When you need grain-free, dairy-free cake for a crowd, this easy Texas sheet cake is here for you! It’s simple to make (no mixed needed!) and impossibly delicious. This post is sponsored by Dream in partnership with Honest Cooking.
This easy Texas sheet cake is perfect for times when you need a cake that serves a lot of people, but is simple and straightforward to make. It’s ideal for feeding folks with dietary restrictions since it’s paleo-friendly and free of gluten, grains, and dairy. And it’s also just the thing for when you suddenly need chocolate cake on a random afternoon and don’t want to wait too long to get your fix. With a chocolate sheet cake, you don’t have to worry about un-molding, stacking, or leveling multiple layers of cake. And since sheet cakes are thin, they cool quickly so you don’t have to wait long to frost them. You can make this whole thing, start to finish, in less than an hour. It’s also just really fun to look at such a vast expanse of cake!
This cake also has the best texture of any paleo-friendly chocolate cake I’ve ever made–it really tastes just like a regular cake! But, like a really good, homemade regular cake–not a store-bought one, of course. I looked to classic, gluten-laden Texas sheet cake recipes for guidance in developing this recipe, and discovered that they are usually made with buttermilk. Buttermilk works together with baking soda to help cakes rise, and also helps create a tender crumb. For this recipe, I made a super simple dairy-free buttermilk replacement using Dream Ultimate Almond Unsweetened Almond Beverage and a little bit of apple cider vinegar.
Dream Ultimate Almond is a new line of almond beverages made with four times more California almonds, and it shows. It’s rich, creamy, and also packs five grams of plant-based protein per serving. I’m thrilled to discover Dream Ultimate Almond because it is delicious in my morning coffee and also perfect for baking. In addition to using Dream Ultimate Almond to make faux buttermilk for the cake itself, I use two cups of it in the easy and ridiculously tasty chocolate ganache that I use to frost the cake. That means there are ten grams of protein in that frosting! I won’t say this is health food, but I feel pretty good about it as compared to a traditional frosting made with heavy cream.
Like the cake, the frosting is super easy. You just pour a bunch of chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate, if you prefer) into a bowl and add a little vanilla and a tiny bit of salt. Then you heat up the Dream Ultimate almond, either stovetop or in the microwave, pour it over the chocolate, wait a beat for it to melt, and then stir. There’s no mixer required (for the cake or the frosting!), and the results are so good. Just look at that bowl of silky, chocolaty perfection below. I’ll admit to eating several spoonfuls of it before frosting the cake. I ALMOST ate a whole bowl of it like pudding, but the thought of a naked, ganache-less cake brought me back to my senses. This light, tender cake and rich, velvety ganache are made for each other. I added toasted almonds and pecans on top, which provide pops of crunch in almost every bite. The pecans are a nod to traditional Texas sheet cakes and the almonds are a nod to the Dream Ultimate Almond and almond flour used to make the cake, but you can use all almonds, all pecans, or no nuts at all on top if you prefer. And in case you’re wondering, the cake and frosting don’t taste like almond at all.
Dream Ultimate Almond is available at Whole Foods and Sprouts. If you’ve been disappointed with watery store-bought almond milk or need a great plant-based milk for baking, I highly recommend giving it a try! Visit Dream’s site for a coupon.
Oh, and you know what’s a perfect accompaniment to a slice of this easy Texas sheet cake? A glass of Dream Ultimate Almond Vanilla. It’s pictured in the second photo in this post and it is JUST the thing for chocolate-induced thirst. Usually I find store-bought vanilla almond milk way too sweet, but Dream Ultimate Almond is so lightly sweetened that I find it delightful alongside dessert. It’s also what I added to the cup of coffee I’m drinking as I write this post.
(By the way, in my research I was unable to unearth any explanations about the origins of the name of this cake. I lived in Texas for four years and never ate anything like this. Is it called a Texas sheet cake because of the pecans? Or because the size of the cake takes a cue from the size of the state of Texas? Let me know if you can shed any light on this. Until then, I’ll be in my kitchen whipping up this easy Texas sheet cake as often as possible to see if any answers come to me.)
For the cake:
- 1 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup Dream Ultimate Almond Unsweetened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups maple syrup
- 3/4 cup avocado oil, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the chocolate ganache:
- 4 cups dairy-free dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate (about 24 ounces)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups Dream Ultimate Almond Unsweetened
For the topping:
- 1 cup pecans halves and/or almonds, lightly toasted and chopped*
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 13x18x1-inch sheet pan with parchment and grease the bottom and sides with a little avocado oil.
- Measure out half a cup of Dream Ultimate Almond into a two-cup measure and stir in the apple cider vinegar. This is our dairy-free substitute for buttermilk. Let it sit while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Whisk together the almond flour, tapioca flour, and salt in a large bowl.
- Warm the maple syrup, avocado oil, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until quite hot to the touch but not simmering. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until no lumps remain.
- Add the eggs and baking soda to the two-cup measure with the almond “buttermilk” and beat with a fork. Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the batter and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until set. Let cool in the pan.
- To make the chocolate ganache, put the chocolate chips, sea salt, and vanilla extract in a very large heatproof bowl. Microwave the Dream Ultimate Almond or heat it in a saucepan until very hot but not yet simmering. Pour it over the chocolate, cover the bowl, and let it sit for a couple of minutes to give the chocolate time to melt. Stir the ganache until smooth.
- You can frost the cake right away or refrigerate the frosting for twenty minutes or so if you’d like it a little firmer. Use a spatula to spread the frosting onto the cake and sprinkle the nuts on top. Slice into squares or rectangles and serve.
*Roast the nuts on a dry sheet pan in a 350°F oven until they're slightly darker and fragrant, 5-10 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool before putting them on top of the cake.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 547Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 221mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 6gSugar: 33gProtein: 9g
The nutrition label provided is an estimate for informational purposes only and may not be accurate. I am not a nutritionist or medical professional.
This post is sponsored by Dream in partnership with Honest Cooking. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that help keep A Calculated Whisk up and running!