The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

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The best ever 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.

chocolate cake on small plate

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

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.

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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.

slice of chocolate cake on plate with fork

Best Chocolate Gluten Free Cake Recipe

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

  • potato starch
  • sorghum flour
  • brown rice flour
  • sugar
  • cocoa powder, preferably dutch process
  • baking soda
  • kosher salt
  • sour cream
  • light flavored olive oil
  • water room temperature
  • plain white vinegar
  • vanilla
  • egg
The BEST Gluten Free Chocolate Cake or cupcakes! - get the recipe at

I was 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 want to be very gentle when handling the layers.

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

If you’re wanting to try a paleo version, these Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes look pretty awesome. For coffee lovers, this Kahlua Coffee Poke Cake sounds like heaven. Check out the rest of the Gluten Free Dessert Recipes on this website.

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chocolate cake on small plate

The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

5 from 5 votes
The best ever 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.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 18 cupcakes (doubled recipe fills a half-size sheet cake pan or (3) 8-inch round pans)


  • cup potato starch
  • cup sorghum flour
  • cup brown rice flour
  • cup sugar
  • cup, plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably dutch process
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup light flavored olive oil
  • ¾ cup water room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon plain white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • Salted Caramel Frosting


  • 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.

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 ½ 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 ½ 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.


If you make the frosting in advance and store it in the refrigerator, allow several hours for the frosting to return fully to room temperature again before frosting the cupcakes.


Calories: 163kcal · Carbohydrates: 23g · Protein: 2g · Fat: 8g · Saturated Fat: 2g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 5g · Trans Fat: 0.001g · Cholesterol: 13mg · Sodium: 135mg · Potassium: 124mg · Fiber: 2g · Sugar: 14g · Vitamin A: 53IU · Vitamin C: 0.2mg · Calcium: 17mg · Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 3/10/13 – recipe notes and photos updated 1/27/23} 

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

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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. Lorraine says

    I used apple sauce instead of sour cream for dairy free and 1to 1 gluten free flour for the three flour blend. Wow, these are so moist. Love them!5 stars

  2. Karen says

    HI Mary,
    I hope you husband is doing well. I have been keeping him in my prayers.
    I have a question about this cake. Can it be made with an egg substitute? My grandson is gluten free and egg free! Not a great combo for allergies. Let me know. Thanks

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m guessing that will work fine, although I have not tried it myself. Thank you so much for your prayers. Sean is doing great! Thank you, God.

  3. Karen Smith says

    Can you use just a cup of gluten free flour that is equivalent to regular flour?

    My daughter would love this.


  4. Kelly says

    Tried this out as cupcakes, ground the sorghum and rice fresh in my coffee grinder and they still turned out lovely. Hubby dubbed them great! and he is not even a huge caramel flavor fan so that is high praise. I will have to get some brown rice flour because white is grittier I am certain. Only a couple tiny pieces I could detect right in the crust and not off-putting at all. I know that would not be an issue as written or possibly if I had used my actual grain mill. Now I want to try out the white cake recipe too!5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi, Lynn! You can do that. I’d recommend scaling the recipe to match the pan; I don’t know the exact dimensions of what you’re using, but one batch should fill a 9×13 sheet cake pan. Happy baking!

  5. Lynn says

    Hi Mary,
    I was going to make this in a 9″ cake pan size, but I made this recipe in a 8″ spring form pan and a few cupcakes. They turned out so moist and yummy! I got lots of compliments and it didn’t taste like gluten-free cake at all. I want to make it in the 9×13 pan next time. Do you think 28 minutes will be the baking time for 9×13 pan size? I prefer baking one-layer cake, since it’s easier and less frosting to make.
    Thanks for a great recipe!
    Happy Thanksgiving!5 stars

  6. September says

    Hey Mary!
    Thanks for posting this recipe! This is my first time making one of your recipes. I tried making this cake yesterday, and the only thing I substituted was the sour cream. I didn’t have any so I used an online substitute and used cream cheese diluted with almond milk and apple cider vinegar. My cupcakes were very very sunken in and looked very oily. The outside perimeter was a little crunchy, the flavor was good, but the texture was very off. Didn’t look anything like yours. I tried to follow the directions. Any idea where I went wrong? 🙂