This chocolate sheet cake with whipped ganache is moist, delicious, and easy to make. It’s topped with a simple 3-ingredient whipped cream cheese ganache and is free of dairy, eggs, and refined sugar (aside from the dark chocolate.) Vegan friendly and includes a gluten-free option too!
It’s the beginning of the year, and I’m already in dire need of a vacay. We’re planning to take the kids to Europe this summer and we’ve been finalizing the details of our trip. My hubby, Rafael, and I took a trip to Italy and France a few years ago to celebrate our fifteen year anniversary. Since it was our first time visiting Europe we wanted to see as much as possible. We visited Venice, Florence, Rome, and the Amalfi coast, then took an overnight train to Paris for our last few days. It was an amazing experience, although we definitely learned a lot about traveling internationally.
First of all, wifi isn’t as readily available in some of the places we visited, like it is here in the U.S. We literally got lost in Rome when we first arrived, which was scary because we didn’t have international data and couldn’t find free wifi anywhere in the city to look up and call our B&B. We wandered into a local hotel and the clerk, who only spoke a little broken English, was nice enough to help us try and figure it out, but not before warning us that it could very well be a scam. These fraudsters take your money and you arrive at your destination to find out the legitimate hotel has no record of your booking or that no such place exists. Definitely not something you want to hear when you’re standing in the middle of Rome with your luggage in hand and nowhere to go.
Fortunately we got ahold of the owners and realized they were only a couple of blocks away, but I’ll definitely be more cautious when booking future accommodations online.
On a lighter note, we also found out that touching produce in Italy is a big no no. I only need to get yelled at by an stern Italian grandma once in my lifetime in order to learn that lesson!
Aside from all of the blunders we made, we still had the best time. The world is such a beautiful place and deserves to be explored. There’s a lot of history and rich culture in each of these cities, not to mention some of the top sites in the world. From the Eiffel Tower and Louvre museum in Paris, to the ancient ruins in Rome or the gondolas in Venice, there are definitely no shortage of magical places all across Europe!
The food was also next level! I had the best pizza of my life along the Amalfi coast and fresh croissants in Paris. We also learned what a real cup of coffee tastes like. After drinking some of the best cappuccinos in Italy, we came home coffee snobs and hadn’t had a decent cup since…until we got a Nespresso!
Now we’re drinking coffee like we did back in Italy, and it doesn’t cost us six bucks a cup either, like at our local coffee shop, thanks to Gourmesso.com, which you can get for as little as $.45 a cup! They have a variety of delicious flavors too, my favorite being their Ristretto Blend Forte, which is bold, yet smooth.
Speaking of coffee, I finally made a simple sheet cake version of these yummy Mocha Cupcakes from a couple of years back. Chocolate and coffee are a match made in heaven! It enhances and intensifies the chocolate flavor without leaving a strong “coffee” taste, so even if you’re not a big fan of coffee, this still tastes like your standard chocolate cake, just taken up a few notches!
It’s even topped with a whipped cream cheese chocolate ganache, which is seriously SOOOOO good and only has 3 ingredients! Just make sure you have people around so you’ll have to share it…otherwise you might just find yourself with a fork in hand sitting in front of a half eaten cake. Hey, don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉 Enjoy!
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose or gluten-free all purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, in the blue bag)
- 2 cups (276g) coconut sugar or granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup (65g) dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⅓ cup almond milk or milk of choice
- 1 cup brewed coffee/espresso or additional milk/water
- ½ cup avocado oil or neutral cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- parchment paper, coconut oil or all-vegetable shortening for lining/greasing pan
- 2 cups chocolate chips or chopped chocolate* (plus extra for chocolate curls. Use dairy-free if needed)
- ⅔ cup coconut cream or full-fat canned coconut milk
- 8 oz dairy-free or regular cream cheese, or mascarpone, at room temperature (optional but recommended!)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper or generously grease with coconut oil or all-vegetable shortening and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder/soda and salt until well blended. Mix in milk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and place into the oven for 25–30 minutes OR just until center is set and a toothpick inserted comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Remove and let cool completely before frosting. Frost cake in the pan or remove and place on a serving platter before frosting.
- Place chocolate and coconut cream into a heat safe glass or stainless steel mixing bowl. Make a double boiler by placing bowl over a pot filled with 1" of boiling water. Stir chocolate and coconut milk continuously until chocolate is fully melted.
- Let chocolate mixture cool for 10 minutes and then beat with an electric mixer (preferably a stand mixer if you have it, fitted with the whisk attachment) until fluffy, about 5–10 minutes.
- While the mixer is running on medium-low speed, slowly add cream cheese a spoonful at a time, letting it blend in before each addition.
- When it's all added, turn the speed up to high and beat for a few more minutes, until light and fluffy.
- If mixture is too soft, refrigerate for 15–20 minutes and then beat again for several minutes.
- If mixture is too firm, add additional coconut milk or coffee until frosting can be easily spread onto the cake.
- Scoop whipped ganache onto fully cooled cake and use a large offset spatula to smooth all over the top. Top with chopped chocolate or chocolate curls** before serving.
**To make chocolate curls, heat ½ cup of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate over a double boiler until fully melted. Pour melted chocolate onto the back of a clean cookie sheet and spread into a thin layer evenly across the pan. Chill in the fridge until set, then remove and let sit until it comes to room temperature, about 5 or 10 minutes. Hold a bench scraper or flat edge of a metal spatula at a 45º angle and push against chocolate to scrape it off the pan. It should curl naturally as it comes off the pan. If it is breaking into small pieces, it's not warm enough. Let it in a warm room a little longer before trying again. If it's still melted in some areas, refrigerate a few minutes longer.