Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

The Spruce Eats / Ariane Resnick

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Cool: 30 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 12 slices
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
297 Calories
11g Fat
45g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 297
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 33mg 11%
Sodium 385mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 26g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 78mg 6%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 65mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sometimes chocolate cakes are gluten free by nature, omitting the flour to create a dense and fudgy dessert. But for the times when you want a multi-layered, more festive treat that's gluten free, you'll need to work with some alternative flours.

Fortunately, the world of gluten-free baking has made leaps and bounds in recent years, and to make a perfect two-layer cake, it really is as simple as subbing out wheat flour for an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. When you choose a premade one that has stabilizers and gums added, the results for chocolate cake are nearly identical to the traditional version.

This cake tastes similar to a wheat flour cake, though you might notice the texture is slightly more springy. It's an excellent choice for a birthday or holiday celebration, being full of rich cocoa flavor. It holds up well to a buttercream such as this chocolate buttercream one, but we also love it with a simple ganache.


  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, such as grape seed or avocado, more for the pans

  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, such as Bob's Red Mill

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup dairy or non-dairy milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2/3 cup boiling water

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F. Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment. Generously grease the bottom and sides of the pans. Set aside.

  3. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt over a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Alternatively, use a large bowl and an electric mixer. Whisk on low speed until well combined.

  4. Turn off the mixer and add the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until well blended, scraping down the bowl as needed, at least one minute.

  5. Add boiling water and mix for a few seconds more, then turn off the mixer.

  6. Fold in vinegar with a large spatula.

  7. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.

  8. Transfer to the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

  9. Let cool in the pan completely before frosting, about 30 minutes.


  • To make this recipe into cupcakes, bake for less time—generally 20 to 22 minutes in standard-sized muffin tins. It makes about 24 cupcakes.
  • The cake will clearly be baked when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Be sure the cakes have cooled completely before frosting. Placing them in the fridge for 30 minutes, once they've sat out after being removed from the pan for 30 minutes, is usually plenty before frosting.
  • This recipe is easily halved for a single cake, or for 12 cupcakes.
  • For best results, use 8-inch cake pans, which will yield a taller cake than 9-inch pans.
  • The vinegar adds lightness to the cake, so we don't recommend omitting it.
  • If baking this for someone with a gluten intolerance or Celiac, be sure to check that all ingredients, including baking powder/soda and cocoa powder, are certified gluten free.

Recipe Variations

For a different flavor, try one of the following:

  • Brewed coffee instead of water for a mocha cake; coffee should be boiling hot to activate cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract for a minty chocolate cake
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons whiskey or rum added to the batter with other liquids, for a festive flavor

To make the cake vegan, use non-dairy milk and a cup-for-cup egg substitute.

If you're feeling like an individual dessert, it makes a batch of 24 cupcakes and we enjoy them with an easy vanilla glaze. You'll prepare it just like you would a regular cake, in a stand mixer or a mixing bowl with a handheld mixer, combining wet and dry ingredients together. The boiling water added to the batter ensures the cocoa powder blooms properly; don't be worried that the batter looks a little thin.

How to Store and Freeze

  • This cake can be stored at room temperature for up to several days, provided the frosting has not yet been put on. Once frosted, you should default to how that holds up best; buttercreams require refrigeration to not soften. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
  • To freeze this cake, wrap tightly in plastic wrap then secure in a freezer-proof container. It will freeze well for up to three months, and can be frozen with frosting or without. Thaw in the fridge to prevent frosting from softening too much, if freezing frosted.