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 and dairy free!
OMG I don’t even know where to begin because I have no words to describe how much I love this homemade 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. You’ll never go back to a boxed gluten free cake mix again! Not into chocolate? Don’t worry, try my gluten free vanilla cake instead!
How to make this recipe
Prepare either one 9×13 or two 9″ cake pans. Spray the bottom(s) with oil then add parchment paper just to the bottom. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. You can use either a sifter or a fine mesh strainer for this.Stir together to combine.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and measure out 1 cup worth. Set aside.
Whisk all remaining wet ingredients aside from the boiling water.
Once it’s mostly incorporated, whisk in the hot water. Whisk until combined and you end up with a smooth batter. You want to whisk it well, but not too well.
Finding the balance can be tricky, but I suggest whisking for about 10 seconds longer after everything is well combined. The air will help it rise, but too much air will then cause it to sink, so err on the side of caution for best results!
Add the batter to the prepared cake pan and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 30 minutes was perfect in my oven, but all ovens are different so keep an eye on it. if you’re using two 9 inch round pans,
Let cool in the pan(s) for about 10-20 minutes, then carefully flip onto a cooling rack. Avoid leaving in the pan for too long since the hot pan can cause them to lose some moisture. They should slide out easily, then peel off the bottom parchment paper and flip back so they’re upright.
Let cool completely before frosting. I like to let them cool at room temperature for about an hour, then stick them in the fridge for an additional hour or two to ensure they’re fully cooled.
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.
Kind Arthur also has a good GF 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!
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 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 rice 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!
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.
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Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
- 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks, I used dairy free )
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
- 4-5 cups sifted powdered sugar (adjust to get your desired consistency )
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. You can use either a sifter or a fine mesh strainer for this.
- Stir together to combine.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and measure out 1 cup worth. Set aside.
- Whisk all remaining wet ingredients aside from the boiling water.
- Once it's mostly incorporated, whisk in the hot water. Whisk until combined and you end up with a smooth batter. A few lumps are ok.
- 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 28-32 minutes for a sheet cake, 22-25 for layer cake, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 30 minutes was perfect in my oven, but all ovens are different so 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!