This one bowl gluten free chocolate cake is perfect for birthdays, celebrations, or just because! It’s moist, fluffy with the perfect tender crumb, and I promise you’ll have no idea it’s gluten free and dairy free friendly.
I don’t even know where to begin because I have no words to describe how much I love this homemade gluten free chocolate cake! It’s easy (like one bowl in 10 minutes easy), moist, fluffy, rich, spongey, cakey (that’s a given) and undetectably gluten free.
Seriously, if you gave someone a slice and then proceeded to tell them it was a gluten free chocolate cake (made completely from scratch!), I doubt they would believe you.
It’s topped with a silky smooth chocolate buttercream that melts in your mouth. It can be dairy filled or dairy free, but I made it dairy free by using vegan butter. The cake itself is naturally dairy free, so the buttercream is your choice!
You most definitely don’t need a special occasion to make this cake, but if you serve it to friends, I promise they’ll be impressed- it tastes just like the real deal.
FLOUR. Any good cake needs a good flour! For this recipe and most of my gluten free cake recipes, I used the Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour. I suggest that one to keep the recipe consistent, but if you use a different blend, just make sure it has xanthan gum.
COCOA. Cocoa is how we achieve a rich chocolate flavor! You will need one full cup for this recipe.
EGGS. Three large eggs will make this cake fluffy and hold all ingredients together so it doesn’t fall apart or crumble.
SUGAR. You will need a mix of white sugar and brown sugar to get the perfect sweetness but a rich flavor from the molasses in the brown sugar.
MILK. I used almond milk because that’s what I had on hand, but any milk, either dairy or non-dairy will work.
COFFEE. I love using coffee in chocolate recipes because it brings out such a rich flavor. If you don’t want to use coffee, you can use hot water instead.
OIL. Any plain oil will work here! I used refined avocado oil.
How to make gluten free chocolate cake
Prepare either one 9×13 cake pan or two round 8 inch cake pans. Spray the bottom(s) with oil then add parchment paper just to the bottom. I like to use these parchment rounds to make it easy. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients aside from the coffee/boiling water. Whisk in the sifted dry ingredients.
Pour in the coffee or boiling water and whisk until combined. The batter will be fairly thin.
Add the batter to the prepared cake pan. If making a layer cake, try to measure each cake as equally as possible, or use a kitchen scale for best results.
Bake for 35-45 minutes for a sheet cake, 32-37 for layer cake, or until a toothpick comes out clean. All ovens are different so just keep an eye on it.
Let cool in the pan(s) for about 10-20 minutes, then carefully flip onto a cooling rack. They should slide right out, then peel off the bottom parchment paper and flip back so they’re upright.
Let cool completely before frosting. Once cool, add your buttercream and any sprinkles or other toppings!
The best flour blend
I am very loyal to my favorite Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour. It has never failed me and manages to yield recipes that are moist, fluffy, not gummy and just really well balanced.
King Arthur also has a good gluten free blend, but I strongly recommend using the Bob’s Red Mill for best results since all gluten free flour blends are different.
Just be sure you use a blend that has xanthan gum! To successfully bake without gluten, you usually need xanthan gum and/or eggs to help bind all ingredients together. Works well in my mint chocolate cake!
Getting the perfect texture
There are a few things that not only make this cake moist, but also give it the perfect spongey texture that isn’t too light but also not dense.
The first is the eggs! You need three whole eggs for this recipe, which helps the cake rise and contributes to the perfect cake texture. Unfortunately, I don’t recommend a vegan substitute for the eggs, but I have a vegan and gluten free chocolate cake recipe you can try instead!
The second is the mixing technique! Over-mixing cake can be just as big of a disaster as under-mixing, which is why we’re using a whisk and electric mixer to find the balance.
With an electric mixer, you run the risk of getting too much air into the batter, which can cause the cake to sink in the middle and collapse after it comes out of the oven.
With a wooden spoon, you don’t get enough air into the batter which can yield a dense cake. A whisk allows just the right amount of air into the batter for a moist, spongey cake.
The third is the other liquid ingredients such as the milk, oil and boiling water! I know boiling water seems like an odd thing to put into a cake, but it “activates” the cocoa powder, giving the perfect rich chocolate taste that isn’t dry. I promise, it works like a charm!
Storage and baking tips
This gluten free chocolate cake will store at room temperature for 3-4 days in an air tight container, or in the fridge for about 1 week. If kept in a container, I promise it will stay very moist! No dry cakes here.
Finally, be sure to place your cake in the center of the oven as it bakes. This ensures it bakes evenly and doesn’t rise too quickly or too slowly.
A cake that rises too quickly can lead to a cracked and very domed top, which we don’t want! Keep it in the center for an even bake. The eggs, baking powder and baking soda are what help this cake rise.
Is flourless cake the same as gluten free?
A flourless chocolate cake is one that is made without flour and is therefore usually gluten free by default. However, a gluten free cake is not necessarily flourless!
This cake is made with gluten free all purpose flour and is not flourless.
Try these next!
- Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- Funfetti Cupcakes
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Gluten Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
- Protein Chocolate Cake
- Classic Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
by: claire cary
- ¾ cup butter 1 1/2 sticks
- ½ cup sifted cocoa powder
- 3-5 cups sifted powdered sugar adjust to get your desired consistency
- 2-4 tbsp milk dairy or non-dairy
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients aside from the coffee/boiling water.
- Whisk in the sifted dry ingredients.
- Pour in the coffee or boiling water and whisk until combined. The batter will be fairly thin.
- Add the batter to the prepared cake pan. If making a layer cake, try to measure each cake as equally as possible, or use a kitchen scale for best results.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes for a sheet cake, 32-37 for layer cake, or until a toothpick comes out clean. All ovens are different so just keep an eye on it.
- Let cool in the pan(s) for about 10-20 minutes, then carefully flip onto a cooling rack. They should slide right out, then peel off the bottom parchment paper and flip back so they're upright.
- Let cool completely before frosting.
- To make the buttercream, add softened/room temperature butter to a bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a handheld mixer and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Beat in the sifted cocoa powder.
- Beat in the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time until your desired consistency is reached. Finally, beat in the milk and vanilla until well combined.
- Frost the cake and add sprinkles if desired. Enjoy!