My fudgy gluten free chocolate cake with homemade cream cheese frosting is the perfect moist chocolate cake. This tried and true rich dark chocolate’s flavors blend perfectly with the homemade cream cheese frosting. It melts in your mouth!

I include dairy and nut-free options so everyone can enjoy this gluten-free chocolate cake! You can make this cake in about 40 minutes!

A gluten free chocolate cake slice on a white plate.

If you are looking for the best gluten free chocolate cake recipe, you will love making this decadent chocolate cake. It is made for chocolate fanatics!

This cake is made from simple ingredients, and it tastes incredible. Nobody will know this cake is gluten free!!

After years of perfecting my gluten free chocolate cake recipe, I can finally say it is ready for you all! If you love baking a cake from scratch, this is the cake to make! This classic chocolate cake is fluffy and fudgy and has all of the rich dark chocolate flavors you love in a cake!

If you love chocolate as much as we do, check out my best Gluten Free Chocolate Dessert recipes. They are guaranteed to help you with those chocolate cravings! If you are new to gluten free, I have a lot of great gluten free resources to help you out.

A whole chocolate frosted cake on a white plate.

My dearest friend is now following a gluten free diet. This cake was my first foray in baking for her — holy heck, she LOVED it! and even the non gluten free people loved it. Its nice to make something to rave reviews while still following their dietary requests. Ill be making this often!”

Michele W.

Why Make This Cake:

  1. It is to make this gluten free chocolate cake from scratch! This cake is rated a beginner baker-level recipe.
  2. This yummy gluten free chocolate cake is so fudgy! It is the ultimate chocolate lovers cake.
  3. This chocolate layer cake serves 10 people.
  4. This cake is perfect for a birthday party! Make it as a layer cake or even cupcakes!
  5. Many have used this cake for a wedding. Make it as a gluten free chocolate groom’s cake and enjoy!
  6. You can enjoy this cake in just 40 minutes from start to finish!

I bought the mini pans and made this for Thanksgiving! It turned out sooooo good!even my Picky non-gluten free kids loved it and said , “Hey, it doesn’t taste gritty’! I did let them sit about 20 minutes before baking. The frosting was to die for as well!”

Becky R., Pinterest comment

And, if you prefer an excellent vanilla cake, this incredible Gluten Free Vanilla Cake recipe is also amazing!

If you are new to cake baking, here is a good write-up of my favorite Kitchen Tools For Baking Cakes.

Top Pick
King Arthur, Measure for Measure Flour 3 lbs

This is one of my favorite gluten-free flour blends for cookies, cakes, pie crust, biscuits, and muffins! (Do not use this flour blend for yeast recipes.)

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Photos of the chocolate cake ingredients.
I used simple ingredients to make a gluten free chocolate cake!

Ingredient Notes:

  • Gluten Free Flour Blend – I tested this recipe using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour Blend and King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Blend. That doesn’t mean other flour blends will not work; I have not tested other flour brands.
  • Cocoa Powder – I love Ghirardelli and Anthony’s brands. Almost all cocoa powder is gluten free, but always check the label.
  • Plain Yogurt or Sour Cream – If you love your cake super moist, yogurt or sour cream is the secret to a moist chocolate cake. I recommend using full-fat yogurt in this cake, but either will work.
  • Eggs – Use size large.
  • Butter – If you need this recipe to be dairy-free, you can use vegan butter. I recommend unsalted butter.
  • Non-Dairy Milk – I used almond milk, but if you are nut-free, use plant-based milk—also, regular milk works.
  • Baking Powder – Many ask if baking powder is gluten free, and most are. Always read the labels!

