Easy vegan chocolate cake – this simple vegan chocolate sheet cake is quick and easy to make and doesn’t use any unusual or hard to find ingredients. It is so moist and rich you would never guess that it is free from eggs and dairy!
I’ve made various incarnations of this vegan chocolate cake recipe before – vegan chocolate fudge layer cake, vegan chocolate sheet cake with ganache frosting, Halloween vegan chocolate tombstone cupcakes and vegan chocolate cupcakes for two.
The thing is, I just can’t stop making it! It is such a versatile recipe, so quick and easy to make and so, so good. I seriously think that it is a better chocolate cake than any non-vegan one I’ve tried.
This version is a simple traybake/sheet cake which I topped with a light, fluffy, not-too-sweet vegan chocolate buttercream. It is a bit more child-friendly than the rich ganache that I used on my previous vegan chocolate sheet cake so is perfect for birthdays or any celebration where there might be kids; or if you just want a slightly less rich option.
Decorate it as you please – as I did with vegan friendly sprinkles for a classic birthday cake, or top with fresh fruit and chocolate shavings for a more grown-up look.
How To Make Easy Vegan Chocolate Cake:
This cake is baked in a 20cm/8inch square tin – grease it well and line with a strip of baking parchment. See the links above for other sizes of cake.
Whisk together non-dairy milk (soy is best but any unsweetened variety will work) with cider vinegar, caster sugar, light brown soft sugar, sunflower oil (or another flavourless oil) and vanilla extract in a jug.
In a large bowl sift together plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
Gradually whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until the batter is smooth. It is important not to over-mix it however or the cake can become tough so I recommend using a hand balloon whisk rather than an electric mixer.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and spread it level. The cake takes about 35 minutes to bake but start checking it after 25 minutes. It is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
The cake is delicate when it is warm so leave it to cool in the tin for about half an hour before carefully turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the chocolate buttercream, melt some chopped dark chocolate (around 70% cocoa solids). I do this in short bursts in the microwave but you can also place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water; don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water.
Whisk together vegetable shortening (I use Trex) with solid block vegan butter (I use Naturli vegan block) until smooth. It is important to use part shortening rather than all butter, and to use block butter rather than the spreadable kind, otherwise the buttercream might split.
Whisk in sifted cocoa powder followed by sifted icing sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk the buttercream for a good few minutes until it is light and fluffy then whisk in the melted chocolate. If it is too firm then you can whisk in a drop of non-dairy milk.
Spread the buttercream over the top of the cooled cake and decorate as you like.
How Long Will It Keep?:
The assembled cake will keep for up to five days in an airtight container at room temperature. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated unless it is warm out.
Can I Freeze It?:
The unfrosted cake can be well wrapped and frozen for up to a couple of months. Allow to defrost at room temperature. I do not recommend freezing the frosting as it may split when it defrosts.
Easy Vegan Chocolate Cake
Vegan Chocolate Cake:
- 240 ml (1 cup) unsweetened non-dairy milk (soy is best but any will work)
- 1 tsp cider or white wine vinegar
- 125 g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 50 g light brown soft sugar
- 100 ml sunflower oil (or another flavourless oil)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g plain (all-purpose) flour
- 50 g cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
Vegan Chocolate Buttercream:
- 55 g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids) chopped
- 55 g vegetable shortening (I use Trex)
- 55 g solid block vegan butter (I use Naturli vegan block)
- 20 g cocoa powder
- 110 g icing (powdered) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- a drop of non-dairy milk if needed
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and grease and line a 20 cm/8 inch square cake tin.
Whisk together the non-dairy milk 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 about 35 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Start checking for doneness after 25 minutes.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin for half an hour then carefully transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the vegan chocolate buttercream, melt the chopped dark chocolate, either in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (don't let the base of the bowl touch the water), or as I do in short busts in the microwave, stirring every 10 seconds. Set aside.
Whisk together the vegetable shortening and vegan butter with an electric mixer until smooth, then whisk in the sifted cocoa powder followed by the sifted icing sugar and vanilla extract.
Beat the buttercream for a good few minutes until very light and fluffy then beat in the melted chocolate a little at a time.
Spread the buttercream over the cooled cake and decorate as you like (or leave it plain).
For the buttercream it is important to use the recommended part shortening, part butter rather than all butter; and that you use block butter rather than the spreadable kind, otherwise the buttercream might split.