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)

4.99 from 109 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


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


  • 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.


Updated 11/2023 to include metric measurements. 
Several people have asked for the original 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 kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 cup whole milk, buttermilk, or coconut milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water


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.

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! //

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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.

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Recipe Review


  1. Question
    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🫤

    1. 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!

  2. 5 stars
    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!

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. Katie, many people have commented that they used oat milk in this recipe and loved the cake. I hope you enjoy!

    1. If the organic sugar you have is not an organic powdered sugar, the texture would be different, Amanda.

  4. 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?

    1. 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.

    1. 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!

  5. 5 stars
    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 😊

    1. 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.

    2. Omit the espresso powder but for the 1/2 cup of boiling water use 1/2 cup of decaf coffee instead.