Ditch the expensive gluten free cake mixes because it's never been easier to make your own delicious gluten free chocolate cake at home!Jump to Recipe
This chocolate cake has been in the making for over a year now. Every time I make this cake I'm so impressed with how it doesn't taste gluten free! This gluten free chocolate cake is moist but still fluffy and full of chocolate flavor. If you're looking for a basic chocolate cake recipe that is gluten free, look no further! It truly reminds me of something you could bake from a box back in the day when I could eat gluten.
Making my own gluten free chocolate cake was a necessity. Every boxed gluten free mix I find contains xanthan gum and it makes me so sick to my stomach! Controlling what I put into my food helps me feel better and to be honest, I think it tastes better too!
Making Mocha Buttercream Frosting
Frosting is a fairly simple thing to make if you follow a few basic rules. This is an American-style buttercream, so it is more dense and sweet than something like a Swiss meringue buttercream. It is flavored with coffee and chocolate, but neither ingredient is over-stated and they pair well on top of a chocolate cake.
To start, make sure your unsalted butter is room temperature. You should be able to press a finger into the butter with a slight indentation. The butter should be firm, but pliable. You really don't want it to go too soft. I would give you a time to set it out, but it really depends on the temperature around you. It could take ½ hour or longer.
Once your butter is room temperature, use a paddle attachment on a stand mixer and beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. This could take 2-3 minutes. Scrap down the sides of bowl occasionally.
Another thing to look out for is clumping with the cocoa powder. Make sure to mix well after adding it, and consider sifting the cocoa powder into the butter instead of dumping it in.
I like to add my powdered sugar gradually instead of dumping it all in at once. This helps with minimizing a powdered sugar cloud and it also helps the frosting not taste too sweet. I wish I could tell you the science behind that last one - I only remember coming across it a while back and sticking to it since.
Before frosting, make sure the cake is cooled completely. I like to pop each cake layer in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to help reduce crumbs and breaking when frosting. If you do a crumb layer (see below), another stint in the freezer will help solidify the frosting before adding the final layer.
Feel free to decorate the cake however you like. I opted for a more rustic look this time, but you should have enough frosting to coat the cake in a crumb layer (a very thin layer around the cake and then chilled to prevent crumbs from sticking to the final layer you add that is thicker), two layers in-between each layer, and then another layer of frosting around the entire cake for you to decorate as you like.
What kind of gluten free flour works best in this chocolate cake?
Most gluten free flour blends you purchase contain xanthan gum, which I found out early on does not settle well with my stomach! As a result, I make my own flour blend using a variety of flours and starches, blended and measured to create a perfect blend I prefer over any other blend to date. Guar gum is a great replacement for xanthan gum; however, I prefer to add it to the recipe as needed and you'll see notes in every recipe on Just As Good Gluten Free with the recommended amounts to use. You can find the recipe to make your own mix here.
What kind of coffee to use?
Since I really wanted a great coffee taste for this mocha buttercream frosting, I opted to use a coffee concentrate. I used 2 teaspoons of JAVY Coffee Concentrate for the mocha buttercream frosting. It created the perfect coffee flavor without overloading the frosting with unwanted liquid. I also used 1 teaspoon combined with 1 cup of hot water for the cake.
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Did you know that adding coffee to your chocolate cake enhances the chocolate flavor? Give it a try and let me know what you think.
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Gluten Free Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream Frosting
- 2 cups (300 grams) gluten free flour blend
- 1 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum (omit if in blend)
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup hot water (can use 1 cup hot coffee, omit coffee concentrate)
- 1 teaspoon coffee concentrate (such as Javy)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
Mocha Buttercream Frosting:
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 lbs. powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tbs cocoa powder
- 1 Tbs vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon coffee concentrate (such as Javy) (may substitute 1 Tbs espresso powder)
- 3 Tbs heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare three 8 inch cakes pan by lightly coating with cooking spray and parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, sift together gluten free flour blend, guar or xanthan gum (if not in blend), cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment (can use a handheld mixer or a large bowl to stir by hand), combine canola oil and sugar until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each. Add vanilla extract and hot water and/or coffee and buttermilk. Mix until combined.
- Gently stir in flour mixture, until just combined. Pour evenly between the 3 cake pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Insert toothpick until it comes out clean. Alternatively, you can listen to the cakes and wait for them to stop popping, or crackling, which is a good sign they are cooked. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from pan. Finishing cooling on baking rack and wait until completely cooled before frosting.
Mocha Buttercream Frosting:
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whip the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add cocoa powder, coffee concentrate (or espresso powder) and salt. Gradually add powdered sugar in, about 1 cup at a time. If the frosting becomes too dry, add a tablespoon of heavy cream in (not to exceed 3 tablespoons). Continue this process until all of your powdered sugar is mixed in. Use a slow mixer speed to avoid a powdered sugar explosion. Add any remaining heavy cream.
- Your frosting should be nice and fluffy and ready to spread over your 3 layers of 8 inch cakes. You can use about ¼ inch to ½ inch thick of frosting in between each layer. Frost the outside of the cake as you wish. I opted for a more rustic look, but you should have enough frosting to coat the entire cake solidly if desired.
Cake size options:
- While ovens vary, use these approximate baking times for this cake:Three 8 inch pans - bake for about 22-25 minutes.Two 8 inch pans - bake for about 40-45 minutes.Two 9 inch pans - bake for about 30-35 minutes.2 ½ dozen cupcakes - fill ⅔ full of cake batter and bake for 18-20 minutes. *As always, check your cake on the early side and monitor closely for the last few minutes to make sure the cake is cooked properly.
Mocha buttercream frosting recipe adapted from https://preppykitchen.com/the-best-mocha-icing-for-cupcakes/