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
I accidentally used self raising gluten free flour and I also added a little less water and less sugar and it turned out AMAZING! Took it to work for my colleagues on night shift and it was a great success thank you
I'm new to gluten free, so I was very nervous about trying out this cake with substitutions for sugar.
The results were wonderful. I just couldn't tell that it was gluten free! Kids loved it too. Here are the changes I made...I used 160g of coconut sugar and 160g of honey in place of the white sugar. Because of the liquid from the honey, I reduced the boiling water to half a cup. Further I felt the cake was chocolatey enough with 50g of cocoa powder and added an extra 15g if tapioca starch to make up the dry ingredients. Even with all these substitutions, this is an amazing cake. Next time I will frost it. I can't thank you enough for sharing such a great recipe!
Hello! I was wondering if this cake recipe would work in two sheet pans…? Thank you so much!
You can bake this recipe in two 9x9 square pans.
Hello again! And thank you for your reply. I ask that question because I am making a Yule Log cake that requires rolling a sheet cake. Would this cake work in a 9x13 pan? Thank you!
This recipe makes a full 9x13 pan. If you want to do a roll log you'll want to cut the recipe in half and use the 9x13 pan.
I love it
It doesn’t say how much sugar how mush is it
Everything, including quantities is in the recipe card.
Yes it would!!! Just be careful of cook times 🙂
I halved the recipe for this cake, using a single 8" square pan. I used King Arthur Flour Measure for Measure g.f. blend. I also added a sprinkle of espresso powder to the cocoa and swapped 1/3 of the sugar for xylitol. For the frosting, I swapped most of the butter for peanut butter. It turned out really yummy! Moist yet fluffy and delicious. Just like a perfect chocolate cake should be! Thanks for the recipe. I'll certainly make it again when the need for chocolate goodness strikes me! (which happens fairly often...)
I've just made this cake again today! It is without a doubt my all time favourite cake and consistently comes out well. I'm using it as two cakes to take to the village cake sale tomorrow. Alas still no success with the funfetti cake. The mystery of the disappearing sugar strands after baking remains!,
Thank you so much for sharing this super choc cake
You are welcome, Sue. I am so glad you love it.
Feeezing suggestions for chocolate cake, please.
Let it cool completely, and wrap it and freeze it. When you are ready to enjoy it, let it come to room temperature, then frost it.
I’m a baker, but I’ve never baked ‘gluten free’ before - can I substitute butter for the oil?
Also, is there usually an expiration date on gluten free flour?
Gluten free flour does expire. It's best to check the expiration dates. Otherwise, I typically like to use it within about 3 months. I don't recommend blends with chickpea flour in them. They are often rancid before the expire date.
Yes, you can sub melted and cooled butter for the oil in this cake recipe.
I love this recipe! Even my friends were mind-blown at how good it was and they couldn't tell that it was gluten free. Now it's our go-to cake at every party or dinner!!! I use the Schär universal g.f. flour blend, cassonade brown sugar, coconut oil and dairy free milk (almond or vanilla flavoured soy milk). I have also tried a couple variations that I recommend without hesitation:
- adding orange juice and orange zest for some extra flavour! So instead of 150g boiling water I reduced it to 100g and then added 50gr of orange juice.
- egg-free: Use sparkling water!!! 1/4 cup sparkling water= 1 large egg. I have tried almost every egg-substitute but this was by far the best! There was no difference in taste and consistency!
The only thing I still struggle with is the frosting. I haven't been successful in making a dairy free frosting until now and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. Do you have any tips?
Is it necessary to reduce the liquid quantity when adding sparkling water in place of eggs? I've not tried this before but want to make a cake for my vegan friend who is also gluten intolerant.
PS I heartily recommend this Frosting:
1/2 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
4 – 6 tbsp pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 – 5 tbsp milk of choice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Dairy free frosting that worked great in our daughters bday cake:
Italian meringue, basically egg whites and melted sugar. If done correctly, you get a super stiff and white delicious frosting. We used it in between cakes and on top of it. Topped with halved strawberries and chopped nuts. It was insanely good and it looked so professional.
I have a plain gluten free flour which the ingredients are:
Gluten Free Starches (Maize, Tapioca), Gluten Free Flours (Rice, Maize), Rice Bran, Thickeners (415)
Can I use this as I cannot buy your gf flour bend white rice and the tapioca at my local shop.
Hi Josephine, you can try it, but I haven't tested this recipe with any flour blends that include Maize or rice bran. I'm not sure how it would turn out.
