Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream (And How to Veganize A Non-Vegan Cake Recipe)

Do you ever just feel the need to eat deliciously rich, Bruce Bogtrotter-worthy chocolate cake? Because I do. That’s where this Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream comes in.

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

One thing a lot people don’t realize about vegan baking is that it’s actually quite easy to veganize a lot of “conventional” recipes with a few simple swaps.

Non-dairy milk for regular milk, vegan butter in place of butter, and an egg replacement (1/4 cup applesauce or canned pumpkin, 1 tablespoon chia seed or ground flax + 3 tablespoons of water, or 1/4 cup silk tofu, to name a few) for the egg, whipped aquafaba for egg whites, etc, and viola! You’ve veganized your desired “conventional” baked good.

Vegan Chocolate Cake + Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

Now, it may take a couple of attempts to figure out which replacements you like best, and/or which ones work best for your old favorite “conventional” recipes, but it’s truly not as scary as it sounds, and experimenting in the kitchen, though it can lead to some epic fails, can also lead to exciting new and wonderful creations of your own.

This cake was inspired by a recipe tweeted by epicurious. I simply swapped the butter for vegan butter, milk for almond milk, and eggs for canned pumpkin. I also omitted expresso, because although I love desserts and coffee, I despise even a hint of coffee flavor in desserts (yes, I know, unpopular opinion), and cut the sugar just a bit.

Vegan Chocolate Cake & Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

For a tiny bit of extra “lift” to replace the levity usually provided by eggs, I added a splash of vinegar to the recipe to react with the leavening agents and create some glorious CO2 for extra rise (#justlikescienceclass).

And holy wow – it turned out wonderful! I didn’t use their suggested frosting, but rather whipped up a very simple classic version of my own.

Vegan Chocolate Cake + Vegan Chocolate Buttercream.

I hope this recipe post’s value is two-fold: the first being a recipe for vegan chocolate cake with vegan chocolate buttercream, and the second, a glimpse at my thought process if I come across a “non-vegan” recipe I want to make vegan.

This cake certainly brightened my day, and I hope it does the same for you. Cake just makes me happy! It’s a happy food, indeed.

Vegan Chocolate Cake and Vegan Chocolate Buttercream.

I hope you make this Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream and I hope you love it! If you make it, holler at me on Insta or comment down below!

And let me know if you’d like a post suggesting more specifics for when I like to use various egg replacements in different types of baked goods (ie quick breads vs cookies vs cakes vs muffins, etc!).

Vegan Chocolate Cake and Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Active Time:  15 minutes
Bake Time: 30 – 40 minutes
Servings: one 9×9 sheet cake

Ingredients – Vegan Chocolate Cake: 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (any will work, white or apple cider are most neutral-flavored)
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (I used avocado, canola would also work)
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (can sub applesauce)

Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

  • 3/4 cup softened non-dairy vegan butter (I like Earthbalance baking sticks for frosting since they it has a similar-to-butter texture)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups powder sugar (may need a little more)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweeetened non-dairy milk

Toppings (optional):

  • 1/4 cup sprinkles (check to ensure they are vegan; some are not due to . artificial color sourcing)
  • 1/4 cup each chopped pecans or walnuts, coconut shreds, and chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease a 9×9 pan with oil or melted non-dairy butter. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine non-dairy milk and vinegar and allow to curdle a bit, at least 10 minutes. Whisk in oil, sugar, and canned pumpkin.
  4. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk to mix thoroughly.
  5. Fold dry flour mixture into wet non-dairy milk/oil mixture until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and place in the oven for 25-35 minutes until cake becomes fragrant, and a toothpick or fork (or chopstick) inserted in the middle comes out clean upon removal and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  7. While cake is baking and cooling, place non-dairy butter in a bowl and beat well with electric mixer. Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar and continue to mix, scraping down the edges of the bowl as you go. If mixture is too dry and stiff, add a bit of non-dairy milk, one tablespoon at a time. If mixture is too wet, add 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon additional cocoa powder.
  8. Frost cake and top with any of your favorite desired toppings. Enjoy immediately or seal in an airtight container and enjoy up to 2 days later.

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