My Chocolate Chip Sheet Cake is a soft and fluffy snack cake that can be served right in the pan it’s baked in. Simple to make and impossible to resist, you’ll love this perfectly sweetened cake with its simple buttercream frosting and plenty of chocolate chips! Recipe includes a how-to video!
A Simple Snack Cake
This quick and easy chocolate chip sheet cake is ideal for those of you who don’t have the time (or patience, or skills 🙋🏼♀️) for a multi-level or tiered cake recipe. For those of you who are looking for something simple but still delicious, low-maintenance but still guaranteed to have your guests asking for seconds.
While its base of the cake is similar to my (more complicated and more prettily-decorated) Chantilly cake, today’s recipe comes together much, much faster and is iced with a simple buttercream frosting, no crumb coats or piping tips required.
Let’s get to it!
What You Need
- Sugar. I chose to use granulated sugar only in this cake because I wanted to give it a lighter, whiter color that would contrast nicely against the chocolate chips. Brown sugar would have darkened the cake color a bit more than I wanted (and we’re already yellowing it some with the butter, vanilla, and egg).
- Butter. Only one stick of butter goes into the cake, then you’ll need another two for the frosting. As with most of my recipes, I always recommend using unsalted butter and then adding the salt, that way we maintain control over the flavor.
- Buttermilk. This reacts with our baking soda to give the cake some lift, but more importantly it adds tenderness, moisture, and flavor to the cake. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use my easy buttermilk substitute.
- Mini chocolate chips. You could substitute regular-sized semisweet chocolate chips, but personally I prefer to use the smaller chips. Since our cake layer is so thin, the mini chocolate chips lend themselves to a better, less over-whelming texture, and they just look better.
SAM’S TIP: In the photos, I make this cake with a vanilla frosting. It provides a nice contrast agains the black chocolate chips on top. However, if you’d like to do a chocolate frosting instead (which I did in the video), simply mix ½ cup of cocoa powder into the frosting.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Chocolate Chip Sheet Cake
- Prepare your batter! This is a simple batter, made by first creaming together the wet ingredients with an electric mixer and then folding in the dry ingredients by hand, using a spatula. Once you’ve added the dry ingredients, it’s very important that you don’t over-mix the batter or the cake will be dense and dry. Once my batter is 75% of the way combined and most (but not all) of the flour is absorbed (shown in photo 1 above), I like to add the chocolate chips and stir until everything is completely combined (without overdoing it!).
- Spread the batter evenly into a lightly greased jelly roll pan.
- Bake until the edges are beginning to turn light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
- Once the cake has cooled, spread frosting evenly over the surface and then sprinkle with additional chocolate chips.
SAM’S TIP: The cake batter is fairly thick, this is normal and expected. I found that a thicker batter was necessary to keep the chocolate chips suspended in the cake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! I went with a simple and fuss-free buttercream frosting, but feel free to substitute any of my frosting recipes. Cream cheese frosting is a great option for those of you who like a less-sweet icing!
While I provide instructions in the recipe to make the frosting chocolate, I do not have advice on making the cake into a chocolate version. Unfortunately, simply adding cocoa powder would not work well here as it would most likely dry out the cake, and you would no longer be able to easily see the chocolate chips that give this cake its name.
There are two main reasons why this would happen (assuming that none of the ingredients were accidentally mis-measured and that the oven temperature is correct, which unfortunately it often is not).
1) If the cake batter was mixed too much, the cake will be both dense and dry. Never use an electric mixer to combine the wet ingredients! Instead, do this step gently by hand.
2) If the cake was over-baked, even one or two minutes too long, the cake could be dry. Many ovens are not properly calibrated, so make sure your oven’s temperature is correct and if you’re worried, check on the cake earlier than indicated in the recipe!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Chocolate Chip Sheet Cake
- 8 Tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter softened and cut into 8 pieces
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature preferred
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup (295 ml) buttermilk
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (170 g) mini chocolate chips
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter softened
- 3 ½ cups (440 g) powdered sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon table salt
- 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream as needed
- ½ cup (50 g) cocoa powder optional, only if you would like to make your frosting chocolate.
