This is the most amazing vegan chocolate sheet cake! Fluffy, moist chocolate cake is baked in a half sheet pan and topped with an amazing buttery sweet icing. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.

bite taken out of a piece of chocolate cake on a plate

I took inspiration for this vegan sheet cake from my beloved chocolate cake recipe. The cake itself is very similar, but it’s baked in a half sheet pan instead. It’s a simple recipe, made in 1 bowl, and unlike layer cakes that need ample time to cool and frost, sheet cake takes less time to cook and is ready to eat quicker.

But perhaps the best part is the simple cooked frosting that is poured over the cake while still warm. As the cake cools (and this doesn’t take long), the frosting hardens a bit and is completely irresistible.

Sometimes Texas style sheet cakes are sprinkled with chopped nuts, so this is an option as well. My kids don’t care for nuts in their desserts, so I left them out.

pan with sliced sheet cake, chocolate.

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What size pan do I need?

Sheet cakes are typically baked in a half sheet pan, which is a large rimmed baking sheet about 11 x 17 inches long, sometimes 12 x 18 inches or even 13 x 18 inches. Mine is 11 x 17 inches.

You could make the cake in a 9 by 13 inch cake pan if you really need to for a thicker cake and frosting. It will need to bake for 35-45 minutes though. And it won’t exactly be sheet cake.

close up of pan of sheet cake with one slice removed

Looking for more chocolate desserts?

fork sticking into a chocolate cake

square featured image of a piece of cake
5 stars (45 ratings)

Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake

This is the most amazing vegan chocolate sheet cake! Fluffy, moist chocolate cake is baked in a half sheet pan and topped with an amazing buttery sweet icing. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 
 

Cake

  • 1 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Frosting

Optional

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 11 x 17 inch sheet pan.
  • Measure 1 cup soy milk and add the tablespoon of vinegar to it. Stir slightly and set aside to curdle.
  • In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk well to combine.
  • To the bowl with the dry ingredients, pour in the milk/vinegar mixture, oil, applesauce and vanilla. With a hand mixer (you can skip the mixer and use a large spoon if you need to), mix on medium speed until well combined.
  • Carefully add the cup of boiling hot water, and mix on low speed until combined. The batter will seem runny, but that is right. It is what makes this cake extra moist and delicious.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared sheet pan, and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and make the frosting.
  • When the cake is done baking, make the frosting: In a medium pot, add the vegan butter, cocoa, soy milk and vanilla. Warm over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter has melted and the mixture comes to a simmer. Immediately remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar, gradually, until the frosting is smooth.
  • Pour the warm frosting over the still warm cake, spreading evenly with a spatula or spoon. Sprinkle with optional nuts, if using.
  • Let the cake and frosting cool for at least 30 minutes if possible before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Gluten Free: This works pretty well with a gluten free flour mix, such as Bob's 1:1 Baking Flour, but do not try to sub almond flour, it will not work.
  2. While I love the cooked smooth frosting for sheet cake, you can also use the chocolate frosting from my vegan chocolate cake recipe if you'd like.
  3. This sheet cake is best made in an 11 by 17 inch sheet pan(or 12 x 18) but it can be made in a 9 by 13 inch cake pan if needed for a thicker cake. It will need 35-45 minutes to bake though.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 307mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 56g | Vitamin A: 347IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

 

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Comments

  1. Hi! My son is 4 and has food allergies. Your recipes have been amazing! Yummy and friendly for what he can have. We recently made this for his birthday and it was the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!

    For the icing can coconut oil be substituted for the vegan butter?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Kelsi. I’m happy that your son is able to enjoy my recipes! How great he got to enjoy his birthday cake! Thank you for your kind feedback. I believe coconut oil will work okay for this frosting, but I haven’t personally tested it.

  2. This recipe is perfection! My entire family loved it and everyone wanted seconds. I even caught my father in law sneaking the last few bites from the pan ?. I will be making this many more times! Thanks for another great recipe! 

