Do you want to make a really easy and delicious gluten free chocolate cake? Then you’ve come to the right place! My recipe will make you a very rich, moist, chocolate-ey gluten free layer cake with lashings of soft chocolate buttercream frosting, which makes it a fabulous choice for a Birthday Cake, or any occasion!
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How to Make Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and then line the base of two 8in x 2in high round cake pans with removable bottoms with parchment paper and grease the sides of the pans. Do not use waxed paper! It will stick to the bottom of the cake.
Then, measure and sieve the gluten free flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum, and sugar into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the dairy free margarine, or softened butter (if you are not dairy free) into your mixing bowl and mix on low speed until properly combined.
Please note that not all dairy free margarine is suitable for baking, the ‘diet’ varieties often contain high amounts of water and they do not work well, we used Earth Balance.
Next, break all four eggs and vanilla extract into a different bowl and whisk with a fork until blended. Then add the full fat canned coconut milk and mix it all in with the eggs.
With your mixer on the low setting pour in the beaten egg and milk mixture and mix together, don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Evenly divide the gluten free chocolate cake batter between both lined and greased cake pans and bake for about 40- 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool for about 10 – 15 minutes, then pop them out of the cake pans to fully cool on a cake rack before adding the frosting. If the cakes are not completely cool your frosting will get too soft.
Gluten Free Chocolate Cake FAQ’s
Can I make it ahead? This recipe is best made on the day you want to serve it, but you could make it one day in advance if you must. in general gluten free baked goods just don’t keep well at all, but this cake was still moist and tasted good the next day though not quite as much as the day it was made.
Can I substitute any of the gluten free flour listed in the recipe? Yes. For white rice flour you could use more brown rice flour instead. For brown rice you could substitute with more white rice flour, or substitute with sorghum flour. For tapioca you could substitute potato starch (not potato flour) or cornstarch. For potato starch you could substitute tapioca starch or cornstarch.
Can I use Almond Flour instead? No, the recipe has not been tested with almond flour and is unlikely to work as nut flours are quite different to regular gluten free flour. For best results use the flours that I’ve listed in the ingredients.
What about subbing Coconut Flour then? No, that won’t work at all. Coconut flour is unique and tricky to bake with, it’s not a simple 1 to 1 substitute for any gluten free flour.
Can I use a ready made gluten free flour blend? Maybe, but I’ve not tested it with any ready made gluten free flour mixes. Some blends are better than others and may not produce optimal results for this recipe. If you do use a blend that has added gum then omit the added Xanthan gum that is listed in the ingredients.
Can I make it egg free? I’ve not tested it without eggs and I’m not very familiar with egg free baking but it may be worth a try, Energ egg replacer seems to work well with most gluten free baking recipes but don’t expect the texture of the cake to be the same as one baked with eggs.
Can I use a different milk than coconut milk? Yes you can, but the results may not be quite as good depending on which milk you choose because of the high fat content in the full fat canned coconut milk. If you are not dairy free then sour cream may be a good option.
Can I use real butter? Sure! I wanted to be sure it would bake dairy free so we used Earth Balance Vegan butter, but real butter would work well in both the cake and frosting.
More Gluten Free Baking Recipes
- Gluten Free Lemon Bars
- Gluten Free Blueberry Cake
- Gluten Free Brownies
- Gluten Free Banana Bread
- Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Gluten Free Lemon Cupcakes
Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Easy Gluten Free Chocolate Cake! Rich, soft and fluffy with a great crumb. It's made with no dairy and has a fabulous chocolate frosting.
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder , 90g (do not use Dutch process cocoa)
- 1.5 cups sugar , 300g
- 1 cup dairy free margarine, or butter , 225g, I used Earth Balance
- 4 large eggs , at room temperature
- 3/4 cup coconut milk, full fat canned , 180mls, at room temperature.
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Gluten Free Flour Blend
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour , 65g
- 1/2 cup white rice flour , 85g
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch , 35g
- 1/4 cup potato starch , 50g
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp xanthan gum , omit if you use a pre-made flour blend with gum (see recipe notes)
Chocolate Frosting Ingredients
- 1 cup dairy free margarine, or butter , 225g
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sieved , 90g
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sieved , 454g
- 1/4 cup milk , 60mls
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Please read the recipe notes below before you start to cook.
Preheat your oven to 350°F
Line the base of two 8 inch round cake pans with removable bottoms with parchment paper and grease the sides of the pans.
Sieve the gluten free flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum, and sugar into a mixing bowl.
Add the dairy free margarine, or butter (at room temperature) into your mixing bowl and mix on a low speed until well combined.
Break the eggs and vanilla into another bowl and whisk with a fork. Then add 3/4 cup of room temperature full fat canned coconut milk and give that another quick mix with a fork (make sure that the fat is evenly mixed through the coconut milk before you measure it out)
With the mixer on low pour in the egg and milk mixture about a half cup at a time while mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Evenly divide the batter between the lined and greased cake pans and bake for 40- 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in the pan for about ten minutes, then remove them from the pan to fully cool on a rack. Once cooled you can add the frosting.
Sieve the powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl.
Add the dairy free margarine or softened butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and mix until well combined
If you are making this with dairy free margarine you may need to refrigerate it for at least an hour to have it firm up as it tends to be much softer than regular butter.
Gluten Free Flour Substitutions – you could use 1.5 cups of a quality ready made gluten free flour blend such as King Arthur. However, they are not all equally made and your results may vary drastically depending on what flours are in the blend and how much gum is added. I have not tested this recipe with any flours other than the ones listed in the recipe so can’t guarantee success if you change the ingredients. If you want to know what to swap for the individual flours please read the FAQ’s in the post where I cover that.
Butter – Regular butter at room temperature would work well. I used Earth Balance dairy free margarine, it works well for baking. Not all margarine is suitable for baking so please check before you start.
Coconut Milk – I used full fat canned coconut milk and the baked cake has no coconut taste. The lower fat canned milk, or the drinkable dairy free coconut milk from a carton may change the result because the fat content is much lower. If you are not dairy free you could try using sour cream instead of coconut milk for similar results.
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