This easy Gluten Free Chocolate Cake recipe features simple, gluten-free, dairy-free ingredients for a rich, fudgy cake that’s so delicious, you’d never guess it’s allergy-friendly! Moist cake is topped with fluffy chocolate coconut whip frosting for a sweet dessert that’s perfect for birthdays, holiday parties, weekend get-togethers, and every occasion in between.
Have Your Cake, and Eat It, Too!
Let’s be honest for a second. Finding really good gluten-free recipes can sometimes feel impossible, but just because you or someone you know can’t eat gluten doesn’t mean we don’t all deserve to indulge every once in a while! So, instead of settling for a dry, crumbly store-bought cake, we decided to make our own with this easy gluten-free chocolate cake recipe!
Simple to prepare, it’s soft, fluffy, and absolutely bursting with decadent chocolate flavor. Topped off with a creamy coconut whip icing, it’s guaranteed to have all your guests raving! In fact, it’s so good we’re willing to bet they won’t even realize it’s gluten-free. Feel free to mix and match different toppings to make it your own. No matter how you serve it, you really can’t go wrong.
Gluten-Free Ingredients You’ll Need
This gluten free chocolate cake recipe features all the typical ingredients you would expect to see in a cake just with a twist. The main ingredients are listed below, but be sure to scroll to the recipe card at the bottom to find everything you’ll need.
For the Cake
- Gluten Free Flour – We recommend using store-bought 1:1 gluten-free baking flour. Or, opt for a homemade gluten-free flour blend with xanthan gum.
- Sugar – Fine raw sugar or a sugar substitute is used to sweeten the batter.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Dutch cocoa powder adds the strong chocolate flavor we want in this recipe.
- Non-Dairy Milk – Any milk like almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk, etc. can be used.
- Almond Butter – This replaces the need for lots of butter while keeping the cake moist. Just make sure it’s creamy! Otherwise, your batter is likely to turn out lumpy.
- Eggs – For easy mixing and the best results, let them come to room temperature before beginning.
- Instant Coffee or Espresso – Technically optional but highly recommended, combining coffee or espresso with boiling water before adding it to the batter helps enhance the chocolate flavor. Opt for caffeine-free, if needed.
- Baking Essentials – Baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract are included to enhance the flavor and help the cake rise.
For the Chocolate Frosting
- Canned Coconut Cream – Use full-fat canned coconut, not liquid coconut milk.
- Maple Syrup – This is used to sweeten the frosting. Or, powdered sugar can be used, too. Just note that the consistency will be a little thicker.
- Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder – Used to infuse chocolate goodness into the frosting.
How to Make This Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe
We don’t call this the best gluten-free chocolate cake for nothing! Not only does it require minimal prep time, but it comes together quickly and tastes like a dream. Just follow the steps below, and it’s ready in no time!
For the Cake
- Prepare. Preheat the oven, and line or lightly oil two round cake pans or one large baking pan. If using cake pans, line them with parchment paper.
- Combine the Dry Ingredients. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the dry ingredients until they’re well combined.
- Add the Wet Ingredients. Add the milk, almond butter, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer or stand mixer until the ingredients are smooth. The batter will be dry and clumpy at this point. That’s okay! Simply, increase the speed, and continue to mix until smooth. Then, add the eggs, mixing until combined. Finally, add the boiling water with coffee or espresso, and whisk just until there are no clumps.
Note: At this point, the batter will be very thin. So, be careful not to overmix!
- Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan or pans, and bake until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean. Keep a close eye on the oven! The baking times will vary slightly based on the type of pan and size used.
- Cool. Set the cake on a wire rack until the pan is cool enough to handle. Then, remove the cake from the pan, and let it cool on the wire rack completely.
Pro-Tip: If making a layer cake, chill the layers in the freezer before assembling the frosting. This will minimize crumbling, making the layers easier to frost. See below for layer cake instructions.
For the Frosting
- Chill. Before you begin, place the coconut cream to chill in the back of the fridge to harden.
- Mix. Being careful not to shake the can, remove the thickened cream at the top, and transfer it to a stand mixer or a large bowl. Discard the water portion.
- Combine. Add the sweetener and vanilla, and whip on high until it is has a light and fluffy texture. Add the cocoa to the mixture, and whip again.
- Frost. Once the cake has cooled, frost it, and enjoy!
How to Make a Layer Cake
If you baked your gluten free chocolate cake in a regular pan instead of a cake pan and you want to make a layer cake instead, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what to do!
- If the cake is uneven, use a sharp serrated knife to level it off.
- Place the bottom layer on a cake stand or a large serving plate. Spread 1 cup of the frosting evenly on top.
- Gently place the second cake on top of the frosting.
- Spread the remaining frosting on top, spreading it down the sides as well.
- Place the cake in the fridge to chill before slicing and serving, and enjoy!
Pro-Tip: An icing spatula works best for spreading the frosting evenly. Or, a warm spatula can be used as well.
We love our coconut whip frosting for cakes, brownies, cookies, and more. But, if you don’t want to make your own, no worries! Use a store-bought gluten-free vanilla icing, chocolate buttercream icing, chocolate ganache, Cool Whip, or even powdered sugar instead.
If you’re planning on making this gluten free chocolate cake ahead of time, we recommend leaving it unfrosted. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container, it will stay fresh at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Or, wrap leftovers (preferably unfrosted) with plastic wrap, and place them in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, let it thaw at room temperature, frost, and enjoy!
Common Questions About Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
We haven’t tested it, but we think it should work! Just fill a cupcake tin ¾ of the way full, and adjust the baking time as needed. Or, make our gluten-free chocolate cupcakes instead.
Fat included in the batter keeps gluten-free cake moist. In this recipe, we use almond butter to create a rich flavor, too.
No, unless specifically marked as being gluten-free, most standard cake mixes are made with all-purpose flour, meaning they contain high amounts of gluten.
We haven’t tested it, but do not recommend replacing the eggs in this recipe. That being said, we plan on testing a vegan option soon! So stay tuned!
Using too much baking powder will cause the cake batter to rise too quickly and crack. Be sure to measure carefully!
The most common reasons cakes sink include underbaking and using too much baking soda.
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Do you have questions, feedback, or tips about this recipe? Leave a comment below with any questions or feedback you’d like to share!