Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9×13 Recipe)


4.98 from 112 votes
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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 112 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.

4.98 from 112 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Review


  1. Maurie A White says:

    5 stars
    I made this cake in a 13×9 pan. I didn’t frost it, but I sifted powdered sugar on the top. This cake is so easy, and so delicious it’s hard to stay out of it. One of the best cakes I’ve ever had. Thanks for the recipe

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Thank you, Maurie. I love the cake with powdered sugar on top the way you made it or just plain cake with no frosting as well. You do need to try it sometime with the chocolate buttercream frosting, too. I think you would love the cake with that frosting, too.

  2. Ursila says:

    Hi Robyn,
    Doing the full receipe for the 9×13..what’s the adjusted baking time

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Hi Ursila,
      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!

  3. Andrea says:

    5 stars
    I’ve been making this recipe for years, sorry I’m just getting around to reviewing it! My husband calls this crack cake…. seriously. He hints once in a while, like he has for the past week and a half that he wants some crack cake, and I know exactly what cake he’s referring to. I hadn’t made it yet, because I was all out of espresso powder, and had to order more. Well it finally arrived, so here I am about to make his “crack cake”. 😂 Thank you for amazing recipes that we keep coming back to over and over again!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Thanks, Andrea. I’m so glad you and your husband have loved this cake for years. I appreciate you letting me know you love my recipes.

  4. Mina says:

    Hi, I was wondering if I could scale this cake down to make a 6″ cake with two or three layers. I’ve made the full two layer 9″ cake and it was delicious. With just two of us it would be nice to be able to make a smaller layer cake.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Mina, I haven’t made the chocolate cake as a 6-inch cake but several people have commented that they have. Some said they bake the full recipe Best Chocolate Cake (Ever) Recipe in 3 6-inch pans at 350º for about 30 – 35 minutes.

  5. Sue says:

    I didn’t make this yet. Just wondering how only 1 cup of flour makes a 9×13 cake. Is that a mistake?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Sue, this amount is correct. I like the ratio of cake to frosting that you get with this recipe but if you want a thick 9×13 cake, make my full recipe of Best Chocolate Cake (Ever).

  6. Tara Kennedy says:

    Hi Robyn! I plan to make this for my son’s birthday party tomorrow. Reading through both recipes and the comments, I realized I do not know how tall this cake will be with just the 1X ingredients listed. It will be staying in the glass, 9×13 baking dish and lightly decorated in this dish.


    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Tara, if you are wanting a thicker cake for the birthday party, I would bake the full recipe of the Best Chocolate Cake (Ever) Recipe.

  7. Heidi says:

    What a great recipe! I used 4x the recipe to get a 9×13 cake at 3 inches high. This was perfect for my needs

  8. Debbie says:

    I was wondering why you would have to change the measurements for a 9×13? I would have thought you would simply bake for a longer time. I was planning to make this today, reading your suggestions and compared the two recipes. I can understand making less icing but not cake. Just wondering your reasoning. Thanks

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Debbie, as I explain in the post for this recipe 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! I can top this fully frosted cake with a lid and the frosting remains beautiful while transporting. You can always use the full cake recipe for the 9×13 cake if you wish.

  9. Catherine pascal says:

    5 stars
    Can I double This recipe to make a thicker cake ?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Catherine, you can double the recipe or use the full recipe for the Best Chocolate Cake Ever Recipe to make a thicker 9×13 cake.

  10. Gail Gilbert says:

    5 stars
    Made it on the spur of the moment – on Valentine’s Day – so happy I did! So simply delicious! Many thanks