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Chocolate Cake (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Rich decadent chocolate cake. Music to any and every cake lover. There are times in life when a big slice of chocolate cake is exactly what the soul needs. And to make sure that everyone gets to enjoy a slice, I’ve created the easiest and most amazing gluten-free and vegan chocolate cake recipe you will ever need!


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A rich chocolate frosted cake topped with chocolate frosting swirls and a piece of chocolate between each swirl. You can see the inside chocolate cake layers.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

Four thick and supremely chocolatey chocolate cake layers that are baked to fluffy and moist perfection. Stacked and covered in a lightly sweet and totally scrumptious vegan chocolate buttercream frosting. Tastebuds will jump to attention as this gluten-free and vegan chocolate cake bakes and comes to layered life.

One-Bowl Gluten-Free Chocolate Layers

This chocolate cake recipe is quite literally the best chocolate cake you’ll ever eat and the only chocolate cake recipe you’ll need from now on. It starts with combining all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. 

A quick note on cocoa powder, I highly recommend using dutch processed vegan cocoa powder. It’s not necessary for an amazing chocolate cake, but it does give a beautiful depth to the rich chocolate flavor.

A rich chocolate frosted cake topped with chocolate frosting swirls and a piece of chocolate between each swirl. There is a slice taken out and two slices cut ready to be taken out.

The next step is to add the wet ingredients. I love to bake this vegan layer cake with unsweetened almond milk. That said, you can easily swap in whatever type of milk you prefer. After you’ve added in the wet ingredients, grab a whisk and whisk to combine. Mix the cake batter until a smooth velvety texture is achieved. Split the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and you are ready to bake these vegan cake layers up!

Second point is to ensure that the gluten-free flour blend you have contains xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is the proverbial glue to gluten-free baking. Without it, you will be left with a crumbly cake that won’t hold together. How sad would that be? I have found the most success with gluten-free blends and results will vary depending on the blend you bake with. See the note section to scoop out the gluten-free baking blend I prefer.

Amazing Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Now it’s time to take this cake from amazing to OMG astronomical! Let’s whip up some vegan chocolate buttercream frosting. This recipe calls for vegan butter and all-vegetable shortening. I love using shortening in my buttercream as it helps with stability (vegan buttercream is notoriously soft) and cuts down on the sweetness. You can certainly use all vegan butter if you desire just note that you might need to chill the frosting before and during as you stack and frost the cake.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the vegan butter and all-vegetable shortening and with the paddle attachment and beat on high for approximately 10 minutes. When it has been whipped properly it will be fluffy and lightened in color. Next, sift in the icing sugar, cocoa powder, and salt and mix on low until combined. Add in the vanilla and again, mix on low until combined. 

Scrape down the edges of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is mixed in and turn that mixer up to high and let it beat for another 5 minutes. You should now have a fluffy vegan chocolate buttercream that tastes like a chocolate-lovers dream.

A slice of dark rich chocolate cake sitting on a white plate with a large bite taken out of it.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Chocolate Cake

There you have it folks, a gluten-free and vegan chocolate cake that will knock your proverbial socks off. It’s rich, it’s moist, it’s fudgy, and it’s delicious. The best part is that it’s a cake that everyone can enjoy. As they say, one can never have enough chocolate, and this decadent chocolate cake proves exactly that! I hope you love this cake as much as I do. It’s my go-to chocolate recipe and a staple in both my kitchen and home.

A rich chocolate frosted cake topped with chocolate frosting swirls and a piece of chocolate between each swirl. There are two pieces missing and one slice cut ready to be served.

Decadent Chocolate Baking

Chocolate lovers will rejoice at these swoon-worthy chocolate recipes.

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A rich chocolate frosted cake topped with chocolate frosting swirls and a piece of chocolate between each swirl.

Chocolate Cake (Gluten-Free & Vegan)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 11 reviews

  • Author: Katie Stymiest
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 25 Minutes
  • Yield: 12 Slices 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This gluten-free and vegan chocolate cake is both unbelievably delicious and easy to make. Rich and decadent chocolate cake layers stacked high with a whipped chocolate buttercream frosting. The perfect chocolate cake for any special celebration or for the chocolate-lover in your life.


Ingredients

Scale

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups (320g) gluten-free flour 1:1 baking blend *
  • 2 cups (384g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (80g) cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups (500ml) vegan milk, hot
  • 1 cup (250ml) all-vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup (240g) vegan salted butter, room temperature **
  • 1 cup (240g) all-vegetable shortening
  • 5 cups (600g) icing sugar
  • ½ cup (40g) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional: vegan chocolate squares for decor

Instructions

Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare four 6-inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of the stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and whisk together.
  3. Add in the remaining wet ingredients and combine until just incorporated.
  4. Divide the batter equally into the four prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
  5. Allow the cake layers to cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack to fully cool.

Chocolate Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the vegan butter and vegetable shortening on high speed until light and fluffy. This should take approximately 5-10 minutes.
  2. Sift in the icing sugar, cocoa powder, and salt and mix on low until combined.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract and mix on low until combined.
  4. Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.

Cake Assembly

  1. Level each fully cooled chocolate cake layer with a cake leveller or knife if needed.
  2. Place one leveled layer of cake on a cake board, plate, and/or cake turntable and top with approximately 1½ cups of chocolate buttercream.
  3. Repeat with the remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth the sides with a cake smoother.
  5. Decorate the cake as you please. I used the tip of an offset spatula to create horizontal lines around the cake and three diagonal lines on the front. With a Wilton 1m piping tip, I piped swirls around the top border and placed a vegan chocolate square between each swirl. Enjoy.
  6. Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Notes

* I used Kinnikinnick’s all-purpose baking blend. Make sure whatever blend you use contains xanthan gum. If it does not add in ½ tsp of xanthan gum.

** I love baking with Becel plant-based bricks

  • Prep Time: 60 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 898
  • Sugar: 76 Grams
  • Sodium: 458 Miligrams
  • Fat: 52 Grams
  • Saturated Fat: 34 Grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 10 Grams
  • Trans Fat: 1 Gram
  • Carbohydrates: 101 Grams
  • Fiber: 5 Grams
  • Protein: 10 Grams
  • Cholesterol: 117 Miligrams

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33 Comments

  1. This was my first try at a gluten free/dairy free cake and it came out great! The recipe was easy to follow and baked up moist and fluffy! The chocolate frosting was great too! Can’t wait to try another recipe!






        1. It’s certainly not diet food. But I’ve found that life should be enjoyed, all things, in balance. Eat the cake! Eat the veggies too. ?

          1. I have one child that is severely allergic to Dairy another child that has to be gluten free and one that is vegan by choice. By far this has been all their first choice of chocolate cake! Easy to make and the frosting is incredible too!






          2. Kids with food allergies can be so tricky, right?! I am absolutely thrilled this cake has been a hit with all your kids! Thanks for sharing, Lisa.

      1. This cake is absolutely delicious! My family couldn’t believe it was vegan! For the batter, I used all purpose flour and oat milk, the layers came out so moist. The frosting is so yummy! I can’t wait to make this recipe again!

      2. This is my second time making one of your recipes, first being your Biscoff cookie cake ? so good.
        Now this, it’s so chocolatey and moist no one knew it was gluten/dairy free. Love! Thank you ?






  2. This is my go to chocolate cake recipe!! I make it both gluten free or non gluten free. Nobody can tell the difference! If you are not following Katie in instagram you are missing out! Run dont walk because she has the best recipes. If your gluten free she has changed the game making gluten free desserts that taste amazing!!






  3. I was looking for a dairy free chocolate cake similar to a favorite recipe of mine and Katie nailed it! She knows so much about the chemistry of baking. The cake is amazingly moist and flavorful. No one would know it’s dairy free! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!






    1. Woohoo! I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you gave this recipe a shot and shared it. Thank you Amy!

  4. Time and time again this recipe knocks it out of the park!! My family just enjoyed my nieces birthday cake made with this recipe and they all went back for seconds! Not only is it delicious but it is also really simple to make. Great for beginner bakers or experienced bakers!!!






    1. That’s the best to hear Anne! Who doesn’t love an easy decadent chocolate cake, right?! Thanks for sharing.

  5. This is my second time making one of your recipes, first being your Biscoff cookie cake ? so good.
    Now this, it’s so chocolatey and moist no one knew it was gluten/dairy free. Love! Thank you ?






  6. I cannot say enough good things about this chocolate cake recipe! It tastes like chocolate. So many out there that do not actually have a good chocolatey flavor, but this one does! The crumb is tender, fluffy, and moist! Do yourself a favor, and put this recipe in your repertoire. You will not regret it, and you won’t waste your ingredients trying to find a good cake recipe, because this is it!
    Thank you so much Katie for the work you put into developing delicious recipes! It truly is a gift.

    1. I don’t even have the words. Thank you so much for your kindness Clarissa. It is truly my joy sharing recipes and my love of baking.

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