When using sparkling water instead of eggs will I need to reduce the other liquids in the recipe? Or can I use the recipe just as Crystal wrote it and only change the eggs to sparkling water?
I haven't personally used sparkling water in recipes in place of eggs. Sorry I can't be more help.
I have made the cupcake version of this recipe many times now, it's soo good and you can't even tell it's gluten-free. I want to make the cake version now but I don't want to do 2 layers, what size pan should I put it in for 1 big sheet cake?
I am so glad you like it. You can bake this recipe in a 9x13 pan for a sheet cake.
I want to make cupcakes for this recipe, do you have any suggestions for how much batter I should put in the cupcake liner and foe how long in the oven?
I have a cupcake version at https://www.glutenfreepalate.com/easy-gluten-free-chocolate-cupcakes/
This recipe looks just the thing but I was wondering if there is any way I could incorporate some dark chocolate directly into the mix? And what sort of adjustments might I need to spread it between two 8 inch pans? Thank you ❤️
You can probably add in 1/2 cup of shaved dark chocolate without adjusting anything.
I want to make these cupcakes for my sons Birthday. How long and at what temperature do I bake them? I hope to hear from you. Thanks so much!
I have a cupcake version at https://www.glutenfreepalate.com/easy-gluten-free-chocolate-cupcakes/
I am halfway through this recipe and there is an advert right on top of the amount of flour! Please assist with the amount.
I'm not sure what you mean by an advert on top of the amount of flour?
I made this cake for Thanksgiving; it was amazing!! It tastes just as good as a non gluten-free chocolate cake! Thank you so much for this recipe! I will be making it again for Christmas!
Can I replace the flour with almond flour or coconut flour? Please use my recipe for either almond flour chocolate cake or coconut flour chocolate cake if you want to bake with almond or coconut flour. Can I freeze the cake?
This recipe won't work with almond or coconut flour, but you might like my paleo chocolate cupcakes. The recipe uses almond flour.
You may experience different baking results depending on the gluten-free flour blend you choose. This cake recipe with not work with almond, oat, or coconut flour.
Followed the recipe exactly and really like it.
I tried it again and added coffee to the batter and it tasted richer
It makes great muffins (bake @325'F for ~19 min)
Thank you so much!
I made this by strictly following the recipe and the result was impressive, even though I had to use the one gf flour (Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose) you discouraged against. But I followed the advice on the back of the bag and added 1 tsp xanthum gum. Also, I stirred in 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips for added moisture and chocolate taste. The flavor of chickpeas (the primary ingredient in the gf flour blend) was undetectable because it was completely overwhelmed by the chocolate. The overall cake, though moist, was a little crumbly, but not nearly enough to shout “Gluten-Free!” Also, it rose just as high as a regular cake and did not sink when cooled. I used a different chocolate frosting that I knew would be enough to cover & fill two layers and was thrilled with the result. This recipe is definitely a keeper & marked in my files with 5-stars for not relying heavily on eggs & being nearly identical to a traditional wheat flour-based cake. Thank you so much!
I made this for my mum's birthday. It was amazing!! Half of the family are not Gluten free, but it didn't matter, everyone ate a piece and came back for seconds. Best Gluten Free cake recipe I have made so far!!
Thank you! 🙂
I am so glad everyone loved it. Thank you for letting me know.
Can’t wait to try this recipe! I have converted the regular Hershey’s chocolate recipe with success - but only using King Arthur Measure for Measure. Tried with Cup for Cup and had 2 epic fails (the batter totally gummed up when adding the hot water - not sure if it was me or the flour .)
I love that you are sharing your recipes for GF… although store-bought items have come a long, long way in the 3 years we’ve had to go GF I find baking myself is generally always better and appreciate a tested recipe in my arsenal!
Being a novice to gluten-free and dairy-free baking, I feel excited and nervous to try this cake for my friend's birthday. Would you have any recommendation on the best milk (dairy-free) to use?
We like almond milk.
BEST Gluten Free cake / bread recipe I've found! Thank you. We are new to GF, and I have tried so many recipes in the last month. I had to substitute the following: dairy free butter, soy milk, and duck eggs, but this is delicious!
Chrystal, love this recipe! Any comments on using raw cacao over cocoa? I used cacao and the cake was extremely dense and crumbly. Thanks!
Cacoa can be a little bitter and because it's not processed, it absorbs liquid different. Can you also tell me which flour blend you used?
