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Naturally Sweetened Chocolate Sheet Cake

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This naturally sweetened Chocolate Sheet Cake is incredibly rich and chocolatey, moist, and super fluffy. It comes together quickly and requires only two bowls and a whisk! Perfect for beginner cake bakers. You’ll love it paired with the velvety refined sugar free cream cheese frosting.

a slice of chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting being removed from the tray. A bowl of chocolate shavings is on the left side.

Welcome to Naturally Sweet Cake Week 2020! I am so thrilled that you’re here!

If you missed last week’s post, here’s the low down: over the next week I’m going to walk you through how to bake three very simple and delicious refined sugar free cakes.

The goal of this week is to give you more confidence baking cakes with natural sweeteners and show you that creating Insta-worthy cakes doesn’t have to be stressful or intimidating.

In fact, I guarantee you will find all of these recipes achievable, even if you’ve never baked a cake before! There’s also a fun giveaway happening for those of you eager to get involved in Cake Week. (You can skip to the details on how to enter right here!)

We’re starting out with the easiest cake of all today: a super rich and indulgent naturally sweetened Chocolate Sheet Cake.

A frosted and chocolate topped naturally sweetened chocolate sheet cake on parchment paper with a grey napkin and bowl of frosting surrounding it.

Starting out Simple: Baking a Sheet Cake

We’re starting Cake Week 2020 with a sheet cake recipe because they’re the easiest cakes to bake. To kick your confidence into high gear for the rest of the week, I wanted to make sure that we began with something simple.

All that’s required when baking this sheet cake is one rectangular pan, a whisk, and two bowls! You can use either a hand mixer or stand mixer to make your life easier, but I generally stick to the whisk for this cake.

Because this naturally sweetened Chocolate Sheet Cake is baked in a single pan, you don’t have to worry about levelling layers, crumb coating, or extraneous decoration. Simply bake it up, dump some frosting on top, toss on some chocolate shavings for good measure, and you’re done!

Doesn’t that sound easy?

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • This easy chocolate sheet cake recipe is perfect for beginning cake bakers. It requires only one baking pan and a couple of bowls, so there’s less to clean up!
  • It’s naturally sweetened with coconut sugar, making it completely refined sugar free.
  • The flavour and texture of this chocolate sheet cake is incredible! It’s super moist, fluffy, and richly chocolatey.
  • The main elements of this cake can be made in advance if you have less time on your hands. Make the pudding for the heritage frosting up to two days ahead of time. Make the cake and/or the frosting the night before. Assemble and decorate on the day of serving.
a slice of naturally sweetened chocolate sheet cake with a silver cake fork embedded in the top against a white wooden background

Ingredients in this easy chocolate sheet cake recipe

  • Plain flour: Essential for any cake recipe to give it structure. If you’re in North America, plain flour is known as all-purpose flour. Please choose a flour brand that is unbleached.
  • Raw cacao powder: Our star ingredient! Cacao powder is what gives this cake its deep, rich chocolate flavour.
  • Coconut sugar: Adds sweetness to this naturally sweetened chocolate sheet cake.
  • Espresso powder: Used to enhance the flavour of the chocolate. I promise you won’t even taste it!
  • Cold-pressed rapeseed oil: Rapeseed oil is one of the healthiest oils available on the market and is the lowest in saturated fats. Cold-pressing is the most natural form of releasing the oil from the rapeseeds and doesn’t use chemical extraction or bleaching. You could also use sunflower oil or another neutral oil.
  • Oat milk: Adds moisture to the cake. Feel free to swap in any other plant-based or dairy milk or you have on hand.
  • Greek yogurt: I love the slight tang that yogurt gives this naturally sweetened Chocolate Sheet Cake! It works superbly well with the richness of the cacao. You can also use sour cream here.
  • Hot coffee: Similarly to the espresso powder, coffee brings out the flavour of the chocolate. You won’t taste the coffee. If you’d really rather leave it out, you can sub in additional room temperature oat milk.
four plated slices of easy chocolate sheet cake on a grey marble background with silver cake forks.

How to make a naturally sweetened chocolate sheet cake

I love how easy this chocolate sheet cake is to bake. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Mix together your dry ingredients.
  2. Whisk together your wet ingredients.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet into it. Whisk well to combine.
  4. Pour the batter into the baking tin. Tap the tin on the counter a few times to release any large air bubbles.
  5. Bake the cake for 23 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin. Once the cake has cooled, you can frost and serve!

