Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9×13 Recipe)

This is the easiest 9×13 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 9×13 sheet cake!

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! //

One of the recipes that I receive the most emails about is my Best Chocolate Cake Recipe. Generally, the emails are asking me if they can omit the espresso powder, if they can substitute this or that, or if it can be made into either a major multi-tiered confection for an upcoming wedding or something similar. But last week, I received an email asking if the cake could be made into a 9×13 recipe.

Rather than simply responding with a quick, “Yes” to the email, I headed to the kitchen to make it so that I could show you.


Truth be told, I was actually craving chocolate and decided that making the chocolate cake sounded like just the way to answer the craving and that the scaled down version would be just perfectly sized, too! LOL!

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! //

To make it, I scaled both the recipe and the chocolate buttercream frosting to work perfectly in a 9×13 baking dish. The cake still rises nicely so that you have a nice, thick cake that you then top with a nice, generous amount of the fluffy chocolate buttercream.

Talk about heavenly!

I love this size cake for taking to pot lucks, tailgating, baking, taking to friends or neighbors, and just for making a quick and easy cake! It transports beautifully in the 9×13 baking dish and I love that I don’t have to worry about a cake slipping or sliding on a cake plate!

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! //

When you cut into the cake, you’ll notice that it has that moist tender crumb like my original Best Chocolate Cake Recipe. It is seriously amazing!

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

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! //

To make the cake, you just need a large mixing bowl and a whisk! It comes together so quickly and easily and bakes into a beautiful 9 x 13 cake that everyone just loves! I put together a quick little video to show you just how easy the cake is to mix together. Seriously the easiest and most delicious cake ever, I think! 🙂

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

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! //
Yield: 24 servings

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9x13 Recipe)

Total Time 40 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
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!
4.55 from 31 votes
Did you make this recipe?


Chocolate Cake Recipe (9x13 Recipe)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, whole milk, or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (9x13 Recipe)

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare one 9x13 baking dish by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. For the cake:
  3. Whisk together add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large mixing bowl.
  4. 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 9x13 dish.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (9x13 Recipe)

  1. Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  2. Add the butter and cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  3. 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.
  4. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.
  5. 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.
  6. Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake. Cover and keep on the counter for up to 3 days for best taste.


If you like a thicker cake, use the full recipe for The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (Ever).

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

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! //

165 comments on “Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9×13 Recipe)”

  1. I’m making this for a kids birthday. Can I flip cake out of the pan and put on a cookie sheet so frost the whole cake top and sides?

  2. With one cup of flour and one cup of sugar this cake turned out VERY short. I think the recipe should be doubled for a 13 x 9

    • I agree, I just made it (it’s cooling) and it’s quite thin ☹️.  So, either double the recipe or use a 9” pan. 

  3. Greetings from Hungary!

    I made this cake last weekend and it turned out perfect! I didn’t use baking soda, only baking powder and it rose as tall as in your photos. When I poured the rather thin mixture into my 9X13 pan, I was skeptical because it came up about 1/3 of an inch in it, but it rose beautifully and after about 40-45 minutes it was ready.

    (Since I am an editor, and cannot help noticing and mentioning errors, I want to let you know that the “Ingredients” for the frosting do not have cream whereas the “Instructions” do, so it is not clear what exactly has to be done. I improvised (I did not start baking yesterday 🙂 ) and the frosting was also heavenly. I do hope you don’t mind this comment.)

    I have also made your strawberry cobbler, and it was so good, it was gone in 15 minutes. I will make sure to leave a comment there, also 🙂 .

    Thank you for this recipe! I will keep returning to your site for more ideas, that is for sure.

    • Hi Judit,
      I’m so happy you enjoyed the cake and the frosting! I love that strawberry cobbler as well – it doesn’t last long when I serve it either! 😉
      I do appreciate your input and I am sorry that part of the instructions were not clear. I used “cream” as a cooking term and not an ingredient, so I will correct to make that read more clearly.
      I’m honored to have you visit the site for recipes and love hearing from you! I hope you enjoy all the other recipes you try!
      Thanks so much! xo

  4. Is the cocoa unsweetened?

  5. Do you have any advice if I don’t have espresso powder on hand? Will it be flavorful without it or should I put in some instant coffee?

    • Marie i always make my choc cake with 1 cup of hot coffee and omit the cup of boiling water. I love how amazing it turns out. Making it right now as a matter of fact. ☺

  6. I just made this cake followed directions precisely and it didn’t rise as I expected it would have…should have (only about 1/2 the size of the pan) disappointed as I needed this for a potluck tomorrow.

