It’s easy to make the best gluten-free chocolate cake. All you need is one bowl and about an hour. The recipe makes a rich, moist cake that is perfect for birthdays and other celebrations.
There’s a lot to love about this gluten-free chocolate cake recipe. It makes a dense, rich cake that is loaded with chocolate flavor, and, the best part, it’s so easy to make. You simply mix the batter together in one bowl—no whipping eggs or beating butter—and you’re ready to bake! If you love chocolate cake, this recipe is for you.
What You Need to Make the BEST Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour. Gives the chocolate cake body and texture. If your blend doesn’t contain xanthan or guar gum, add one teaspoon to the recipe.
Natural Cocoa Powder. Adds a rich chocolatey flavor and reacts with the baking soda to help the cake rise. Dutch-process cocoa powder, which has been treated with an alkaline solution, may be used in this cake. When Dutch-process cocoa powder is used the cake bakes up very dark.
Granulated Sugar. Adds sweetness and texture.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda. The combination of baking powder and baking soda gives the cake a lovely rise. If you don’t bake often, be sure to check that your baking powder and baking soda aren’t expired. If they’re old, they don’t provide as much lift.
Salt. One teaspoon of salt enhances the chocolate notes. It’s an important ingredient in this cake. Fine table salt or fine sea salt is best for baking.
Eggs. Three eggs help the cake rise and provide a lovely texture and flavor. This recipe has not been tested with an egg-replacer.
Oil. A half-cup of oil makes the cake rich and tender. It also makes the cake dairy-free! Be sure to use a neutral-flavored oil, such as vegetable oil, for the best flavor.
Milk or Coffee. Milk or coffee make this a smooth silky batter. Use traditional (cow’s) milk or dairy-free milk. For a mocha-like flavor, replace the milk with one cup of cooled coffee.
Nonstick Cooking Spray. To keep the cake from sticking to the pan, spray it with a gluten-free nonstick cooking spray or grease it generously with butter or shortening and then dust with gluten-free flour.
Important Equipment and Tools
Electric Mixer or Whisk. This batter is easy to mix together either with an electric mixer or by hand with a balloon whisk. Use whichever you prefer.
Cake Pan(s): Bake this cake in either two 8-inch round cake pans, one 9×13-inch pan, or bake 24 cupcakes.
How to Make Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
- Preheat Oven. Cakes bake best when placed into a hot oven. You want your oven at 350 degrees F before you start baking. I always turn my oven on before I start measuring ingredients. This way it’s ready after I’ve mixed the batter.
- Mix Batter. This is a simple one-bowl cake. First, whisk together the “dry” ingredients, that’s the gluten-free flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Doing this evenly distributes the baking powder and soda throughout the flour and sugar, helping the cake to rise evenly. Then add the “wet ingredients–the milk, eggs, and oil. Mix until the batter is smooth. It only takes about a minute or so.
- Bake Cake. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with only a few dry crumbs clinging to it.
- Cool on a Rack. Cool the cake in the pan for about ten minutes. Then turn out onto a wire rack(s) to cool. Transferring the cake to a wire cake keeps the bottom of the cake from getting soggy and prevents the cake from sticking to the pan.
- Frost. When the cake is completely cool, frost it with your favorite buttercream frosting. I love either chocolate buttercream or vanilla buttercream on this cake. If you frost a warm cake, the frosting will melt and run off the cake.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake: FAQs
Can I make this cake without milk?
Yes! Replace the milk called for with an equal amount of dairy-free milk or coffee.
Can I replace the flour with almond flour or coconut flour?
Grain-free flour, like almond flour or coconut flour, doesn’t work with this recipe. 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?
Absolutely! Allow the cake to cool completely. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. Allow cake to thaw overnight on the counter before serving.
Can I use this recipe for cupcakes?
Yes! This recipe makes 24 cups. The bake time is included in the recipe.
Can I use this recipe for a 9×13-inch cake?
Yup! The bake time for a sheet cake is included in the recipe.
The BEST Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
Easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake. This rich and moist cake is perfect for birthdays. Dairy-Free Option Included.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
- 1 ¾ cups Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour, see note (9 ounces; 255 grams)
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar (12 ½ ounce; 354 grams)
- 1 cup natural cocoa powder (3 ounces; 85 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup milk or coffee (8 ounces; 226 grams)
- ½ cup vegetable oil (3 ½ ounces; 100 grams)
- 3 large eggs (about 6 ounces; 170 grams out of shell)
- 4 cups powdered sugar (16 ounces; 453 grams)
- ½ cup natural cocoa powder (1 ½ ounces; 42 grams)
- 1 cup butter, softened (8 ounces; 226 grams)
- 4 tablespoons milk, divided (2 ounces; 56 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare your pan(s). Lightly grease: two 8" round cake pans OR one 9", x 13" pan with nonstick cooking spray OR line 24 standard cups with paper liners.
Whisk together gluten-free flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add milk, vegetable oil, and eggs. Whisk batter until smooth.
Divide batter evenly between the two 8-inch prepared round cake pans OR spread evenly into 9 x13-inch pan OR fill muffin cups about ⅔ full.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
For 8-inch round cakes: about 30 minutes.
For 9×13-inch pan: about 40 minutes.
For cupcakes: about 22 minutes.
Allow cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool.
When cool, frost with chocolate frosting. Wrap cake and store at room temperature for up to three days.
For the Chocolate Frosting
Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and milk. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium-high.
Beat frosting until fluffy and smooth. If frosting seems too thick, add the additional tablespoon milk.
If using a flour blend that does not contain xanthan or guar gum, add 1 teaspoon xanthan gum to the batter. Add the xanthan gum to the gluten-free flour. Whisk. And then follow the recipe as written.