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 this cake was totally awesome. My friends loved it and so did I ..... and I am always my biggest critic. Not being a baker at all I was amazed to see how beautiful it turned out just coming out of the oven. Then just hoped it would taste as good as it looked. HOME RUN !!!!!! Thanks soooo much.
Yay! Thanks for coming back to let us know how much you enjoyed it Ed!
Turned out well. So yummy. Thanks
Hi Dwight, So glad you enjoyed it!
I was wondering if you think that coconut flower would work well for this recipe. I wasn’t sure if it matter what flower I used?
I have not tried it, but if you do the rule of thumb is to combine only 20% coconut flour and the rest another flour. You can't use just coconut flour.
I just made this with egg replacer for my neighbors who have a daughter with glutten and egg allergies. The other kids couldn't tell it was gluten free and everyone liked it.
Hi Denise! Thank you so much for the comment, we're so glad everyone loved the cake!
Can you use recipe for cupcakes-what would be the time cooked?
I would suggest this recipe: https://www.glutenfreepalate.com/chocolate-cupcakes-8-ingredients/
Can I use almond flour for my flour instead of a blend? I have it on hand and making this for a friend so not looking for a full stock.
You can but then you would need to experiment with adding additional eggs which I have not tested myself.
I used Schar cake flour mix. I also activated the cocoa powder with 1/2c espresso. This cake was moist and delicious. I definitely think I would add more cocoa for more richness, I used the metric version of the recipes maybe that had something to do with it.
Thanks, Amber, for sharing your variations. It's a great moist cake!
Can u make this ascupcakes
We've adapted the recipe to make cupcakes! They're delicious, just follow this recipe.
Great recipe that actually works and produces a very chocolate and moist cake. I baked it in a deep rectangular tin as I only had sponge tins with removeable bases and the mixture is very runny. It rose beautifully and I cut it in half and then each half sliced into two giving me four layers. I sandwiched them with chocolate buttercream and covered the cake with melted dark chocolate.
It looked and tasted great. My son who is gluten intolerant, even took some home with him as he loved it! I’ve subscribed to your recipe book.
SO glad everyone loved it! Thanks for letting us know.
Please, please could you offer a conversion to metric weights in your recipes? I loved your chocolate cake recipe which was in metric weights, but many of your other recipes are not. I think you are missing out on a British market, as most of us are reluctant to do the conversion ourselves as we might get it wrong, so your recipes are of no use!
Thank you in hope!
Hi Ruth, thank you so much for the suggestion.
Hi Ruth, I’m in the UK. I bought a set of ‘cups’; in fact I have two. They are easily available in supermarkets & home stores like B&M etc. also get some measuring spoons and your set up. I make loads of US recipes with no prob. Hope this helps.
I am looking to create a 6” 3 layer cake - is there a conversion either for 3 6” tins, or to do this as a 1/4-1/2 sheet cake (so that I could use a ring mold to cut the 6” rounds out)?
Hi Nicole, while I haven't figured out this conversion mathematically, I do think that you can just divide the batter into the 3 6 inch tins and bake, but reduce the bake time since the cakes are smaller.
I have made this recipe egg-free using PBCo. vegan egg replacer (Australian Brand). Turns out great every time I've made it.
Hi Jacqui, thanks so much! I'm glad that it was an easy swap for you and that the recipe is reliable 🙂
I was very pleased with this recipe. I baked this cake for my daughter's birthday. The cake had a nice crumb and a rich chocolate flavor. It was moist and just delicious. This was especially awesome for me because I actually substituted the sugar for lakanto golden monk fruit sugar, which I powder in bulk since erythitol can crystalize when heated. I did not use the icing in the recipe because she wanted caramel icing.
Hi Lisa! So glad you liked it! I'm glad to hear that it turned out well using a sugar substitute too. I'm sure other readers will be happy to see this!
I only recently found out I was allergic to wheat. I love to bake and was overwhelmed by a lot of the gluten free recipes I found. Your recipe was really accessible. I used the Walmart store brand of gluten-free flour, replaced some of the vanilla with orange extract, and added orange zest to the batter and frosting. It was amazing! Everyone who ate it thought so. Thank you for helping make my transition to wheat free baking a successful one!
Jana, this is exactly what we love to hear! Thank you so much for letting us know how the recipe was, and I know that you'll find many other recipes here to help with your transition.
I made this yesterday into 3 6-inch cake pans and just had to bake a little longer. Super delicious and moist using your GF flour blend #1. You literally can not tell that it's made without white flour. I love that you have the weight measurements in the recipes. So much more accurate and easier than dirtying up many measuring utensils. Thank you!
Hi Phoebe, So glad you love the recipe!
Is there anyway I can convert your recipes (which I love) into metric please? I live in UK.
The measurements in the Chocolate Cake recipe have been converted to metric measurements! We are working on some of the other recipes too, but in the meantime, you can utilize an online baking conversion calculator to help you along. Thank you!
Hi if I wanted to double this cake to make a quater slab or half what is your suggestion ? thanks
You shouldn't need to double the recipe to make a 1 layer quarter slab (9x13 inches), but you would want to double the batter to bake a half tray.
