Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9x13 Recipe) (2024)

An easy, rich9×13 Chocolate CakeRecipe made in one bowl with minimal ingredients. Based on my popular best chocolate cake recipe, it is tender, moist, and delicious!

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9x13 Recipe) (1)

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)

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9x13 Recipe) (2)

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 frostingto work perfectlyin 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.

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9x13 Recipe) (3)

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.

Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9x13 Recipe) (4)

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 (9x13 Recipe) (5)


Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9×13 Recipe)

Robyn Stone

4.99 from 104 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 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes 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 forhow 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.

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Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9x13 Recipe) (6)

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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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Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (9x13 Recipe) (2024)


How much cake batter for 9x13 pan? ›

9×13 inch pan holds 14-16 cups of batter, essentially the same as 2 9×2-inch round pans.

How long to bake a 13x9 cake at 350? ›

For a 9×13 inch sheet cake, bake for 36-40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. With either size, make sure you rotate the cake pan once or twice during bake time. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan placed on a wire rack.

How to bake a 9x13 cake evenly? ›

Before baking, wet the one piece of towel per pan just so they're damp, and then wrap one around the outside of each cake pan, and tie the ends or secure them with safety pins. The moisture from the wet towel works to help the cake bake more evenly.

What is the best ratio for a cake? ›

The best ratio of butter, sugar, and flour to use when making a yellow sponge cake, such as genoise, is typically:
  • 1 part butter.
  • 1 part sugar.
  • 1 part eggs.
  • 1 part flour.
May 11, 2023

How many cups of batter for 13x9 pan? ›

For a shortcut, remember that a 9-inch round cake pan holds about 6 cups (if the batter is 1 1/2 inches deep). A 13-by-9-inch pan holds 12 cups. And a standard cupcake pan, with 1/2 cup batter in each of six cups, holds 3 cups. So a two-layer cake batter should convert easily to 12 cupcakes or a sheet cake.

How long do you bake a 9x13 cake? ›

Best of all, your kitchen should smell heavenly when the cake is done baking. For the Classic Birthday Cake made in a 9” x 13” pan, bake it for 45 to 48 minutes at 325°F until it tests done.

Why does a 9x13 cake fall in the middle? ›

Cakes sink in the middle due to several factors, including overmixing of the batter, opening the oven door too soon, or not baking at the right temperature. Expired leavening agents or incorrect proportions of ingredients can also cause sinking.

What happens if you bake a cake at 325 instead of 350? ›

Baking at a lower temperature yields a lighter crust. And not only is the crust lighter, it's more tender, as well. Notice the thicker, darker crust from the cake baked at 350°F (above left), compared to the crust from the cake baked at 325°F.

Is there a difference between a 9x13 pan and a 13x9 pan? ›

There is no significant difference between a 13- by 9-inch cake pan and a 9- by 13-inch cake pan. They are the same thing. Yes, you read that correctly. For example, pans made by different manufacturers may vary slightly by depth—two inches versus 2¼ inches.

What size cake board for a 9x13 cake? ›

Choose 10" x 14" for 9" x 13" cakes. Choose 13" x 19" for 12" x 18" cakes.

Why do you put water in the oven when baking a cake? ›

It provides moisture.

The steam from the water bath creates a moist environment inside the oven. This is important for delicate bakes like cheesecakes, souffles, terrines, and chiffon cakes. Without added moisture, the surface tends to dry out while the inside is still expanding, which leads to unsightly cracks.

What size cake is a 9x13? ›

Meanwhile, 1/2 sheet cake (18 x 12 inches and using 7 to 8 cups of batter) should be enough for 36-48 guests. And the smallest option, 1/4 sheet cake (9 x 13 inches, up to 4 cups of batter), can feed 20-24 people.

What is the golden ratio for a cake? ›

But really because the ratio for cakes is 1:1:1:1 (one part eggs to one part sugar to one part butter to one part flour).

What is the most popular cake size? ›

The most common sizes 8 or 9 inches, but they come in a huge variety of sizes, which can be used to make cakes of varying tiers or size. Above is a list of the number of servings for some of the most common cake pan sizes.

What is the one big rule in baking? ›

Never bake without measuring your ingredients. Unlike cooking, baking is first a science, then anything else. If you start adding ingredients like baking powder and sugar without measuring, it can lead to some spectacular baking disasters.

What is the ratio of cake batter to pan? ›

Generally for 1 or 2-inch-deep pans, you will fill them 1/2 full of batter. For pans that are 3 or 4-inch-deep, the batter needs to be about 2/3 high.

How much does a 9x13 pan hold? ›

But whether the pan's labeling says 13- by 9-inch or 9- by 13-inch, it should have a volume of about 14 cups (or 3.3 liters) and be the right size for most sheet cake or bar cookie recipes.

How much cake batter fits in a sheet pan? ›

Full-Sheet Cake: Around 14 to 16 cups of batter. Half-Sheet Cake: Approximately 7 to 8 cups of batter. Quarter-Sheet Cake: About 3 to 4 cups of batter.

What is the equivalent of a 9x13 cake pan? ›

An 8” square pan and 9” round pan can be used interchangeably for cake and bar recipes. A recipe written for a 9” x 13” pan can also be made in two 9” round pans; one 9” round and one 8” round, or two 8” round pans. Baking times may vary due to slightly different depths of batter in the various pan combinations.

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