Chocolate Sheet Cake with Cherry Topping

Do you like camping?  Our family goes camping a fair amount in the summer.  We’re cheap, and we camp in a tent, which means that we have to think about meals very carefully.  And by “we,” of course, I mean “I.”  I mean, tents don’t come with stoves and ovens, and carrying pots and pans on a tent camping trip is Not. Fun.  And so, fire danger threat level permitting, we usually use a cast iron dutch oven and make one-pot meals.

What I really love about the dutch oven is the desserts.

Okay, let’s face it.  What I really love about any kind of cooking is the desserts.

Offspring #1, aka “the lizard,” * absolutely loves the dutch oven cobbler.  I try to make it almost every time we go camping.  Dutch oven cobbler is super easy.  Want the recipe?

  1. Drop a can of pie filling in the bottom.  (We like cherry)
  2. Cover with a dry box cake mix.  (We like devils food)
  3. Pour a can of soda over the top.  (Any kind will do.  We usually use sprite or coke.)
  4. Cook.
  5. Serve hot with a big spoonful of Cool Whip.

Truthfully, you can make this with just about any fruit-cake combo.  Chocolate cherry is our favorite, but we have nothing against Yellow/Peach or Spice/Apple or Vanilla/Raspberry.

Chocolate Cherry Cake

The lizard didn’t get his favorite cobbler at his birthday this year, which was mighty disappointing for us all.  I figured I could make an at-home version with this chocolate sheet cake and the (yay!) fresh cherries in my fridge.  You have to use the fresh produce while it’s in season, you know.  Make hay while the sun shines, my dad always says.

Have you seen Carla’s homemade cherry pie filling?  It’s all beautiful and shiny and red.  She went to the orchard and picked her own sour cherries, which is a lot different than how I did it.  I went to the grocery store and prayed they would have cherries, any kind of cherries at all, in the produce section.  Which they did.  And do you know what kind of cherries I got?

Yeah, me neither.

Sheet Cake and Cherry Topping

The bag they came in says “cherries.”  The label at the grocery store says “cherries.”  Apparently, a cherry is a cherry is a cherry. I can tell you that they are not sour cherries, and they are dark purple, almost black in color.  I suspect they are sweet Bing or possibly black cherries, but there is absolutely no proof of that.

The lizard didn’t care, though.  He ate his entire helping without taking a breath, and then asked me to make it again for his birthday, which is 10 months away.  I’ll put that on my calendar, I guess!

(*If you’re wondering why he is called the lizard, it’s because of his completely bizarre skin condition on his hands and feet, which is currently peeling off at an alarming rate.  Photos here.  Humans are not supposed to shed that quickly!)

P.S. I think I’ll be entering this recipe on the OXO cherry recipe contest, mostly because I think it would be awesome to win some groovy OXO tools.  Check out their site, and root for me to win!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Sheet Cake with Cherry Topping
Cook time
Total time
A recipe for a chocolate sheet cake and hot cherry topping.
Recipe type: Cakes & Brownies
Serves: 20
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
Cherry Topping:
  • ½ cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  1. Cream together butter, shortening, and sugar a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Add chocolate, salt, soda, and baking powder and mix well.
  4. Add buttermilk alternately with flour, mixing just until incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into 11x17 jelly roll pan, and bake at 350 degrees 20-25 minutes.
  6. For cherry topping: Place cherries, water, sugar, and cornstarch in a pot and bring to a boil. Boil 1-2 minutes, until thick.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract.
  8. Serve cake warm with warm cherry topping and whipped cream.
*This topping recipe does not make enough for 20 servings, like the cake does. This version makes about 5-6 servings. If you're serving 20 people all at once, or if you just have lots of cherries and lots of time to remove the pits, use Carla's full recipe at

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Diet Cherry Cola Cupcakes from Jen’s Favorite Cookies

Cherry Crunch Dessert from Get Off Your Butt and Bake

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

5 thoughts on “Chocolate Sheet Cake with Cherry Topping

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