- ¼ cup (42 g) mini chocolate chips, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and spray a 10×15” (25x38cm) jelly roll pan with baking spray (or lightly grease and flour). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar and use an electric mixer to beat until well-combined.8 Tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter, 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- Add egg and vanilla extract and mix well.1 large egg room temperature preferred, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- With mixer on low-speed, slowly mix in buttermilk until completely combined.1 ¼ cup (295 ml) buttermilk
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¾ teaspoon salt
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and use a spatula to gently fold together until batter is approximately 75% of the way combined (do not use an electric mixer for this step or you will over-mix your batter and the cake will be dense and dry).
- Add mini chocolate chips and stir until chips are distributed and batter is completely combined.1 cup (170 g) mini chocolate chips
- Spread batter evenly into prepared baking pan. The batter will be thick, this is expected and necessary to keep the chocolate chips from sinking in the cake as it bakes.
- Transfer to 350F (175C) preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
- Allow to cool completely in pan before covering with frosting.
- Place butter in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until creamy.1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter
- Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until combined.3 ½ cups (440 g) powdered sugar
- Add vanilla extract, salt, and 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream and beat until thoroughly combined (be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl).1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, ⅛ teaspoon table salt, 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- Check consistency and add additional heavy cream if frosting is too thick to easily spread.
- If you would like to make this a chocolate frosting, add cocoa powder here and stir until combined (most likely you will need at least an additional tablespoon of cream).½ cup (50 g) cocoa powder
- Spread over completely cooled cake. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.¼ cup (42 g) mini chocolate chips, for topping
- Cut cake and serve directly from the jelly roll pan. Enjoy!
StoringCover jelly roll pan with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
This recipe was originally published in April of 2016. I have updated the recipe to improve it and have also updated the post and photos to improve them as well, and have added a how-to video.
Hi Sam! My son’s birthday is coming up and he’s requested vanilla cake with chocolate chips! Just wondering if a) you’ve ever tried this recipe as a cup cake? Or b) if you’d recommend a adding chocolate chips to your vanilla cake or cupcake recipe? Thanks!
Hi Andrea! I have not tried this as cupcakes so I don’t know exactly how it would turn out. You could add chocolate chips to my vanilla cake and bake it as cupcakes. I think that would work just fine. 🙂
Delicious! The only problem is I can’t stop eating it! 😋
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
What a delicious problem, Rhonda! So glad you like it 😍
Hi, I would like to try this cake, but I would like to bake it in a loaf pan. How do you think it would bake up in that pan?
Hi Bonita! I haven’t tried it to say for sure how it would go, but I think it could work. 🙂
Any tips on covering the frosted cake? Do you put toothpicks here and there so the saran doesn’t touch the frosting? I have a 9×13 pan with a cover but no cover for my 10×15. Should i just use my 9×13? Thoughts? And i would plan to put in the fridge at the end of day 1 because of the frosting i would be using; would it still be good day 2 after letting pieces get to room temp? Thanks!
You could use toothpicks, or foil. I find that foil doesn’t really sag into the top of the cake.
My wife said she wanted a sheet cake for her birthday cake, so I bought a full-sized sheet cake pan (12″ x 18″) without really thinking about it. When I got the pan, I laughed at how ridiculously huge it seems, because we aren’t going to have a party or anything. Anyway, I doubled this recipe and it was AWESOME. The cooking time was spot on. Moist and perfect. I used regular-sized chocolate chips.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
That’s too funny! Too much cake is never a bad thing in our book 🙃 We’re so happy it turned out for you–thanks coming back to leave a review!
I tried this recipe yesterday and my boys loved it!!
Thank you so much 🙂
Can I make this into a 6-inch three layer round cake?
Hi Sujatha! Structurally it should hold up to being a 3 layer cake. I’m not sure how much batter you’d need.
This cake is sooo good especially the frosting. It is the best buttercream frosting I tried, has good consistency, stable but soft & melts in your mouth. I tried so many of your recipes & they never fail to impress me. Thanks so much Sam for all your efforts to bring us free recipes. I can tell that you are a good person by the way you interact in the comment section. I hope you & your family will always stay safe & healthy. Much love from your fan in the Philippines!