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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 2-ingredient Vegan Ganache (the mousse-version is pictured here in this post)
- Vegan Chocolate Frosting (fruit-sweetened!)
- Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- Purple Sweet Potato Frosting
Whichever frosting you choose, I hope this cake is a hit with your friends and family!
Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
- 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)
- 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.
- 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 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!
- Almond Flour Cake
- Coconut Flour Carrot Cake
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Healthy Birthday Cake (Date-Sweetened)
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!
Questions and Reviews
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.
My son is allergic to coconut. Can I sub that out for butter?
Yes, I think melted butter would work instead of the coconut oil.
Thank you so much for amazing vegan recipes! My kids and I are very grateful to you.
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!
Yes, buckwheat is gluten-free– it’s actually a seed!
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?
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!
I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks for sharing your substitutions, so we know!
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.
Any suggestions for how to bake this recipe as cupcakes? (temp and time)
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.
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!)
I made this over the weekend with my girls! They are so good!
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!
Forgot to rate!! 5 stars for sure!
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!
Can you substitute almond flour. I am allergic to almonds.
I don’t have a tested substitution for that yet. My Healthy Birthday Cake recipe could be made with another nut butter, if you tolerate something like peanut butter instead. Or if you have my second cookbook, there’s a vegan chocolate cake in there made with oat flour.
Can this be made as muffins?
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?
Sorry to hear that! How long did you bake the muffins for?
Around 20 mins
Can I use pancake syrup instead of pure maple?
This is the most amazing vegan cake i ever eat. It worth the so many starch in it.
I’m so happy to hear that you love it! Thanks for letting me know.
These turned out amazing! Followed the recipe exactly. Baked in a 9 inch round quiche dish because that’s what I had. I love how rich and chocolately these are and best part is I can share with my sister who is allergic to dairy and gluten. Thank you!!
5 stars!! So yummy!
This was very tasty! I didn’t make any substitutions but it turned out crumbly when cut. It was still great and didn’t taste dry even though it was crumbly. It seemed like it needed more oil.
Could this cake be made in a bundt pan?
Soooo good and easy to make. Does not seem like a ‘healthy version’. Supper decadent cake and the date frosting🤤
Can I replace Pototo starch with corn starch for this receipe?
I made this cake for my daughter’s Birthday and she loved it. I made it again today and made a marble cake by using the same recipe, just subbing out the cacao for coconut flakes and reducing the maple syrup a little (I also ran out of vanilla, so the white cake didn’t have any)
I haven’t tasted the cake all together, but the muffins I made with it are delicious. I put pineapple on top and the crumble topping from the vegan carrot cake muffins. So good!
I happy mush of 3 of your recipes and some experimenting.
Thank you so much!this is a killer chocolate cake and I make for all occasions. It’s easy to make and delicious!
Not sure what 8 did wrong, but my cake turned out pretty dry and crumbly even when baked for the least amount of time. It had a good flavor and looked very nice with the 2 ingredient vegan ganache (which tasted great) though. I’ll probably stick with Megan’s Healthy Birthday Cake recipe or try one of her others. This one just wasn’t for me.
What would you recommend as a substitute for the potato starch? I can not do eggs and my husband and son can’t do potato. And we all avoid gluten. Baking a cake or cup cakes is so difficult. It is my son’s birthday and I would like to have a cake.
I had a last-minute request to provide the vegan/GF cake to a birthday party. I was delighted to find a recipe on Detoxinista’s website, and extra delighted that I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen!
The recipe was easy to follow and the cake was delicious! I got to bring the leftovers home and am having trouble not eating it all at once.
I made this cake for my wedding anniversary. J used two 6 inch pans. It was delicious. I found it to be a little dry, not sure what I did. I also made the two ingredient chocolate ganache frosting, delish!
it’s just THE BEST. it’s my go-to chocolate cake recipe. my kids love it. sometimes i just throw it together for an after school snack. it’s absolutely amazing.
Hi Megan! I have been following your website for years, it was my introduction into healthy eating 🙂 I plan on making this for my daughter’s first birthday! Can I substitute the maple syrup for bananas? how many? If not, will adding just a touch of maple syrup change the texture of the cake? Thanks so much!
The texture of this cake is AMAZING! So fluffy and holds together very well! I know from experience how hard it is to create a fluffy baked GF vegan cake. They are either too dense and gummy or crumble into pieces. I can’t imagine how delicious this would turn out if I used maple syrup (it’s so expensive around here). Thank you for your hard work and this amazing recipe! The only changes I made are I baked the batter dividing into 3 x 6″ cake pans (took only 20 minutes to bake), used a different liquid sweetener and added 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp xanthan gum (didn’t want to risk making yet another crumbly sponge but now I think it would not even if I didn’t use the xanthan gum).
Now I’m planning to sub the cacao powder for more almond flour and make a vanilla sponge out of this, I know it’s a risk but I’m encouraged by the wonderful texture of this cake! Thanks again Megan!