Nothing says yum like a tasty, moist, gluten free chocolate cake recipe you can whip up at 9:00 pm on a Friday night. After a stressful work week, I love to find a way to destress. Lately, baking therapy has been my go-to. I told a friend about it, and she thinks baking late at night is stressful. If my nursing degree holds any water, then it’s a good stress (eustress).
The physical activity and sensations associated with baking a cake can be very grounding if you feel overwhelmed and anxious. It makes your body more aware and present in that moment, thereby reducing stress. Now, don’t mind me sharing this health nugget. I haven’t forgotten what you’re here for, so chill, love.
This chocolate cake recipe is one that I swear by. I adopted the recipe from a friend’s grandma and tweaked it to suit my mum’s taste buds (proud daughter moment, right there!) The first time I baked this cake, my not-so-baby brother hovered over my shoulder the entire time, trying to taste the cake batter (mama bear came to his rescue😂). And if I tell you that the cake was gone in less than 24 hours, I’m not joking.
Table of Contents
📋 Why You’ll Love This Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe!
This gluten free nut free chocolate cake recipe is cocoa-based, has a deep chocolate flavor, and is very moist. I always get stunned with how each bite is rich, velvety, and indulgent.
It’s a very quick and foolproof recipe to make, even during emergencies. If you forgot to get that birthday present for your friend, then you’ve just found a solution. You could also use this as a base for your Valentine’s Day cake and use whatever frosting you have on hand to make it suitable for the occasion. My personal favorite, you can use it to satisfy your Friday night chocolate cravings.
Flour: A good cake recipe calls for good flour. The best gluten-free flour you can use for a consistent result is Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour. If you don’t find it, you can use any gluten-free flour, but make sure it has xanthan gum.
Sugar: In this recipe, the quantity of granulated sugar used is to ensure the sweetness is mild. You can increase it if you have a sweet tooth.
Cocoa powder: This recipe needs cocoa powder to achieve the rich chocolate flavor.
Baking soda: It helps the cake to rise. The baking soda requires an acid to activate, and that’s where the cocoa powder comes in.
Cinnamon: I have a weird obsession with cinnamon in my recipes. It brings out a rich flavor. Use coffee instead of cinnamon.
Salt: Every sweet dish needs a hint of salt to elevate the sweetness of the dish.
Buttermilk: You can get buttermilk from the store or make yours from scratch. Add a tablespoon of lemon or white vinegar to 1 cup of milk to make it from scratch. You can use milk instead of butter. If you want to go the vegan route, you can use vegan milk like almond milk or vegan buttermilk.
Eggs: Using 2 large eggs in this recipe makes the cake fluffy. It also helps in binding the cake so it doesn’t fall apart.
Butter: You can use any butter.
Vanilla extract: Although it’s a chocolate cake, you can never go wrong with adding vanilla extract to your cake recipe.
Boiling water: You need hot boiling water to elevate the flavor of all ingredients and add extra moistness to the cake.
See the recipe card for precise quantities of the ingredients.
8″ round baking pan: For baking the cake.
Mixing Bowls: To mix the ingredients to form your batter.
Whisk: To mix the ingredients. You don’t need to use an electric mixer because this recipe doesn’t require much arm work.
Parchment paper: Prevents the cake from sticking to the pan so you can remove the cake easily.
📖 How to Make Moist Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe
Baking this moist gluten free nut free recipe takes just a few simple steps:
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Step 2: Grease an 8-inch round cake pan. You could use butter, baking spray, or vegetable oil. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
Step 3: In a mixing bowl, sift the 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of granulated sugar, add in ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, add 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to elevate the flavor, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, 1½ teaspoons baking soda and ½ teaspoon of salt to enhance the flavor of the other ingredients. Then whisk to combine.
Step 4: In another bowl, add three-quarter cups of melted butter, a quarter cup of oil, 2 eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. Then, whisk to combine.
