This is the best gluten free chocolate cake recipe out there. It’s moist, rich, and incredibly easy to make. There’s a dairy free option too!
I’ve been making this gluten free chocolate cake recipe for years and I can’t believe I’ve never shared it here! I’ve shared versions of it, like my gluten free chocolate cookies and cream cake. And I made a half batch of it to make my gluten free chocolate peanut butter ice cream cake.
A plain old, classic gluten free chocolate cake? NOPE. What was I thinking?!
Clearly I wasn’t and it’s definitely time to change that because this cake is EVERYTHING. It gets rave reviews every time I make it (which is pretty frequently for birthdays) and nobody can tell it’s even gluten free!
The great thing about a stellar chocolate cake recipe is that you can do a lot with it. The chocolate cake is the perfect base for all different kinds of flavor combos you’d like. It really has no limits so you can use your imagination!
I’ve made a mint chocolate chip version and a Snicker’s version for a couple birthdays and most recently, I made this with peanut butter frosting for Adam’s birthday. It’s one of those classic recipes that you’ll want to keep on hand, you’ll definitely be making this one again and again.
This cake is made with buttermilk but it’s easily adapted to be dairy free. Just use unsweetened coconut milk + 1 tablespoon of white vinegar instead of the buttermilk.
Key Ingredients for this Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe
For the Cake:
- All purpose gluten-free flour blend (omit the xanthan gum if using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour)
- Cocoa powder
- Buttermilk (or 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk + 1 tablespoon white vinegar)
- Avocado oil or canola oil
- 2 eggs at ROOM TEMPERATURE
- 1 cup hot coffee
For the Frosting:
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Heavy whipping cream
- Powdered sugar
How to make Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Step 1. Combine the dry ingredients and whisk together.
Step 2. Combine the wet ingredients and whisk together until blended.
Step 3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Step 4. Mix them until completely combined.
Step 5. Pour in the hot coffee and mix until incorporated.
Step 6. Pour the batter evenly into two pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Step 7. Allow cakes to fully cool (20 minutes) then begin to frost the first layer.
Step 8. Add the second layer and frost over.
Step 9. Make sure the cake is completely frosted on the top and sides.
Step 10. Add some swirls or other fancy decorations (optional).
For frosting, I made a simple homemade chocolate frosting. If you’re making this dairy free, frost it with my vegan chocolate frosting. Another great frosting option is Nutella Buttercream Frosting. It gives a wonderfully nutty flavor with a nice, smooth chocolate flavor. I promise you’ll love it!
I suggest making a double batch of frosting so you can do a proper crumb coat to lock in those cake crumbs and then frost it with a good thick layer of creamy, dreamy chocolate frosting. You’ll probably even have a little bit extra for piping if you want to get fancy.
But feel free to skip the crumb coat and piping if you’re short on time, that step is totally up to you. The crumb coat just locks in the crumbs so they don’t get into the frosting when you’re trying to spread it.
Let me know in the comments who you’ll be making this cake for! And if you’re making it for yourself, I won’t judge! But if you ARE looking for a mini cake, I’ve got you covered with my mini chocolate layer cake. Enjoy!
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For the Cake
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend contains it)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cups cocoa powder*
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk + 1 tablespoon white vinegar)
- 1/2 cup avocado oil (or canola oil)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot coffee
For the Frosting
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
To make the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 2 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and spray that parchment paper with non-stick spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, xanthan gum, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Use the paddle attachment to mix the dry ingredients on low speed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.
- With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until completely combined.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and pour in the hot coffee. Mix on low until incorporated.
- Pour the batter (it will be very thin and pretty liquidy) evenly between the two pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes. (Mine take about 37 minutes.)
- Cool the cakes on a wire rack (in the pan) for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
- When the cakes are cool, prepare the buttercream.
To make the chocolate buttercream:
- Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until completely smooth. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and mix on low to combine. Mix in the vanilla extract and heavy cream.
- Turn the mixer to a medium-high speed and beat for 1-2 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Frost the cake as desired!
- I currently use my Nightshade Free Flour Mix in this recipe. It also works well with both my White Rice Flour Blend and the Brown Rice Gluten Free Flour Mix. I have also tested this recipe with Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Baking Mix with great results.
- *I use Rodelle's Dutch Processed Gourmet Baking Cocoa because I prefer the rich chocolate flavor. Regular cocoa or dark cocoa powder can also be used.The frosting makes enough to frost one cake. If you would like a thicker layer of frosting or if you want to pipe any details, I suggest making 1 1/2 batches or doubling the recipe.
- If making this dairy free, you can frost this cake with my favorite vegan chocolate frosting.
- Cake adapted from Ina Garten.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 569 Total Fat: 29g Unsaturated Fat: 13g Fiber: 2g Protein: 5g