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Chocolate-Coconut Sheet Cake

Everyone needs an unintimidating, foolproof cake like this one. A generous amount of coconut topping, poured over the moist cake while it’s still warm, provides richness and a deliciously gooey texture. The 12 generous slices can be cut smaller to feed a larger crowd.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12
Chocolate-Coconut Sheet Cake

Photography: chris court

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2013



  • Unsalted butter, softened, for pan
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dish
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm strong brewed coffee
  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups finely shredded dried unsweetened coconut
  • 2/3 cup warm strong brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream and toasted large-flake coconut, for serving


  1. Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; line bottom and 2 long sides with parchment, leaving an overhang. Butter parchment, and dust with cocoa powder. Whisk together cocoa powder, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Gather flour mixture into a mound, and create a well in center. Pour eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla into well, and whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth. Pour batter into dish, and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

  2. Topping: Meanwhile, melt butter for topping in a small saucepan. Combine confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, and coconut in a large bowl. Stir coffee and vanilla into butter, and pour over coconut mixture. Stir to combine, and immediately spread evenly over warm cake. Let cool completely on wire rack.

  3. To serve, use parchment to transfer cake to a cutting board. Cut into thirds lengthwise, then cut into quarters crosswise (you should have 12 pieces). Serve with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

Cook's Note

Cake can be refrigerated in dish, wrapped in plastic wrap (do not let plastic touch cake), up to 3 days.

Reviews (4)

  • George Silva 17 Mar, 2014

    How does the safflower oil affect this recipe? Can I use some other type of oil? Don't recall ever seeing this at a grocery store? Thanks.

  • Michelle--- 30 Jun, 2013

    The new recipe format on martha is doing a disservice to this amazing recipe. You can't determine how much cocoa goes in the cake vs the topping and it's not longer tablet friendly to see without lots of scrolling. The recipe itself (google to find it elsewhere in a better format) is amazing and indeed foolproof!

  • Dawn-R 11 Feb, 2013

    Made this over the weekend and it is delicious. Very moist and not overly sweet. We all loved it.

  • elopezeliza 28 Jan, 2013

    Made this for a party and everyone loved it!! Delicious!! Very moist.

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