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Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

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This Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake is the best egg-free cake I’ve ever made. It’s got a light & fluffy texture, and a rich chocolate flavor, so it’s perfect for your next birthday party or celebration.

How to Make a Gluten-Free Cake from Scratch

I’m almost embarrassed by how much I’ve experimented with this recipe (close to 40 attempts!), but it takes a lot of practice and experimentation to learn how to work well with gluten-free flours. In case you’re new to gluten-free baking, here are some gluten-free options you can experiment with.

Gluten-Free Flour Options:

  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Almond Flour
  • Coconut Flour
  • Arrowroot or Tapioca Starch
  • Potato starch
  • White or Brown Rice Flour
  • Gluten-Free Flour blends

Oat flour can also be considered gluten-free, if the label says it’s certified gluten-free, but some people with gluten issues don’t always tolerate oats, either, so it’s a good idea to double-check with whoever you are baking for.

dry and wet cake batter ingredients in bowl

I had originally hoped to make this cake with a store bought gluten-free flour blend, but my favorite option has been getting difficult to locate at stores lately. Instead of relying on a blend (which might change in the future), I decided the most fool-proof way to make a perfect cake from scratch is to use the exact ingredients that would go into a gluten-free flour blend, instead.

I’m very happy with the simplicity of this gluten-free vegan chocolate cake. It’s not quite as straight-forward as making my Chocolate Almond Flour Cupcakes, which call for eggs, but the results are just as fluffy and delicious.

How to Make a Gluten-free Cake Light & Fluffy

Normally eggs help to make a gluten-free cake light & fluffy, but in this case we’re using a blend of two starches, instead.

bags of gluten free flours on white surface

Potato starch and tapioca starch help bind the almond flour cake, so it doesn’t crumble and fall apart, and they also add moisture and texture. It’s actually unbelievable how well they work together!

Potato starch is actually a new addition in my pantry, so if you’re not familiar with it, just know that you’re not alone. I bought is specifically for experimenting with making my own gluten-free flour blend, because I noticed that it’s used in a lot of store-bought mixes.

chocolate cake poured into 2 cake pans

It’s totally worth the extra purchase, because it’s affordable and adds a texture to this cake that you can’t get with just tapioca or arrowroot starch alone. (I bought my bag at Whole Foods, but you can also find potato starch on Amazon.)

Why Do Gluten-Free Cakes Sink?

If you find yourself with a cake that’s sinking, it’s probably because there’s too much moisture in the cake, either from  adding too much water or oil.

baked chocolate cake getting frosted

Your gluten-free cake may also sink when you make substitutions. When I attempted making this cake using only arrowroot starch, without the potato starch, it totally sunk in the middle.

So, let this be your warning! I’ve included measurements in weight and cups, to help you be successful with egg-free and grain-free baking, because it can be tricky if you stray from the recipe.

frosted 2 layer chocolate cake

Frosting Your Cake

It’s important that you let this gluten-free vegan cake cool completely before you frost it. If you’re making this the night before, put the cake in the fridge, tightly sealed. I think it’s easier to frost when it’s cold.

Here are my favorite dairy-free frosting recipes:

Whichever frosting you choose, I hope this cake is a hit with your friends and family!

vegan gluten-free cake slice on white plate
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5 from 5 votes

Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

This Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake is made with almond flour, and comes out unbelievably light & fluffy! No eggs or dairy required.
Course Dessert
Cuisine vegan
Keyword vegan gluten free chocolate cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 223kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups blanched almond flour (146 grams)
  • 1/2 cup potato starch (87 grams)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch (34 grams)
  • 2/3 cup cacao powder (60 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (10 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (4 grams)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (56 grams)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (53 grams)
  • 1 cup maple syrup (at room temperature; 320 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (10 grams)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare your cake pan(s). You can use two 6-inch pans or one 8-inch round or square pan. Spray the pan(s) lightly with oil, then line the bottom with parchment paper for easy cake removal later.
  • In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, cacao powder, baking powder, and salt. Use a whisk to stir well and break up any clumps.
  • To the dry ingredients, add in the water, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Whisk again, until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, dividing it evenly if using the two 6-inch pans.
  • Bake at 350ºF until the cake has fully risen in the center, and is slightly cracked around the edges. This takes about 35 minutes for the two 6-inch cake pans, and 40 to 45 minutes in the 8-inch cake pan. (If using a glass or ceramic baking dish, it might even take a little longer.)
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan and frosting. This cake will keep well when tightly covered on the counter for up to 24 hours, but for the best shelf life you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Notes