  7. I have never made a cake before, and I decided to try this out for Father’s Day (my dad is a big chocolate fan). Followed the recipe exactly as written, and it was perfect! Everyone loved it! Absolutely delicious and the perfect cake-to-frosting ratio. Thank you, thank you!! This will now be made for future special occasions!

    • Thanks so much, DC! I’m so honored that this was your FIRST cake!!! Thrilled that everyone loved it!
      So glad to hear that you like the cake to frosting ratio as well!
      Thanks so much! xo

  8. Not good for a reg 9×13- my cake literally turned out to be 1/2″ thick- and I followed the recipe to a T. Way too small- would literally feed 4 people maybe- are the baking soda/baking power measurements correct? Cant I just do the reg choc cake recipe and put the batter in a 9×13? Going to try that now- why would this cake not rise 2″ like pictured? Baking soda & powders are nowhere neat the expiration date-

    • I’ve used the regular recipe for a 9×13 twice and it turned out fine. I just tooth-pick tested it a few times to make sure it was done.

  9. I made this cake for my dad’s birthday and it turned out amazing! I doubled it and put a second 9/13 layer on top with the buttercream filling in the middle. The espresso powder definitely makes this a keeper! So moist and yummy my kids devoured it which is a tell all for how delicious it is! Thank you for the great cake recipe it’s a keeper for sure!!!!

  10. Made this yesterday to take to a friend for after lunch. I poured it into a bundt pan and cooked for 30min. It worked and tasted great. Very happy as it was my first chocolate cake from scratch. Thanks for the recipe ??

  11. Can I freeze this? I am not a regular baker but am making this for my son’s birthday. I am making two of them and icing in between to make it higher. I appreciate any advice you have!

  12. HI Robyn, I really would like to know the answer for the above question too.
    In addition, is the cake stable enough to be covered with fondant (after layering and ganached)?

    Thanks for your advice in advanced 🙂

  13. Hi,
    Can I use this recipe for 6-inch round pan?

  14. You need to double this for 13×9 pan unless you want a very thin cake.

    • Hi Marilyn,
      It’s never seemed too thin for my family and friends when I make it, but I’m sorry it was too thin for you. Thanks!

    • Had a similar problem – it turned out to be about 1/2″ thick. I ended up making two and layering them.

      • Hi Lyssandra,
        Many like the cake to frosting ratio of this recipe but others like a different thickness of the cake.
        I’ve added a note to use my full Best Chocolate Cake recipe if you like a thicker cake.
        Thanks so much for your input! xo

  15. I found the cake too thin too. Is the one cup flour a mistake?

    • Hi Karen,
      It’s not a mistake. Many like this thickness for the cake with the cake to frosting ratio it has. I’ve added a note to the recipe to use my full Best Chocolate Cake recipe if you like a thicker cake. Thanks!

  16. I love you for considering everyone’s individual pan size. It instills confidence in the novice. Many thanks for the recipe and the chatter surrounding you.
    Brave to put yourself out there, amazing how we all need to share our opinions these days. (Myself included.) Purpose of this post? Since I have not tried the cake, it is to sing your praises for your attitude and your efforts. I am sure we will love the cake as well. Our best to you, and thanks again.

  17. I’ve tried this recipe a few times, and it seems that it comes out too moist. I take it out of the pan to cool completely but it sticks to the pan. I leave it in the pan to cool completely, and it sticks to the pan. Do you have any suggestions to maybe fix my issue?

    • Hi Cinnamon,
      Since this is a sheet cake, I frost this cake in the pan after it has cooled and serve from the same pan.
      If you are planning to remove the cake from the pan, you will want to prepare the cake pan by spraying 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 for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire cake rack.
      I hope this helps you. Thanks!

  18. This is the perfect recipe for a cake on the fly. My coworker is celebrating her Birthday tomorrow, I got home pretty late, so the ease and speed of this recipe from start to finish is a winner! Chocolate sheet cake is the best 🙂

  19. Heyy OMG I love this cake. This gives even better results than the Betty Crocker cake mix…and Im like an ardent fan of choco cakes and chocolate anything. And my random midnight cake cravings always get lost due to the complexities of cake baking. This recipe is super! I baked this cake for a group study session for my friends, and it came out perfect. Only thing I used Choco Ganache topping rather than buttercream coz Im a ganache lover, and this sheet cake recipe gave perfect 2inch high cake for an 11x7inch dish. So I guess all those complaining about it being too thin, either double the recipe(i.e.follow the original) or use a smaller size dish.
    Thank you. Will be using this recipe like….EVERYDAY!!!! <3 😀


  20. I don’t understand the ratios here either. Your regular best chocolate cake says it feeds 12. This one basically is a half recipe and it says it feeds 24. I’ve doubled it now after realising how thin it was.I think I may have to make another double batch and layer it with icing in the middle to feed enough people (I’m making a kids birthday cake). cause if it is really as delicious as everybody is saying and as delicious as the batter was when I accidentally licked the spoon, then it would be sacrilege not to have leftovers.

