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 (57 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 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
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. I’m baking a sheet cake for the first time. It’s a birthday cake for a huge party. I have a 12×18 pan that’s 3 inches high. Do you think just doubling the recipe would do the trick? Or should I bake two separate cakes and then put them together? Thanks, big fan here

    1. You could probably double and bake in that pan, but I’m not positive it will be tall enough of a pan. You could also make two separate sheet cakes. I personally have never tried layering such large cakes. Hope it turns out fantastic!

  2. I love all your recipes and am constantly surprising non vegan friends with how delicious vegan treats can be thanks to you! I am about to try this one but have never made a sheet cake. How deep does the rim need to be? In that size I only have baking sheets with about 1 inch rims.
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Dana! About 1 inch high is what sheet pans usually are, so that’s perfect. It makes a very thin cake. 🙂 Hope you love this one as much as I do!

  3. Made this for my daughter’s birthday last week, she is doing the plant based diet. It was delicious and tasted the same or better than the regular Texas Chocolate sheet cake. So I’d like to make again for Easter, only omit chocolate and make a vanilla cake. Do you think that will work? Since there is 1/2 cup of cocoa should I add more flour maybe?

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the sheet cake so much, thank you! Unfortunately, I’ve tried adapting this to be vanilla and it did not turn out good at all for some reason. You could make my Vanilla Cake into a sheet cake quite easily, but the recipe is different for sure.

  4. I’ve made this cake several times now and it is such a giant hit. So easy and fantastic. All of my nonvegan friends (including middle schoolers where I work who are very unsure of vegan food!) LOVE it.

    1. How wonderful the cake is a hit! Thank you for sharing your awesome review and feedback! Happy cooking to you!

  5. Have made this many times and love it! I’m making it for a coffee and chocolate lover and was considering swapping the hot water out for hot coffee… any thoughts or reasons that may not work?

  6. Can this be made ahead, portioned, then frozen? I like to keep single servings of desserts in my freezer when my kid and I bake. That way we don’t wind up eating the whole thing in 3 days.

  7. This is now our family’s go-to cake for any special occasion. We do make two mods, about half the baking soda and salt, because it was a little much for our tastes as written. To each their own 🙂 The consistency of the cake itself and the cooked frosting are delectable! Reminds me of Cracker Barrel’s famous (definitely not vegan!) chocolate Coca Cola cake. Thank you, Nora!

    1. Hi Myrial. How great your family is enjoying the sheet cake! Thanks for sharing your great review and feedback!

  8. Making this for my toddler…has anyone tried alternatives to granulated sugar to reduce the sugar content? Bananas, maple syrup, etc?

  9. Hi I loved the cake. To the person that used a larger sheet pan than recommended I just cut it in half and made it a two layer cake.

  10. Have you ever made this only 1/2 a recipe? It is my husbands birthday and I want to make this but it is only the 2 of us and we DO NOT need this much cake to celebrate!! 🤣

    1. Haha, no problem! Just half the recipe and bake the cake in a smaller 9 by 13-inch cake pan for 25-35 minutes instead.

  11. Made this exactly as written. I served it to a group of people in which I was the only vegan. No one knew it was vegan. They loved it. It was extremely moist and rich. I wonder if you could make this into a Texas sheet cake. My old sheet cake recipe had a little tang from buttermilk. There was a little bit of cinnamon in it too. Nora, if anyone could make this into a Texas sheet cake, you could. Pleeeeeaase!

    1. Hi Ellie. I believe coconut oil will work okay for this frosting, but I haven’t personally tested it. I hope you enjoy the cake!

  12. this was amazingly delicious!! thank you for the recipe, my whole family enjoyed it thoroughly. 😊

  13. Excellent results!! I stopped eating healthy for a few days and all im eating is this cake!! lol

    All your recipes are really great, we have tried many. ~All the best

  14. Do you think I could leave the coco powder out of the frosting recipe? My son wants vanilla frosting but I love the look and texture of the warm frosting

    1. I think the icing should be fine without the cocoa, but I haven’t tried it so it’s hard to say for sure. Happy baking!

    2. Hello! I absolutely love this recipe and have made it several times. However I sent my husband to get a new sheet pan and he got the wrong size. He got 14×20! Is that too large for this recipe?

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