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The BEST Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

The best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake recipe with chocolate buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache for any occasion! This death by chocolate cake is incredibly moist, rich, and decadent! Perfect for celebrating a special event or life in general.

Insanely rich and delicious gluten-free chocolate cake made with no dairy or refined sugar. Two slices sitting on a white plate with a golden fork and the rest of the cake on a cake stand in the background

If I may be so bold…

This gluten-free chocolate cake happens to be the best gluten-free chocolate cake I’ve eaten. 

It is sinfully rich with moist crumbs, powerfully decadent and includes SO much chocolate, you’ll hardly believe it! We’re going for max chocolate absorption here.

In addition to being gluten-free, I made this cake recipe to be a dairy-free option as well.

The best part is you’d never guess it isn’t a normal chocolate cake because it has the perfect texture!

The way I see it, this decadent layer cake is ideal for special occasions. Nothing says, “I love you,” like a dessert that is positively loaded with rich chocolate goodness!

The run-down of this cake is a three-part adventure.

Thick slice of chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate ganache on a white plate with a gold fork.

First and foremost, we make a perfect chocolate cake that’s studded with chocolate chips. To enrich our lives, we frost the cake layers with chocolate frosting, then finish it off with a hefty layer of rich ganache.

1.) Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake:

Moist, rich, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, completely amazing AND studded with chocolate chips for that Death by Chocolate effect.

I use Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour, coconut sugar, avocado oil, instant coffee granules, and full-fat coconut milk for the cake to keep it on the allergy-friendly.

Any gluten free flour blend will work, provided it is a 1:1 replacement blend for all-purpose flour.

If you’re trying to keep the cake sugar-free, consider swapping the coconut sugar with your favorite sugar-free sweetener. As an alternative, you can always use brown sugar!

2.) Chocolate Buttercream 

I used this Favorite Chocolate Buttercream recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, so I don’t re-publish the recipe here but instead encourage you to check out her incredible buttercream.

This buttercream is fully leaded – it is not dairy-free or sugar-free, which makes it obviously delicious. 

If you are dairy-free, you can use a vegan butter spread instead of butter. Truly, the cake and ganache are so rich and amazing on their own that you don’t really need the buttercream, although I find it to be pretty amazing.

To lower the amount of sugar in the entire cake, you can replace the powdered sugar in the butter cream with sugar-free confectioner’s sugar, as seen in my my Keto Chocolate Buttercream. I like Swerve‘s confectioner’s sugar, but you can also go with Monk Fruit or Truvia.

3.) Dairy-Free Chocolate Ganache:

Made with full-fat coconut milk and your favorite dark chocolate bar. This ganache gets smeared on top of the chocolate buttercream for an added layer of richness. Because we’re using dark chocolate bars for the ganache, it is less sweet.

This is PERFECT for those who love dark chocolate, and especially amazing if you’re also including the chocolate buttercream, because it offsets the sweetness with that bittersweet richness. I add sea salt, because I know my chocolate.

As an alternative, you can make my easy Dairy-Free Chocolate Ganache recipe which uses chocolate chips instead of chocolate bars.

You can skip the buttercream and just go with the ganache for less sugar and for an entirely dairy-free cake.

I guess you could say this is a four-part adventure if you count the chocolate chips hidden inside of the cake and the shaved chocolate on top. 

The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake - refined sugar-free, dairy-free, super moist and decadent! A death by chocolate cake recipe

Death By Chocolate Chocolate Cake:

This is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the richest, chocolatiest, death by chocolate chocolate cake that ever did exist. The chocolate cake is not only rich and delicious on its own, but it also includes chocolate chips, which makes it fudgy and almost brownie-like.

PLUS we’re frosting the whole thing with chocolate buttercream, THEN smearing with dark chocolate ganache AND sprinkling with shaved dark chocolate bar. 

A chocolate lover’s dream!

Close up of a thick slice of chocolate cake being cut out of the full cake, about to be served.

Pro Tip: Microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds to get it all nice and warm. Everything will melt together, generating the most insanely rich and fudgy brownie-like cake sex treat. Just trust. Put the slice in a bowl.

I’m going to give it to you straight: baking the best gluten-free chocolate cake requires some time.

Rome wasn’t erected in a day, people.

The good news is, you can do some multi-tasking.

For instance, you can whip up the buttercream as the cake bakes, watch your programs on the tele, podcast it up…really get into it, you hear? The ganache takes 17 seconds to make, so don’t freak out about it.

You’re still stuck on “erected,” aren’t you?

The way I see it, this recipe is fabulous for a special occasion. Think: birthday, anniversary, graduation, Valentine’s Day, the end of a pandemic…to name a few.

Let’s bake!

How to Make The BEST Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper too. 

Prepared baking pans with parchment paper.

If you only have one cake pan or springform pan, no worries! You can bake the cake layers one at a time, or stick with one pan to make an ultra thick single layer cake.

