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Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Sheet Cake is a beloved classic, known for its rich and decadent flavors. This recipe, made famous by Ree Drummond, is a tribute to the irresistible combination of chocolate and moist cake, topped with a delectable icing. It’s the perfect dessert for gatherings, potlucks, or any time you crave a slice of Southern comfort. Let’s dive into creating this iconic sheet cake.


For the Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (heaping) cocoa powder
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Icing:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons (heaping) cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar


Preparing the Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and salt.
  3. In a saucepan, melt 2 sticks of unsalted butter. Stir in 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Add 1 cup of boiling water, and allow the mixture to boil for 30 seconds. Remove it from heat.
  4. Pour the hot butter-cocoa mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla extract.
  6. Pour this buttermilk mixture into the batter and mix until smooth.
  7. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Preparing the Icing:

  1. While the cake is baking, start preparing the icing. In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup of unsalted butter.
  2. Stir in 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 6 tablespoons of whole milk. Bring this mixture to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  4. Gradually stir in the powdered sugar until the icing is smooth and well combined.

Frosting the Cake:

  1. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the hot icing over it.
  2. Spread the icing evenly, making sure it covers the entire cake.


  1. Allow the cake to cool and the icing to set before slicing and serving.

Variations and Tips

  • Nuts and Chocolate Chips: Add chopped pecans or walnuts and chocolate chips to the batter for added texture and flavor.
  • Coffee Infusion: Enhance the chocolate flavor by adding a teaspoon of instant coffee granules to the boiling water used in the cake batter.
  • Gluten-Free Version: Use a gluten-free flour blend to make this cake gluten-free.
  • Dutch Process Cocoa: For a deeper chocolate flavor, use Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
  • Make It Ahead: This cake can be made a day in advance and stored at room temperature.
  • Serving Suggestions: Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream for an extra treat.


Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Sheet Cake is a slice of Southern heaven, boasting the perfect balance of chocolatey richness and moist, tender crumb. Whether enjoyed as a comforting dessert or shared at gatherings, it’s a timeless favorite that brings joy to every bite. With its straightforward preparation and heavenly flavors, this cake is destined to become a cherished part of your dessert repertoire. So, savor the nostalgia and enjoy a slice of this Southern delight!

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