  21. So, I’ve just made this cake now. It is absolutely divine. Sooo moist and soft and springy. I absolutely love the texture. And the crumb and colour also look beautiful. I made a couple of changes. I doubled the recipe because in a 9×11 pan, this would have been way too thin. I baked it at a slightly lower heat but fan forced and for 50 minutes to allow the higher cake to cook through. As I said, absolutely perfect. As filling I made a swiss meringue buttercream that has 2 ounces of pureed raspberries folded through. The contrast of the rich and chocolatey cake and the bright and zingy raspberry buttercream is out of this world. This way it will please the chocolate lovers and also those who are not all that into too much chocolate. I can’t stop eating the offcuts!

  22. Robyn, you’ve truely outdone yourself with this recipe! I made it last night (at around 10pm) for my sick flatmates and by morning there was only half left 🙂
    The cake was perfect – super decadent and rose wonderfully in my slightly smaller baking pan. Was a little sceptical about how soupy the mix was, but it was fine once cooked. I used unsweetened almond milk as a replacement which wasn’t strong in flavour at all, brown sugar instead of white, and I made up half a cup of hot coffee because I didn’t have espresso powder. Worked a treat! I also mixed in some unsweetened blackberry jam into my chocolate icing which was pretty delicious too. I would highly recommend this excellent recipe to all!
    x Liv

  23. Hi there,

    Please help How do I change your 9×13 chocolate cake to a vanilla one Please and if I needed to convert chocolate cake and vanilla cake to 8x 13 rectangular, 13 x 8 rectangular (not sure what way it goes), What would be the recipe PLEASE, I HAVE SEARCH EVERY WHERE.



  24. I love this cake recipe. It has been a hit at family Birthday parties!
    I don’t see an answer about making it ahead and freezing? I’ve heard of wrapping cakes in plastic wrap then foil to freeze. What do you think.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Mary!
      I’m so glad you love this cake. It is one of our absolute favorites as well!

      To freeze, I do recommend letting it cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap, followed by foil as you mention. Then, you should be able to freeze for up to 3 months. To serve it, just remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for frosting.

    • Hi Mary,
      I’m so glad you love the cake! Yes – it does freeze well. Just let it cool, wrap it in freezer safe wrap, store in airtight container. I hope this helps! Thanks Mary! xo

  25. Hi,

    I’ve used the full Best Chocolate Cake recipe with great success, That recipe calls for the batter to be poured into two 9-inch round pans. If I want to use the full Best Chocolate Cake recipe for a 9 x 13 cake, do I put all the batter into TWO 9 x13 pans and create two layers — or should ONE 9 x 13 pan and pour all the batter into that? Will a single pan create a cake that’s too thick and undercooked? Will two pans yield cakes that are too thin and overcooked?


    • Hi Joanna,
      You can pour the full batter into one 9×13. It does fill the cake pan, but still leaves enough room for a thick, yummy layer of frosting! 🙂

  26. I knew this chocolate cake would be a winner because your white cake recipe KILLS every time. This cake was super moist and yummy- made extra special with mexican chocolate buttercream frosting. (I used your Nutella frosting recipe but used the Trader Joe’s almond/chocolate spread and added cinnamon.Delicious!) Thanks for your amazing recipes!

  27. Amazing! I’ve tried the original and this one. Perfect size.

  28. Hi Robyn,
    My 8 year old daughter selected your recipe for her birthday cake, she just googled it, read me the ingredients and I told her I have everything we need, lets do this.. And the cake turned out awesome.. I had to switch the espresso powder to espresso instant coffee both in the cake and frosting. I reduced the frosting ingredients as I was not too keen to have so much butter and sugar but still awesome!! Thank you for making my girl’s day fabulous with this easy no fuss recipe.. And the cake was ready in 30mins :))
    Thank you again. Tasneem xo

    • I’m so excited that she picked my recipe for her birthday cake, Tasneem! So happy that you all enjoyed it too! I hope she had a wonderful birthday – give her my best birthday wishes!!!
      Thanks! xo

  29. Hi Robyn,

    Should I use a pan or glass dish? Is one better than the other? Would I have to adjust the temperature?


