Chocolate Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Fudgy, beyond rich chocolate sheet cake topped with the creamiest peanut butter frosting. Feeds a crowd!

Fudgy, beyond rich chocolate sheet cake topped with the creamiest peanut butter frosting. Feeds a crowd! Easy recipe on

Happiest of Fridays to you!

I saved a good one for today. I figured we can always use more peanut butter and chocolate on the weekend. Especially if that chocolate is rich beyond belief, that peanut butter is in the form of frosting, and that cake is the size of Texas.

And, of course, all those jazzy toppings.


Fudgy, beyond rich chocolate sheet cake topped with the creamiest peanut butter frosting. Feeds a crowd! Easy recipe on

I’m so excited because I’ve never shared a chocolate sheet cake recipe on my blog before. But there IS a funfetti version on my blog, naturally.

I’ve made this chocolate sheet cake a handful of times for various parties and I remember making it for an office party back when I worked full time. And the entire thing disappeared in about .04 seconds. People flocked to it like it was a pot of shimmering gold under a rainbow or something (can we blame them?). Oh my gosh, that was 3 years ago! I’ve been calling myself a full time blogger and confusing people with my job title who continue to ask “so it’s just for fun, right? what is your real job?” for 3 whole years. Where does the time go!?!

I digress.How to make the best chocolate sheet cake! Easy recipe found on

How to make the best chocolate sheet cake! Easy recipe found on

Some cake things you’ll need to know:

The first step we’ll do is melt down some butter with water and cocoa powder on the stovetop. This helps dissolve and hydrate the cocoa powder, which typically tends to dry cakes out. This also helps bring out the cocoa’s flavor. When mixed with a cup of butter, we have some seriously delicious chocolate liquid. Instead of water, you can use black coffee (like my favorite chocolate cake!). It’s completely incredible and truly deepens that chocolate flavor.

Then we’ll mix it all with dry ingredients. The usual suspects like flour, baking soda, and salt. Baking soda because we’re using highly acidic natural unsweetened cocoa powder and buttermilk in this recipe. Remember what I taught you? In another bowl we’ll get those eggs, sugars, and vanilla extract whisked together. Combine all of these mentioned ingredients together, then whisk in some buttermilk. I highly advise against using any other milk besides buttermilk. The thickness, the acid, the taste brings so much to this cake! If anything, you can sour whole milk with a little vinegar or lemon juice to make a DIY buttermilk. See my recipe notes for more info.

Check out this chocolate batter. Taste testing is a dream.

How to make the best chocolate sheet cake! Easy recipe found on

All of this chocolate magnificence goes into a half sheet pan, the one I told you to buy the other day. Not only used for sheet cakes though! I use these as my cookie sheets and whatever I bake on a baking sheet in the oven like roasting vegetables, baked potatoes, baking fish, chicken wings, french fries, you name it!

Since it’s a thin cake, it won’t take long at all in the oven. Which means it won’t take long to cool, either. Which obviously means that you can cut into this chocolate cake and fall immensely in love sooner. But before all that, let’s frost it with the most unbelievable peanut butter frosting on the planet. It’s my go-to peanut butter frosting recipe, just made larger because this cake is ginormous and requires 25 gallons of frosting. An intense amount of peanut butter goes into the peanut butter frosting– much more peanut butter than butter. Why? For F-L-A-V-O-R. Make sure you use a commercial brand peanut butter, none of those natural kinds. There’s a lot of separating and texture issues if you use an oily, natural peanut butter in this frosting. I like Jif or Skippy.

The BEST and creamiest peanut butter frosting!! Easy recipe on

↑ ↑ Best peanut butter frosting to ever grace this earth.

Fudgy, beyond rich chocolate sheet cake topped with the creamiest peanut butter frosting. Feeds a crowd! Easy recipe on

One bite = super moist, fudgy, tender, and decadent with a party of texture on top in the form of: peanut butter cups, melted peanut butter, chocolate sprinkles, peanut butter chips, and more. So I went a little overboard on the toppings but can you blame me? In the world of chocolate peanut butter cakes, we go big or we go home!


Chocolate Sheet Cake with Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 25-30
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Fudgy, beyond rich chocolate sheet cake topped with the creamiest peanut butter frosting. Feeds a crowd! I encourage you to read the full recipe and the recipe notes before beginning so you’re completely prepared.


