Decadent Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

It's always a good time for a chocolate cake, especially when you're a big fan of chocolate-flavored anything. Even if you are trying to eat a little healthier or have a gluten intolerance, that doesn't mean that you can't join in on the fun and have your cake (and eat it, too). This recipe for a gluten-free chocolate cake is every bit as delicious as if it was made with gluten and doesn't skip out on flavor. Recipe developer Jennine Bryant came up with this wonderful cake recipe, and she explains why no gluten is no problem. "As someone who has spent a long time living gluten-free, it can be hard finding good cakes that don't have that classic gluten-free crumbly dryness to them," she shares. "Due to the oil, the sour cream and the xanthan gum, this cake doesn't seem gluten-free at all! It is beautifully soft and moist, and has a lovely crumb texture." 

Bryant also explains why this recipe is a must-try. "The thing I like most about this recipe is how rich and moist the cake is. It's the perfect chocolate cake to me, decadent but not too sweet, and super chocolatey," she shares. And, the gluten-free nature of the cake makes it an ideal option for those with dietary restrictions. What's not to love? 

Gather the ingredients for this decadent gluten-free chocolate cake

If you bake a lot, you're in luck, because you may already have many of the ingredients for this cake. You'll need granulated sugar, gluten-free flour, dark unsweetened cocoa powder, xanthan gum, salt, sunflower oil, vanilla extract, eggs, sour cream, strongly brewed coffee, butter, powdered sugar, milk, and chocolate sprinkles.

Prep the pans and begin combining dry ingredients

Go ahead and turn the dial of your oven to 350 F. After that, grab two 8-inch cake pans and grease them up nicely to prevent any cake from sticking.

In the meantime, take out a large bowl begin adding some of your dry ingredients. This includes granulated sugar, gluten-free flour, ¾ cup of cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.

Mix the wet ingredients

Take out another bowl for your wet ingredients. Toss in the vegetable or sunflower oil, 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract, the eggs, and sour cream.

Once you have both bowls set, go ahead and add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is combined. Then, add ½ cup of coffee to the cake batter and give it another good mix. "Coffee is a wonderful addition to a chocolate cake, because it deepens the chocolate flavor and makes for a richer taste," Bryant says of her choice to use coffee. "Used in the right quantities it doesn't leave a taste of coffee either, if you didn't know that coffee was an ingredient you wouldn't guess it was there!" 

Divide the batter and bake the cakes

Now, it's time to divide the batter between the two cake pans and then pop them into your preheated oven for 30 minutes. You can check for doneness by inserting a knife and seeing if it comes out clean or pressing the top of the cake with your finger and seeing if it springs back.

Once you remove the cakes from the oven, set them aside to cool.

Make the frosting

You will need a stand mixer or a mixing bowl for this step. Add the butter, a cup of cocoa powder, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and then mix everything well to combine. Then, add the powdered sugar to the mixing bowl, one cup at a time. Be sure to mix thoroughly between each addition. "Don't forget to sieve the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar so you end up with lovely smooth buttercream," Bryant notes. 

Next, you can add ¼ cup of brewed coffee. If the mixture is still pretty stiff, you can add a little milk until the buttercream reaches a smooth and silky consistency. Then, put any unused milk back in the fridge. "It's important to keep an eye on the texture of the buttercream when adding the coffee and then the milk. It needs to be smooth and spreadable, you don't want it too runny, else it will drip off the cake, or too thick, else it won't spread well," Bryant adds. 

Cut and frost the cakes

Select a knife or a cake leveler and cut each of the chocolate sponges in half to make four sponge layers. Then, assemble the cake on a plate or cake stand, adding a layer of sponge cake followed by 2 heaping tablespoons of chocolate buttercream. Repeat the process with all the layers until you run out of cake.

Finish frosting the cake and add sprinkles

To complete the cake, add the remaining buttercream to the top of the cake. Use the back of a tablespoon to swirl the frosting and create texture on the top. Then, you can add the chocolate sprinkles on top.

Serve and enjoy

Now, the only thing that's left to do is dig in! This cake is wonderful on its own, and it's certainly decadent enough by itself. But, if you want a few serving suggestions, Bryant has you covered. "The best way to serve a chocolate cake has to be in the afternoon with a big cup of tea or coffee," she suggests. "This is a great cake for an afternoon tea party or for a celebration cake, with that added decadence it really lends itself to celebrating!" 

We're not so sure if you will have leftovers, but if you do, store them in an airtight container at room temperature and make sure to eat within three days... which shouldn't be hard!

Decadent Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe
5 from 41 ratings
This chocolate cake is rich, sweet, and decadent, and completely gluten-free!
Prep Time
Cook Time
decadent gluten-free chocolate cake
Total time: 1 hour
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1 ¾ cups dark unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup strongly brewed coffee, cooled, divided
  • 1 ½ cups butter, room temperature 

  • 4 cups powdered sugar

  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate sprinkles
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and set them aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar, gluten-free flour, ¾ cup of cocoa powder, the baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, combine together the vegetable or sunflower oil, 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract, the eggs, and the sour cream.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is just combined. Add ½ cup of coffee to the cake batter and mix it in.
  5. Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans and place in the preheated oven to bake for 30 minutes. The cakes are ready when they spring back to the touch, or when a knife inserted comes out clean.
  6. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. In a stand mixer or mixing bowl, add the butter, 1 cup of cocoa powder, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Mix everything until thoroughly combined.
  8. Add the powdered sugar to the mixing bowl 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition. Add ¼ cup of brewed coffee and mix this into the buttercream. If the mixture is still very stiff, add the milk in increments until the buttercream is smooth and silky. Return any unused milk to the fridge.
  9. Using a knife or a cake leveler, cut each of the cakes in half, to create 4 cake layers.
  10. On a plate or cake stand, assemble the cake by adding a layer of cake and then smoothing over 2 heaped tablespoons of the chocolate buttercream. Repeat this process until all the cake layers have been added.
  11. Finish the cake by adding the rest of the buttercream to the top of the cake. Swirl it about with the back of a tablespoon to create texture and then top with some chocolate sprinkles. Store in an airtight container at room temperature and consume within 3 days.
Calories per Serving 761
Total Fat 44.2 g
Saturated Fat 20.0 g
Trans Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 118.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 94.8 g
Dietary Fiber 7.0 g
Total Sugars 71.3 g
Sodium 295.3 mg
Protein 7.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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