Image of chocolate sheet cake

Grandma Shoaf’s Quick and Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 50 min
  • Yield: 12 pieces 1x


This Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe with easy-to-make homemade icing is the tastiest dessert ever! If you’re celebrating a birthday any time soon, this cake is the best option.



For the Cake

  • 1 box Better Crocker Devil’s Food Cake Mix (plus ingredients called for on the box)

For the Icing

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I like the dark dutch-processed kind, my family prefers normal Hershey’s kind)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 pound or 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • As many sprinkles as your heart desires, the more the better


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the cake batter according to the package directions and spread it evenly into a large greased, rimmed sheet cake pan (also called a Jelly Roll pan, should measure about 17 1/2 inches by 13 inches). Bake until the cake is cooked through. You’ll start to smell the cake and the cake will spring back when touched lightly, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. While the cake is cooking, in a small sauce pan heat the butter, milk, and cocoa over medium heat until the butter melts, stirring often. Remove from the heat. Add the powdered sugar to a large bowl (you can also use a stand mixer here) and slowly whisk in the melted butter mixture into the powdered sugar. Stir until well combined and no lumps remain. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
  3. While the cake is still warm (let it sit for maybe 5-7 minutes, you want it hot but not pipping hot), drizzle the icing over the warm cake and then use a spatula to spread it to the edges. If you try to spread too much or go over the same place again and again you are going to pull up the top of the cake and get crumbs in your icing. The goal is to quickly spread it out and move on… too much fussing will just make a mess. Add the sprinkles while the icing is still warm. The sprinkles will also cover any messes you made if you tried to spread the icing too much.
  4. The cake is great warm, at room temperature, and even the next day. No need to refrigerate over night, sugar is an excellent preservative. I have a plastic lid that fits my sheet cake pan and makes traveling a breeze. I highly recommend a lid for your pan.


I have made this chocolate sheet cake no less than a million times. Most sheet cake recipes just have you add the powdered sugar to the melted butter and go. I don’t do this because more often than not the powdered sugar gets lumpy and looks ugly on the cake. The secret to smooth icing here is to add the hot melted butter mixture to powdered sugar while stirring, and not the other way around. Pro tip for sure.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

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