Need a little visual help? Follow along with the video tutorial for this naturally sweetened Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe:

Tips for making this recipe perfectly

  • Remember to preheat your oven. Once the batter is mixed, this cake needs to be put into the oven immediately.
  • Make sure you’re using cacao powder and not cocoa powder. They are not the same. Raw cacao powder is created using a cold-pressing method to retain the nutrients and natural enzymes in the cocoa. Cocoa powder is heat-treated cacao powder and is less potent.
  • If you can’t find espresso powder, you can leave it out of this recipe.

Looking for more naturally sweetened cake recipes?

If you make this recipe, let me know by snapping a picture and tagging me on Instagram @naturallysweet_kitchen. I love seeing your creations and sharing them in my Stories. Or let me know you love this naturally sweetened Chocolate Sheet Cake by leaving a comment and rating below!

This quick and easy chocolate sheet cake is naturally sweetened with coconut sugar and paired with a refined sugar free cream cheese frosting. Get the recipe on naturallysweetkitchen.com.
A slice of naturally sweetened chocolate sheet cake with cream cheese frosting being plated with a cake slicer.
5 from 4 votes
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Naturally Sweetened Chocolate Sheet Cake

This naturally sweetened chocolate sheet cake is rich, chocolatey, moist, and super fluffy. It comes together easily and fast, making it perfect for beginning cake bakers.

Category Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate sheet cake, easy chocolate sheet cake, naturally sweetened chocolate sheet cake
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 13 minutes
Author Amanda | Naturally Sweet Kitchen

Ingredients

Cake

  • 110 g unbleached plain flour
  • 35 g raw cacao powder
  • 150 g coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp espresso powder (not instant granules)
  • 60 ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • ¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 60 ml oat milk room temperature
  • 55 g Greek yogurt room temperature
  • 120 ml hot coffee

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 180 ml agave nectar
  • 200 ml oat milk
  • 35 g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 180 g cream cheese room temperature
  • 75 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Chocolate shavings, mini chips, or sprinkles (optional)

Method

Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and grease, line, and dust with cacao powder a 20 x 18 cm (11 x 7 in) baking tin.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao powder, coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, vanilla, milk, and yogurt until well combined.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Mix until all the dry ingredients disappear – the batter will be very thick.
  5. Slowly pour in the hot coffee, whisking continuously until incorporated.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 23-26 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Place the tray on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Add the agave, milk, flour, and salt to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk continuously until the flour disappears and the mixture comes to a boil.
  2. Allow the mixture to boil for 2-3 minutes, or until it thickens and reaches a loose pudding consistency.
  3. Remove the pudding from the heat and spread it out on a large platter to cool to room temperature.
  4. Once the pudding has cooled, add the cream cheese and butter to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat them together on a high speed for 5 minutes until fluffy. Turn the mixer off and scrape down any off the sides of the bowl.
  5. Turn the mixer on to medium-low speed and slowly begin adding the pudding mixture to the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Once all of the pudding has been added, pour in the vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until super fluffy.
  6. If you feel the frosting is loose, refrigerate it for 30 minutes before decorating the cake.

Assembly

  1. Loosen the edges of the cake from the tin using a cranked palette knife or butter knife. Turn the cake upside down onto a wire rack or serving tray.
  2. Frost the cake with the cream cheese frosting and decorate with chocolate shavings, mini chocolate chips, or chocolate sprinkles.
  3. Serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • This cake will keep covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • You can make the frosting pudding up to 2 days in advance, just be sure to store it in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature and stir it well before adding to the butter and cream cheese.
  • The cake and frosting can be made separately, up to 24 hours in advance. Keep both covered and refrigerated until assembly.

Naturally Sweet Cake Week 2020 Giveaway Details

To celebrate Cake Week 2020, I’ll be giving away ONE grand prize and TWO runners-up prizes to home bakers who whip out their whisks and aprons and get baking some cake in the kitchen!

Grand Prize: Cake Baker’s Essentials Gift Pack ($130 USD Value)

  • 1 GIR Ultimate Spatula in Navy
  • 1 Wilton cranked palette knife
  • 1 Wilton cake leveling tool
  • 1 set reusable cake tin liners (8-inch)
  • 1 Oxo premium cake tester
  • 1 copy of Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book (Ebook version for winner outside of UK)
  • 1 $50 USD Amazon gift card (or equivalent GBP amount)

Runners-up Prize: Baking Shopping Spree ($50 USD Value)

  • 1 $50 USD Amazon gift card (or equivalent GBP amount)

How to Enter:

Step One: Bake any one of the three cakes published during cake week on naturallysweetkitchen.com between 2 March, 2020 and 31 March, 2020:

  • Chocolate Sheet Cake

Step Two: Snap a picture and post it to Instagram Stories, your Instagram Feed, or in the NSK Crew Facebook Group tagging me @naturallysweet_kitchen and #NaturallySweetCakeWeek.

