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.

close up of a piece of chocolate cake on a white plate

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?

slice of chocolate cake with a bite out of it

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
  • Salt
  • 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!
large glass bowl filled with chocolate cake batter

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!

frosting a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

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.

Decorating options

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:

spatula removing a slice of chocolate frosted cake

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).
close up of a fork taking a bite out of a piece of chocolate cake

Want more gluten free and vegan desserts?

close up of a piece of chocolate cake on a white plate
4.82 stars (27 ratings)

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cake

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.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 16 servings


  • 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.


  1. May substitute any non-dairy milk, such as almond, oat or coconut milk.
  2. 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.
  3. May use coconut sugar instead of regular sugar, if desired.
  4. For cupcakes, fill liners half full and bake for 20-25 minutes. You will get about 24 cupcakes.
  5. May substitute 2 flax eggs (2 tbs ground flax + 5 tbs water) or another egg replacer if needed for the applesauce.


Serving: 1of 16 servings | Calories: 500kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 408mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. This looks amazing, but I don’t have King Arthur’s Gluten Free Flour. I have Bob’s Red Mill, but it says that for every cup, you need 1/2 tsp xanthan gum. How much should xanthan gum should I use?

    1. Does your flour already have xanthan gum in it? It should work fine, if it already has it I don’t think I’d add more. But I found the cake texture turns out best when you can control the amount of xanthan gum. It just might be a little more dense rather than fluffy.

  2. Hello! I’m making these for my sons 2nd birthday…do you recommend any changes if I’ll be making them as cupcakes? I’m so grateful for your recipes, you’re helping my poor food allergy baby have a normal and yummy life!

    1. Hi Ashley! I don’t think any changes are needed. I know that others have made these as cupcakes, and said they turned out well. I’m so glad that you guys are enjoying my recipes! I’m glad that your son is able to eat fun food that he likes!

  3. This was AMAZING! I paired with the chocolate frosting and wow. I have had to go gluten free for health reasons and thought I could never have a non dense crumbly cake! This was so good and moist, I had a lot of even non vegans try it  and loved it! Thanks Nora, your recipes are always my go to.

    1. Hi Jessi. I am so thrilled the cake was amazing for you! We all need a little cake in our lives! Thank you for using my recipes, and for taking your time to share your wonderful review ad comments! Happy cooking!

  4. Chocolate cake is my weakness… I’ve made A LOT of them. This GF & Vegan cake is the best I can remember having in a VERY long time. I’ve made it twice in the last few months with the vegan chocolate buttercream frosting recommended in the recipe. I use coffee for the boiling water ingredient. Wow. Amazing cake. Enjoying it as we speak. Thank you! Love so many of your recipes 🙂 

  5. Best chocolate cake and frosting I’ve ever made.  I made it gluten free, friends and family who are not vegan/vegetarian claimed it as one of the best.  I made it for my daughter-in-law’s birthday meal.  Will only use this chocolate cake recipe from now on!

    1. I’m so thrilled you loved the cake and it was a hit! Thank you for taking your time to share your wonderful review!

  6. Can I use a different type of milk to make the buttermilk vs. the soy milk? I’m allergic to soy. 

  7. This ticks all the dietary requirements in our household. Plus it is easy and delicious. Thank you Nora.

  8. Hi I am searching for the right cake t make for my 63 bday coming up this next week and foudn this. QUESTIONS- can I use homemade ground oat flour…and can I use maple syrup as sweetener instead of white sugar? Thank you in advance for your reply..I am loving the recipes on your site already.

    1. I’m glad you are enjoying my site and happy birthday! As far as the recipe goes, I have not tried using oat flour or maple syrup so I really can’t say how it will turn out. It might be pretty gummy with oat flour, and if you sub a liquid sweetener you really have to adjust for liquid elsewhere. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

  9. This was great! I’ve found baking so discouraging since having to adjust to gluten, dairy and egg free. This cake got a thumbs up from the kiddo and adults in the family, and it wasn’t just “good for gluten free and vegan”: it was pretty darn close to my old, allergen-ridden family recipe and better than some bakery versions we’ve tried. Thank you! (I made it as written, using Ripple milk.)

    1. I’m so glad to hear it, Kati! We all need a little chocolate cake sometimes! Thank you for sharing your review!

  10. This cake is amazing! It is truly indistinguishable from cake with gluten. Nora, you’ve done it AGAIN! Thank you so much. My gluten-sensitive kid can finally have cake that looks and tastes like all those other cakes she can’t eat. 

  11. I am going to embark on taking this on.
    Can you tell me what 1 cup would be in dl?

    Many thanks,

  12. Hi Nora, can I substitute the apple sauce with eggs? If yes how many do you think I should need? (My child is intolerant with apples)That’s the only ingredient I don’t have right now. I already got hold of King Arthur’s GF all purpose flour particularly for this recipe. excited to make it. Thank you!

