The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

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The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cake is a rich chocolate cake that is fluffy and light with a perfect crumb; this cake almost melts in your mouth. You would NEVER guess that this is a gluten-free cake.

Almost as exciting as the delicious richness of the cake is the fact that this is a very simple, one bowl cake that comes together in just a few minutes time.

This gluten free chocolate cake recipe works beautifully as cupcakes as well for birthday parties and other get togethers. Paired with Salted Caramel Frosting, this cake was a massive hit at my son’s birthday party the first time I made it.The BEST Gluten Free Chocolate Cake - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

However, if you’d like to avoid chocolate crumbs tracked through the house, or if you’re looking for a white cake, (live and learn through my mistakes, mamas to young kids) I’m beyond thrilled to tell you that this recipe is truly The Best Gluten Free White Cake you’ll ever make. Truth told, it’s the best white cake I’ve ever tasted, gluten-free or not.

The sour cream and olive oil in this Gluten Free Chocolate Cake keeps it incredibly moist. I’ve successfully used light flavored olive oil in almost all of my baked goods for the past few years. There isn’t a hint of olive oil flavor in the finished products. Be sure to use a light oil and NOT an extra virgin oil.

Picture me jumping up and down with glee over how perfectly this cake turned out. I tried a few different variations before this one turned out perfectly. I’ve made this cake over a dozen times now.

The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

I am thrilled that the recipe works beautifully without any xanthan gum at all. I’ve made this cake as cupcakes, a sheet cake, and a 9×13 cake pan. I’ve layered it as well, but be warned it is a fairly light crumb (which I LOVE) but it doesn’t make for the sturdiest layers. You’ll just want to be gentle with them.

I adapted this recipe from my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake recipe. If you are not in need of a gluten-free dessert, the original is one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever tasted!

If you’re wanting to try a paleo version, I’m been craving these Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes ever since I first saw them. For a few more decadent chocolate cake options, check out the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Overload Cake and for coffee lovers, the Kahlua Coffee Poke Cake sounds like heaven.

The BEST Gluten Free Chocolate Cake or cupcakes! - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Check out all of the Gluten Free Dessert Recipes on this website!

Kitchen Tip: I use this sheet pan, this cake pan, or this cupcake pan to make this recipe.

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The BEST Gluten Free Chocolate Cake - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cake {or cupcakes}

5 from 2 votes
Pin Print Review
Servings: 18 cupcakes (doubled recipe fills a half-size sheet cake pan or (3) 8? round pans)

Ingredients 

  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably dutch process
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup light flavored olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plain white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • Salted Caramel Frosting If you make the frosting in advance and store it in the refrigerator, give it several hours to return fully to room temperature again before frosting the cupcakes.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the cupcake pans with paper liners or grease the sheet cake pan with butter. (If you will be making a layered cake, see further directions below.)
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the sour cream and olive oil and beat to combine. Slowly add the water and continue beating. Add the vanilla and the vinegar, beat again. Add the egg and beat to combine.
  • Pour into the prepared cake pans or fill the cupcake liners. Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes and the cakes until an inserted toothpick comes out with moist crumbs, 28-30 minutes for a half sheet pan. Let the cakes cool (in their pans) COMPLETELY before frosting them. Enjoy!

Directions For A Layered Cake

  • Generously butter the bottom and sides of two 8" round cake pans. Trace the bottom of the pans onto wax paper or parchment with a pencil and then cut out the circles. Place the paper in the bottom of each pan and butter the paper.
  • Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the pans for 20 minutes or so. Very carefully, invert the cakes onto wire racks and let them cool COMPLETELY. These are very soft cakes. Once they are completely cool, wrap in saran wrap and freeze for a couple hours before assembling the cake.
  • To frost the cake, place one layer of the very cold cake flat side up on a serving plate or stand. Spread about 1/2 of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Place the second layer on top and frost the top and sides with all but about 1/2 a cup of the remaining frosting.
  • With this cake, it is a good idea to make a crumb coat with the first layer of frosting. Basically, just make sure the cake is covered in frosting, even if a few stray crumbs show through. Chill the assembled cake again (place it back in the freezer for half an hour or so) before you add the last bit of frosting. Use the remaining bit of frosting to create a smooth final coating.
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{originally published 3/10/13 – recipe notes and photos updated 2/22/17} 

The BEST Gluten Free Chocolate Cake doesn't taste "gluten free" at ALL! - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Chris says

    I think I'd go with the non gluten free version only because I might have problems finding those three flours. I don't know because I haven't tried but I don't recall seeing them. That frosting still looks and sounds amazing.

  2. Monet says

    What a gorgeous cake Mary…and with that salted caramel frosting, I'm sure it is just heavenly. Thank you for sharing with me. I hope you have a blessed week!

  3. Anonymous says

    Do you think I could substitute melted butter for the oil in the recipe? I prefer to use butter in my cakes.

    Thanks!

    • Mary says

      I’ve tested this cake specifically with the flours listed above. There are countless GF flour blends available and they all work differently. If you have a blend that you’ve had great success with, it’s worth a try. Let us know how it works for you!

  4. Sasha V says

    This will be my go to chocolate cake recipe for now on. Came out light, moist, with an open texture. A very fine cake, that just happens to be gluten free. The batter was a bit thin, and took a little longer than expected to bake, but worth the wait.5 stars

  5. Carol says

    I’m gluten, egg, and dairy free. I used a duck egg, Just Mayo instead of sour cream, and I used a gluten free flour mix (King Arthur). It turned out AMAZING!!! This will definitely be my go to chocolate cake recipe!5 stars

  6. Zhora says

    I’m not gluten free but made this to share with someone who is. Knowing my lack of delicacy and not having enough sour cream I compensated by adding an extra egg to add a little more structure to the layers and frosted it with a raspberry buttercream from the Cake Bible and it ranks as one of the best cakes I’ve had (and I’ve had many)! I’m afraid I’ll have a hard time convincing myself to make any other chocolate cake but this one again. (I’m not sure if the extra egg did much but I did manage to assemble it with no problems. (Thanks for the freezing hint.)

    • Mary Younkin says

      To be honest, I don’t notice the sorghum flavor at all, Gerry. However, if it really bothers you, you can swap in tapioca starch for the sorghum in this recipe.

  7. Matt says

    Is it possible to add any melted chocolate to the batter for this cake for extra chocolate flavor?

  8. Nana says

    Hello, I have made & love your gluten free white cake and it is wonderful. I’m not understanding how a total of 1 cup of this flour mixture is enough for 3 cake pans.

    Thank You

    • Mary Younkin says

      They are shorter layers than the white cake, Nana, but honestly, it just works. (And I just caught that it says THREE layers. It should say TWO!) Thank you!!