The Be-All and End-All Chocolate Fudge Sheet Cake

June 15, 2015

Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52—with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.

Today: Deep, dark, and fudgy, this old-fashioned, American-style sheet cake is best eaten cold, straight from the cooler, at your picnic or barbecue

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My writing partner and coauthor of Flavor Flours, Maya Klein, created this irresistible American-style chocolate cake with knock-your-socks-off milk chocolate frosting.

The cake is made with rice and oat flours, rather than wheat, and it’s so darned good that you won’t need to make a separate cake for people who can eat wheat. Trust me.

Baked in a sheet, it’s perfect for a barbecue or picnic. On a hot day, refrigerate the cake for a few hours beforehand, then let the cake sit in the shade to prevent the frosting from melting. Otherwise, postpone frosting for another day—the naked cake is still something to write home about.

Maya's Chocolate Fudge Sheet Cake

Serves 12

For the cake:

2 cups (400 grams) sugar
1 1/3 cups (200 grams) white rice flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) oat flour (gluten-free oat flour if gluten is an issue)
2/3 cup (60 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup neutral flavored vegetable oil (such as corn, safflower, or soybean)
1 cup boiling water

For the milk chocolate frosting:

1 cup heavy cream
17 1/2 ounces (500 grams) milk chocolate or 55% to 62% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 pound (225 grams/2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Pick up a copy of Alice's James Beard Award-winning book Flavor Flours, which includes nearly 125 recipes—from Double Oatmeal Cookies to Buckwheat Gingerbread—made with wheat flour alternatives like rice flour, oat flour, corn flour, sorghum flour, and teff (not only because they're gluten-free, but for an extra dimension of flavor, too). 

Photos by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Anna Rosen
    Anna Rosen
  • west757
  • Johanna Lopez
    Johanna Lopez
  • DP
  • melodazzle
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).


Anna R. November 9, 2015
Does "natural cocoa powder" mean "Dutch process" or something else?
west757 June 16, 2015
Is there a substitute for the eggs? My daughter is gluten intolerant and allergic to eggs and dairy. Thanks!
melodazzle June 20, 2015
Hi west757! I haven't had a chance to experiment with it yet, but chickpea water would be worth a shot ( Let me know if you try it!
Johanna L. June 15, 2015
What can I use to substitute the Xantham Gum? My stomach can bear Xantham gum...
Heidi June 16, 2015
:) HI Johanna! You can substitute Guar Gum, Agar Agar, Flax Seed, Chia Seed, or egg whites for Xanthan Gum, for similar result. Unfortunately Xanthan Gum gives gluten-free baked goods the wheat flour texture and chew that we are used to - so any substitutes will be a little different in texture. These two articles have some more information and ideas!
DP June 14, 2015
Ummm... You left out the cocoa powder in the cake recipe. That's right, there is no cocoa or chocolate in your "chocolate fudge sheet cake recipe". C'mon guys, how can we enjoy cake when the recipe is incomplete? Did anyone even TRY out this recipe before printing it?
witloof June 14, 2015
DP, I imagine that when you make a mistake, especially in public, you appreciate it being pointed out politely and gently. I want to remind you that there are actual people on the other side of your computer screen who have real feelings.
Sarah J. June 15, 2015
It's fixed now—thank you!