Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

This easy Gluten Free Chocolate Cake recipe features simple, gluten-free, dairy-free ingredients for a rich, fudgy cake that’s so delicious, you’d never guess it’s allergy-friendly! Moist cake is topped with fluffy chocolate coconut whip frosting for a sweet dessert that’s perfect for birthdays, holiday parties, weekend get-togethers, and every occasion in between. 

A gluten free chocolate cake iced with chocolate frosting on a cake stand surrounded by chocolate chips.

Have Your Cake, and Eat It, Too!

Let’s be honest for a second. Finding really good gluten-free recipes can sometimes feel impossible, but just because you or someone you know can’t eat gluten doesn’t mean we don’t all deserve to indulge every once in a while! So, instead of settling for a dry, crumbly store-bought cake, we decided to make our own with this easy gluten-free chocolate cake recipe!  

Close up image of a fork breaking into a slice of layered gluten free chocolate cake on a plate.

Simple to prepare, it’s soft, fluffy, and absolutely bursting with decadent chocolate flavor. Topped off with a creamy coconut whip icing, it’s guaranteed to have all your guests raving! In fact, it’s so good we’re willing to bet they won’t even realize it’s gluten-free. Feel free to mix and match different toppings to make it your own. No matter how you serve it, you really can’t go wrong. 

Gluten-Free Ingredients You’ll Need

This gluten free chocolate cake recipe features all the typical ingredients you would expect to see in a cake just with a twist. The main ingredients are listed below, but be sure to scroll to the recipe card at the bottom to find everything you’ll need. 

Overhead image of ingredients needed to make gluten free chocolate cake.

For the Cake

  • Gluten Free Flour – We recommend using store-bought 1:1 gluten-free baking flour. Or, opt for a homemade gluten-free flour blend with xanthan gum. 
  • Sugar – Fine raw sugar or a sugar substitute is used to sweeten the batter. 
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Dutch cocoa powder adds the strong chocolate flavor we want in this recipe. 
  • Non-Dairy Milk – Any milk like almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk, etc. can be used. 
  • Almond Butter – This replaces the need for lots of butter while keeping the cake moist. Just make sure it’s creamy! Otherwise, your batter is likely to turn out lumpy.
  • Eggs – For easy mixing and the best results, let them come to room temperature before beginning. 
  • Instant Coffee or Espresso – Technically optional but highly recommended, combining coffee or espresso with boiling water before adding it to the batter helps enhance the chocolate flavor. Opt for caffeine-free, if needed. 
  • Baking Essentials – Baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract are included to enhance the flavor and help the cake rise. 

For the Chocolate Frosting

chocolate vegan vanilla cake 2 layers frosting with chocolate frosting
  • Canned Coconut Cream – Use full-fat canned coconut, not liquid coconut milk. 
  • Maple Syrup – This is used to sweeten the frosting. Or, powdered sugar can be used, too. Just note that the consistency will be a little thicker. 
  • Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder – Used to infuse chocolate goodness into the frosting. 

How to Make This Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

We don’t call this the best gluten-free chocolate cake for nothing! Not only does it require minimal prep time, but it comes together quickly and tastes like a dream. Just follow the steps below, and it’s ready in no time! 

For the Cake

  1. Prepare. Preheat the oven, and line or lightly oil two round cake pans or one large baking pan. If using cake pans, line them with parchment paper. 
  2. Combine the Dry Ingredients. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the dry ingredients until they’re well combined. 
Milk, almond butter, two eggs, and the dry mixture for gluten free chocolate cake batter.
Milk being poured into gluten free chocolate cake batter.
A hand mixer in a bowl with gluten free chocolate cake batter.
  1. Add the Wet Ingredients. Add the milk, almond butter, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer or stand mixer until the ingredients are smooth. The batter will be dry and clumpy at this point. That’s okay! Simply, increase the speed, and continue to mix until smooth. Then, add the eggs, mixing until combined. Finally, add the boiling water with coffee or espresso, and whisk just until there are no clumps. 
Pro Tip

Note: At this point, the batter will be very thin. So, be careful not to overmix! 

Wet ingredients being poured into dry ingredients for gluten free chocolate cake batter.
Overhead image of a measuring cup full of gluten free chocolate cake batter.
Overhead image of two round cake pans full of unbaked gluten free chocolate cake batter.
  1. Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan or pans, and bake until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and comes out clean. Keep a close eye on the oven! The baking times will vary slightly based on the type of pan and size used. 
  2. Cool. Set the cake on a wire rack until the pan is cool enough to handle. Then, remove the cake from the pan, and let it cool on the wire rack completely. 
Pro Tip

Pro-Tip: If making a layer cake, chill the layers in the freezer before assembling the frosting. This will minimize crumbling, making the layers easier to frost. See below for layer cake instructions.

For the Frosting

  1. Chill. Before you begin, place the coconut cream to chill in the back of the fridge to harden. 
  2. Mix. Being careful not to shake the can, remove the thickened cream at the top, and transfer it to a stand mixer or a large bowl. Discard the water portion. 
  3. Combine. Add the sweetener and vanilla, and whip on high until it is has a light and fluffy texture. Add the cocoa to the mixture, and whip again. 
  4. Frost. Once the cake has cooled, frost it, and enjoy! 
A gluten free chocolate cake iced with chocolate frosting on a cake stand.
Overhead image of a gluten free chocolate cake with a sliced being lifted.