Bonus entries can be obtained by baking all three of the cakes (up to three extra entries per person), and by leaving a star-rated review on the recipe (up to three extra entries (one per recipe post) per person).

Terms & Conditions:

This contest is open to residents of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, United States, and Canada (excluding Quebec). You must be over the age of 18 to qualify. There will be 1 Grand Prize winner (RRP $130 USD) and 2 Runners-up Prize winners (RRP $50 USD ea). This contest will open 02/03/2020 at 9am GMT and close 31/03/2020 at 11.59pm GMT. The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted via direct message; they will have 48 hours to respond and claim their prize. Fake or giveaway-only accounts will be disqualified. Instagram profile must be public to be eligible to win. This giveaway is not sponsored, administered by or associated with Instagram or any other social media used throughout promotion of this contest.

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8 Comments

  1. Hello, I read your article and your information is really amzing and very helpful for me. keep it up and Thank you very much:)

  2. Let me start by saying, this cake is AMAZING! My family was in shock that it was considered “healthy”. Being more mindful of only using whole foods and cutting processed or added sugars has been a wee bit challenging, as far as changing mindsets. But, this cake was the perfect reward after a week of mindful eating. Now, about the recipe. I can see the true intention of this cake and can’t wait to try the complete version to a tee but, full disclosure, I made a few substitutions for what I had on hand. First, I used Trader Joe’s Cocoa Powder. I know, I know… the heart of the cake and I’m substituting already… ugh… but, I’m just saying, if your stuck, this works. Also, I did not have rapeseed oil so I used olive oil. After measuring out all the ingredients using my handy dandy scale, then adding the coffee, my mixture was SO slack, I thought I had ruined it. I honestly considered dumping it but my family was so excited about dessert so into the oven it went. I baked it closer to 30 minutes and was so shocked when I pulled out this perfectly baked cake. Tooth pick came out with slight crumb and the edges and pulled away slightly from the pan. On to the frosting. While making the pudding my flour clumped so I had to pass it through a sieve. I am thinking the flour may need pre-mixed with a small amount of the oat milk ahead of dumping it in to the sauce pan to avoid this on the future. The only other thing I would say for the frosting is that the pudding clumped in my cream cheese mixture so I switched out my stand mixer for my hand mixer and that worked so much better… so, the end result… I am so glad I stayed the course… the cake was moist and spongy with an almost angel food cake quality and airiness. The very outside edges had this kind of crispy carmelization that gave such a variety to the texture of the cake… so, so, good. The frosting is a marvel!! It works so well with this cake… I thought, for sure, the agave was going to give away how this frosting was sweetened but the whole vibe was totally authentic and no one would be able to tell that the sweetness wasn’t from a powdered sugar… now, as a bite, WOW! The deep flavor of the cake and spongy texture with that light sweetness of the frosting was HEAVENLY! My family of four ate the ENTIRE thing, which kind of goes against the whole eating healthy goal. But, at this point, with this recipe, I can’t even be mad about it. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to trying the true version of this recipe!!

    1. Hi Jaimie! Thank you so much for such a thorough and glowing review! I’m so glad you and your family loved the cake and that you’re planning to make it again. So great you left your substitutions and feedback for everyone – I know it will be super helpful. Looking forward to seeing what you make next! 🙂

  3. I finally got to make this. I am thoroughly impressed, especially by the frosting. It worked like a charm!! In fact, it worked so well I made it again with maple syrup (instead of agave) for a chocolate maple twist on the cake. it holds up SO PERFECTLY. It’s not too sweet, just the right amount of tang. I LOVE IT!

    1. YAY! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this chocolate sheet cake, Jessica! Thanks so much for coming back and leaving your feedback. 🙂

  4. Hello I’m so glad I’ve found your site I’m always trying to find lower sugar and healthy options for my two little boys and this cake recipe looks perfect for my sons 6th bday coming up!
    Only thing is I need to make one big sheet cake roughly double the size of the one you mentioned – can I just simply double everything? Not sure about cooking times though!

    Also would it be ok to bake in a glass container or does it need to be metal?

    Thanks so much will def check out all your recipes

    1. Hi Rasha! So glad you found me too! I haven’t tried making this cake in a larger size pan, but if you were going to, I would definitely take a look at this post on adjusting for different cake pan sizes. It’s a great resource and should help! As for glass versus metal – I would always recommend metal. Glass doesn’t conduct heat nearly as well and can skew the baking times quite a bit. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more q’s and happy birthday to your son!

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