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Easy Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

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This vegan gluten free chocolate cake recipe is an adaption of Gregg Wallace and Chris Bavin’s recipe ‘Gluten Free Chocolate Sponge Cake’ (p198) from their book Family Feasts on a Budget (2017).  Gregg and Chris present the BBC Television show Eat Well For Less.

The original recipe is not vegan so I have adapted the recipe so that vegans and plant-based eaters can enjoy this divine chocolate cake.

I have used the Doves Farm brand of gluten-free plain flour. Everything I have baked with the Doves farm gluten-free flour has turned out well with a good texture and consistency.

The cake is so moist and rich in chocolate flavour with hints of vanilla.

Chocolate cake sitting on blue floral plate

And the chocolate frosting is just a fudgy-chocolatey heaven with a light, mousse-like, silky texture.

A few years ago my daughter was having a few health issues and one of the suggestions the doctor had was to try a gluten-free diet.

So we dived into the gluten-free world and tried to find tasty alternatives to our everyday favourites.

Nowadays, even though none of us needs to be gf this cake has made several appearances at our birthday celebrations as it is just that good that everyone still requests it.


This recipe is simply a case of mixing the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients before baking for 25 minutes. Followed by cooling the cakes for 60 minutes before preparing the chocolate frosting.

The frosting is easy as well and is just a case of whisking the margarine, icing sugar and cocoa powder before melting the chocolate and whipping to combine. That’s it.

And even better no hand or stand mixer is required as everything can be achieved with a wooden spoon. Although if you have a hand mixer it does make the job of whisking the frosting a little quicker.

Therefore you can have a vegan gf chocolate cake that will provide at least 12 good sized slices in less than 2 hours. Not bad for a birthday cake. Although I am usually able to get more than 12 slices as I find that a smaller slice is just as satisfying.

I love this cake as it is strong and sturdy and stands up well with being embellished. It also slices so good so it’s easy to cut the exact size of slice you need.

If you make this cake let me know how you get on. I would love to know.

gluten free chocolate cake sitting on brown cardboard plate with candles, and disposable cutlery


This recipe uses mostly everyday store-cupboard ingredients and the usual chocolate cake suspects: margarine, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, vanilla, plant milk, and chocolate.

However, a few ingredients are specific to gluten-free cooking.

These products are; gluten-free baking powder, gluten-free flour and xanthan gum. These ingredients should be easily sourced in most supermarkets but if you are having difficulty finding an item try your local wholefoods store. Or check Amazon.






slice of vegan gluten-free chocolate cake on brown disposable plate with birthday candles, fork and napkin


Chocolate cake sitting on blue floral plate

Easy Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cake

Print Recipe
This easy gluten-free chocolate cake is ideal for birthdays and celebrations.
Although this cake is also an amazing everyday treat that is easy and quick to prepare.
Course Afternoon tea, Dessert, Party
Cuisine British
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Cooling the cakes 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Servings 12 slices
Calories 491
Author Jacq


  • two cake pans with a diameter of roughly 20cm/ 8 inch. Plus greaseproof paper to line the pans.
  • Mixing bowls
  • sieve
  • Hand or stand whisk for whipping the chocolate icing but this is optional as the frosting can be prepared by hand with a wooden or spatula spoon.


For the chocolate cake base:

  • 300 grams caster sugar 10.6 oz. 1 cup plus 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons. or granulated.
  • 300 grams gluten-free self-raising flour 10.6 oz. 2 cups plus 1 tbsp. Sifted..
  • 100 grams cocoa powder 3.5 oz. 1 cup. Sifted.
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 160 ml vegetable oil 5.4 oz. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon.
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla essence.
  • 1 pinch salt

For the vegan buttermilk:

  • 450 ml plant milk 15.2 oz. 2 cups with 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon removed. I use soya milk.
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar Alternatively use white distilled vinegar or lemon juice.

For chocolate frosting:

  • 225 grams vegan margarine 7.9oz. 1 packed full cup. If using vegan butter remove from the fridge a short while before using so it can come to room temperature. It will be easier to whisk.
  • 225 grams icing sugar 7.9oz. 1 3/4 cup Sifted.
  • 50 grams cocoa powder 1.7 oz. 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons. Sifted.
  • 100 grams dark chocolate 3.5 oz. Chopped into squares or use chocolate drops/buttons.


