a freezer safe, airtight food storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use after freezing, remove from freezer and place it in the fridge overnight to thaw, and repeat steps above after refrigeration. Hope this helps!

  4. No stores have espresso powder near me and I need to make the cake today! Any suggestions for replacements? Thinking hot coffee instead of hot water?

    1. Emily, some people do replace the cup of hot water and espresso powder with a cup of strong hot coffee. Although, the purpose of the espresso powder is to enhance the chocolate flavor of the cake, not to leave a coffee flavor. I hope you enjoy!

    1. Angelie, you can use almond milk in this cake recipe. It is listed as one of the milk options in the recipe. I hope you enjoy!

    1. Janet, I don’t know if you live in a high altitude area but it sounds like you might. I live at 1000 feet. That can cause your cakes to sink in the middle if you don’t make adjustments to the recipe according to your altitude. The best information I have found for high altitude baking is the Colorado State University Extension. Maybe they will have some tips to help. There are other reasons a cake will sink in the middle: the oven temperature is not consistent, under mixing as well as over mixing the batter, rotating the cake in the oven before they cake has baked 3/4 of the time in the recipe, opening the oven door before the cake has baked 3/4 of the way, and taking the cakes out of the oven before they are completely cooked. I hope some of these tips help and your next cake is successful.

  5. 5 stars
    Simple and delicious! I love how multiple versions have been made for different sizes/formats. Made it with the vanilla buttercream, it was a big hit!