This easy GF Chocolate Cake is the best cake and icing recipe I have ever tasted. I made it exactly as printed and I received rave reviews from my entire family. It was delicious, moist and had just the perfect amount of chocolate flavour. Thank you for your information about the flour and to not use flour with chickpeas. I live in Canada and no Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 is available. I carefully selected the next best flour available after first checking the ingredients, I ended up using our store brand and it worked great. I signed up to follow your recipes after this cake was such a hit and I look forward to receiving more delicious recipe ideas.
I am so glad you and your family love it. Thank you for taking the time to stop back by and let me know.
Hi can I please check the amount of boiling water is correct? The batter was so liquidy it started seeping out the bottom of my loose bottom cake tins in the oven.
Yes, the water is correct. The batter will be thin. I haven't tried baking with loose bottom cake tins, but I would imagine that most cake batters would seep out of the bottom.
Hi Chrystal, the cake came out perfectly! The best chocolate gf cake I’ve made - thank you! I will now invest in some normal cake tins (not loose bottomed!) to avoid the liquid seeping out everywhere!
I'm so glad they turned out. Thank you for letting me know.
Absolutely great chocolate lay cake. Had to swap Bobs Red Mill nothing locally where I live in UK. First attempt and tastes awesome. I’d like to do just sandwich cake not covering all with frosting, How much would you say I need for this?. Thanks for recipe and we really enjoyed it and will certainly do again
You can always cut the frosting recipe in half.
This recipe is amazing and I have used it many times, as my sister has celiac disease. I was wondering if I could make this recipe with regular flour?
I am so glad you like it. I haven't tried it with regular flour, but it should work.
Can this recipe be doubled? Or will it be enough for 10 adults?
This recipe is for a double layer cake, so it should be enough for 10-12 adults.
Can you freeze chocolate cake and your vanilla cupcakes? With or without icing? Thank you for your reply.
Yes, you can freeze them. Its best to freeze them without frosting, then bring them to room temp, and then frost.
Oh what a fantastic easy recipe to make. Have to eat it yet at our Ladies Mahjong and Gluten Free Cake Group on Thursday. I'll let you know x
I was wondering if you preferred regular cocoa powder or Dutch processed cocoa powder? Thank you! I’m looking forward to making this!
I honestly like them both.
So I was originally using this recipe as a base since I was too lazy to find an easy vanilla cake recipe (this popped up third in my search) and sans coco it tastes like banana bread without the bananas. It actually tastes really good though!
I'm glad it turned out. I do have a vanilla cake recipe, for next time 🙂
Can I use almond flour ?
Not in this recipe, but you can make these paleo cupcakes if you like, https://www.glutenfreepalate.com/paleo-chocolate-cupcakes/
I just made this cake. It is light and fluffy and delicious. I have never gotten such a nice rise on a gluten-free cake. However, when I turned the cake out of the pan to cool one of them cracked. I put that one on the bottom and frosted them. The next morning I saw that the top layer now has a large crack too. Any suggestions?
Hi Meg! There are some suggestions in the post about how to avoid cracks. Generally, with gluten free cakes, cracks are caused by the cake being too close to the heating element in the oven, or the oven temperature being a bit too high.
I followed the recipe exactly and when I added the listed amount of water it turned into a liquid! I added more flour and sugar but I still had to pour it rather than spoon it into the tins. What could have caused this? I use Dove's Farm flour.
It's normal for the batter to be runny. I haven't used Dove's flour, but different GF flours can act differently. I hope the cake was still delicious!
I love this recipe and have made it several times! I was asked to make a 9” 3 layer cake for a shower and was wondering if I should double the recipe or 1 1/2 ?
we're so glad you love it! You should be ok with 1 1/2 of the recipe, or you can double it to be on the safe side.
I loved the cake and nobody suspected it was GF, perfect texture and flavor. I followed the recipe as written, weighed all ingredients and followed all directions. I will definitely make it again, but will likely use a different frosting, since the one in this recipe is too sweet and the chocolate flavor is tame (in my view). I still enjoyed it though.
Thank you for creating such a wonderful and easy to follow recipe: I was able to finish it much quicker than other recipes I’ve made, so it was perfect for what I was looking for.
So glad you liked it! Thanks for coming back to leave a comment, it's much appreciated 🙂
Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I’d like to make the vanilla version and was wondering if I need to remove the water (in addition to the chocolate) or just reduce it.
Instead of adjusting this recipe, try our Gluten Free Vanilla Cake recipe instead!