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Vegan Chocolate Orange Sheet Cake

Hello chocolate orange lovers. This ones for you. This vegan chocolate orange sheet cake features a zesty and moist orange sponge, and the most luxurious, light and whippy chocolate frosting. Each bite is bursting with flavour! What more could you ask for?

side view of chocolate orange sheet cake with a slice on its side showing the zesty sponge and swirly chocolate frosting

Vegan Chocolate Orange Sheet Cake

Chocolate and orange is a match made in dessert heaven, right?! I love rich chocolate paired along with the sweetness of the citrus orange fruit. It reminds me of childhood. We always used to make chocolate orange cookies, so it brings back fond memories! 

What is a chocolate orange sheet cake?

This scrumptious chocolate orange cake is loaded up on flavour in EVERY way possible. I’m talking freshly zested orange in the sponge, chocolate in the buttercream and chocolate decorations on top. Chocolate fiends, this one’s for you.

A sheet cake is a slab of cake, baked in a rectangular tin / pan. They are usually one layer which is frosted with buttercream and sprinkles.

Looking for more spring recipes? Look no further:

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What you’ll need to make this sponge:

For the cake, you’ll need the basic ‘cake ingredients’ along with a fresh, large orange.

Dairy-free milk & apple cider vinegar: Combining the two makes for a buttermilk.

Sugar: To add sweetness and bind the cake.

Self raising flour: I use self raising flour, alongside the other raising agents to make the cake as light & fluffy as possible

Baking powder & bicarbonate of soda.

Sunflower oil: You can use coconut oil, but I like to use sunflower oil as it has a natural taste and doesn’t effect the flavour of the orange sponge.

Orange exact / flavouring: To make the cake burst with citrus, add in a few drops of a orange flavouring / extract. I use Valencian Orange Extract which is delicious!

1 large orange: Zest a large orange using a microplane or grater and simply throw in the orange zest into the batter and fold in.

overhead view of slices of chocolate orange sheet cake on a marble worktop with mini eggs and pastel flowers

What you’ll need to make the buttercream

Dairy-free block butter: My favourite vegan block butter is Naturli Vegan Block, it’s amazing! Before using the block butter, allow it to come to room temperature for 5 minutes.

Dairy-free dark chocolate: To make this into a mouth-watering chocolate buttercream, grab yourself a delicious vegan chocolate, melt it and add it into the buttercream. I used to only use cocoa in buttercream, but oh my goodness…using melted chocolate tastes actually insane! You gotta try it!

Aquafaba: Adding aquafaba into the buttercream makes it super creamy! It’s not an essential step and can be left out, but it is really special when it’s added!

Icing sugar: Add’s sweetness and make for a tasty buttercream!

side view of slice of chocolate orange cake
overhead view of slices of chocolate orange sheet cake on a marble worktop with mini eggs and pastel flowers

Tips for making a vegan chocolate orange sheet cake

Even though this cake is a simple recipe, there are a few helpful tips and tricks which i want to tell you which will get you making making the PERFECT sheet cake and frosting each and every time! Trust me.

  • Use soya milk for the best buttermilk. Any dairy-free milk works perfectly, but I find soya milk works best when making a thick buttermilk for cakes.
  • Use a 70% or above chocolate. The richer the chocolate, the richer and more decadent the cake, thats how it goes!
  • Wait for the cake to be cold before frosting. The last thing you want to do is rush the cake, go to ice it when the cake is warm and the buttercream melts off the cake.
  • When it comes to making a cake which is light and airy, the trick is to watch how much to mix. When making this cake, you’ll want to fold the wet ingredients to create a batter. Stop mixing when there is no more dry ingredients showing. Over mixed batter can make for a denser cake.
down view of chocolate orange sheet cake with whippy chocolate buttercream

If you make, and love this recipe, please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below. It would mean so much. Thank you & happy baking!

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side view of chocolate orange sheet cake with a slice on its side showing the zesty sponge and swirly chocolate frosting

Vegan Chocolate Orange Sheet Cake

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This cake is sure to put a spring in your step, with moist orange sponge and a delicious, whipping chocolate buttercream.


Units Scale

Ingredients for the cake

  • 250ml of dairy-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 250g of self raising flour
  • 140g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 70ml of sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon of orange flavouring / orange extract
  • 1 large orange

Ingredients for the buttercream

  • 150g of dairy-free dark chocolate
  • 150g of dairy-free block butter*
  • 20ml of aquafaba (chickpea brine)*
  • 200g of icing sugar


Method (cake)

  1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC fan and line an 8 x 10 inch rectangular cake tin with grease-proof paper. Allow the paper to hang over the tin slightly, this makes it easier to remove the cake when baked.
  2. In a bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined. Set aside for 10 minutes to curdle. This creates a vegan ‘buttermilk’.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix well to combine. Add the oil, orange flavouring / extract and orange zest into the ‘buttermilk’ and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just to combine.
  5. Pour the batter into the lined tin and tap on the worktop to remove any air-bubbles.
  6. Pop the cake into the middle of the preheated oven and bake for around 25-30 minutes. You will know it is done when you put a knife or skewer down the middle of the cake and it comes out clean and it’s springy to the touch. If batter comes off on the skewer, it needs more time to bake. To prevent burning, top the cake with some grease proof paper then return back into the oven.
  7. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then carefully transfer onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool fully before frosting. You can even place the cake in a sealed container once cool then frost the day after. It’s a very light sponge so be careful with it when removing from the tin.

Method (buttercream)

  1. Fill a small saucepan 3/4 full with water, creating a bain-marie, place onto the hob over low/ medium heat.
  2. Finely chop the chocolate and place it into a heatproof bowl along with 50g of butter. Place the bowl over the simmering water and allow to melt. Once melted, allow to cool for 10 minutes until it’s not too hot.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add in the remaining 100g of dairy-free butter and whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too.
  4. Sift in the icing sugar and whip on high speed for a couple of minutes to incorporate it.
  5. Pour in the aquafaba and whip for 5 minutes until it turns light and creamy. Don’t over whip it or it can become too soft. If it does, just add in more icing sugar until it’s thick and creamy.
  6. Pour the melted chocolate into the buttercream and whip to incorporate. The buttercream should be very light and airy. Add more chunks more butter to get it to the right consistency.
  7. Dollop the buttercream on the sheet cake and use a cranked pallet knife / off set spatula to swirl it around.
  8. Why not decorate the cake with some dairy-free easter chocolates.


To store: Store the cake in a sealed container in the fridge. Best eaten within 3 days of making. Un-iced cake can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for 2 days. Leave at room temperature for 15 minutes before tucking in!

My favourite vegan block butter to use is Flora Plant Based Block and Naturli Block.

What is aquafaba? Aquafaba is the water from a can/tin of chickpeas. The chickpea water or brine as it’s called, acts as an amazing egg substitute for cakes, cupcakes and delicious meringue buttercream. You can also get aquafaba in a carton for easy use.

  • Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
  • Category: Cakes and layer cakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

1 Comment

  1. Ritchie Dee
    March 30, 2023 / 6:52 pm

    Make sure the oranges are vegan. Most oranges (and clementines, satsumas, etc.) from UK supermarkets and greengrocers aren’t vegan because they are coated with beeswax or shellac – look for E901 or E904 in tiny print on the label. If you want unwaxed oranges, you will probably need to buy the organic ones.

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