Retro-Style Chocolate Sheet Cake. I’m taking us back a bit in time with this delicious fudgy chocolate sheet cake. Picture a flavorful, light, and fluffy chocolate sheet cake with rich chocolate flavor. Then add the most delectable, roll your eyes back good, chocolate frosting that’s sweet and fudgy. This cake is naturally gluten-free and takes so little effort to make. It’s extra chocolatey and every last bite is truly delicious.
I’ve always wanted to make a simple chocolate sheet cake. But that was just it, it felt too simple and basic to share with you all. I know that sounds kind of silly, but I like to share more unique recipes with you guys. My hopes are that I will inspire you to create something fun to cook up for dinner or dessert.
To this day, I haven’t shared a super classic chocolate sheet cake. Maybe someday I will, but honestly, I love this cake even more. It’s classic…but better.
I’ve been thinking back to the recipes our moms and grandmas would bake up and the sweets we enjoyed as kids. Rich chocolate peanut butter bars and sweet sheet cakes for birthday parties. To me, the peanut bars were delicious, but the sheet cakes always lacked a bit in flavor. Probably because most of them were store bought or box cakes.
I got to thinking about how I could still make a retro-inspired sheet cake, but still improve upon it a bit. I wanted to give the cake more flavor, make it less sweet, and figure out a better frosting that didn’t just taste like lots of sugar.
So then I played around with this cake, using almond flour, and maple to sweet things. And adding coffee to really pull out and highlight the chocolate. It ended up being so wonderful, and I love that it’s a bit more wholesome too.
The cake details
Nothing fancy here, just mix the wet ingredients with the dry and simply bake the cake in a baking dish. One bowl – nothing complicated. As mentioned, I used almond flour for this cake, so it’s naturally gluten-free.
And then, I used maple syrup as the sweetener, which I really love. Cakes are, of course, delicious, but I hate the “sugar” headache you can get when they’re overly sweet. Don’t worry though, this is still plenty sweet!
While the cake itself is on the more wholesome side, the frosting is a tried and true retro-style classic.
The frosting needed to be thick and fudgy, but yet soft and almost runny. Think of a just set top that has glazed over and stiffened, but underneath is fudgy, loose frosting.
Very old school, very vintage, which is exactly what I was going for. Just like the kind of frosting your grandma would make.
Once the cake has cooled, simply spread the frosting over top and that’s it, easy.
You can let the frosting set up or just cut in and enjoy!
Looking for easy old-school-style desserts? Here are a few ideas:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Blondies
Giant Salted Espresso Hot Fudge Cookies
Lunchroom Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Lastly, if you make this Retro-Style Chocolate Sheet Cake be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Retro-Style Chocolate Sheet Cake
Calories Per Serving: 569 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (optional)
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, at room temperature
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup warmed milk
- 1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper.2. In a large bowl, beat together the coconut oil, milk, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla. Add the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined, then slowly beat in the coffee until combined. It will be thin. If using, stir in mini-chocolate chips.3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool completely before frosting 4. To make the frosting. Add the butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and 1/4 cup warm milk to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until smooth, adding additional warm milk until the frosting becomes thicker, but still drizzly. Taste, adding more sugar if needed. Spread the frosting over the cake. Let sit for 1-ish hour to set. Slice and enjoy!
View Recipe Comments
Storing: this cake will keep well for 3-4 days at room temperature or in the fridge. To Bring Eggs to Room Temperature: place the eggs in a bowl and fill with warm water. Let sit 5 minutes.
Can I use all purpose flour instead of almond flour?
Sure, that should be just fine for you to do! Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xT
Do you really mean 1 cup of cocoa powder in cake?
You bet! Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xx
Do you have any recommendations for substitutes to make this dairy free? Would almond milk work? Thank you!
Yes, almond milk should be just fine for you to use! Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx
Can I sub olive oil for coconut? I made this a while ago, it was amazing but currently don’t have coconut oil!
Sure, I bet that would be just fine for you to use! Let me know if you have any other questions, I hope it’s delish! xT
Hi! Can I make this in different size springform pans and stack? Maybe freeze before assembling to help with stability? Let me know what you think, thank you!
Sorry, I would not recommend layering this recipe, it’s too delicate. This cake will work better for you:
Please let me know if you have any other questions! xT
Oils you sun coconut flour for almond flour? Family has nut allergies.
You can use another neutral oil or butter for the coconut oil and then a gluten free flour blend would work best for the almond flour. I hope this helps! xx
Can’t wait to try this! Do you think I could add peanut butter to this recipe somehow?
So sorry, I’ve never added peanut butter with this recipe, you could probably swirl it into the icing:) Let me know if you give this a try! xT
Can I sub a non dairy milk for the whole milk?
Yes, that will work well for you! Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope this recipe turns out well for you! xx
I used lactose free milk in mine and it came out great!
Thanks for sharing Bridget!!
Can you substitute something else for the brewed coffee?
Yes, you can use water in place of the coffee. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT
Love this recipe soo much. I had just ran out of coffee but was craving chocholate cake. Had some red wine left in the fridge and used that instead of the coffee and it came out really nice. 🙂 Brought some to work too and my colleagues went crazy over it. Loving the deep cocoa vibes of the cake.
Happy Monday!!🌞 Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! xx
For the icing recipe, shouldn’t the butter be melted and not room temperature? It even appears to melted in the video linked.
Melted or room temp is great, you should have the same results either way! Let me know if you have any other questions, I hope this recipe turns out well for you! xT
What are the red pieces? Dehydrated strawberries?
Those are dried roses:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xT
Can I sub reg flour for almond? We have a nut allergy in our family?
Hi from Keystone, CO
You’re going to have the best results using a gluten free flour blend:) Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope it turns out well for you! xT