Mix the coconut milk and vinegar together in a mixing bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. Add the Instant Coffee granules to a measuring cup and fill with 1 cup boiling water to make 1 cup of coffee. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Hot coffee in a measuring cup and coconut milk in another measuring cup.

As an alterative, you can brew one cup of coffee using regular coffee grinds in your coffee maker, Fresh press or pour over).

Add the gluten free flour blend, natural cocoa powder, coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt to a large bowl and whisk well until combined. Set aside. 

Dry ingredients for chocolate cake in a mixing bowl.

If using chocolate chips, add them to a measuring cup with 2 teaspoons of flour and stir well to coat the chocolate chips in flour (this ensures they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake during baking).

Chocolate chips with flour on top in a measuring cup.

Add the avocado oil, eggs, and vanilla to the large mixing bowl with the coconut milk. Mix together wet ingredients until combined. If you have an electric hand whisk or electric mixer, feel free to use it on on medium-high speed until combined. 

Wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Pour the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Add the hot water coffee mixture, and whisk or beat on low speed until the batter is completely combined. Stir in the chocolate chips (if adding) until well combined.

Pouring wet ingredients into a large bowl with the dry ingredients.
Pouring coffee into cake batter.
Cake batter in a mixing bowl with chocolate chips on top ready to be mixed in.
Chocolate cake batter in a mixing bowl, ready to be baked.

Divide cake batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake for 23-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Two springform pans with chocolate cake batter inside, ready to bake.

The cake is considered fully baked once it reaches 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of the cake to be sure it doesn’t overbake.

Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely in the spring form pans.

While the cakes are baking or cooling, prepare the chocolate buttercream (if using).

Chocolate buttercream on a whisk attachment, ready to be used.

Once cool, release the cake from the spring form pans and place one of the cakes on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread a thick layer of chocolate buttercream on top of the cake, then place the second cake on top of the buttercream, creating a cake tower.

Use the remaining buttercream to spread all over the cake – you can go as liberal or conservative as you’d like here depending on how much you love buttercream.

Chocolate cake on a cake stand, smothered in chocolate buttercream frosting with a bowl of ganache to the side.
Chocolate layer cake coated in a thick layer of frosting.

Prepare the chocolate ganache.

Chop the chocolate bars and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Note: the finer you chop the chocolate, the quicker the ganache will come together, so try to chop it nice and small.

Microwave (or heat on the stove top) the coconut milk until very hot, but just under boiling. Pour the coconut milk into the mixing bowl with the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit for 1 minute (this loosens up the chocolate so that it will melt nice and easy).

Stir the mixture well until all clumps of chocolate are out and the mixture is nice and creamy. Taste for flavor and add sea salt and pure maple syrup to taste. If you’re using super dark chocolate (85% or higher), I’d suggest about 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup.

Chocolate ganache in a mixing bowl.

Pour and spread the chocolate ganache over the chocolate buttercream using a rubber spatula.

Hand drizzling ganache over a frosted chocolate cake

You can coat the whole cake in the ganache or give it a drippy look. I’ve taken both approaches and love the way both look.

Slice of chocolate cake being cut out of a full cake with a knife.

If desired, sprinkle the cake with shaved or grated chocolate bar over the gluten-free cake.

Rich, decadent gluten-free chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache sitting on a cake stand.

Serve with a huge glass of milk (or non-dairy milk) and enjoy!

How to Store Cake:

Store any leftover cake on the counter covered with plastic wrap for up to 2 days. Past that, transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Freeze cake in a large freezer bag or zip lock for up to 3 months.

The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake slice on a white plate with a bite taken out.

And that’s it! The best chocolate cake recipe for chocolate lovers! Make it for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, holidays, and any time the chocolate craving strikes!

If you’re looking for a grain-free chocolate cake recipe using almond flour, check out my Paleo Triple Chocolate Cake!

More Chocolate Dessert Recipes:

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag me at @The.Roasted.Root on Instagram!

That better-than-sex, death by chocolate, nothing says I love you like a two-tier rich chocolate cake smeared in buttercream and drenched in ganache chocolate cake life. 😉

Thick slice of chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate ganache on a white plate with a gold fork.
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4.48 from 165 votes

The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

The best gluten-free chocolate cake made dairy-free and refined sugar-free
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Desserts & Treats
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 306kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake:

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

Instructions

Bake the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans with butter, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper too.
  • Mix the coconut milk and vinegar together in a mixing bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. Add the Instant Coffee granules to a measuring cup and fill with 1 cup boiling water to make 1 cup of coffee (or you can brew one cup of coffee. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Add the gluten-free flour, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt to a large bowl and whisk well until combined. Set aside.
  • If using chocolate chips, add them to a measuring cup with 2 teaspoons of flour and stir well to coat the chocolate chips in flour (this ensures they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake during baking).
  • Add the avocado oil, eggs, and vanilla to the mixing bowl with the coconut milk and use an electric hand whisk (or beat by hand) to mix together wet ingredients on medium-high speed until combined.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients, add the hot water/coffee, and whisk or beat on low speed until the batter is completely combined. Stir in the chocolate chips (if adding) until well combined.
  • Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake for 23-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For the best result, use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of the cakes. They are fully cooked once they reach an internal temperature of 190 to 200 degrees F.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely in the spring form pans.
  • While the cakes are baking or cooling, prepare the chocolate buttercream (if using).
  • Once cool, release the cake from the spring form pans and place one of the cakes on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread a thick layer of chocolate buttercream on top of the cake, then place the second cake on top of the buttercream, creating a 2-tier cake. Use the remaining buttercream to spread all over the cake – you can go as liberal or conservative as you’d like here depending on how much you love buttercream.

