You need to try this Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cake! It’s decadent, fluffy, and sweet – you won’t even notice it’s gluten free AND vegan. Easy to make in 1 bowl.
My Gluten Free Vegan Vanilla Cake is just as easy to make as this recipe, and perfect for anyone who may not be a huge fan of chocolate.
Life is too short for dry and bland gluten free desserts. Luckily, this Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cake is just like your favorite classic cake recipe – fluffy, sweet, and moist. In fact, you may not even notice that it’s gluten free and vegan!
Just like my Vegan Chocolate Cake, this vegan gluten free cake has a rich chocolate flavor and a fluffy, light crumb. You don’t need any complicated ingredients, either. The batter mixes together in just one bowl and bakes in about 30 minutes. Easy, right?
Ingredients needed (with substitutions)
- Soy milk – Any unsweetened non-dairy milk will work as a substitute, like almond, oat, or coconut milk.
- Apple cider vinegar – It’s mixed with the milk to make a vegan buttermilk substitute. The acid will react with the baking soda, creating air bubbles that help the cake fluff up. Feel free to use lemon juice instead.
- Gluten free flour mix – I like to use a gluten free flour with no added xanthan gum because it’s easier to control when it’s added in ourselves. I always have great results with King Arthur Gluten Free Flour. Bob’s Red Mill is another good option but could make the cake more dense and less fluffy.
- Xanthan gum – Remember to leave this out if your gluten free flour already has xanthan gum added.
- Granulated sugar – Coconut sugar works well too. I don’t recommend replacing the granulated sugar with a liquid sweetener because the structure of the cake may not hold up as well.
- Natural cocoa powder – Don’t replace this with Dutch process cocoa powder.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Oil – Use a neutral flavored oil, such as canola or grapeseed. I haven’t tried substituting more applesauce for the oil, but it should work well.
- Applesauce – You can replace the applesauce with two flax eggs or another egg replacer.
- Vanilla extract
- Boiling hot water – Or use hot brewed coffee or espresso. All three options will enhance the chocolate flavor in the cake – yum!
How to make gluten free vegan chocolate cake
Find the complete printable recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.
Make the vegan buttermilk by adding the soy milk and vinegar to a glass measuring cup. Stir, then set aside for a few minutes while it curdles.
Meanwhile, whisk the gluten free flour, xanthan gum, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in the bowl of a standing mixer.
Add the oil, applesauce, vanilla, and milk/vinegar mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed until well combined.
Lower the speed and slowly pour in the boiling water (or coffee). Mix until the batter is runny and well combined.
Pour the cake batter into your cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Add the frosting and decorations once the cake is cool. Slice and enjoy!
Vegan gluten free cupcakes
You can easily transform this gluten free chocolate cake recipe into cupcakes. Make the batter as normal, pour the batter into lined muffin tins, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
You can keep it simple and decorate the cake with my Vegan Chocolate Frosting or go for a black and white effect with my Vegan Vanilla Frosting. Add a layer of chocolate ganache, berry jam or compote, or salted caramel sauce in the middle layer for a delicious surprise.
As for decorating the top of the cake, the options are endless:
- Shaved chocolate ribbons
- Vegan whipped cream
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Candy-coated chocolate
- Gluten free cookie pieces
- Fresh berries
Frequently asked questions
- What size cake pan can I use? This recipe makes enough cake batter for two 8-inch round cake pans. You could also use two 9-inch round pans, a 10-inch square pan, a jelly roll pan, or an 11×17 rectangular pan.
- Can I make this cake with almond flour? No, sorry! Almond flour (and coconut flour) don’t absorb liquid as well as a gluten free flour mix.
- Can I leave the xanthan out of the cake? You can, but I don’t recommend it. When testing this recipe without xanthan gum, the cake was slightly dense and gummy. It was much lighter and fluffier with it added.
- How long does gluten free chocolate cake last? Keep the frosted cake covered at room temperature for 1 to 2 days, or up to a week in the fridge. The unfrosted cake layers also freeze well for up to 3 months (wrap them individually in plastic to maintain freshness).
Want more gluten free and vegan desserts?
Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 1/4 cups gluten free flour mix* I used King Arthur Flour, NO xanthan gum added
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum if using a flour with this added, omit
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup neutral flavored oil, such as canola or grapeseed
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling hot water or use hot coffee
- 1 Recipe Vegan Chocolate Frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 8-inch cake pans. I also line them with parchment rounds for easy removal of the cakes later.
- Measure 1 cup soy milk in a glass measuring cup and add vinegar. Stir slightly and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour, xanthan gum, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- To the bowl with the dry ingredients, add the oil, applesauce, vanilla and milk/vinegar mixture. Mix on medium speed with a hand mixer (or stand mixer with the whisk attachment) until well combined.
- Lower the speed and carefully pour in the boiling water, continuing to mix into the cake batter until combined. The batter will be quite runny at this point.
- Divide the batter evenly between your cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. After 10 minutes of cooling in the pan, carefully remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely before frosting.
- Only once the cake is completely cooled, frost with chocolate frosting using an icing spatula or just a butter knife and enjoy!
- It’s fine to store the cake at room temperature for 1-2 days, or you can refrigerate it for 3-4 days. Make sure to cover any cut parts so it doesn't dry out.
- May substitute any non-dairy milk, such as almond, oat or coconut milk.
- For best results, use King Arthur Gluten Free Flour with no added xanthan gum, so we can control it and add a little on our own. You can use another mix such as Bob’s Red Mill, but the cake will be a bit more dense and less fluffy.
- May use coconut sugar instead of regular sugar, if desired.
- For cupcakes, fill liners half full and bake for 20-25 minutes. You will get about 24 cupcakes.
- May substitute 2 flax eggs (2 tbs ground flax + 5 tbs water) or another egg replacer if needed for the applesauce.