How to Make a Layer Cake

If you baked your gluten free chocolate cake in a regular pan instead of a cake pan and you want to make a layer cake instead, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what to do! 

  1. If the cake is uneven, use a sharp serrated knife to level it off. 
  2. Place the bottom layer on a cake stand or a large serving plate. Spread 1 cup of the frosting evenly on top. 
  3. Gently place the second cake on top of the frosting. 
  4. Spread the remaining frosting on top, spreading it down the sides as well. 
  5. Place the cake in the fridge to chill before slicing and serving, and enjoy! 
Side view of a piece of layered gluten free chocolate cake being removed from the whole cake.
Pro Tip

Pro-Tip: An icing spatula works best for spreading the frosting evenly. Or, a warm spatula can be used as well. 

Frosting Options

We love our coconut whip frosting for cakes, brownies, cookies, and more. But, if you don’t want to make your own, no worries! Use a store-bought gluten-free vanilla icing, chocolate buttercream icing, chocolate ganache, Cool Whip, or even powdered sugar instead.

Storage Tips 

If you’re planning on making this gluten free chocolate cake ahead of time, we recommend leaving it unfrosted. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container, it will stay fresh at room temperature for up to 2 days

Or, wrap leftovers (preferably unfrosted) with plastic wrap, and place them in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, let it thaw at room temperature, frost, and enjoy! 

Common Questions About Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake 

Can I make gluten-free chocolate cupcakes with this recipe? 

We haven’t tested it, but we think it should work! Just fill a cupcake tin ¾ of the way full, and adjust the baking time as needed. Or, make our gluten-free chocolate cupcakes instead. 

How do you keep gluten free cake moist?

Fat included in the batter keeps gluten-free cake moist. In this recipe, we use almond butter to create a rich flavor, too.  

Are all cake mixes gluten-free? 

No, unless specifically marked as being gluten-free, most standard cake mixes are made with all-purpose flour, meaning they contain high amounts of gluten. 

Can I make this recipe egg-free? 

We haven’t tested it, but do not recommend replacing the eggs in this recipe. That being said, we plan on testing a vegan option soon! So stay tuned!

What causes gluten free chocolate cake to crack on top? 

Using too much baking powder will cause the cake batter to rise too quickly and crack. Be sure to measure carefully! 

Why did my cake sink? 

The most common reasons cakes sink include underbaking and using too much baking soda. 


More of Our Favorite

Gluten-Free Desserts

If you enjoy this gluten free chocolate cake, you won’t want to miss out on more of our staple gluten-free dessert recipes below! 

A gluten free chocolate cake iced with chocolate frosting on a cake stand surrounded by chocolate chips.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • Author: Lindsay Cotter
  • Total Time: 42-50 minutes
  • Yield: 9 to 12 slices
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Make this easy dairy free, gluten free chocolate cake recipe with chocolate frosting for all your special occasions!


  • 1 ¾ cups (250 to 260 g) gluten free 1:1 baking flour with xanthan gum (see notes).
  • 1 cup raw sugar (grind into a finer texture) or sugar substitute
  • ½ cup (50 g) Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (190 ml) non-dairy milk
  • cup (90 g) creamy almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup boiling water mixed with 2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso (optional)

Chocolate Coconut Whip Cream Frosting

  • 2 (13.6 ounce) cans coconut cream, chilled in the fridge overnight*
  • ¼ to cup maple syrup or ½ cup to ⅔ cup powdered sugar (for thicker frosting)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 Tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons arrowroot starch, as needed for desired thickness


Before you beginIf making the frosting, place the canned coconut cream in the back of the fridge to chill and solidify for 12-14 hours 

For the Cake 


Layering Cakes


Baking Tips – Baking times vary depending on the type of pan used. 8-inch round pans and a 9×13 pans will bake faster (22 to 25 minutes). If using a gluten free flour blend that does not contain xanthan or guar gum, add 1 teaspoon xanthan gum to the dry batter before mixing with the wet ingredients. The hot water (with or without espresso powder) is to activate the cocoa powder.

Storage Tips – Unfrosted cakes are best stored in the fridge for freshness but can be left at room temperature for up to 2 days, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container. If not serving/frosting cakes within 2 days, tightly wrap the cakes to prevent freezer burn, and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. It’s best to freeze a whole cake without frosting or filling, then defrost at room temperature, frost and serve as fresh.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Rest/Chill Time: if applicable 10 minutes to cool before frosting
  • Cook Time: 22 to 30 minutes depending on type of pan
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 slice with chocolate frosting
  • Calories: 351
  • Sugar: 22.4 g
  • Sodium: 258.8 mg
  • Fat: 17.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 48.7 g
  • Fiber: 3.9 g
  • Protein: 6.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 33.8 mg

Keywords: gluten free chocolate cake, gluten free chocolate cake recipe, gluten free cake, chocolate cake

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