By Wendy Stoltz / Last Modified On January 22, 2023
This easy gluten-free chocolate cake is super simple, and has the perfect texture.
You won't know it's gluten-free! It's my favorite gluten-free chocolate cake recipe and it will be yours too.
And it makes the best gluten-free birthday cake!
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
Sometimes you just need a little gluten-free cake chocolate cake to get you through the day. We make this chocolate cake recipe at least once a month.
It's simple, uses minimal ingredients, and it bakes up quick.
I often find that gluten-free cake recipes are complicated or call for a kazillion ingredients (ok, not a kazillion - but a lot).
I don't have the time or the brain space to bake up crazy big recipes, or recipes that have tons of steps in them.
I need gluten-free cake recipes to be simple, have less than 15 ingredients, and require two bowl or less - otherwise my kitchen ends up a massive wreck.
You know what I'm talking about right?
Piles and piles of dishes, all for one delicious thing - a gluten-free chocolate cake. You might be wondering why it has to be that way. Well, It doesn't.
There are amazing recipes out there, and they don't take forever to make or require you to hire a housekeeper to clean up after you in the kitchen. You just have to look for them.
Give this gluten-free chocolate cake a try and see what I mean. We often use this gluten-free cake recipe to make gluten-free birthday cake.
Do you love whipping up delicious desserts in the kitchen, but want to improve your skills? Take this Raw Vegan Desserts Course to become a gluten-free, dairy-free dessert pro!
When we first switched over to a gluten-free diet we struggled. Gluten-free recipes were over-complicated and we got frustrated in the kitchen.
We were tired of having to hunt down ingredients and even more tired of recipes failing.
Chocolate cake was one of the things we missed the most. Not flour-less chocolate cake, not chocolate cake made with nut butters, but regular old-fashioned gluten-free chocolate cake.
The kind that is crumbly on the outside, and spongy in the middle.
We tried a couple of gluten-free chocolate cake mixes (mind you, this was seven years before this post) and weren't satisfied. Most of them tasted like grass.
It wasn't until I started creating recipes from scratch that we found our perfect, easy gluten-free chocolate cake.
How to make gluten-free chocolate cake
There are a couple of tips and tricks to getting the right texture with gluten-free cake. First, you have to follow the recipe.
So many people comment on recipe posts saying that they made a ton of substitutions and the recipe didn’t turn out.
Other than the dairy substitute, I haven’t tried other substitutes in this recipe. If you use substitutions, you are doing so at your own risk.
Second, you want to mix at the right time and not over-mix. When you are beating the oil, sugar, and eggs you’ll want to beat it for the time listed.
This adds air which in turn helps the cake rise. Beating any longer will cause the batter to stiffen.
Can I make this gluten-free chocolate cake dairy-free?
Yes, you can make this gluten-free chocolate cake dairy-free. Simply use dairy-free milk in the gluten-free chocolate cake mix and use dairy-free butter in the frosting.
Can I make this gluten-free chocolate cake egg-free?
I haven't tried using an egg substitute in this gluten free chocolate cake but a few others have tried it with flax-egg.
If you make it egg free please stop back by and let me know which egg replacer you used.
If you don't want to experiment, you could always start with my Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes.
What causes a gluten-free cake to crack on top?
If your temperature is too high, or your cake is placed in the oven too high your cake may bake up into a high, cracked dome.
The heat of baking activates the baking powder and causes it to release carbon dioxide, which forms bubbles and raises the cake.
If your oven is too hot, that process is sped up. Make sure to place your cake in the center, and regularly check your oven's temperature.
Some of my favorite gluten-free cake recipes:
Gluten-Free Chocolate Bundt Cake
Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Ganache Cake
If you are looking for cupcake recipes, just search cupcakes in the search bar on the right. Here is a video of my gluten-free chocolate cupcakes, which uses the same ingredients as this chocolate cake.
Why did my gluten-free cake sink?
There are several reason why cakes sink, one is from over beating the batter and adding too much air. Also, cakes often will sink when there is too much moisture.
This is more common in humid climates where added moisture can collect naturally in ingredients such as flour.
When this occurs, cupcakes may rise rapidly and then fall during baking.
In higher elevations, the leavening agent works twice as hard and may cause the batter to rise rapidly and sink before it’s had a chance to set up.