Prepare the Ganache:

  • Prepare the chocolate ganache. Chop the chocolate bars and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Note: the finer you chop the chocolate, the quicker the ganache will come together, so try to chop it nice and small.
  • Microwave (or heat on the stove top) the coconut milk until very hot, but just under boiling. Pour the coconut milk into the mixing bowl with the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit for 1 minute (this loosens up the chocolate so that it will melt nice and easy). Stir the mixture well until all clumps of chocolate are out and the mixture is nice and creamy. Taste for flavor and add sea salt and pure maple syrup to taste. If you’re using super dark chocolate (85% or higher), I’d suggest about 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup.
  • Pour and spread the chocolate ganache over the chocolate buttercream.
  • If desired, sprinkle the cake with shaved or grated chocolate bar.
  • Serve with a huge glass of milk (or non-dairy milk) and enjoy!

Video

Notes

*Use regular cane sugar, brown sugar, or sugar-free sweetener instead of coconut sugar if desired.
**You can use 1 cup of chocolate chips instead of chocolate bars if desired.
Store any leftover cake on the counter covered with plastic wrap for up to 2 days. Past that, transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Freeze cake in a large freezer bag or zip lock for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 12 | Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g

The BEST Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe - dairy-free, rich moist and incredibly chocolatey for a death by chocolate experience!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

I originally shared this recipe on August 17, 2020. I updated the photos and the text but left the recipe the same.

Recipe Rating




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Alison

Saturday 2nd of September 2023

I don’t eat or drink coffee. Can I just use cacao or cocoa powder? What is a good substitute? Thanks

Julia

Monday 4th of September 2023

Hi Alison! You can replace the instant coffee with more cocoa powder :)

Johnnie

Wednesday 21st of June 2023

Has cassava flour ever been tried in this recipe, any of your recipes? Will it work?

Julia

Friday 23rd of June 2023

Hi Johnnie! I've used cassava flour as a 1:1 replacement for gluten-free flour blends in banana bread but I haven't for this specific recipe. I think it would work great though! Let me know if you try it :)

Janine

Thursday 8th of June 2023

I am planning to make this cake for a birthday coming up! I am wondering which brand of gluten-free flour is recommended? Thanks :)

Julia

Monday 12th of June 2023

Hi Janine! I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. I have also used Pamela's Artisan GF flour as well for this cake and it turned out well too. I'd say Bob's is my absolute favorite though :) Hope you enjoy!

Christina

Thursday 6th of April 2023

So I will be trying my hand at this recipe in the next 2 days. My question is this...can I make the cakes the day before and decorate them the day of? Or will they loose some of their moistness? If this is ok, can it be stored in the fridge prior to decorating?

Hazel

Saturday 4th of March 2023

AMAZING (and you'd never know it was gluten-free and dairy-free for those you are skeptics)!!! This cake is incredibly moist, perfectly dense, and fabulously chocolate! My daughter, the house baker, and has made this cake twice so far, and it has turned out BEAUTIFULLY each time (she follows the recipe to a "T").

Someone had mentioned a non-caffeinated option to coffee--we used decaf coffee. (You cannot taste the coffee in the cake, but in enhances the chocolate flavor, be mindful you can make the coffee strong or weak depending on your preference.) Also, for those who aren't coconut fans, please know you can't taste it in the final product. As an ingredient, the (full fat) coconut milk adds the needed fat, and moisture, to make this cake devine. This recipe is now a staple for chocolate cake in our home. THANK YOU so much!!

For those who want a dairy-free option for the butter cream, I use palm shortening. I have made all flavors of homemade frosting (strawberry, raspberry, almond, vanilla, lemon, orange, chocolate, and cookies-and-cream) using palm shortening as the base (and almond or coconut milk as the milk) and it has ALWAYS been a fan favorite. Have fun and enjoy the possibilities you can create to frost this incredible cake!

Hazel

Sunday 23rd of April 2023

@Julia, we are needing a white cake recipe (gluten and dairy-free), do you happen to have one? Thanks so much!!

Julia

Sunday 5th of March 2023

I absolutely LOVE this beautiful review and feedback! I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and to provide so much detailed information for others who want to try the recipe :) I feel like it's one thing for me to say those things, but it's so incredibly helpful if someone who's not me says it.

I have yet to try buttercream using palm shortening but I've been meaning to! I've used it in other applications and enjoyed it, so this is a great tip! Many thanks again for your thorough feedback and sweet words! xoxo

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