I’m an absolute sucker for good cake. I grew up eating cakes made from a box, which is probably why I have such an affinity for soft, fluffy cakes with thick, sweet-as-can-be American buttercream. Anyone else usually disappointed in the professional cakes found at weddings? (Maybe I’m the odd woman out here.) Well, this cake is everything I love about cake. Fluffy, moist and topped with a decadent buttercream made with lots of dark cocoa powder, which helps even out the sweetness of the powdered sugar. And it’s easy!
I was always intimidated by homemade cakes. Even confused. Why would one go to all that trouble? Enter: the sheet cake. No more difficult than a batch of cookies, in my opinion. You beat the wet ingredients, whisk the dry ingredients, mix them all together, and, once baked and cooled, top it off with a super simple vegan (or non-vegan) buttercream! And the results? They’ll blow you and everyone who eats a slice away!
Some of the ingredients I like for this recipe:
Whole wheat pastry flour brings all the delicious fluff to this cake! If you like your cake fluffy, then you don’t want to skip out on this flour! Plus, you’ll definitely want to use it in the future to make fluffy muffins or quick bread loaves.
Coconut sugar is an unrefined, low GI sugar that won’t spike our blood sugar the same way that a higher GI sugar (like white sugar, honey, or maple syrup) will. And it doesn’t taste a thing like coconut.
Instant coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor of the cake, and you won’t taste the coffee!
Applesauce helps sweeten this cake and lends a hand to its moistness.
Vegetable shortening adds structure to the vegan buttercream. You can use more vegan butter in its place, but I highly recommend the shortening!
Dutch process cocoa powder gives the frosting a deeper, richer flavor and darker color.
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, warm
- 1 heaping tsp instant coffee granules
- 1/2 cup neutral oil (avocado, extra light olive oil, refined coconut oil, etc)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temp
- 1 heaping cup unsweetened applesauce
Dark Chocolate Frosting
- 3/4 cup vegan butter (stick form), softened
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (or more vegan butter)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ~5 tsp plant-based milk
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare a 9x13" cake pan with non-stick spray. If you plan to remove the whole cake from the pan to frost and serve (like I did), cut a piece of parchment paper the size of the inside bottom of your cake pan, and place it on top of the non-stick spray.
2. Bring your eggs to room temperature by placing them in a glass of warm water for around 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift the flours and cocoa powder. Whisk in the baking soda, baking powder, and salt until totally combined.
4. Mix together the warm almond milk and instant coffee granules. Then, in a large bowl, beat together the coconut sugar, milk/coffee mixture, oil, vanilla, eggs, and applesauce until combined.
5. Beat the dry ingredients into the wet until batter is well combined, about 1 minute on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Tap the pan on your counter to bring air bubbles to the surface - feel free to use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles that haven't popped on their own.
6. Bake cake at 350°F for 15-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few crumbs. Allow cake to cool in the pan on top of a cooling rack. Alternatively, if you'd like to remove the whole baked cake, allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then place another cooling rack (or baking sheet) on top of the pan and flip the cake over. Your cake should fall right out. Peel off the parchment paper and then use a cooling rack to flip the cake right side up. Allow to cool completely.
7. Once your cake is totally cool, make your frosting. In a medium bowl, beat together the softened vegan butter and vegetable shortening until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla. Sift in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar and then beat until combined. Beat in milk 1 tsp at a time until you've got a creamy, spreadable buttercream.
8. Scoop all of the frosting onto the top of your cooled cake. Use a spatula to spread evenly over the surface, creating deep swirls. Top with your favorite sprinkles, shaved chocolate, or coconut flakes!
9. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
A neutral oil is any oil with a neutral taste. These include oils such as avocado, extra light olive oil, and refined coconut oil.
For the dark chocolate frosting, you will need a dutch process cocoa powder - check next to the natural cocoa powder (most widely available) in the baking aisle.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 464 Total Fat: 23g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 66mg Sodium: 344mg Carbohydrates: 59g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 34g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g