Graduation Sheet Cake

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling


24 servings

Updated: Mar. 28, 2023
The surface of this graduation sheet cake is perfect for decorating in any way you like. We use it year-round for special events. —Patsy Dean, Sealy, Texas
Graduation Sheet Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 3-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: Vanilla frosting and assorted sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, combine cocoa and water until smooth. Add butter; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat; cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Add cocoa mixture and mix well. Beat in buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-22 minutes.
  3. For frosting, in a large saucepan, combine cocoa and milk until smooth; add butter. Cook over low heat until butter is melted. Remove from the heat; stir in confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Immediately spread over warm cake. Let stand until cooled. If desired, decorate with vanilla frosting and sprinkles.
Graduation Sheet Cake Tips

How else can you decorate a graduation sheet cake?

This sheet cake recipe serves as a great base for decorating any way you like, and is easily customizable for your preferences. There are lots of things you could write in frosting: the graduate's name, the year they're graduating, or even the school they're graduating from. The possibilities are endless! Check out this collection of graduation cake ideas and general cake decorating ideas for more creative inspiration.

Can you make graduation sheet cake in advance?

Graduation sheet cake can be made in advance, so you can focus on the other parts of the graduation celebration you need to get done (like deciding what graduation gift would be best for your loved one). You can either make the cake and frosting separately and then store until you want to assemble, or, you can bake and frost the entire thing the day before the event.

How should you store leftover graduation sheet cake?

Unless it’s a dairy-based cake or made with fresh fruit, cakes will actually stay fresher at room temperature. Store the leftover graduation sheet cake under a cake keeper, and consider pressing a piece of plastic wrap against the cut sides. It should last for about 3 to 4 days on the counter, or about 2 days in the fridge. You can even freeze cake: Simply place the finished cake in the freezer for an hour to set. Once the frosting is frozen and firm, wrap the cake in two layers of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Let the cake defrost overnight on the counter or in the fridge whenever you want to enjoy it again.

—Sammi DiVito, Taste of Home Assistant Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 289 calories, 12g fat (8g saturated fat), 47mg cholesterol, 211mg sodium, 44g carbohydrate (34g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.