All these tips are relevant to most cake and cupcake recipes, not just this Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake.
This gluten-free chocolate cake recipe is a family favorite.
I wanted to share it with you so you can find your happily-cake-ever-after.
This gluten-free cake recipe is simple enough that anyone can make it (yes, even the non-baker folks). Serve it with Gluten Free Ice Cream for an extra special treat.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! If you like cake then you'll also love my Gluten-Free Lemon Cake and my Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes.
If you make this gluten-free cake please stop back by here and let me know what you thought!
Easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
This easy gluten-free chocolate cake is super simple, and has the perfect texture.
For the cake:
- 1 ½ cups (320g) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (285g) all purpose gluten-free flour blend (see note about flour blends below)
- ¾ cup (65g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons (6g) gluten-free baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons (8g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt (6g)
- 2 large eggs (110g), room temperature
- 1 cup milk (260g) (or dairy-free milk)
- ½ cup (110g) vegetable oil (or oil of choice)
- 1 ½ teaspoons (4g) gluten-free vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (150g) boiling water (for activating the cocoa)
For the frosting:
- ½ cup (115g) butter (or dairy-free butter)
- 1 ½ teaspoons (4g) gluten-free vanilla extract
- ½ cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 ½ cups (450g) powdered sugar
- ¼ cup (40-60g) milk (or dairy-free milk)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Position rack in center of oven. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until there are no visible clumps.
- Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on medium speed for two minutes.
- Stir in boiling water.
- Spoon batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for 35 to 38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool on a rack.
- For the frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Add cocoa powder and beat until combined. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Slowly beat in milk. Beat in additional milk if needed, to obtain desired consistency.
- Frost cakes.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Flour Blend: I used my gluten free blend in this recipe and I've used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour. I do NOT recommend using Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour blend has chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour) in it. Chickpea flour goes rancid rather fast and when it does it creates a dry and sour/bitter flavor. It also does something funny to this recipe.
- When working with or measuring gluten-free flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level. Do not scoop your measuring cup into the gluten-free flour. The best method really is to weight it but I don't have the ingredient weights for all my recipes yet.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 407Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 347mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 2gSugar: 49gProtein: 4g
Wow what a delicious cake! Beats out all others I’ve made, gluten free or not. I made it in a 9 x 13 and it was perfect at about 36 minutes. Thank you so much!
That's great, Thanks Jennifer.
This is my go to chocolate cake recipe, even fory non-gluten free family and friends! So delicious!!!
Thanks Cindy, glad you enjoyed it!
What is gluten free blend flour?
Can I use shop brought self raising flour??
Some people battle to find gluten-free flour, so I made these blends for you to mix yourself https://www.glutenfreepalate.com/gluten-free-flours/. The recipes requires an all-purpose gluten-free flour not made with chickpea flour.
I tried this for my daughters birthday cake to share at school with her GF friends.
I've just popped it in the oven but I must say the batter has a very odd taste to it, similar to that described by the person who said it tasted like bone broth. I'm hoping it bakes to taste okay.
I also followed the recipe to a T. I used Orgran all purpose gluten free flour which I have used in baking before without issue.
Really hoping it turns out okay
I don't have experience with that flour. I hope it worked for you.
How do you print this without all the ads?
Hi Melanie, go to the recipe card and click on the black print button.
I made this cake for my sister, and because she's vegan, I replaced the eggs with applesauce (¼ C applesauce = 1 egg) and added the zest of 1 orange, and ot turned out super moist and so delicious. There were no leftovers!!
Hi Gianni, thank you for sharing you adjustments, I am so glad your sister enjoyed it!
For your Easy Gluten Free Chocolate Cake recipe you link to the flour blend you use, however there are two flour blends: Flour Blend 1 and Flour Blend 2. Which one do you use for this recipe?
The first flour blend is a little lighter and it works great it all of my recipes for quick breads, cakes, donuts, and cookies. The second gluten free flour blend option has a bit more structure and it works well with rolls, bread, cinnamon rolls, and cookies. Use 1 for this recipe.
Will GF King Arthur flour 1:1 work okay? Really want to make this and have a ton at home!
Yes you can Emilie
We exactly followed this recipe using Trader Joe’s gluten-free flour. We never even frosted it because after a tiny taste of the cake we threw it out. It tasted like bone broth or something nasty!
