Mexican Chocolate Sheet Cake

A super easy no-fail chocolate sheet cake that is moist, rich made with a hint of Mexican-inspired spices and gluten-Free! Topped with a fluffy layer of chocolate buttercream frosting. This cake will be a favourite for years to come guaranteed!

An overhead show showing a slice of a gluten-free chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles beside a cake pan

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Who doesn’t love a good chocolate cake? Let alone an easy to make a chocolate cake like this one. This chocolate cake recipe makes a cake that is light, full of chocolate flavour and is never dry.

My son makes this recipe all the time as a two-layer round cake but I prefer it sheet cake style because it is just one less step to deal with. No stacking is needed! Just make the batter, pour it into the pan and bake! Add frosting and decorate how you like and you are good to go!

The recipe uses a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and a hint of cayenne pepper to give it a uniquely Mexican-inspired flavour. Don’t panic over the cayenne pepper. It doesn’t make the cake spicy at all. Cayenne pepper actually works to deepen the chocolate flavour of the cake and who doesn’t want that?

A slice of Mexican chocolate cake on a white plate

What makes this Mexican chocolate sheet cake recipe great?

  • It is gluten-free but can be made with all-purpose flour as well
  • No fancy cake assembly is required. One 9″ X 13″ cake pan is all you need!
  • Easy to transport to parties and serve
  • Chocolatey and rich but not overly so
  • Light and creamy chocolate frosting that is easy to make
  • The cake is made in one bowl and another for the frosting – not a crazy amount of dishes
  • Spices are subtle but give the cake a uniquely rich and super tasty flavour
  • This cake can be made ahead of time and iced the next day or frozen for another time

Some of my other favourite chocolate recipes that are gluten-free are:

How to make this chocolate sheet cake

What is Gluten-Free 1:1 Flour?

When a recipe calls for all-purpose flour you can easily swap the flour out for gluten-free 1:1 flour in many recipes. Gluten-free 1:1 flour is a combination of gluten-free flours and includes xanthan gum in the mix allowing you to easily make any recipe gluten-free. One cup of all-purpose flour equals 1 cup of gluten-free 1:1 flour.

Why does this chocolate cake use vegetable oil?

Cakes that use vegetable oil in them tend to stay moister and fresher tasting longer than those that rely on butter. Vegetable oil has a very mild taste so it blends easily into cake batter without adding a flavour of its own.

Can you freeze this sheet cake recipe?

Yes, this cake freezes very well for up to 2 months. Once completely cooled freeze the cake on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Then when frozen wrap tightly in plastic wrap and mark with a date so you know when it was placed in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge overnight.

A chocolate sheet caked frosted with sprinkles on a white table

How long will this Chocolate cake stay fresh?

This cake will stay moist and fresh for up to 3 days on the counter so long as it is tightly wrapped or covered. Or you can freeze the cake for up to 2 months.

How many servings in a 9″ X 13″ sheet cake?

A 9″ X 13″ sheet cake will typically serve 15 to 20 pieces of about 2″ X 3″. My family usually just grabs a knife and eyeballs it with my husband taking a solid 8th of the cake, me a standard 2″ X 3″ size and so forth. So it really depends on what size of chocolate cake craving you are having! Your piece, your choice in my house!

What kind of frosting is best?

That really depends on personal preference. I love the frosting I made for this cake because it is light and fluffy with the right about of chocolate flavour that isn’t too overpowering. Others may prefer vanilla icing, ganache or fudge icing. Once the cake is made really any frosting and creative decorating will do but you have to give my frosting a try… it is scrumptious!

An overhead shot of a slice of a recipe for a gluten-free chocolate cake
A chocolate sheet caked frosted with sprinkles on a white table

Mexican Chocolate Sheet Cake – Gluten Free

Alisa Infanti | The Delicious Spoon
A super easy no-fail chocolate sheet cake that is moist, rich made with a hint of Mexican inspired spices and gluten-Free! Topped with a fluffy layer of chocolate buttercream frosting.
4.82 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooking Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Course Dessert, Treat
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 15 servings
Calories 335 kcal


  • 9" X 13" Cake Pan
  • Oven
  • Large Bowl
  • Handheld Mixer
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Measuring Cups
  • Spatula


Mexican Chocolate Sheet Cake

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups 1:1 gluten-free flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp of unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • ¾ tsp vanilla
  • cup cocoa powder


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9" X 13" cake pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl add 2 cups sugar, 1 3/4 cups of 1:1 gluten-free flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine.
  • Add in 2 2ggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 tsp vanilla and beat on medium-high speed with a handheld mixer for 2 minutes. Add in 1 cup of boiling water and mix well to combine.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared 9" X 13" cake pan. Baked for 30-35 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from heat and place on a cooling rack to cool in the pan for about 1 hour.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • In a medium mixing bowl add 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp of butter softened to room temperature. Using a hand-mixer beat on high for about 2 minutes or until butter is light and fluffy and starts to look whiter in colour.
  • Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar. Add in 4 tbsp of milk and 3/4 tsp vanilla. Continue to beat.
  • Add in 1/3 cup of cocoa powder and an additional 1/2 cup of icing sugar and continue to beat until well blended.
  • Using a spatula evenly spread frosting over top of the cake. Decorate with tiny candy-coated chocolate chips, sprinkles or coloured frosting as desired. Serve.


Serving: 1pieceCalories: 335kcalCarbohydrates: 56.3gProtein: 4.2gFat: 12.4gSaturated Fat: 8.9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 2.3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 303mgPotassium: 264mgFiber: 2.4gSugar: 41gVitamin A: 184IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 1.85mg


Will stay fresh on the counter covered tightly for up to 3 days.  
Freeze for up to 2 months.  Defrost overnight in the fridge.  Do not freeze with frosting for best flavour and texture.
Regular all-purpose flour and regular baking powder can be swapped out for their gluten-free alternatives.
Please Note:

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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  1. Do you think this recipe would double well?? I’d like to make it a sheet cake, but I’m not sure I need a double recipe, maybe just 1.5x…I’d like it to be a bit thinner and serve a crowd. I guess I’ll go for it and hope for the best!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this for my daughter’s birthday. Every single person there raved about it. Several people said they had never before had a really good GF chocolate cake. One thing: I added xanthan gum, which the recipe doesn’t mention. Otherwise, I went straight by the recipe. I will make it again and again. Thanks!

    1. Hi Janet, So glad you and everyone enjoyed it. There is really no need for the xanthan gum if you are using a 1:1 gluten free flour but it doesn’t hurt if you prefer to include it.

  3. 5 stars
    This is perfection!! I want to dive through the screen and grab a slice now! I love how rich and decadent the chocolate cake looks and the frosting is the cherry on the top. I have to make this and I won’t want to share!!

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