  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (42g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not dutch-process)
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (405g) creamy peanut butter (do not use natural style)
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • toppings: ½ cup (135g) melted creamy peanut butter for drizzling, 1 cup chopped peanut butter cups, handful of mini chocolate chips or peanut butter chips, and/or chocolate sprinkles*


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Generously grease a 12×17 inch half sheet/jelly roll pan. Set aside.
  2. Heat the butter, water, and cocoa powder together in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the butter has melted and everything is smooth and combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Pour the warm chocolate/butter mixture on top, then slowly whisk together until combined. It will be very thick.
  3. Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. The mixture will be thick. Whisk in the vanilla until combined, then pour into the chocolate batter and whisk until combined. Finally, whisk in the buttermilk. Pour the chocolate batter into the sheet pan.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes. (Mine takes exactly 17 minutes.) Use a toothpick to test for doneness: stick it into the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, continue baking. Remove cake from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before frosting. The refrigerator helps speed things up, if you have room for the large pan!
  5. Make the frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat softened butter and peanut butter together on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on low speed for about 20 seconds, then gradually increase to high speed. Beat on high for 1 minute until combined and frosting is fluffy. Taste; add more salt if needed. To thicken, add more confectioners’ sugar and to thin, add more cream.
  6. Spread frosting all over cooled cake, then top with toppings. Slice and serve. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It’s so good cold!


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cake can be made 1 day in advance, covered tightly at room temperature, and then frosted before serving. Frosting can also be made 1 day ahead of time– cover tightly and keep in the refrigerator. Bring frosting to room temperature before spreading. Frosted cake can be frozen up to 2 months; thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
  2. Buttermilk: A must for this recipe. You can sour milk to make a DIY version of buttermilk by measuring 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring glass. Add enough milk (whole milk is best) in the same measuring glass to reach 1/2 cup. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The soured milk will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
  3. Cream/Milk: A very thick cream or milk produces the BEST possible frosting. Heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk all work. For best taste and texture, do not use anything lower fat.
  4. Room Temperature Ingredients: Here is why the ingredients must be at room temperature. The butter is melted and warm, so it’s best the other ingredients are not cold. 🙂
  5. Toppings: So many toppings! Use what you like best. I also topped the cake with these Reese’s peanut butter sprinkle ice cream topping (I found it near ice cream aisle)
  6. Sheet Pan: I own and love this 12×17 half sheet pan!
  7. Cake batter adapted from All Recipes.

Keywords: chocolate sheet cake, chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting

Add this to your weekend plans.

Fudgy, beyond rich chocolate sheet cake topped with the creamiest peanut butter frosting. Feeds a crowd! Easy recipe on

Fudgy, beyond rich chocolate sheet cake topped with the creamiest peanut butter frosting. Feeds a crowd! Easy recipe on
Fudgy, beyond rich chocolate sheet cake topped with the creamiest peanut butter frosting. Feeds a crowd! Easy recipe on


  1. “Good one” is a total understatement. This looks AMAZING! I cannot wait to try this recipe. Always love stopping by!

  2. I just made this frosting for a chocolate cake. It’s a 6 layer cake and let me just let you. THIS FROSTING IS INCREDIBLE!!!! I’m obsessed with it and it reminds me of the center of the Reese’s cup. Absolutely incredible frosting!!!!!

  3. Hi there!! I know this might be a long shot, but I’m wondering about how deep you fill the jelly roll pan. I’m making this cake for about 70 folks tmrw, so I’m baking it in a 21″ x 15″ x 1″ sheet pan. I plan on doubling the recipe, but I think I’ll need a little less the full batter in the pan. Does that make sense?! So to get to my question, about how deep in this 1″ thick pan should the batter be?! About 1/2?! 3/4?! I’ll obviously have to eyeball but I don’t want to have to overflow or be too thin 🙂 

    Thanks for your time, Sally!! I make your Oreo cooking recipe for friends’ bday + they’re always a hit!! 

  4. This frosting is amazing! I used it to top a very large batch of brownies and sprinkled pretzels on top and got rave reviews at our cattle branding. Thanks!

  5. Hello Sally,

    Please note that I have 9″x13″x 0.75″ Sheet Pan, so do I need to half the recipe ingredients or follow the recipe as given.

    Good luck to newer additions in your family 🙂

  6. I made this for a large crowd and it was absolutely delicious!!! There was not a crumb left in the pan. I think this was the best chocolate cake I have ever had and the frosting had plenty of wonderful peanut butter flavor!! I will definitely make this cake again!! Made it just as it was in the recipe and it was perfect! Thank you so much!!!