I am sorry it didn't taste great. Others have enjoyed it, so I wonder if you want to perhaps try it again. Did your flour perhaps get exposed to other ingredients in your pantry or in the store as this is strange.
I think you should try using a better gluten free flour blend. The one you referenced is not great. I use GF Jules.
This looks great and I'm excited to try it for my daughter's birthday next week. I usually make cakes beforehand and freeze (both to work around my schedule and to make frosting it easier.)
Do you see this being a problem at all with this recipe?
Hi Margot, this cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Will that suit your timings? It should be ok to freeze but may dry out. I prefer fresh where possible.
This cake was delicious!!! I used the bobs red mill gluten free flour and it was AMAZING!!!! How long would you bake if you were doing cupcakes?
Thanks Jess, so glad you liked it. I would reduce the time by about 5% to 10%.
Would like to bake this in a quarter sheet pan, any recommendations?
You would need to do a math conversion from the 8-inch round cake pans to the size of your quarter sheet pan.
Have you ever tried freezing the cake prior to frosting?
Yes, it does work but sometimes can be a bit dryer than fresh.
Made this cake yesterday for a friend’s birthday everyone loved it.
Thanks Ronnie, glad it was enjoyed!
Made this cake & I could not get the middle done it was so jiggly & followed the recipe to a T. Never will make it again
Tiffani, I am sorry to hear that others have had success. Here's some possibilities. If you add too much baking powder, or using an old baking powder will make your cake undercooked. The most common reason is baking the cake at an elevated temperature so perhaps buy an oven thermometer as oven temperatures do vary.
Do you added the boiling water to the wet or dry ingredients? Or added the boing water after its all combined? The directions were not very clear
In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until there are no visible clumps.
Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on medium speed for two minutes.
Stir in boiling water.
You add the boiling water to the final mixture.
Made this on New Year’s with a French buttercream and it was SUCH a hit. Moist and flavorful. Baked it as one big sheet cake and adjusted the bake time slightly, but it baked perfectly. It rose quite a bit and was soo good with the French buttercream. No one could believe it was gluten free! I used King Arthur GF flour.
Thank you, Anya. Sounds good with French buttercream.
I see namaste Gluten Free flour blend at Costco. Have you worked with it? I have searched your recipes because I swear you spoke to several brands but can't find it. Any information would be amazingly helpful before I start.
I have not tried Namaste. I have this link for you. https://www.glutenfreepalate.com/best-gluten-free-flour-blend-recipes/. I like to use Bob Red Mill products.
Chocolate cake recipe is horrible.
I am sorry you did not like it. Can you let us know what was "horrible" so we can perhaps troubleshoot?
I am so thrilled with how these cakes have risen and how they peel away so nicely from the baking paper. They do taste quite salty though - could this be the gluten free baking powder, and is there a difference between brands? Or can I reduce the salt in the recipe or will this wreck the bake?
Thanks so much
Perhaps your butter was salted butter in the frosting?
I wondered if you were talking about a previous version of Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour? According to the ingredient list, there is no chickpea flour in this mix. (White Rice Flour, Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Whole Grain Sorghum Flour, Tapica Flour) . Anyway, I used it, hope it works out!
Here is an excerpt from the blog post "I used my gluten free blend in this recipe, and I've used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour. I do NOT recommend using Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour blend has chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour) in it" So you used the correct flour and not the one containing chickpea flour i.e. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour blend
I hope that clears it up for you and it came out well 🙂
Cake was delicious! Easy and not a ton of ingredients. I did use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 baking flour that does not have garbanzo or chickpea flour. To make it sugar free Iused Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener. I will be making this for my client again!
Thanks, Metta. So glad your client loved it.
Unfortunately, while the texture was very nice, I have to agree with the others who commented on the strange taste of this cake. It has a very unpleasant bone broth like taste to it- only once after baked. The raw batter tasted just fine. Really a shame. I’m not sure what’s causing it, other than just the combination of flavors with/and the gf flour (which otherwise tastes fine).
Thanks, Robin, so strange as it didn't occur with me.
I made this cake for a last minute birthday celebration. I did veganize it and made a German chocolate cake frosting and all I can tell you is the reviews were wow. The cake itself got Omgosh that cake was the most fluffy moist cake I ever have had. My friends were pretty unanimous in saying best thing I’ve ever made and the love my cooking. Thank you
Wow, I am so happy for you!
