It’s daring to declare something as being the ultimate, but I’m confident in my statement. Creamy chocolate icing is poured over warm chocolate cake creating a thin layer of fudge where they both meet making this the Ultimate Chocolate Sheet Cake. It’s heaven on a plate.
Both my sons are celebrating their birthdays this week. When they were young, we would celebrate their birthdays separately, but now we have one cake celebration and two special dinners where they each get to pick whatever they want. This year, instead of making a tiered cake, I’m making my Ultimate Chocolate Sheet Cake.
This cake isn’t made in a bowl, it’s made in a 4 quart saucepan. I recently found out making a cake in a pan was a “thing” done in the fifties. I figured, if you have to melt the butter anyways, why not use a pan and combine all the wet ingredients in one place? Apparently, my idea was 60+ years too late.
You’ll need to follow the steps in order because there’s a method to my madness. First, add the butter, sugar, cocoa, and coffee into a saucepan over medium high heat. When the butter starts to melt, whisk together just until the butter is mostly melted then remove from heat and continue to whisk. The residual heat and whisking will continue to melt the butter and blend the ingredients. You don’t want to get it too hot as we want to cool it down enough before adding the eggs. Use the time to gather the dry ingredients.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. Grease or spray a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
Next, whisk in milk, oil, and vanilla into chocolate mixture. The chocolate mixture should be cool enough from the cold milk to whisk in the eggs. Whisk until well blended.
Add the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. When it is mostly incorporated, whisk an additional 50 – 60 strokes. It should be smooth and blended with no streaks of flour.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake on the middle rack of oven until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 – 35 minutes.
While cake is cooling, make icing.
In a 2 quart saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and milk. Whisk until butter has melted and mixture is smooth and bubbling around edges. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar until smooth. You may want to add the powdered sugar in stages for easier mixing.
Note: This is what happens when you don’t follow directions. I inadvertently added the vanilla with the butter, cocoa, and milk. It separated and looked like this. Follow directions in order and don’t be like me. Add the vanilla off heat after the butter, cocoa, and milk are whisked and blended.
When icing is smooth, pour over warm cake trying to coat the entire surface. The warmth of the icing along with the warmth of the cake melds forming the thinnest layer of fudge. Spread frosting to cover any bare areas. If you allow the frosting to spread with minimal help from a spatula, it should create a flat smooth top. The top hardens slightly protecting the creaminess of the frosting underneath.
How you measure the powdered sugar determines how your frosting turns out. If you measure the powdered sugar, the consistency will be thinner unless you press down and pack the sugar in the measuring cup. Just be warned when you pack it down it will create a poof of sugar dust. If you weigh the powdered sugar, it will come out thicker allowing you to spread like traditional frosting. This is one time you don’t have to be exact. I have made it both ways and they are both delicious. You can thicken the icing with more powdered sugar or thin with a little more milk.
If you can stand it, wait until the cake is cooled before serving. It’s hard, I know but you can do it.
I served this to a few friends who stopped by for Ryan’s birthday. They took a bite and told me it was the ultimate cake and it literally made one of them cry because she said it was the best chocolate cake she’s ever had. How could I not name it the Ultimate Chocolate Sheet Cake after that compliment?
The texture of the cake is moist and tender. I’m telling you it is pure perfection. Want another cake truly? Try Maria’s Pisco Cake,which is named after my Grandmother, Mama Maria. It’s a family recipe that produces a moist flavorful cake.
The only thing this chocolate cake needs is a few candles to celebrate both birthdays. Happy birthday, Ryan and Ethan. You make me proud everyday and I love you with all my heart.
Be happy, eat well…
Ultimate Chocolate Sheet CakePrint Recipe Pin Recipe
To make cake:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup cocoa
- 1 cup coffee brewed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ¾ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk cold
- ¼ cup light olive oil or veg oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
To make Icing:
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ¼ cup cocoa
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 cups powered sugar*
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- kosher salt optional**
To make cake:
- Preheat oven 350 degrees.
- In a 4 quart saucepan over medium low heat, mix together butter, sugar, cocoa, and coffee until just butter is melted and everything is blended. Remove from heat. You don't want to get it too hot as we want to cool it down enough to add the eggs.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- Grease 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
- Whisk milk, oil, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Mixture should be cool enough to whisk in eggs. Check before adding as we don't want to scramble eggs.
- Add the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. When it is mostly incorporated, whisk an additional 50 - 60 strokes. It should be smooth and blended with no streaks of flour.
- Pour batter into pan. Place in oven and bake on the middle rack of oven until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 - 35 minutes. Set on rack and begin to make icing.
To make icing:
- In a 2 quart saucepan, over medium low heat, combine butter, cocoa, and milk. Whisk until butter has melted and mixture is smooth and bubbling around edges. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar until smooth.
- When icing is smooth, pour over warm cake trying to coat the entire surface. The warm cake should help spread the frosting. Spread frosting to cover any bare areas.
- Let cool before serving.
If you measure, then the consistency will be thinner unless you press down and pack the sugar in the measuring cup. Just be warned when you pack it down it will create a poof of sugar dust. This is one time you don’t have to be exact. I have made it both ways and they are both delicious. You can thicken the icing with more powdered sugar or thin with a little more milk. **Lightly sprinkle top with a little sea salt or kosher salt for a delicious burst of flavor.