Prepare vegan buttermilk:

  • To prepare the vegan buttermilk add the apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the milk and stir. Leave for at least 10 minutes.
  • The original recipe states to preheat your oven to 220 Celsius/200 Fan/425 Fahrenheit/Gas 7.
    However I recommend turning the temperature down to 200 Celsius/180 Fan/ 400 Fahrenheit/Gas 6. It does seem a little hot but the cake will be fine.
    (Also if you want to turn your oven down another notch then just increase the cakes baking time a little)

Prepare the cake:

  • Grease your cake pans with a little margarine and line the pans with parchment paper.
  • Add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl.
  • Mix all the wet ingredients together.
  • Add the wet mix to the dry ingredients.
    Give it all a good mix to make sure its all combined.
  • Divide the mix evenly between your cake pans.
    If you want to be precise use a measuring scale and ensure each pan weighs roughly the same.
  • Smooth out the surfaces of each cake with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake on the middle rung of your oven for around 25 minutes.
    If possible place both cake pans side by side on the same rung so that they cook evenly at the same time.
  • Check your cakes after 25 minutes. Cakes are baked when a skewer poked in the middle comes out mostly clean.
  • Cool the cakes in the pans for 20 minutes.
    Carefully, tip cakes out of the pans and peel the parchment off.
    Leave on a wire rack to cool or even just on the parchment paper.

To prepare the frosting:

  • Once cakes are completely cool they can be frosted.
  • Add the margarine, icing sugar and cocoa powder to a mixing bowl and whip either with a wooden/metal spoon or with a hand/stand mixer until smooth and creamy.
  • Melt the dark chocolate:
    Using a microwave: Place the chopped chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and turn on your microwave for 20-30 seconds, switch off, stir the chocolate, and then heat another 20-30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until melted. Chocolate may still look solid but once stirred will melt.
    I have a 700 watt microwave and on high setting it only took about 3 repeats until it was soft enough to mix with a spoon.
    Stovetop method: Place the chocolate into a little heatproof bowl. Place the bowl into a saucepan of water. Gently heat the water to a low simmer. Switch off heat. Stir the chocolate until melted. Don't let the water rapidly boil as if you get a splash of water in the bowl the chocolate could seize up.
  • Quickly mix the melted chocolate through the chocolate frosting. Its necessary to work quickly as the chocolate will cool fast and little bits of hard chocolate will be evident in the frosting. However, this doesn't affect eating enjoyment so don't worry.
  • Whip the frosting until it starts to get thicker. It may look thin at first but it will thicken up as the chocolate is blended.
  • Place the frosting in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to thicken up some more.
  • Apply the frosting to one of your cake layers and sit the other layer on top. Cover the cake with the frosting.
  • The cake can be placed in the fridge to speed up setting of the frosting or enjoyed immediately if desired.


Useful recipe notes:

  • In the UK a one cup measurement equals the equivalent of 250ml
  • For baking in general but especially for gluten-free bakes its highly recommended to weigh out ingredients. I strongly suggest using the grams or oz measurements for better accuracy.
  • Bake this gf chocolate cake on the middle shelfs and side-by-side if possible. Keep the baking cakes away from the top shelf as they will brown too quickly.
  • Prep the cake basis in advance, up to 2-3 months, prior to being required. Freeze the cakes individually and well wrapped. Defrost with the wrapping removed and when cakes are at room temperature add the frosting. Prepping your birthday cakes saves valuable time.
  • Store the gf cake in the fridge, wrapped, and in a covered container if possible. As doing so will help prevent the cake drying out too quickly.
  • This cake is best enjoyed within 1-3 days.


The following nutritional data is for guidance only and is not a strict analysis as ingredients vary.



Calories: 491kcal


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12 thoughts on “Easy Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake”

  1. 5 stars
    Yum! Your cake was the first gluten free attempt at baking a cake that is not from a packet mix. So, it wasn’t perfect, but that was from my end. I put in extra xanthan gum, because my bread takes 2&1/2t so I thought that a quarter would not be enough. But for gluten free, my cake came out ‘firm’. Also, they didn’t sell any vanilla in stock, but of course after I baked your cake, I found an unopened packet in my cupboard. But I would just like to say that I really love your cake. I’m going to explore another one of your recipes in the future. I can’t wait!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. Really happy you loved the cake. Yes just 1/4 a tsp of xanthium gum is all this cake needs, and I do recommend the vanilla for extra flavour the next time you bake the cake. I am frequently doing that thinking I have run out of something and when I finish my cook I discover the ingredient right in front of my eyes! Lol 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I just got SO hungry looking at this recipe, and I love that it’s vegan! My roommates are vegan so this will be the perfect chocolate cake recipe to pull out next time we’re craving something sweet 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This cake was amazing! We are moving to vegan/dairy free recipes because my 2 year old is lactose intolerant, but she loves chocolate! And she really enjoyed this.

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