An absolute failure. Boiled up over the pans. I spent 2 hours cleaning my oven! I live at high altitude, 4200 feet. The flavor was okay, but I had to scrape it out of the pan and throw it away! What a mess!!!
Sorry to hear this. You will need to adjust the recipe due to the high altitude.
Hi Wendy! Long time baker here, but I've never made anything gluten-free before. I was really nervous, but this recipe is fool-proof! My lovely SIL has recently gone GF & I was asked to make her a cake for her half-birthday and I cannot express how much everyone absolutely LOVED this cake! You could not even tell it was GF. I unfortunately did not have the time and the resources to make your flour blend, and the store I was able to make it to only had Bob's Red Mill GF flour, but the cake still turned out fantastic. The only other change I made was poking some holes in the cake with a toothpick and brushing a small amount chocolate simple syrup over top to keep it moist, since I had read that sometimes GF bakes dry out in the fridge, but it really didn't need much! The cake would have still been moist and delicious regardless of the simple syrup addition. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! <3 I will be making this again & sharing it with all of my loved ones!
She is so lucky to have you as a SIL. I am so glad it worked well for you, and well done on your first gluten-free baked good!
Let me start out by saying that I've NEVER made a cake before -- boxed or otherwise! That being said, I decided to try this recipe this morning to surprise my wife who has a gluten allergy but loves cake 🙂
The recipe was so simple to put together, and now that it's done, my wife said (and I agree) that it's FANTASTIC! I almost pulled a muscle patting myself on the back!
Lol, Larry, I am glad you were not injured in the process. Well done on your success! Here's a big pat on the back from us!
The measurements are a bit confusing.
How is 1.5 cups of sugar 320 grams when 2 cups of flour is only 285 grams?
When mixed together using the grams measurements the consistency was like water and just dripped through the cake tins with loose bottoms.
Should the consistency once adding the water be like a thin custard?
The weight of a cup of sugar and a cup of flour differs, so even though the volume measurement may be the same, the weight can vary. The consistency is a bit more runnier but not as you have described. Perhaps try it again.
Hi, can you please confirm if the amounts of ingredients is enough for 2 x 20 cm pans of cake?
And what is granulated sugar exactly? Can I use normal cristal sugar?
Thank you in advance for prompt answering - tomorrow is my son's (celiac) b-day and I am going to try your recipe:)
I think it will not be enough. I would suggest you make two batches of the recipe. The leftover batter can be used to make some cupcakes.
Granulated sugar is regular sugar. You can use crystal sugar. Happy Birthday to your son!
My friend is GF, and whenever we have a get together, any dessert I make is GF so she can enjoy it. I have a hard time with the texture and don't really enjoy it so much. I needed a chocolate cake recipe for her daughter's birthday cake, and decided to try this one. When I trimmed the cake tops, I tried a bite and I was PLEASANTLY surprised with how awesome this recipe turned out! I added an additional 1/2 cup of water to the batter because it was really thick, but this cake...I'd never know it was GF. Best recipe I've found for a GF cake, and I've tried many different ones. Two thumbs waaaay up! THANK YOU!!!
Thanks for commenting; I am so glad you made and enjoyed this recipe.
Hello, I’m so excited to try your recipe. But was wondering if you have any suggestions for high altitude baking as I saw some comments with problems of it sinking in the middle. Thanks so much.
There are multiple things to consider. Here are some adjustments you will need to experiment with:
Decrease the leavening agents: At high altitudes, the air pressure is lower, which causes baked goods to rise more quickly and then collapse. To avoid this, you can decrease the baking powder and baking soda by 25% or reduce the sugar by 1-2 tablespoons.
Increase the liquid: High altitude can make the air drier, affecting the texture of baked goods. To counteract this, you can increase the liquid in the recipe by 2-4 tablespoons.
Increase the oven temperature: At high altitudes, the boiling point of water is lower, which can affect the baking time and temperature. You can increase the oven temperature by 15-25 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that the baked goods cook through without becoming dry.
Adjust the baking time: Baked goods may cook more quickly at high altitudes, so you may need to reduce the baking time by a few minutes.
I hope this helps.