    1. I believe two eggs would make up for the applesauce, but since I don’t use eggs I’m not totally sure. You could also use 2 flax eggs ( 2 tbs ground flax + 5 tbs water ) if that helps! Hope you and your child enjoy the cake, thanks!

  13. Hi Nora can I leave the sugar out or put something in to replace the sugar as I don’t like things too sweet so never have sugar in – thanks 

    1. Hi Josie, I’ve never had cake with no sugar at all, so I’m not sure how that will go honestly. Not only will the cake not be sweet at all, it will most certainly mess up the texture as well.

  14. Hi Nora,
    Am interested in making this one for my husband’d birthday but we live in Colorado so high altitude baking kicks in. Are there any tips that you can share so this cake turns out great even at 6k feet. Thank you!!

    1. Sorry I haven’t had much experience with high altitude baking, maybe someone else can comment who knows more about it. You could try following general advice for high altitude baking. Sorry I can’t be of more help on this one!

  15. Hi there! I made this recipe for my husband’s birthday and the cake was amazing! I could not believe how moist and delicious the cake was especially for being gluten free. I loved it so much I’m making it again for my daughter’s birthday. I loved this recipe so much I was wondering if you have any thoughts on converting this chocolate cake recipe into a vanilla cake recipe? Could I just omit the cocoa powder? Or add 1/2 cup of more GF flour as a replacement for the cocoa powder? Thank you!

  16. I made this cake recipe for a friends birthday. This turned out to be an absolutely wonderful tasting cake with great texture. The only part of the recipe I didn’t follow was the flour. I used Authentic Foods super fine brown rice flour and made the GF mixture myself by adding potato starch and tapioca flour. I wouldn’t hesitate to make this again and would certainly recommend this recipe to others. Thank you for sharing such great recipes!

  17. I’m a bit new to GF baking and definitely for cakes. I have all of these ingredients except xanthan gum. Would flax meal or corn starch work for this instead here? Would it keep the fluffy texture its supposed to have? I’m excited to try this cake out since my attempt with another recipe was closer in texture to dense brownie.

    1. I don’t think there is a good replacement for xanthan gum, but you could try leaving it out. Does your mix by any chance already contain it? If so, it will probably be fine. The xanthan gum really seems to help gf cakes not be so dense. This one turns out nice and fluffy.

      1. The flour doesn’t have any in it already. But Just in case I went out and got some anyway. Setting up for baking cake right now! I’m excited!

      2. So I ended up adding the xanthan gum. I used coffee for my water. This is probably not only the best GF cake I’ve made/eaten, but also my lightest, most moist vegan cake. Consistency is just like regular cake according to all the family.
        Thank you so much for your wonderful recipe!

  18. Nora, this is amazing. I already knew your other cake recipes are the bomb but now that we’re eliminating gluten for my daughter I needed a GF version for her birthday and this was perfect. Since I’m just beginning my GF baking journey I tried a few other cake recipes for practice before the big day, and they were weird. Taste was there but texture was all off.  Yours has perfect texture and taste. It was moist and airy, the others were overly wet, dense, and gritty. This stacked with frosting easily, the others crumbled out of the pan. All this to say you and your recipes are amazing and you made my daughter’s party!!  Non-vegans and non-GF folks raved and raved, even asked for the link themselves.   Thanks again!

    1. Hi Ashley. Happy birthday to your daughter! I am thrilled to read that your cake turned out wonderful and delicious, and was loved by all! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and kind words! They mean a lot to me! Happy cooking!

  19. For some reason I cannot see my previous post on your vegan cake, so forgive me if this is happening twice! I only have Bob’s Red Mill gluten free (no xantham gum added), would you recommend I use it in this gluten free recipe, or in your original vegan cake recipe?

    1. Hi Robbyn! I do see double comments from you, so I will answer this one. 🙂 That flour should work well for this recipe, but I would suggest adding the 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum. It really helps the texture of the cake, but it might work without it. I would use this recipe for sure. Hope that helps!

  20. I was about to sub King Arthur’s GF flour for your other chocolate cake recipe but saw this was posted today – perfect timing! Frosted with vegan vanilla buttercream. Two thumbs up from everyone who tried it, even the folks with no dietary restrictions. This will be my new go-to chocolate cake recipe. Thank u!! 

    1. Perfect! I started doing the same thing with my regular recipe, but found it needed just a little adjusting to produce a fluffy, moist cake. It was a bit dense simply subbing gluten free flour. I’m so glad you enjoyed this new cake, thank you so much for sharing!

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