  30. Decided to pick up baking again, and made this cake for a group of friends. No espresso powder, not something I’ve seen in this country, but I might order some online for the future.
    Cake turned out fantastic though. I came home empty handed.

  31. Disappointed ???? unfortunately the cake was super dry and I made it for a birthday party so embarrassing as well.  The frosting was wonderful!,  Everyone ate the frosting and tossed the cake. Not sure why, all ingredients were fresh,  followed directions exactly as always, oven temp spot on and cooking time, batter tasted awesome and it looked wonderful out of the oven.  However dry as a new sponge~. Could this be a result of being  over cooked?  

    • I’m sorry your cake didn’t turn out well, Melissa. I have never had a problem with this cake and it’s never been dry. I don’t know what could have happened as it is always such a moist cake. I am glad you liked the frosting though. xo

  32. Robyn – I am making the chocolate cake in 9×13 for my twins birthday. They have a severe egg allergy. How much apple sauce do I use in this one? Will it come out of the pan ok if I grease & flour with the apple sauce substitute? Thanks!

  33. HUGE success. Made a three-tiered birthday cake with choc hazelnut buttercream, and covered with dark choc ganache. Got plenty of praise from some critical aunts! Super easy to make, subbed cocoa for cacao. Highly recommended!! 

  34. I made this cake for a celebration at my granddaughter’s Brownie Advancement ceremony and everyone loved it… I loved it so much that I meant to pin in to my favourites file in Pinterest but couldn’t find it again.  I kind of forgot about it until today, Father’s Day.  I searched high and low, Googled all kinds of things I remembered from having read it a few weeks ago, then stumbled on it again!  Hallelujah!  I knew it was the right one when I read through the comments and remembered the one about it having the perfect cake-to- frosting ratio (it truly does, by the way).  Best.  Cake.  Ever.!

    • I am so glad you enjoyed it as well! I am a fan of the cake to frosting ratio and happy to hear you are as well! (And I’m so glad you found me after your search!) 🙂
      Thanks so much Lesley! xo

  35. Did I mention the buttercream is to die for?  Well, it is!

  36. Dear Robyn,

    Could I use this cake and buttercream and then cover in fondant? I want to use the shortcake as a base for a football pitch cake.

    Is the buttercream stiff enough?

  37. I tried the normal chocolate cake recipe about a month ago and they almost ate the plates too:)


    Thank you very much indeed!!

  38. How many cupcakes can this make?

  39. amazing

  40. Have you tried using a loaf pan? I do not have a cake pan so I am hoping to use the one that I have here. I am still learning how to bake. Thus, not much equipment and tools here.. I’m wondering what would be the baking time if using a loaf pan..

  41. This is for a 9×9 cake Not a 13 x 9. It made a Very thin cake and was very disappointing for a birthday cake. I purposely searched for 13×9. You need to double your recipe if you are making this. Cake tastes fine, but should be in smaller pan.

    • Hi Carrie,
      I’m sorry you didn’t like the thickness of the cake. I really wish you had noticed the Recipe Notes. This recipe is for a 9×13 and is Not for a 9×9 like you mention. I wrote the recipe this way for the frosting to cake ratio. Many people like it like this, with more frosting-to-cake, but for those who want a thicker cake, I tell how to make it thicker in the Notes at the bottom of the Recipe. I hope this helps. Thanks so much.

  42. Do you think it would be possible to bake this recipe in a standard bread pan for more of a bar cake? If so, what modifications would you suggest in baking time?

  43. Perfect every time

  44. This cake is absolutely amazing! I keep getting requests for this cake for events. It is simple to throw together, but tastes like it took hours to create!

  45. I found this recipe this summer while looking for a chocolate cake recipe for my son’s birthday. It was a big hit with him, as well as the rest of the family. I have since made it for a potluck, and I received several compliments as well. The espresso is what really sets this cake apart from other chocolate cake recipes. Delicious!!

  46. Hi. I was planning to make this cake for my son’s 3rd birthday. He is obsessed with pirates, and I wondered if it would be strong enough for me to layer a couple of 9x13s and carve it into a pirate ship shape?


    • Hi Peter,
      What a sweet age! I know you will have fun enjoying his birthday!
      I’ve not carved this cake into shapes before. It is a moist cake. Have you by chance found any pans in a pirate shape?
      If you do give the pirate ship a try, I always advise giving anything different than the shared recipe a “test” ahead of the big day. You can always freeze the “test cake” for later.
      Best of luck to you with this – I’d love to hear about it if you make the pirate ship! Thanks!

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