Substitutions:

  • Dairy-Free – You can easily make this gluten free chocolate cake dairy-free by substituting the cream cheese for a dairy-free cream cheese like the one from Kite Hill. Also, substitute the yogurt for dairy-free yogurt.
  • Nut-Free – The only nuts in this recipe are in almond milk. Substitute soy milk or another non-dairy milk to avoid almond milk.
  • Gum-Free – To make this cake gum-free, meaning there is no xanthan or guar gum, use my DIY Gluten Free Flour Blend.
  • Butter-Free – If you want to make this gluten free chocolate cake with oil instead of butter. That is fine, and I tested this recently. I recommend using a light oil, not a strongly flavored one. (This is for the cake and NOT the frosting.)
A piece of chocolate plate standing up tall on a plate.

Tips For Sucess:

  • Do not use a stand mixer to mix your cake batter. It will overmix your batter and leave you with a dense cake.
  • To prevent the cake top from cracking while baking be sure your oven rack is set to the middle position in your oven. You also want to ensure your oven temperature is accurate. Try reducing the heat or lowering the rack in the oven.
Top Pick
Wilton Easy Layers 5-Piece Layer Cake Pan Set, 6-Inch, Steel

If you like to make layer cakes, this is a great set of mini cake pans. You can make up to 5 tier mini cakes. This cake serves 6 people.

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I used this cute set of mini-layer cake pans. These cake pans make layer cakes so easy to make. You can choose how many layers to make your cake. You can also use this fudgy chocolate cake batter to make a sheet cake or cupcakes.

Recipe Step-By-Step Directions:

It is so easy to make a gluten free chocolate layer cake. The first step is to preheat your oven to 350º F.

Photos of making the chocolate cake steps 1 and 2.

Step 1: Add the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. If you notice a lot of lumps in your cocoa powder, I recommend sifting it into the bowl. This will make your cake consistency more even,

To measure your gluten free flour, I recommend using the spoon method or leveling method. In a perfect world, people weigh their flour, but most do not own a kitchen scale. Every gluten-free flour blend has a different weight, making a scale even trickier. Put the measuring scoop into the flour and fill. Do not pack the flour. Use a knife to scrape along the top to remove the extra flour. You can also use a spoon to fill the measuring cup. Use a knife to level along the top to remove the extra flour.

Step 2: Use a whisk to blend the dry ingredients. Don’t forget if your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum, add a teaspoon to the dry ingredients.

Photos of making the chocolate cake steps 3 and 4.

Step 3: In a smaller bowl, add the wet ingredients. Whisk to blend. I melt my butter so that it blends in smoother.

Step 4: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix the wet and dry ingredients in the bowl with a large spoon. Mix them until they are just “barely” mixed.

HINT: Do not over-mix your cake, or it will not be as light and fluffy! I NEVER use a standing mixer for gluten free cake. It makes your cake not as fluffy.

Photos of steps 5 and 6 making chocolate cake.

Step 5: This is the consistency of the batter. It is a nice, rich chocolate color.

My Pick
La Tourangelle, All Purpose Baking Spray, Gluten-Free, No Chemicals. Non-Stick.

Hands down this non-stick spray is amazing. It is totally inexpensive and it will save your gluten free cakes and muffins from sticking!

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Step 6: Add the batter to the cake pans. You can also make a 9×13 sheet cake with this chocolate cake batter. Bake the cake at 350º F for 20 minutes. The bake time will vary depending on the pan in which you bake your cakes.

To check to see if the cake is finished baking, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes back clean, the cake is ready. If there are crumbs or batter on the toothpick, it must be baked longer.

🔑 Sandi says: TIP: Let the cake cool completely before frosting it. Otherwise, your frosting could melt. If you are in a hurry, cool your cake in the refrigerator.

Rich chocolate frosting in a mixing bowl.

Step 7: Mix the homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting in a standing mixer while the cakes are cooling. Be sure your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature so your frosting is really creamy!

Frost the chocolate gluten free cake and build the layers up with frosting one by one. Add sprinkles if you like to the top.

I used Toll House Chocolate Curls that I found at my local grocery store to top the cake. If you want to make your own chocolate shavings or curls, this easy tutorial on how to make chocolate shavings is easy to follow.

