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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!
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.
Best Chocolate Cake (9×13 Recipe)
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!
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!
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.
How to Make It
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 (9×13 Recipe)
Chocolate Cake Recipe (9×13 Recipe)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 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 (9×13 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
- 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.
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I’ve made this cake several times and love it!! But as I’m serving to kids I don’t include the espresso powder.
Can you think of anything kid-safe/caffeine free that would give the cake similar “little bit of extra” as the espresso powder? Still making’ the cake without it, am just curious 😊
Just omit the espresso powder, Larissa. I don’t know anything else that would give the same effect as the espresso powder. The cake is still delicious.
Omit the espresso powder but for the 1/2 cup of boiling water use 1/2 cup of decaf coffee instead.
Can I Use yogurt instead of milk?
I haven’t made this cake with yogurt, Susan.
Can you make this recipe into cupcakes? If so, how long do you bake for? Would you change anything to the recipe?
Meg Grace, you can make this recipe into cupcakes. Use my Best Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe for the baking time and temperature. It uses the same amount of ingredients as the 9×13 recipe. It makes 12 cupcakes. Hope you enjoy!
Made it this, and while it was delicious, it came out very thin and didn’t rise much. I followed the recipe exactly, and used a 9×13. We ended up cutting it into squares & frosting them like brownies. Any idea what could’ve gone wrong?
Denise, I make this cake so I can frost it in the pan and then cover it and carry it like I describe in the post. In the Notes section, I state if you want a thicker cake, make the full Best Chocolate Cake Ever Recipe in the 9×13 pan. It sounds like you want the full thickness of the full cake recipe.
hello! I’m wondering if organic sugar will affect the texture of the icing?
If the organic sugar you have is not an organic powdered sugar, the texture would be different, Amanda.
Hi, I am planning on making this cake this week. Has anyone used Oat milk in this recipe? I only keep oat milk around so I am planning on using that.
Katie, many people have commented that they used oat milk in this recipe and loved the cake. I hope you enjoy!
Making this tomorrow for my granny’s birthday!
Can I use Dutch process unsweetened cocoa?
Several people have commented here that they use Dutch process unsweetened cocoa and the cake turns out great. I hope your grandmother has a very happy birthday.
Can you freeze the cake in the 9×13 pan?
Marlene, you could freeze the cake in the pan if you wish. Just let the cake cool completely, wrap securely in plastic wrap, then in foil or place in an airtight freezer-safe container. Make sure your 9×13 pan is freezer safe.
Made this tonight just as stated in the recipe, no changes to ingredients or method. This is PERFECT! I’m usually a lousy dessert maker, but this one I will proudly serve to family and friends. Yummo!
What is the baking time if I use the full recipe for best chocolate cake ever and use the 9×13 pan rather than layer cake pans? I never have any luck with layer cakes
Shelley, if you are baking the full recipe in the 9×13 pan, it would need to bake at 350º F about 35-40 minutes. Hope you enjoy!