  7. Hi Sally,
    I want to make this cake for someone who has an egg allergy. What do you think about substituting plain unsweetened applesauce for the eggs?
    Or do you have any other suggestions?
    Thank you so much

    1. Hi Linda! I wish I could help, but I have very little experience with egg-free cakes. My immediate guess would be some applesauce though.

  8. Hi Sally,

    This is the second time I have made this delicious cake! The first time, everything came out perfect. This time, all was well, until I had finished mixing the frosting. I scraped down the bowl, then went to do one last quick mix, and the frosting completely separated!! I could literally see beads of cream sitting on scrambled egg-looking peanut butter in my bowl of previously fine frosting! Any ideas why that would happen?

    It still tasted fine, and the cake was just for my family’s dessert for the week, so I used it anyway, but it’s just so weird!

    1. And the first time it was ok? Oh goodness! Was the butter and/or peanut butter at room temperature? Maybe a little too cold? If everything is uniform temperature, it should be smooth 🙂

      1. I think that was it. I made it again today, and made completely sure the butter was not cold, and it stayed together. Thanks!

  9. I have made this cake before and it is a crowd favorite! This time that i made it when i took the sheet cake out of the oven it cracked and shrunk. Could it have been that it was too cool in the house in comparasion  to the oven? Or could it have been that the buttermilk was not room temperature?

  10. This IS the absolute best chocolate cake recipe that I have tried. I make this into cupcakes. I found that even though I have made this many times like 20x, that the last time I had acid reflex, no fault of yours, but I did use regular milk for the cake because of it the next time that I made it. The cake was still perfect. I always loved what buttermilk does to the flavor, but maybe its because I had an acid reflex day, which hardly ever happens! Thank you for your amazing recipes!!!

  11. I would like to use either two round pans (9×1.5″) or one rectangle pan (13×9″). What do you recommend? and for how long should I bake it at?

    It is for a birthday party; crowd of 15. Thanks!

  12. Hi Sally!
    I was wondering if I could double this recipe and bake it in a 12×17 pan that’s two inches deep, like this one:


    1. Hi Samhita! I use a 12×17 inch pan for this cake. It doesn’t quite rise to the top, but I feel doubling the recipe would simply be too much batter leading to overflowing and un-even baking.

  13. This cake was simply amazing! Very rich so I could cut it into little squares and it was more than enough for everyone at work to enjoy! Thanks!

  14. I needed a quick, easy recipe with pantry ingredients that would feed a crowd. This is it! Thank you so much for a delicious recipe. I made it exactly as directed and it was a huge hit. I will definitely be making this one again!

  15. Hi, Sally. Can this recipe be used to make 8-9 inch round cakes instead of a sheet cake? Thank you. 🙂

      1. Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! I’ll check out your other recipe as well. 🙂

  16. Hi Sally! Is there any way I could make this in a 13×9? Would it come out ok? Suggested bake time if I were to do it that way? I dont have a 12×7.

    1. Hi Lydia, for a 9×13 inch chocolate cake I recommend this repine: and see the recipe notes for instructions on how to bake in that pan.

  17. This is the best chocolate sheet cake E-V-E-R! I made it to use in your petit fours recipe, and it was AMAZING! I had one little square of just plain cake and almost ate the whole thing in one go. This cake is ridiculously good; moist, chocolate-y, soft…yummmmmmm! For someone who loves making fancy layer cakes with all the fuss and frills, I think I could easily choose this simple sheet cake over any layer cake 😀 Honestly, it really is THAT good!

  18. YUMM!! just a word of advice-make sure your frosting ingredients are truly room temp! I added my cream cold and the whole thing kind of seized up- still DELISH and I’m going to use it for buckeye’s, but in order to get that nice whipped frosting DON’T add cold ingredients 😉

  19. Hello, I would like to make this cake for my son’s graduation party. I would like to make a sheet cake; the whole thing. Would I just double the ingredients? If so, how long would I bake it and would I just turn it out of the pan after it was cool? I have never made a sheet cake before!

    1. Hi Ellen, This recipe is written for a 12×17 inch pan ( I have not made this into a larger size sheet cake so I’m unsure of the exact bake time needed. You can see all of my information on how to calculate how much batter you would need and much more in my post on cake pan sizes.

      1. Thanks so much! I will check it out. If I end up doing this, I will try to post my findings here later.

  20. This was awesome. I made almost exactly as written with the addition of Reese’s pieces to the topping. Will definitely make it again!!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally