Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe
This Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe is an ABSOLUTE hit! It’s moist, decadent, fluffy and made with easy pantry ingredients so anyone can make this! It’s foolproof, has the perfect texture and is bound to please!
This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill! Thanks for supporting the brands that support Jessica in the Kitchen! All thoughts and opinions are my own!
This Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake has been requested so many times that it would simply be a disservice not to come out with it! Based on my “reader favourite” vegan chocolate cake, this cake is beautifully sturdy, moist, has the perfect texture and is very foolproof! I tested this cake under so many different circumstances and I can say it’s probably my easiest chocolate dessert to date.
I know you’re used to me saying this – but it does *not* taste gluten free. This cake was an absolute favourite amongst all my family who dove right in and were shocked when I mentioned it was gluten free. I used my favourite Bob’s Red Mill as usual for this masterpiece and as usual, it did wowed me.
Notes on the Ingredients
Apple Cider Vinegar + Soy Milk: this is for preparing the vegan buttermilk. Regular vinegar & any vegan milk will also work if you don’t have apple cider vinegar or soy milk (but I love soy milk for its high protein content). It gives it with quintessential buttermilk chocolate cake flavour.
Brown Sugar: you can also use cane sugar. The sugar of course not only adds sweetness; but the moisture needed for the cake.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour: this has been and will always be my go to! I love the perfect blend of gluten free flours found in this and how easy it makes gluten free baking for me (and for you too!). No guesswork, just weighing it out, and moving right along. I love how Bob’s Red Mill’s quality is always reliable and that even after years of purchasing their products, I always get the same top notch results each time.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: I recommend regular high quality unsweetened cocoa powder, not dutch processed cocoa powder (it doesn’t react the same).
Baking Powder & Baking Soda: will help the cake rise, and also provide a lighter texture to the cake. Always test that it’s good!
Sea Salt: if you want to use regular salt, slightly reduce the amount used.
Applesauce: I’ve hesitated to use applesauce in recipes because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but let me tell you – it’s magical! This gave the cake the perfect structure, texture and crumb while not interfering with taste.
Oil: takes the place of butter in this cake as the necessary fat, to ensure that the cake is nice and tender.
Vanilla Extract: I highly recommend not skipping this because it really adds to the flavour!
Boiling Water + Instant Coffee: The coffee REALLY boosts the chocolate flavour. You can also use espresso powder or what you have, it doesn’t have to be instant. Or even decaf coffee! You could leave it out, but I don’t recommend it. I like to stir this into the water which helps to melt the ingredients, as well as dissolve the coffee.
Unsalted Vegan Butter: it’s also okay if you use salted vegan butter, just skip the salt below!
Powdered Sugar: you can also use confectioner’s sugar (it’s the same thing). You can also make your own by just blending any sugar in your blender!
How to Make Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake (Step by Step)
Please note that this is important information on the ingredients and instructions and the FULL recipe with amounts and details can be found DOWN BELOW (scroll to it) in the recipe card.
Grease and flour 3 8” cake pans and line with parchment paper. It’s essential so that the cake doesn’t stick. Heat oven to 350°F/180°C. In a small bowl, add the apple cider vinegar and the soy milk together and stir to combine. It will curdle. Set aside.
Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.
Add milk mixture, oil and vanilla and the coffee water. Beat with an electric whisk on medium speed for about 2 minutes until everything is just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir one more time to ensure everything is incorporated.
Pour the batter equally into the cake pans and bake for 27 minutes. Remove from the oven. Place cake pans on the counter to cool and run your butter knife around the edges to loosen it from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour in the pan on a wire rack before removing from the pan and to the wire rack to cool completely.
Making of the Frosting
Add the cocoa powder, vegan butter, 2 ½ cups of the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, sea salt and half the vegan milk to the bowl of an electric stand mixer or a hand mixer. Start mixing it together at slow speed, gradually increasing speed until it’s very thick and smooth. Add the ½ cup of the extra powdered sugar at a time until it reaches your desired thickness and consistency. If needed, add in the other half of the milk about 1 tablespoon at a time.
Frost cakes and decorate (full instructions in the recipe card below). Decorate with some shaved chocolate or extra cocoa powder! The frosting sets at room temperature perfectly. Slice and enjoy!
Expert Tips and FAQ
- Don’t try and substitute anything. This cake works perfectly as is with the ingredients perfectly attuned. Probably the only thing I would say is you could lower the sugar if you want by ¼ cup but not more since it will mess with the structure.
- Be sure to let these cakes cool completely. They’re sturdy upon coming out already but really “take their shape” while cooling. This also prevents the frosting from getting warm on it and sliding around.
- They’re already perfectly moist, but if you plan to have them sit for a few days or want even more moisture, you can apply a pastry brush with simple syrup on top of the layers too!
- This cake freezes so well; and I highly recommend you do this to preserve it over storing it in the fridge. Storing it in the fridge for too long will dry it out, while freezing it basically holds it in place. It thaws super quickly (like 30 minutes on the counter) so slice it up, freeze the slices separately and enjoy when you’re ready for it again!
Enjoy friends! If you make these Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe
Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup soy milk or other vegan milk
- 1 ¾ cups cane sugar, (350g)
- 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, (296g)
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, (60g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup + 2 teaspoons oil, (100g + 2 teaspoons)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water + 1 tablespoon instant coffee, mixed in until dissolved stir these together right before you need it so it's still hot
Vegan Chocolate Frosting
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted vegan butter, softened (or salted butter and skip the sea salt below)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- 2 ½ cups to 3 cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup vegan milk + 1 tablespoon extra if needed
Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Grease and flour 3 8” cake pans and line with parchment paper. It’s essential so that the cake doesn’t stick.
- Heat oven to 350°F/180°C.
- In a small bowl, add the apple cider vinegar and the soy milk together and stir to combine. It will curdle. Set aside.
- Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add milk mixture, applesauce, oil and vanilla and the coffee water. Beat with an electric whisk on medium speed for about 2 minutes until everything is just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir one more time to ensure everything is incorporated.
- Pour the batter equally into the cake pans and bake for 27 minutes. Remove from the oven. Place cake pans on the counter to cool and run your butter knife around the edges to loosen it from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour in the pan on a wire rack before removing from the pan and to the wire rack to cool completely.
Vegan Chocolate Frosting
- Add the cocoa powder, vegan butter, 2 ½ cups of the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, sea salt and half the vegan milk to the bowl of an electric stand mixer or a hand mixer. Start mixing it together at slow speed, gradually increasing speed until it’s very thick and smooth. Add the ½ cup of the extra powdered sugar at a time until it reaches your desired thickness and consistency. If needed, add in the other half of the milk about 1 tablespoon at a time.
Putting it All Together
- Frost cakes and decorate. The frosting will set at room temperature. Enjoy!
- Place a little bit of frosting in the centre of your platter – like 1 tablespoon’s worth – to help secure the cake layers to the plate. Place 1 of the fully cooled cakes on a platter (or any plate wide enough) and dollop ⅓ of the frosting on top. Spread enough around the centre, don’t go to the edges (although if you do end up doing that, it’s not that big of a deal.
- Place the 2nd cake layer upside and repeat. Place the remaining cake upside down on top of the frosted cake and spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides, blending the upper and lower portions of the sides as you go.
- Decorate with some shaved chocolate or extra cocoa powder! The frosting sets at room temperature perfectly. Slice and enjoy!
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.
I was wondering what would be the temperature and time to make this recipe into cupcakes. Thank you!
Hi Andrea thanks so much for reading. we actually have a chocolate cupcake recipe! You can get all the instructions tips and tricks from that. Just search our site for chocolate cupcakes. I hope this helps.
I made this recipe for a birthday party it is amazing! I’m looking to make it again but need to replace the applesauce with something different. Have you tried a replacement for the applesauce?
Hi Jeni thanks so much! We actually haven’t tried to replace that yet.
perfect! My go to chocolate cake recipe. I did decrease the amount of sugar by about half and it turned out great
Thanks so much Cassandra!! SO happy you enjoyed!!
This is my favourite cake recipe and go to for birthdays. I made it for my daughters birthday and everyone commented how much they enjoyed it. I just made it again for my husbands birthday. I used the cupcake recipe and did half so there would only be 6. I regretted not making more because they were so chocolatey and good.
Thank you so much Lisa! We’re so happy you liked it.
I made this for the first time this weekend and it is my family’s new favorite chocolate cake!! Texture and taste are amazing and it slices so easily. I only have 9 inch cake pans so I baked at 375 for 20 min and it worked great. My husband hates coffee and was skeptical about including it, but you can’t taste it at all. Thank you so much!!
Thanks so much Beth. This review means so much!
This was so delicious!! Best vegan/gluten cake I’ve made with simple ingredients. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe.
Thank you so much C.J. and you’re so welcome!!
this cake recipe is THE SH$T. it is so easy, so moist, so tasty. My whole non gluten family love it, even my super picky older kids who can taste gluten in everything. well, not in these. love love love. thank you!
I think this was the first vegan, gluten free cake that actually turned out for me. Looked amazing, tasted great. My family loved it!
Wow! That’s amazing Jen! We’re so happy that you and your family got to enjoy it.
Made this for my daughter’s birthday. It was a hit! It’s so hard to get a vegan, gluten-free combo that”s easy to make and doesn’t taste like rubber. It’s the best we’ve tried. I didn’t have cane sugar on hand so I used coconut sugar, and I used Bob’s GF flour. Highly recommend!
Awesome Eden! We’re so happy that you were able to use our recipe on your special day.
hiw can j make this just a vanilla (white) cake? my son is not a chocolate and this recipe is exquisite. thanks
Hi Naomi, that’s no problem just search vanilla cake on our site and you can definitely find it. I hope this helps!
This cake was absolutely delicious!! I didn’t have plain milk so I used the silk chocolate milk and didn’t have coffee either but still decided to give it a try. Definitely will make on a regular basis. My granddaughter is now gluten free and cannot have eggs so I’ve been trying to find good tasting recipes. Thanks so much for this one!!