Gluten Free Chocolate Cake (two 8'' rounds/ 24 cupcakes/ 9''x13'' sheet)

I hope the fact that this cake is both gluten and dairy free won’t be held against it, because it’s worth a place on anyone’s cake stand. You can read more about how and why I developed this recipe here.

Don’t be alarmed, however, to find the batter is not particularly tasty. There is a funky quality to the raw “flours” that bakes out, though is still somewhat noticeable in the cakes while warm. Once cool, the strangeness disappears. I know that’s one heckuva preamble, but I don’t want any batter-lickers to get scared.

2 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 oz cocoa powder, sifted
8 oz hot coffee or strong black tea
3 Tbsp vanilla extract (or extract of your choice, mint or almond work nicely too)

4 oz white rice flour
1 oz mochiko (Japanese rice flour)
2 oz garbanzo bean flour
1 oz tapioca starch

14 oz sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp kosher salt
4 egg whites (or two eggs)
4 oz safflower oil
8 oz coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 350° and line the cake pans with parchment, grease lightly, and dust with cocoa.

Make a paste from the cocoa, chocolate, and coffee and set aside.

Sift together the dry ingredients, also setting aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, leavening agents, xanthan gum, salt and egg whites. Using a hand/stand mixer, whip on medium high speed for ten minutes, then slowly drizzle in the oil. Then, add in the chocolate paste a few spoonfulls at a time.

Turn the mixer down to its lowest speed and add the dry ingredients all at once, that “alternating the wet and dry” business wears me out. Mix until just combined, then stir in the the liquid, until homogeneous.

Divide evenly between pans and bake for 30 minutes or so (15-20 for cupcakes), until somewhat firm to the touch but will still leave a chocolate kiss on your finger. Let the cakes cool in the pan for ten minutes or so before flipping them out.

The cakes will have a dense, spongy quality while still hot, but become normal cake textured as they cool.

Recipe for gluten free Matcha buttercream here, as well as a chocolate version for those who tend toward the traditional.

For information on how to store the finished cake, see this post from the Kitchn.


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Any questions?

Sep 04, 2010 · 11:17 AM

Enjoying BraveTart and intrigued by the recipes. Photos are amazing. My question is about the oil, why safflower oil?

 · Ruth · 

Sep 04, 2010 ·  3:32 PM

Hi Ruth! This recipe would work well with any neutral flavored oil, or even certain stronger oils like hazelnut. I like safflower oil because, like olive oil, it has heart healthy properties. About one gram of saturated and 11 grams monounsaturated per serving.

Beware Hollywood brand safflower oil, though. They use a different variety of safflower that is pretty much nutritionally bankrupt, 11 or 12 grams of saturated fat per serving. Spectrum is a good brand widely available in Lexington area groceries…


Jun 03, 2011 ·  1:47 AM

Wow! Just made these. Did 24 cupcakes with the batch. Oiled and put cocoa powder in cupcake liners. Cooked them for 16 min on Convection/Bake. They looked beautiful and fluffy when i pulled them out. Not so much about 3 min later. They fell flat, but are soooooo good and gooey in the center. I put 1/2 in the fridge to cool and left the other 1/2
on the counter. I Like the fridge cooled ones texture better. Thank you so much for this recipe. I am allergic to Soy, egg yolks and have a gluten sensitivity. It is close to impossible to find a cake, let alone chocolate, that I can eat. i think I have gone to heaven….

 · Weeze · 

Jun 04, 2011 · 10:54 AM

Hmmm… I’m going to guess they just needed a little longer to cook, the structure probably had not fully set so they collapsed after you pulled them out. If you try them again, give them 5 extra minutes and see how they go. I’m so, so glad you like this cake and finally found something you can dig into!

I have another recipe here, very similar in flavor, but with simpler ingredients. Just replace the eggs with egg whites and use 100% almond flour (if nuts aren’t a problem for you).

Thanks for letting me know how they turned out for you, I’m going to update the “yield” of the recipe to reflect your result— 24 cupcakes.


Feb 19, 2013 · 11:37 AM

By far one of the best GF cakes I’ve made! Seriously, Stella. Thank you! I have been baking GF for over a year, and was thrilled with the cake. I used Valrhona cocoa powder, a blend of garbanzo & fava bean flour (I didn’t have just garbanzo on hand) and buttermilk in place of the coconut milk (no dairy worries here!) It turned out beautifully.

 · Emily · 

Feb 19, 2013 ·  9:55 PM

Hi Emily! Yaaayyy! Thanks so much for taking the time to report on your experience with the cake, and your adjustments too. I’m sure that dose of Valrhona didn’t hurt the situation.


May 25, 2016 · 11:11 PM

I bake (almost) exclusively gluten free for my husband, but I find having a dozen different flours in my cabinet expensive and kind of annoying… So is it vital to have mochi flour rather than 5oz rice flour? Any chance arrowroot and/or xantham gum could substitute for tapioca? My husband is not a foodie, so he is not too picky. After making Swiss buttercream with your toasted sugar he has requested chocolate cupcakes to go with it

 · Sarahlynne ·