If you’re a chocolate lover, there’s almost nothing better than a delicious chocolate cake to satisfy a craving. If eating gluten causes health issues for you, though, you may have encountered some difficulty in finding a gluten free chocolate cake recipe that’s both tasty and healthy for your system.  

But those days are over! Going gluten free doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to all of your favorite treats. Cake still has a place in your life after gluten! In fact, you deserve to know how to make the best gluten free chocolate cake out there

Read on for all of the info you’ll need to make a fantastic gluten free chocolate cake. This recipe might just change your life. 

How to Make a Gluten Free Chocolate Cake from Scratch

Before we get into the details, let’s answer an essential question: What is gluten free chocolate cake, anyway? What makes a chocolate cake gluten free? 

Gluten free baking eliminates traditional wheat flours, which can trigger discomfort and other more serious symptoms for people who can’t tolerate gluten in their diet. Gluten free cake recipes rely on other ingredients to provide the structure that usually comes from flour. You’ll learn more about those ingredients below. 

In the meantime, here are the general steps to making a gluten free cake from scratch. 

Step 1: Measure Your Dry Ingredients 

A scale will help you be more accurate with your measurements. 

You’ll find a breakdown of all of the ingredients you’ll need to make a gluten free chocolate cake in the recipe below, but the first step in any baking project is measuring out your ingredients. In this gluten free cake baking tutorial, bakery owner Erin McKenna suggests starting with your dry ingredients. (Note that the tutorial shows you how to make gluten free vanilla cake, which is endlessly customizable. The recipe below tells you how much cocoa powder and other flavorings to add to make a chocolate cake, instead.)

A basic scale—which you can purchase inexpensively at most home supply stores—will make your measurements more accurate, but you can also use measuring cups and spoons. Measure all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients Together 

lady with mixing bowl
Mix the dry ingredients you measured in the last step together. 

Use a whisk to mix all of your dry ingredients together in the large bowl.

Step 3: Add Wet Ingredients

Mixing in your wet ingredients will give you a batter consistency. 

When your dry ingredients have been fully whisked together, it’s time to measure and add in wet ingredients (like oil, applesauce, and vanilla), which offer additional structure, flavor, and sweetness to your cake. Use your whisk to combine all of the ingredients until you’ve removed all of the lumps.

If you’re struggling to get rid of the lumps in the batter, you might consider adding small amounts of water until it has a looser consistency without being too thick. You’re looking for a texture similar to pancake batter. 

Step 4: Bake Your Cake 

baking pans
It’s time for your cakes to go to the oven! 

You can’t bake a cake without actually baking a cake. 

Pour your batter into two separate six-inch cake pans, then bake them in an oven preheated to 325℉ for 15 minutes or until the center is fully cooked. You can test for doneness by sticking a toothpick or butter knife into the center of the cakes. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready to eat.

Step 5: Ice and Finish Your Cake 

chocolate cake
Add icing and other finishing touches. 

After your cake has fully cooled, you can finish it with frosting and other decorative touches. Then, it’s time to eat! 

Learn From Erin McKenna’s Gluten Free Baking Expertise

Going Gluten Free: Mastering a Versatile, Delicious Cake for All Diets 

Gluten Free Cake Recipe

From Babycakes by Erin McKenna, © 2009 Clarkson Potter

Give this vegan, gluten free chocolate cake recipe from Erin McKenna a try. 


8 oz garbanzo and fava bean flour

2 oz potato starch

2 tbsp arrowroot

4 oz cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp salt

4 fl oz coconut oil

5 ⅓ fl oz agave nectar

6 tbsp applesauce

2 tbsp vanilla extract

4 fl oz hot water or hot coffee 


  1. Preheat the oven to 325℉. Prepare a cake pan with coconut oil or line a muffin tin with paper liners for cupcakes. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, potato starch, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. 
  3. Add oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water or coffee directly to the dry ingredients. Stir until the batter is smooth. 
  4. Pour the batter into your cake pan or cupcake tins and bake for 20-22 minutes. When the cake is finished, it should bounce back when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and let stand for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. When the cake is completely cool, you can add frosting and other finishing touches. 

Gluten Free Baking FAQS

How do you make a moist gluten free cake?

In conventional baking, you would use eggs for moisture. By skipping the eggs, you can make yourself a dairy free cake, in addition to a gluten free one. In gluten free baking, moisture typically comes from ingredients like coconut oil, agave nectar, applesauce, and coffee. 

What gluten free cake mix is best?

You have the answer to your question “How do you make gluten free chocolate cake?” But what if you’re still asking, “Where can I buy gluten free chocolate cake?” After all, you don’t always feel like going DIY even if you know how to make gluten free chocolate cake for yourself.

You can buy premade gluten free cakes at many bakeries and grocery stores. Simply search for the best flourless chocolate cake or gluten free German chocolate cake in your area.

You can also buy gluten free cake mixes at many grocery and health food stores. Mixes from Simple Mills, Annie’s, and Bob’s Red Mill tend to garner great reviews. 

What types of flours can you use in gluten free baking?

Here are the best flours you can use in gluten free baking, per Healthline

  • Almond flour
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Sorghum flour 
  • Amaranth flour
  • Teff flour
  • Arrowroot flour
  • Brown rice flour
  • Oat flour
  • Corn flour
  • Chickpea flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Tapioca flour
  • Cassava flour
  • Tigernut flour

You should be able to find most of these products at health and specialty food stores or through online suppliers. 

Is cocoa powder gluten free?

Natural cocoa powder is gluten free. Some cocoa brands process their products more extensively or add fillers to them, which may introduce gluten to the mix. Be sure to check the packaging before using cocoa powder in your gluten free baking projects. 

Want to Give Up Gluten? Learn the Basics

First Steps in Becoming Gluten Free 

Written by:

Alli Hoff Kosik