This Gluten-Free Chocolate Layer Cake may just be the best chocolate cake we have ever eaten, gluten-free or not. It is super moist, with deep chocolate flavor, and truly easy to put together. The chocolate cake layers are dairy-free and paleo-friendly, and we can promise this gluten-free cake will be a hit for any occasion!
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
We heard you! After we published the BEST Gluten-Free Layer Birthday Cake recipe a while back you’ve been asking us to make a chocolate version. We got to it right away and we are CRAZY HAPPY with the results. This truly is the best chocolate cake we’ve ever tasted! You won’t know it’s gluten-free (not that that matters around here) and it is so rich and moist!
Making this recipe wasn’t as easy as adding in chocolate to our vanilla layer cake. A chocolate cake is a whole different beast. We started with a base of almond and coconut flour, which we love. It lends itself to have just the right crumb and moisture level. And then we added in cocoa powder and adjusted the level of sweetener to balance the bitterness. We added some coffee in to boast the chocolate flavor, but feel free to swap it out with additional milk instead. It took us a few tries to get the right amount of fat, which we use avocado oil here, but once we did this cake was SO GOOD.
The cake layers themselves are dairy-free. We choose to frost it with a chocolate buttercream, but if you don’t tolerate dairy you can certainly use a dairy-free chocolate ganache made with coconut milk and dairy-free chocolate to frost your cake.
As we said above, this cake does have nuts. If you’re looking for a nut-free and school-safe cake recipe, go for the two in my cookbook or this July 4th Classic Cake!
Tips Tools Needed to Frost a Cake Like a Pro
It’s not essential to frost the cake like we did. But if you want to give it a whirl, getting these tools make it easier to get an even and smooth cake!
If you like this celebration dessert, check out these other recipes:
- The Best Gluten-Free Layer Birthday Cake
- Gluten-Free Nut-Free 4th of July Cake
- Chocolate Decadence Pie
- Naturally Colored Buttercream: 5 Ways
Watch the video:
For Cake Layers:
- 2-1/2 cups (240g) almond flour
- 3/4 cup (64g) high-quality cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup (24g) coconut flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 eggs
- 1-1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 1/4 cup coffee (see note)
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Chocolate Buttercream:
For Cake Layers:
- Pre-heat oven to 350ºF and grease 3 6" layer pans (we used avocado spray) and line with parchment paper that fits directly inside. Skipping this step could result in a cake that sticks to the pan. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl add almond flour, cocoa, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.
- In a large bowl whisk eggs. Add in coconut sugar, milk, coffee, avocado oil and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
- Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and whisk to combine completely.
- Divide batter evenly between 3 cake pans and bake in pre-heated oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted and removed is clean or any wet cake batter.
- Let cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing by running a thin knife or offset spatula around the side of the pan to loosen the cake and turning over pan on wire rack. Remove the parchment paper liner if still on the cake. Cool completely before frosting.
For Buttercream Frosting:
For Buttercream Frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment beat the butter until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
- Add the sugar and cocoa powder and mix on low speed until well blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and 1/4 cup of almond milk (or more if needed) and beat on medium speed until lightened in color.
To Assemble the Cake:
- Once cake is cooled place first layer on serving plate and frost with a buttercream layer to prevent the cake from moving once assembled.
- Add next layer of cake and repeat with layer of buttercream, smoothing over, and place last cake layer on top.
- Place cake in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, to let set up and to make frosting cake easier.
- Once cake has chilled, add about half of frosting to the top of the cake and using an offset spatula frost cake starting with the top and moving excess down the sides of the cake and smoothing as going.
- Decorate as desired with additional frosting, chocolate cups and sprinkles on the side.
- Cake will keep 3-5 days in refrigerator.
- You can omit the coffee and substitute in 1/4 cup almond milk or water. Coffee helps bring out the chocolate flavor, but is not essential.
- We have a heavy hand when we frost our cakes. If you think you'll want less frosting, swap the recipe with 3 sticks of butter, 1 cup cocoa powder, 4 cups powdered sugar and follow the recipe as stated. If you do end up with leftover frosting, you can freeze it for later use.
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