    1. Hi Lindsay. I’m thrilled the cake was a hit, and happy to hear you’ll be making it a lot! Sounds like you may need to make one just for you father in law! Thanks for sharing your terrific feedback!

  3. This is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten! Even my husband, who doesn’t really like chocolate, ate a huge portion of it while exclaiming how delicious it is. I’ll be making it for my son’s birthday party in September!

    1. I’m so glad my cake is a hit with your family! Thanks for sharing your great feedback and review! Happy birthday to your son, and happy cooking!

  4. I made this for my partner’s birthday with some toasted walnuts and sprinkles on top to be festive. People absolutely loved it. It’s so quick and easy to make and the results are tender and moist and chocolatey and delicious!

    Like someone else here, I used more like 3 cups of powdered sugar for the frosting.

    I used an 11×17″ pan. I think it serves more like 20-24 people. I inverted another sheet pan on top to keep the leftovers which seems to be working pretty well! (I think you could 100% make this a day ahead if you cover and store it this way.)

    Thanks for the great recipe, Nora!

    1. Hi Jenn. You are welcome! I’m so happy the cake was a hit for your partner’s birthday! Thanks for your wonderful feedback and ideas!

  5. Hi Nora, weird question: how would you adapt this to make it vanilla sheet cake? Or should I just use your vanilla cake recipe and adapt THAT to a sheet pan?

    1. Absolutely incredible!
      I have used unsweetened vanilla almond milk and worked out great! Also I have used a 9×11 in pan with your original quantities and baked it for 40 minutes on 350 . Also ended up using only 3 cups of confectioners sugar for frosting and the cake is an absolute masterpiece. Added toasted chopped walnuts. Best cake I ever had . Vegan or non!!?

      Thank you for a wonderful recipe!! You definitely are my go- to !!???

      1. Hi Cristina. I’m thrilled that you love my recipes and go to them for your cooking needs! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and ideas about the cake! I’m so glad you love it!

  6. Hi! Do you think you could double the batch to make a 2 layer sheet cake? 
    Thank you, love your recipes!!

    1. Hi Samantha. Yes, you can definitely double the recipe! Just use two sheet pans instead of one. Happy cooking!

  7. This was truly fantastic.  Very moist and flavorful.  My adult non-vegan son said it was the best chocolate cake he’d ever had.  I plan to make it again for my book club and again for any other occasion I need to bring a dessert.   Thank you Nora! 

    1. Hi Julie. I’m thrilled you love the cake! It is such a wonderful dessert for any occasion! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and review! Wishing you happy cooking!

  8. How far in advance can you make this cake with good results? A day or two? Likely making two for my son’s birthday party in a week, and definitely don’t want to be baking on party morning (with a 2 and 5 year old underfoot)!

    1. I understand that! I would make it one day before if possible, 2 days the cake might dry out and not be quite as tasty. Hope the kids enjoy!

  9. If you halve the recipe (as I did), a 9×9 will work well but be careful with the frosting. It will go dark and separate before it boils unless you have a super tiny pot. Just cook until it starts to thicken and sticks to your spoon.

  10. Hello!  I made this Texas sheet cake, and it’s the bath chocolate cake, even better than regular.  Is there a way to convert this recipe for a Vegan Vanilla Texas sheet cake?  I don’t  know if just replacing the cocoa powder with four, or something else would work?   Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!  Happy Holidays!!!

  11. This is the best vegan cake recipe I have ever made! I used banana instead of apple sauce for the egg substitute, made it in a slightly smaller pan but cooked for longer. It was perfect. The only thing I would say is that I drink oat milk but its no good for this type of recipe as it doesn’t curdle when adding apple cider vinegar, soya milk is best.

    I would like to be able to adapt this recipe so that you could make a vanilla version as it’s absolutely perfect. It holds together so well and is lovely and moist. Any tips would be appreciated!

    1. If you cut the recipe in half, two 8 inch pans should work. I think it will be too much batter as written. Hope that helps!