Step 5: Pour your dry ingredients mixture into the wet one, and mix until well combined.
Pour in a cup of boiling water to elevate the flavor of the ingredients. When you do this, you’ll be left with a runny batter. Don’t fret! It’s absolutely normal.
Step 7: Pour the batter into your cake pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 8: Once the cake is ready, let it cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Carefully invert your cake into a flat plate or a cake board. Remove the parchment paper and your moist chocolate cake is ready to be served.
Nutty Indulgence: This recipe is a gluten free nut free chocolate cake. You can tweak the recipe by adding a cup of chopped nuts, such as walnuts or hazelnuts, to the batter for a delightful crunch and extra richness.
Fruit Infusion: Incorporate diced fruits like raspberries or chopped cherries into the batter to introduce bursts of fruity flavor and moisture.
Coffee Kick: Replace part of the boiling water with strong brewed coffee for a subtle coffee undertone, enhancing the chocolate flavor.
Glazed Delight: Top the cooled cake with a glossy chocolate ganache or a cream cheese frosting for a layer of decadence.
Spiced Twist: Experiment with spices like nutmeg or cardamom to customize the cake’s flavor profile and introduce unique aromatic notes.
Vegan option: You could make this a gluten free vegan chocolate cake recipe with a few tweaks here and there. You could use vegan butter or just use only oil in the recipe. You could substitute the buttermilk for a vegan alternative. The eggs could be substituted with yogurt.
Dairy-Free Option: Substitute non-dairy alternatives such as almond or coconut milk for buttermilk, and use plant-based butter to make a delicious dairy-free version.
Mini Cupcakes: Instead of a traditional cake, portion the batter into mini cupcake molds for bite-sized treats. Adjust the baking time accordingly.
Layered Celebration: Bake the batter in multiple layers, adding a luscious frosting or filling between each layer for a stunning layered cake.
Simple Elegance: Dust the cake with powdered sugar for a classic touch, enhancing its appearance without overpowering the rich chocolate flavor.
Whipped Cream Delight: Serve each slice with a dollop of freshly whipped cream to add a light and airy contrast to the dense, moist cake.
Berries on Top: Garnish with a handful of fresh berries, such as raspberries or strawberries, for a burst of color, freshness, and a delightful fruity complement.
Ice Cream Scoop: Pair slices with a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream for a decadent dessert experience, combining warm cake with cold, creamy goodness.
Chocolate Drizzle: Drizzle melted chocolate or a chocolate ganache over the cake for an extra layer of richness and a glossy finish.
Nuts and Caramel Crunch: Sprinkle chopped nuts like almonds or pecans on top and drizzle with caramel sauce for a delightful crunch and a sweet buttery flavor.
Coffee Affair: Serve alongside a cup of coffee or espresso to complement the chocolatey goodness with the robust flavors of coffee.
Layered: Turn it into a celebration cake by layering it with a frosting of your choice between the layers, creating a show-stopping dessert for special occasions.
Room Temperature: Store the cooled cake at room temperature in an airtight container to maintain its moisture and freshness.
Refrigeration: If not consumed within a day or two, consider refrigerating the cake. Ensure it’s wrapped securely to prevent drying out.
Freezing: To prolong freshness, wrap individual slices or the whole cake tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe container. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Avoid Direct Sunlight: Store the cake away from direct sunlight and heat to prevent flavor changes and maintain its quality.
Reheating: If refrigerated or frozen, bring the cake to room temperature before serving. You can warm individual slices in the microwave for a few seconds if desired.
Moisture Retention: Add a slice of bread to the container to help retain moisture. The bread will absorb excess moisture, keeping the cake from becoming too damp.
👨🏻🍳 Top tips
- Flour Combination: Experiment with a blend of gluten-free flour such as rice flour, almond flour, and tapioca starch. This mixture not only enhances flavor but also contributes to a more balanced texture.
