Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake

This gluten-free vegan chocolate Texas sheet cake is hands down THE BEST chocolate cake I've ever had {and that says a lot coming from a person who eats chocolate treats at least twice a day and spends her whole life baking! ;) }. Seriously, though this chocolate cake came out really well and it's a recipe I've now made twice {in the span of a week} because I love it so! It's rich, moist, fudgey, cakey, and absolutely delicious.

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake {Refined Sugar-Free}

My inspiration for this recipe came from a reader recipe request during a recent giveaway on the blog, where readers were asked to share a recipe they'd like made gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. for the holidays. I was really touched by this request from Connie {and I'm sure you would be too}, who wrote the following:

"My son found out he has Celiac disease 3 weeks before his wedding in June. I make a chocolate sheet cake that he'd asked me to make prior to finding out about needing to be gluten free and I never got around to making it for him due to being so busy planning for the wedding, a new grandbaby, etc. So if I could get a gluten free recipe for chocolate sheet cake to make him for the holidays, that would be wonderful!!"

She also shared that the traditional cake recipe she uses "has flour, sugar, butter, oil, cocoa, vanilla, baking soda, eggs and milk. Frosting - cocoa, butter, milk, powder sugar, vanilla, pecans" -- all typical ingredients of a Texas sheet cake. And while Connie's main concern is gluten, I also made this cake dairy and egg-free, and used maple syrup as a sweetener in place of sugar -- and I honestly don't think anybody in the world would know the difference between the cake I ended up with and the dairy, flour, and egg alternative! Indeed my non gluten-free critics have very much enjoyed this cake {and they can be a very tough bunch to please sometimes as they scatter at the sound of "gluten-free"... This cake absolutely passed the test on that front}. It turned out light and fluffy, but sturdy and springy, and very moist and rich. And as I mentioned, it's a recipe I absolutely love and will be making for myself quite often.

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake {Refined Sugar-Free}

*** A special note for Connie: if you did want to just stick to your original traditional recipe {since it seems to be well loved by your son!} and only replace the gluten-filled flour part, feel free to just substitute the flour in the cake part with the following:

  • Assuming your recipe calls for 2 cups regular flour: use ¾ cup brown rice flour, ¾ cup tapioca starch, ½ cup sweet rice flour, ½ teaspoon guar gum.
  • If your recipe uses baking powder {I doubt it, but mentioning it just in case}, then make sure the baking powder is certified gluten-free.
  • That's all :) -- all the other ingredients are naturally gluten-free.

If you wanted to give my recipe a try for a change, however, then follow my lead :) . I'd love to hear how close I came with the cake part to your original recipe! Whether you use my recipe or your original with the gluten-free flour substitute, I'd absolutely love to hear how your son enjoyed it! :) Thanks for the wonderful recipe inspiration!

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake {Refined Sugar-Free}


Vegan Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake

  • Author: Audrey @ Unconventional Baker
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 9" x 13" Cake
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Dessert


Adapted from this recipe for classic chocolate Texas sheet cake from the food network.


Dry Cake:

  • 2 ¼ cups gluten-free flour blend {I recommend Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend} {or make your own by combining: 1 cup brown rice flour, ¾ cup tapioca starch, ½ cup sweet rice flour, ¾ teaspoon guar gum}
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt

Liquid Cake:

  • 2 cups maple syrup {or another liquid sweetener of your choice}
  • cup unsweetened applesauce {I used my homemade applesauce}
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Butter Chocolate Mixture:

  • 1 cup dairy-free butter
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water


  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk {should be refrigerated overnight}
  • 6 oz non-dairy baker's chocolate
  • ½ cup maple syrup {or liquid sweetener of your choice}
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • ½ cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Generously butter a 9" x 13" x 2" rectangular baking dish {or something of a similar size}. Set aside.
  2. Combine all dry cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add in wet cake ingredients, and mix everything together with a wooden spoon.
  3. Place butter in a small sauce pan and warm on medium-low heat. Boil 1 cup water separately in the meantime. Once butter is melted, add in cocoa powder and stir the mixture to combine. Pour boiling water into the mixture and mix everything together into a smooth chocolate mixture. Pour into the other cake ingredients and stir everything well with a wooden spoon to combine. Pour into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the top to even everything out.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven for 27 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for the cake to fully cool.
  5. FROSTING: Remove chilled can of coconut milk from the fridge. Use a spoon to carefully extract the white cream layer at the top of the can, and discarding all the water that separated at the bottom of the can. {Important: try to really only scoop out the solid white part, leaving ALL water behind in the can}.
  6. Place the coconut cream into a medium sized mixing bowl and use a mixer to whip it into whipped cream. Add in maple syrup and vanilla and mix to combine.
  7. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler {or microwave} and pour into the whipped mixture. Mix everything to combine, and place in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour {over which time the liquid mixture will solidify}. Once chilled, use a spatula to mix it a little. It will look like something like this when done:
  8. Non-Dairy Maple-Sweetened Chocolate Frosting
  9. If using pecans {optional -- I skipped this part}, then spread the pecans over the cake, then frost the cooled cake and enjoy! {See further notes on frosting tips}.


Store any leftover cake in the fridge. It will keep fresh for days. It also freezes very well.

A few notes on the frosting: Traditional Texas sheet cake frosting is more solid and hard since it relies on the mixture of sugar and butter. I felt like going with a slightly more soft frosting {since the cake is in a pan that's very forgiving and I'll take a good gooey melted chocolate topping over a crunchy one any day ;) }.

This particular frosting has a solid soft spreadable consistency after chilling. If however you frost your cake while it's still warm/hot, then the frosting will turn slightly more gooey {as you can see in the pictures of the finished cake, which I frosted while still warm}. I love it that way, but if you prefer a more solid frosting, then make sure your cake is chilled first.

Either way, the frosting will solidify once the cake has chilled in the fridge.

For a more traditional frosting, have a look at the frosting in this recipe {but use non-dairy butter and milk}.

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake {Refined Sugar-Free}

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