  12. This is the third time I’ve made this cake, we absolutely love it. However this time I forgot to add the coconut oil, as it was hiding in the microwave lol. The cake still turned out beautiful, go figure. 

    1. Funny how the oil hides in the microwave sometimes! LOL! I’m glad the cake turned out great for you, and that you’re loving it! Thank you for sharing!

  13. Hi Nora, thank you for another wonderful recipe. You are now my official go to gal for my favorite vegan desserts. Tastes just like the Texas Sheet Cake I remember from my non vegan  days. I like that you include alternative ingredients, bake pans and amount of time needed. Happy baking. 

    1. Hi Joanne. I’m glad you are enjoying my recipes and tips, and thrilled I am your go to for desserts! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful review and comments!

  14. I made this with oat milk which didn’t seem to curdle when I added the vinegar. Also I used the pan size recommended but it bubbled over in the oven. The finished texture seemed a bit like under done cake. However, we did eat it and it was tasty. I especially love the frosting! I am wondering if the oat milk just doesn’t work? I will make it again with soy to see if there’s a difference. I’d be interested in hearing if anyone else has tried making it with oat milk.
    I also want to say how much I appreciate your hard work making these wonderful vegan recipes! Thank you from me and my two vegan kids!

    1. Thank you so much! I haven’t tried this recipe with oat milk but I don’t see why it would be a problem. Are you sure you used the correct pan size with a rim? It’s quite a large pan, I would if you used a smaller sheet pan. It never comes close to bubbling over, it should be a very thin and huge cake. That also would make sense that it wouldn’t be cooked enough if you fit it in a smaller pan. Hope that helps!

      1. It was definitely an 11×17 pan! When I poured the milk/vinegar mixture in, it foamed up too.
        It is worth another try with soy milk!
        Thank you!

  15. Delicious! Turned out exactly as promised and just hit that chocolate cake craving spot on. In lockdown and this cake really brightened our weekend. 

    1. I’m so glad the cake brought brightness to your weekend! Thanks for taking your time to share your review and comments! May you be healthy and well!

  16. I made my wedding cake (not vegan back then) in 1991 and it was amazing but not as amazing as this cake. This was a truly amazing creation, from cake to frosting – but not only that! It was so easy!! Thank you. ❤️

    1. I’m so glad you loved the cake! You are welcome, and thank you for sharing your wonderful review and comments!

  17. Amazing! I have fond memories of a “Texas Sheet Cake” that I had as a child at family picnics.  This replicates what I remember perfectly but it’s better because it is vegan! I brought it to a summer party last night and everyone  raved about it! I followed the recipe except for using Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer instead of applesauce because that is what I had. Thanks, Nora. 

    1. You are welcome! I’m glad the cake is as great as the ones from your childhood, and that everyone at the party loved it! Thank you for taking time to share your review and comments!

  18. Thanks so much Nora! I’m not a cake person and had never baked cake before this. But the recipe called for my curiosity. I made it once and my bf and I finished within one day. It was perfect. One thing I struggle with is there frosting. At first I thought my frosting was too liquid, so I added some extra cocoa powder to thicken. But I guess it was too heavy and it didn’t stay nicely on top of the cake like normal frosting. Most of it sank in the cake instead. We didn’t mind that, it tasted great. But I will try 2nd time and will find way to improve my frosting. I appreciate any tips you have 🙂 (Note: I used granulated sugar because I don’t have powdered sugar, and used only half of the required amount in the recipe).

    1. The frosting for ‘Texas Sheet Cake’ is different than usual frosting recipes. It’s a pourable frosting that hardens a bit on top of the warm cake. Most cake recipes call for you to completely cool the cake, make a frosting with some sort of butter or shortening, and whip it with powdered sugar and so on. A very different process. Also, granulated sugar will definitely not work for the frosting, you need to use powdered or it will be grainy and will not set correctly. My best advice with baking is to follow the recipe exactly as written; if not the results will not be the same. Hope that helps!

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