Super Moist Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

Despite the fact that many people have a very good reason to avoid eating gluten — namely that they have celiac disease, the symptoms of which can be both miserable and dangerous when gluten is ingested — gluten-free breads, cakes, and pastries are perceived by many others as less tasty than those made with regular wheat flour. If you are one who needs convincing that gluten-free foods can be perfectly delicious, this cake will finally do that convincing. 

Chef and recipe developer Catherine Brookes of Blue Sky Eating devotes much of her culinary attention to gluten-free foods like this rich, moist chocolate cake that you will hardly believe is gluten-free. And once you get past the fact that there's no gluten in it, you better start thinking about what to pair it with! For that, Brookes has some ideas. "For serving, ice cream is always a good pairing," she says, "or maybe some fresh berries."

And no need to rush to gobble up every last crumb once the cake is baked, either. It will keep well for three or four days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature, Brookes says. But you'll need a fair amount of willpower for that to even be an issue.

Gather your ingredients

So, what does it take to make a chocolate cake that's gluten-free yet moist, sweet, and delicious? Why, it takes the following ingredients, of course.

For the cake itself, you'll need gluten-free all-purpose flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, white granulated sugar, beaten eggs, vanilla extract, vegetable (or canola) oil, milk, and boiling water.

And for the frosting, you'll need salted butter (at room temperature, so plan ahead a bit), powdered sugar, more cocoa powder, more vanilla extract, and just maybe a few more splashes of milk — we'll see about that as we get to it.

Prepare the cake batter

Start things off by greasing and lining two 7- to 8-inch round cake pans (or skip the lining if they are very reliably nonstick) and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next, sieve (aka sift) the flour and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl and add the xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Whisk everything together to combine these dry ingredients well. Now beat the eggs and then add them to the dry ingredients along with a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a cup of milk, and a half cup of oil. Whisk again until everything is combined.

Finally for this step, slowly pour in the boiling water, just a little at a time, whisking as you go. The mixture will be very runny, and that's okay.

Distribute the batter and bake the cakes

Evenly distribute the cake batter mixture you just whipped up between your two lined cake pans and then pop them into the oven (on the center rack if both fit, and plan to swap the upper and lower pans halfway through if not) and bake the cake layers for about 30 to 35 minutes. When they are properly cooked, a skewer inserted into the center of each cake should come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.

When the baking is done, leave the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting and assemble the layers

Start making the frosting by adding the room temperature butter and the remaining vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and beating them with an electric hand whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Then gradually sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder a little at a time, beating with the electric whisk until the blend is again smooth after each addition. If the frosting becomes too thick, add some milk a splash at a time until you reach your desired consistency — it should fairly thick but also smooth and spreadable.

And now it's time to assemble the cake. Once the cake halves are completely cooled, spoon about a third of the frosting onto your bottom cake layer and spread it out evenly. Then place the second cake layer on top of it and spread the rest of the frosting across the top and sides.

Good work! Your cake is done, and it will be moist and delicious, too.

Super Moist Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe
4.9 from 10 ratings
Gluten-free baked goods have gotten a bad rap over the years, but this deliciously moist gluten-free cake will change the minds of even the pickiest of eaters!
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
30
minutes
Servings
12
Slices
A gluten-free super moist chocolate cake served
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (for cake) + ⅔ cup cocoa powder (for frosting), divided
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¾ cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 cup milk, plus a few extra splashes as needed, divided
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup salted butter (at room temperature)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease and line with parchment paper two 7- or 8-inch cake pans.
  3. Sift the flour and ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar, and whisk everything together to combine.
  5. Add the beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 cup of milk, and oil and whisk again until everything is combined.
  6. Slowly pour in the boiling water a little at a time, whisking as you go -- the batter will be very runny.
  7. Evenly distribute the batter between your two lined cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
  8. Leave the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. To make the frosting, add the butter and remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk until smooth and creamy.
  10. Gradually sift in the powdered sugar and ⅔ cup cocoa powder a little at a time, beating with the electric whisk until smooth after each addition.
  11. If the frosting becomes too thick, add some milk a splash at a time until you reach your desired consistency -- it should fairly thick but also smooth and spreadable.
  12. Once the cake is completely cooled, spoon about ⅓ of the frosting onto your bottom cake layer and spread it out evenly.
  13. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the rest of the frosting across the top and down over the sides.
  14. Slice and serve with ice cream or fresh berries, if desired!
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 552
Total Fat 27.3 g
Saturated Fat 11.5 g
Trans Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 73.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 78.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.2 g
Total Sugars 60.4 g
Sodium 313.0 mg
Protein 5.0 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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