Lighter Version of Grandma’s Chocolate Sheet Cake

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Lighter Version Grandma's Chocolate Sheet Cake Follow Me on Pinterest

I don’t know where the original recipe for this cake came from, but I always associate this sheet cake with my grandma. Every time we visited her farm, she made one of these cakes. In fact, it’s the only dessert I ever remember her making. So, I love this cake – partly out of nostalgia but mostly because it’s moist, chocolate-y, and delicious.

What I don’t love, though, is that I always feel twinges of guilt when I eat most of this cake by myself. I’m all for butter and sugar, but the original recipe for this cake and its icing calls for three sticks of butter. For a while now, I’ve been playing around with substitutions for some of the butter. I tried fruit purees, but the taste and texture were just plain off. Then, the other day, I read something about substituting Greek yogurt for part of the butter in baked goods. Since I have two giant containers of Greek yogurt in my fridge, I figured I’d give it a shot. It was perfect. There was no noticeable difference in the taste or the texture between the cake made with the Greek yogurt and the cake made with all butter. So now I gobble up this entire cake guilt-free (kidding – well, kind of kidding). However, if you want to try the all-butter version, just swap out the Greek yogurt for another stick of butter.

Lighter Version of Grandma’s Chocolate Sheet Cake
Chocolate Cake
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. cocoa
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Chocolate Icing
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c. low-fat buttermilk
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a cookie sheet (I use a 15x11-inch rimmed cookie sheet) with edges.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan.
  3. Once butter has melted, stir in water and cocoa powder; bring to a boil.
  4. Once at a boil, add buttermilk, and stir to combine.
  5. Remove pan from heat.
  6. Add the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla, and stir until well-combined.
  7. Stir in sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  9. While the cake is baking prepare the icing.
  10. For the icing, combine the butter, cocoa, and buttermilk. Bring to a boil.
  11. Remove from heat, and add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and nuts (if using). Stir to combine. Pour icing over hot cake and spread evenly over cake.


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  1. Julianne says

    Thanks for the tip on subbing Greek yogurt.. I love this cake and make it for most events. But I am looking forward to trying this recipe. Have you ever tried reducing the sugar? I think 2 cups of sugar in a cake is way too much. Think I will try that too. Thank you again!

    • says

      I’m glad you found that to be helpful! I have reduced it by about 1/4 cup in the cake and frosting (so not much) without having any issues. When I’ve tried to reduce the sugar in the icing by more, it didn’t set right.

  2. deb schlee says

    • says

      I’m glad that the substitution helped!! I have several recipes that use Greek yogurt, so please let me know if you’d like me to help you find some of the others, and I’d be happy to help you out. =)

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