Why This Recipe Works

Everyone loves a rich-tasting chocolate cake, but too often the gluten-free translation is less than appealing. Instead of the dense, bricklike versions we turned out in our initial testing, we wanted fluffy, tender, moist layers that baked up tall and sturdy. A combination of cocoa powder and melted bittersweet chocolate provided the best chocolate flavor, but we were afraid the melted chocolate was weighing down our cakes. When we tried a cake made with all cocoa powder, the results were dismal—dry and dense, with a very flat chocolate flavor. Instead, we kept the chocolate and cocoa combination and swapped out the traditional butter for oil, which had proven successful in other gluten-free cakes. This not only gave our cake better texture, but also brought a richer, cleaner chocolate flavor to the forefront. Another combination of ingredients was necessary for leavening our rich layers: baking powder, baking soda, and xanthan gum. The soda helped to keep the cake tender, while the powder gave it lift, and the xanthan gum provided necessary structure. Chocolate cake recipes often call for sour cream to add moisture and richness, but this cake batter was already thick and plenty rich. Switching to whole milk gave us better results.


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1 cup vegetable oil
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces (2/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
7 ounces (1 1/3 cups plus 1/4 cup) ATK All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 ½ ounces (1 1/2 cups) sugar
1 cup whole milk
4 cups frosting
Nutritional Information


Per Serving (Serves 10)

  • Calories 894
  • Cholesterol 76 mg
  • Fat 45 g
  • Sodium 538 mg
  • Saturated 8 g
  • Carbs 121 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 5 g
  • Monounsaturated 23 g
  • Sugar 98 g
  • Polyunsaturated 11 g
  • Protein 7 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Serves 10 to 12

Once frosted, serve the cake within a few hours.

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper, and grease parchment.

2. Microwave oil, chocolate, and cocoa together in bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk mixture until smooth, then set aside to cool slightly. In separate bowl, whisk flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt together.

3. In large bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla together. Whisk in sugar until well combined. Whisk in cooled chocolate mixture and milk until combined. Whisk in flour blend mixture until batter is thoroughly combined and smooth.

4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and smooth tops. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes, switching and rotating pans halfway through baking.

5. Let cakes cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run knife around edge of cakes to loosen. Remove cakes from pans, discard parchment, and let cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours. (Cake layers can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.)

6. Place 1 cake layer on platter and spread 1 1/2 cups frosting evenly over top using small icing spatula or butter knife. Top with second cake layer, press lightly to adhere, then spread remaining 2 1/2 cups frosting evenly over top and sides. Serve.