This is a great recipe. Very easy to make, the timing was perfect and my husband devoured it very quickly. It also stayed moist for a few days which is unusual for GF cakes. The only thing I changed was to halve the amount of powdered sugar in the frosting as it was too sweet for us. You could easily add orange essence to this recipe for a Chocolate Orange cake and I'm also going to use the sponge recipe to make a GF Black Forest gateaux. Thank you!
Heather, I am so excited that you are using this recipe and tweaking it to be your own! Orange Chocolate cake and Black Forest both sound incredible.
Wow! Fantastic flavor and texture - you’d never know it is gluten free! I am fairly new to gluten free cake baking, having a close friend that is GF (I am not). This recipe is a keeper, and will become part of a decadent German Chocolate layer cake. Thanks for a great recipe!
Hi Wendy! So glad you love it. German chocolate sounds so good!
what gluten free flour brands do you recommend?
Hi Donna, We suggest Bob's Red Mill 1:1 baking flour (blue bag), or one of our gluten free flour blends.
Really awesome recipe. Love the texture. Instead of milk, I added 1 Tbsp lemon juice and cashew milk to make up 1 cup - to simulate buttermilk. Also added 3/4 cup of hot coffee rather than the hot water to intensify the chocolate taste. Awesome. Thank you so much
Hi Christine! I love the addition of coffee, that's a very smart substitution! Thank you so much for coming back to tell us how much you love the cake.
This recipe was great the first day. The next day after staying out at room temp in a glass stand it was SO DRY! Even with buttercream frosting on it. I couldn’t eat it. Any idea why? Is this the type of cake that only holds well for one to two days max??
Hi Stephanie! We haven't had any issues storing it for 2-3 days at room temperature. It's important that it's in an airtight container. Is it possible your glass stand is letting air in? It could also have something to do with the air temp or humidity. So many factors! try storing it in the fridge next time to give it a bit of extra life.
I've made this chocolate cake twice now and I love it. Beautiful and moist. Tastes great.
Hi there! Looks incredible. Does it freeze well?
Hi Katriel! You can freeze the cake layers, wrapped really well with plastic wrap. They should stay fresh for 1-2 months in the freezer.
I have made this cake so many times I know the recipe by heart. My grandson is celiac and he enjoys it tremendously. Thank you for making my life so much easier to please my little munchkin. I have printed your free e-book and looking forward in trying out all these wonderful recipes.
Hi Filomena! Thank you so much for the kind comment. We're so glad that our recipes are helping you and your grandson!
Please help! Did I do something wrong?
My batter was very watery. I put it in the tins and put them in the oven, only just realised they are leaking out of the bottom :o. It's for my toddlers birthday cake, he is wheat, dairy and soy free. Loved this recipe as it uses the most easy to get ingredients. Please help a non baker bake
Hi Sara! Are you using springform pans that are in two pieces? In that case you probably need to wrap the outside with foil so that the batter can't leak out.
Hi! I'm wanting to make this cake in advance for a birthday. Will it freeze well? If so, how long and how do you recommend wrapping/protecting it for freezing?
You can freeze the cake layers, wrapped really well with plastic wrap. They should stay fresh for 1-2 months in the freezer.
I made this with your vanilla cake for a marbled chocolate/vanilla wedding cake. The cake was a hit! I was told it was the best cake they ever had. Most of the guests didn't know it was gluten free! This is my go to cake from now on. I didn't make any substitutions and used a home made gluten free flour blend. Thank You!!
Hi Bridget, we are so glad you enjoyed it and found your go to recipe!
I have cups (regular American), but have been checking against my scale to see if the grams and cups match and the gram measurements are always more than the cup measurements. Would it be best to follow the gram measurements?
Hi Magnolia, I would suggest you use the gram measurements for better accuracy.
I used this recipe to make a pirate ship cake for a birthday party. I baked the whole batter in one bread loaf pan for 55 minutes. It was very sturdy and I was able to cut it easily. I made the cake the day before and it was still moist the next few days. I used Schär gluten free baking flour for cakes and cookies. Turned out great!!
Hi Magnolia, thank you for sharing your success. I am so pleased the cake was moist and turned out great!
Do you think this would work well at cupcakes? i am struggling to find a GF vegan chocolate cupcake recipe that doesn't immediately fall apart. Thank you!
Give this vegan cupcake recipe a try - https://www.glutenfreepalate.com/chocolate-cupcakes-8-ingredients/
Hello, can I replace the gluten free flour with all purpose gluten flour? Will it affect the result?
Hi Raeesa, I do not recommend using 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. Thanks
I would recommend: do NOT reduce the sugar in the cake, I reduced it to 3/4ths cup and it was really not sweet enough and I think may have ruined it. I did however cut the sugar in the frosting by 1 cup and that was perfect for me, as I try to reduce my sugar intake. I may need to try recipe again following the recipe better!
Hi Jen, it is good to experiment in the kitchen. It sometimes pays off and other times it doesn't and that is perfectly fine!
cake was amazing, nailed it the first try.
icing is a little sweet tho...
Which of your gf gluten free flour blends do you recommend for this recipe? The four or 5 cup blend? Also, did you add any xanthum gum as it’s optional in the blend recipe.
I used gluten-free flour blend #1
Made this for my 79 year old dad who is new to having gluten free foods. He was skeptical, but loves it!
Hi A, I am so happy he liked it. After all those years I can imagine the skepticism. I hope you make more recipes for him.