- Precise Measurements: Accurate measuring of gluten-free flour and leavening agents is crucial. Use measuring cups designed for dry ingredients and level them off for consistency.
- Moisture Boosters: Incorporate moisture-rich ingredients. Combining buttermilk, eggs, and oil ensures a moist crumb in your gluten-free cake. Be mindful of the temperature of these ingredients; room temperature is often best.
- Cinnamon Infusion: Elevate the chocolate flavor by adding a tablespoon of cinnamon. This unexpected touch adds warmth and depth to the cake without overpowering the chocolate.
- Quality Vanilla Extract: Opt for high-quality vanilla extract to enhance flavor. The purity of vanilla can make a significant difference in the taste of your chocolate cake.
- Boiling Water Technique: Don’t be alarmed by the runny batter after adding boiling water; this step contributes to the cake’s moistness and ensures a velvety texture. Embrace this unique technique for a richer taste.
- Greasing and Parchment Paper: Thoroughly grease the cake pan with butter, baking spray, or vegetable oil. Line the bottom with parchment paper to facilitate easy removal, ensuring the cake maintains its shape.
🙋🏻♂️ Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Add Moisture to a Gluten Free Cake?
To add moisture to a gluten-free cake, incorporate ingredients like hot water, more oil, buttermilk, applesauce, or mashed fruits. These additions not only enhance moisture but also contribute flavor. Additionally, combining gluten-free flours and adjusting the baking time helps achieve a moist texture in gluten-free cakes.
How Do You Add Moisture to a Chocolate Cake?
Adding more liquid to a chocolate cake can add moisture to it. You can add more water, buttermilk, oil, and milk.
Does Gluten Free Flour Make Cakes Dry?
Gluten-free flour can sometimes result in a drier texture in cakes due to the absence of gluten, which provides structure and moisture. To combat dryness, adding ingredients like xanthan gum, or yogurt can enhance moisture and improve the overall texture of gluten-free cakes. That’s why I initially recommended using gluten-free flour with xanthan gum.
What is the Secret to Gluten Free Baking?
The secret to successful gluten-free baking is achieving the right moisture, structure, and texture balance. Use gluten-free flour with xanthan gum for elasticity and incorporate moistening agents like oil, milk, applesauce, sour cream, or yogurt. Experimenting with recipes and finding the right proportions is key to success.
Do Gluten Free Cakes Need Baking Powder?
Yes, gluten-free cakes typically require baking powder as a leavening agent since they lack gluten, contributing to structure and rise in traditional recipes. It helps gluten-free batters achieve a lighter and fluffier texture, ensuring a well-rounded cake.
Does Cocoa Powder Have Gluten?
Pure cocoa powder is inherently gluten-free as it is derived from cacao beans with the extraction of cocoa butter. However, additives in certain brands may introduce gluten. Always check product labels for gluten-related information; brands like Ghirardelli include “may contain wheat” warnings if produced on shared equipment.
What Helps Gluten-Free Cakes Rise?
Baking soda helps gluten-free cakes rise. Since gluten-free flour doesn’t usually give the same results as one with gluten, it ends up sinking,, but it will rise with baking soda.
Moist Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 8" baking pan
- Mixing bowls
- Parchment paper
- 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large egg
- ¾ cup butter
- ¼ cup unflavored vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan using butter, baking spray, or vegetable oil. Place a parchment paper at the bottom for easy removal.
- In a mixing bowl, sift together 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of granulated sugar, ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, 1½ teaspoons of baking soda, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Whisk the dry ingredients to combine.
- In a separate bowl, combine three-quarter cups of melted butter, a quarter cup of oil, 2 eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. Whisk the wet ingredients until well combined.
- Pour the dry ingredients mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Pour a cup of boiling water into the batter; this will result in a runny batter, which is normal.
- Pour the batter into the greased cake pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Once baked, let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto a flat plate or cake board, remove the parchment paper, and your moist chocolate cake is ready to be served.