Home » BLOG » Gluten Free Rich Chocolate Cake

Gluten Free Rich Chocolate Cake

This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. He requested the same cake I made for him three years ago. It’s a Barefoot Contessa recipe. The cake is very rich and chocolatey and has a little coffee to really boost the flavor.

No problem. But instead of following the original recipe I modified it to be gluten free and free of vegetable oils. I didn’t think it was fair to make a big chocolate birthday cake and then tell Rebecca she can’t have any.

I also slightly modified the frosting. And had my first successful attempt at homemade powdered sugar! So this cake is rich, moist and chocolate. But it’s also gluten free and totally from scratch using healthy ingredients.

Everyone thought it was great!!! And Justin said he would have never known that it’s gluten free. That equals success to me 🙂  And what’s chocolate birthday cake without a little homemade chocolate ice cream alongside? 🙂

Gluten Free Rich Chocolate Cake

1 cup white rice flour
3/4 cups tapioca flour and/or amaranth flour (I used half of each)
2 cups organic cane sugar
3/4 cups organic cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup buttermilk, sour milk or kefir
1/4 cup palm shortening + 1/4 cup butter, melted (you can do all palm shortening, all butter or replace some or all of it with coconut oil)
2 eggs
1 tsp. organic vanilla
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, butter/shortening, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Chocolate Frosting

3/4 cups (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate (I used dairy free, soy free chocolate chips)
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp (you can replace some of the butter with palm shortening if desired. I used 3/4 cups butter and 1/4 cup shortening)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. organic vanilla
1 1/4 cups homemade powdered sugar (recipe below)
1 Tbsp. instant coffee powder (I only used half the coffee powder in the frosting to make it more kid friendly)

Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the powdered sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Powdered Sugar

1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
2-3 Tbsp. tapioca flour, white rice flour or corn starch

Blend sugar and flour in a high powered blender (I used a Vitamix dry blender) on high until powdered. This will make more than enough for this frosting recipe.

After the frosting is finished, place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.


  1. The Voogts says:

    Sara, you could definitely do it dairy free.

    It is a good cake, Gina. I love BC recipes in general. I need to try more. I have a couple of her cookbooks that just sit on the shelf most of the time 😛

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.