Vegan chocolate sheet cake – a soft, moist, delicious chocolate traybake cake topped with rich, smooth vegan chocolate coconut milk ganache. Perfect for feeding a crowd!
If I had to pick a favourite cake flavour, I don’t think I could. But the cake that I crave most often is definitely chocolate. Specifically a dark, intensely chocolatey chocolate cake with a not-too-sweet ganache topping.
This vegan chocolate sheet cake is a traybake version of my vegan chocolate fudge layer cake, which is one of the most popular cakes on the blog; and for good reason.
The cake is soft, moist, intensely chocolatey and easy to make; and the ganache is smooth, rich and utterly delicious. It is such a good cake, and so easily adaptable, that I don’t think I really need another chocolate cake recipe!
This traybake version is perfect for feeding a crowd, so would be great for parties and birthdays. Especially because it caters to those with egg/dairy allergies as well as vegans; and is delicious for everyone else too!
It is also very easy to make – you simply whisk together the wet ingredients, sift together the dry and then mix the two together and bake.
Vegan Chocolate Ganache:
The ganache is very easy too and uses just two ingredients – vegan dark chocolate and full fat coconut milk in place of the usual cream. You must make sure that you use full fat coconut milk – no light varieties, else the ganache may not set.
You can also use coconut cream (NOT cream of coconut – very different thing) instead if you like. For those of you who don’t like coconut, I couldn’t taste it at all, it was completely masked by the chocolate.
Because there is no sweetener added to the ganache, make sure that the chocolate that you use isn’t too dark and bitter, otherwise the ganache will be inedible. Go for around 40% cocoa solids if you prefer a sweeter, less intense flavour; and 70% if you want a richer, less sweet ganache.
You can also use part dark and part (dairy free) milk chocolate for a less rich flavour; which I particularly recommend if you are going to be serving this cake to children.
The vegan ganache does take much longer to thicken and set than regular ganache, mine took a couple of hours in the fridge to get to the right consistency, but it will get there!
Make sure you don’t leave it until the last minute to make it; but you can pop it in the freezer and stir it regularly to speed up the thickening if needed. If it gets too thick you can very gently warm it over a pan of warm water until it reaches the right consistency.
The ganache does set firmer than it looks in the photos – I was running out of light to photograph so had to use it before it had fully firmed up!
I topped the cake with some chocolate curls and shavings. These are very easy to make by running a vegetable peeler down the side of a bar of chocolate. It helps if the chocolate is slightly soft rather than fridge cold.
The curls are also very delicate and prone to falling apart if touched, so I like to make them directly on a sheet of baking parchment then pick up the parchment and sprinkle them over the cake without touching them. The cake would also be great topped with vegan sprinkles or a scattering of berries.
How To Make Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake:
(For ingredients and full instructions see the recipe card below)
*For the best results make sure that you follow the recipe closely. As always, I highly recommend using the gram measurements (with a digital scale), rather than the cup conversions. Cup measurements are simply not accurate enough for baking and I cannot guarantee the best results if you use them.*
This vegan chocolate sheet cake is super easy to make. Start by making the ganache as it takes a while to set.
Put your chocolate in a bowl and heat the coconut milk until juuust boiling. Pour it over the chocolate and leave it alone for two minutes then stir until melted and smooth. Cover and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours to set while you make the cake.
Whisk together your wet ingredients then sift together the dry ones. Pour the wet into the dry and fold together until smooth; try not to overmix it though or your cake will be tough.
Bake until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin then carefully lift it out onto a wire rack.
Once the cake is cool and the ganache is set, spread the ganache all over the top of the cake, top with chocolate curls or sprinkles and serve.
More Easy Vegan Cakes:
And there’s lots more on my cakes recipe index page!
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Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake
- 200 g (7oz) dairy free dark chocolate
- 100 g (3.5 oz) dairy free milk chocolate (or more dark chocolate)
- 250 ml (1 cup) full fat coconut milk (from a tin, NOT the drinking variety) use mostly the solid white part rather than the clear liquid, or use coconut cream from a carton instead
- 480 ml (2 cups) unsweetened non-dairy milk (soy is best for baking)
- 2 tsp cider/white wine vinegar
- 250 g (1 1/4 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
- 100 g (packed 1/2 cup) light brown soft sugar
- 200 ml (1/2 + 1/3 cup) sunflower oil (or another neutral oil)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 300 g (2 1/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 100 g (3/4 cup) cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1/2 tsp salt
Start by making the ganache. Chop the chocolate finely and place in a heat-proof bowl. Heat the coconut milk until it is just coming up to the boil.
Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and set aside for two minutes then stir until melted and smooth. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge to set for about 2 hours while you make the cake.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and grease and line a 23x33cm/9x13in rectangular cake tin.
Whisk together the milk, vinegar, caster sugar, brown sugar, sunflower oil and vanilla extract in a jug.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
Gradually whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until smooth; be careful not to over-mix or the cake can become tough.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and spread level. Bake for 25-35 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin. Once cool, carefully flip it out onto a wire rack.
By now the ganache should be thick but spreadable; if it is too runny still then return it to the fridge until it is firm, or pop it in the freezer for a bit to speed up the process. If it is too thick then gently warm it over a pan of hot water until it has softened.
Spread the ganache over the top of the cake and top with chocolate curls, sprinkles or fruit.
The cake will keep for up to five days in an airtight container at room temperature. If it is warm, store the cake in the fridge so that the ganache doesn't become too soft.
For the best results make sure that you follow the recipe closely. As always, I highly recommend weighing your ingredients using the gram measurements (with a digital scale), rather than the cup conversions. Cup measurements are simply not accurate enough for baking and I cannot guarantee the best results if you use them.
Because there is no sweetener added to the ganache, make sure that the chocolate that you use isn't too dark and bitter, otherwise the ganache will be inedible. Go for around 40% cocoa solids (Bournville is great) if you prefer a sweeter, less intense flavour; and 70% if you want a richer, less sweet ganache.