If you want more chocolate, try these moist Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies. Need a quick chocolate cake recipe but don’t want to bake? Try this Gluten Free Chocolate Mug Cake recipe!

A piece of chocolate plate standing up tall on a plate.

This chocolate cake would make an incredible Gluten Free Wedding Cake.

Recipe FAQ:

How long does this gluten free chocolate cake need to be baked?

The layer pans I used in this cake recipe are very shallow; you can see them pictured above. The cake doesn’t need to be baked very long. If you make your cake in a larger pan, you will need to bake it for 20 minutes, then test it to see how close it is to being done.

What brand of cocoa powder is gluten free?

Most brands are fine to use in this cake recipe. Always double-check that the cocoa powder is gluten free. My favorites are Hershey’s, Anthony’s Cocoa Powder, and Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder.

Why didn’t my cake rise?

If your cake didn’t rise, you overmixed the gluten free cake batter. Overmixing makes your cake denser, making it more difficult to rise during baking.

I wrote up my Gluten Free Baking Tips and a great Gluten Free Cake Troubleshooting Guide to help you perfect your baking.

More Delicious Cakes to Try:

A whole chocolate frosted cake on a white plate.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Sandi Gaertner
Easy gluten free chocolate layer cake.
4.85 from 13 votes
gluten free allergy icon
soy free allergy icon
vegetarian icon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 10 people
Calories 565 kcal

Ingredients
  

Cake:

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder (*see note)
  • ¾ cup gluten free flour blend (*see note)
  • 3 eggs size large
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder + dash of salt
  • ¾ cup almond milk or other milk
  • 6 ounces vanilla yogurt *you can also use sour cream

Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 ¾ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  • In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
  • In a smaller bowl, add all wet ingredients and mix.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just barely mixed. If you overmix your batter, your cake will turn out dense. I never use a standing mixer when I make gluten free cake because I like my cakes to turn out fluffy.
  • Spray cake pans with coconut oil. Add batter to each layer pan. (*see note)
  • Bake for 20 minutes, checking to see if it is done. (Time cooking really will vary depending on pan size, or if you are making cupcakes.)
  • Remove from the oven. Tip the pans so cakes come out onto the cooling rack.
  • To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cake need to bake longer.
  • In a mixer, add frosting ingredients and mix until thick and creamy. (Start on low speed so powdered sugar doesn’t fly all over your kitchen!)
  • When the cake is cool, frost each layer. Use a rubber spatula to smooth and spread the frosting all around the cake.

Video

Notes

  1. There are many gluten free cocoa powder brands. I like Rodelle, Anthony’s, and Ghirardelli.
  2. I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF and Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend. That doesn’t mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
  3. If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum, add 1 teaspoon.
  4. To make this cake dairy-free, substitute the butter for vegan butter and use a dairy-free yogurt like Kite Hill brand.
  5. I used almond milk but other dairy-free kinds of milk will work but I do not recommend canned coconut milk.
  6. When mixing the batter, do not over-mix the batter. It would result in a denser cake.
  7. You can bake this cake in regular-sized cake pans or as cupcakes if you don’t have the mini layer pans.
  8. This cake will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze this cake in the freezer. I recommend freezing the cake unfrosted with each layer wrapped in plastic wrap, then gently placed in a large freezer-safe zipper bag.

SPECIAL NOTE

Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 565kcalCarbohydrates: 76gProtein: 7gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 335mgPotassium: 258mgFiber: 5gSugar: 63gVitamin A: 950IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 131mgIron: 2mg
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

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55 Comments

  1. When I bake I’ve been measuring my flour by weight rather than cups. Do you spoon the flour into the measuring cup instead of scooping to get an accurate measurement?

  2. I want to make a 3 layer 8 inch cake. Would this recipe still work or do you think I should increase the quantities of ingredients?