  • I do NOT recommend making any substitutions in this recipe, as gluten-free baking needs to be precise. If you need to use another flour or starch, I'd suggest searching for a recipe that already uses the ingredients you have on hand. In my experience, arrowroot and tapioca starch can usually be used interchangeably, but they won't replace the potato starch in this recipe.
  • I haven't tested this recipe in a 9-inch cake pan yet, but my best guess is that the cake will bake in 35 to 40 minutes in that size.

Nutrition

Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 267mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is for 1 of 12 cake slices. This information is automatically calculated, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.

More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes

If you’re not vegan, I have several other grain-free cake recipes here on my website for you to try. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

There’s also a vegan oat flour chocolate cake in my second cookbook, if you have a copy! It’s been a fan-favorite for years.

If you try this vegan gluten-free chocolate cake, please leave a comment below and let me know how you like it. And if you experiment with any other modifications, I’d love to hear how it goes for you. We can all benefit from your experience!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite gluten-free flour to work with? I’d love to hear what you’d like me to make next!

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Comments

Trish

You did it! I’ve been watching you experiment with this cake over the past couple of months on your Instagram stories, anxiously awaiting its arrival. I got potato starch at the store last night and made it right away. It really is the best vegan gluten-free cake I’ve ever made! Thank you for your hard work. This is going to be my go-to birthday cake from now on.

Do you think you’ll make a vanilla version next? That’s my daughter’s favorite flavor.

Flora

My son is allergic to coconut. Can I sub that out for butter?

Mehndi

Thank you so much for amazing vegan recipes! My kids and I are very grateful to you.

Tamara

Hi
I love getting your emails and have tried and forwarded several of your recipes. The chocolate cake looks amazing and I will definitely make it!
I noticed that buckwheat flour is listed as gf. I’m not sure if this is a typo or if it really is gf. If it is I’ll be so excited! Please do let me know.
Thanks & I so appreciate your work!

Cin

This looks awesome – I’ve been looking for ways to use almond flour, as I have an abundance of homemade almond flour left from making almond milk. I dry it and grind it in a coffee grinder, but it might not be as fine as a commercial flour. Has anyone had experience baking with a home-ground almond meal?

Manav

This recipe was amazing!! I used 1/2 cup of maple syrup (and subbed the rest of the liquid for water) and frosted with the sweet potato frosting. Even with the substitutions, still came out SO GOOD!

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks for sharing your substitutions, so we know!

Laurel

Such a tasty recipe! I substituted applesauce for oil and it didn’t work, the cake had a scone consistency not sure why. I think next time I would do half oil half applesauce.

Katie

Any suggestions for how to bake this recipe as cupcakes? (temp and time)

    Megan Gilmore

    I usually bake cupcakes at 350ºF for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cupcakes look round on top and don’t sink when you press on them lightly.

      Katie

      Awesome! Thanks – they turned out great. I used your sweet potato chocolate frosting from the Instant Pot cookbook. (The vegan ganache is amazing too – used that one on the last cupcakes I made!)

Ruby McCune

I made this over the weekend with my girls! They are so good!

Megan W

Well all your hard work paid off, Megan, because this is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had! The crumb is so incredibly moist. Its just perfect. And so easy to make. Well done!

Megan

Forgot to rate!! 5 stars for sure!

    Megan

    Ok I’m having technical difficulties with commenting apparently but just wanted to say this is the best chocolate cake I have ever had! The crumb is so incredibly moist and delicious! And its so easy to make! I cooked mine for almost 45 minutes but I think my oven tends to run cool. Your hard work paid off with this recipe, Megan! So good!

Sandy

Can you substitute almond flour. I am allergic to almonds.

Pari

Can this be made as muffins?

P

Ok I made these as muffins but they are not moist. I’m not sure why. But it is a bit dry and breaking into crumbs when I took off the muffin paper. Any suggestions?

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