The one that stops people in their tracks when they taste it, and again when they realise it’s not only gluten free but nut free and dairy free and soy free too, and again when they hear about the frosting.
The one I held off on posting until I could justify making a four layer cake by taking the non-cut half to a meet-up to remove at least some of it from my house because there is no self control when it comes to this cake.
The one I made just one more time as a single layer when I should have been packing because I had to shoot the not-buttercream.
The one I took a slice of on the plane because avec chocolat is the only way to fly, especially when one flies cattle class.
The one my niece insisted be served to her with a candle — no singing, just a candle to blow out — every time she had a piece.
The one that gets better the next day, and the day after that — if it lasts that long.
The one that is filled with Whipped Chocolate Coconut Cream and iced with the most unbelievable nut, dairy, gluten, soy, refined sugar free Vegan Chocolate Not-Buttercream.
This is THAT cake.
Best Ever Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Yes, really. I know it’s a big claim but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. This is not a traditional flourless chocolate cake, it’s fluffy and moist and has a perfectly perfect crumb and I will not enter into any arguments to the contrary. Now go have some cake.
Makes one 8″ wide x 2″ high cake or two 8″ x 1″ layers (see note). Double recipe for the four layer cake in the photos.
- 2 cups finely grated raw pumpkin (260 g)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup syrup, see note
- scant ½ cup oil, see note
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda (bi-carb soda)
- ½ tsp flakey sea salt
- ¾ cup cocoa or raw cacao
- ¼ cup coconut flour
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease an 8 inch (20 cm) baking tin and line base with baking paper.
Whisk grated pumpkin, eggs, syrup, oil and vanilla with a fork. Sift over dry ingredients and mix well. Scrape into prepared tin and smooth surface flat with an offset/pallet knife.
Bake 35 – 40 mins, until edges pull away from the tin and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool cake in tin 10 mins, run a knife around edge and turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
Spread Vegan Chocolate Buttercream frosting over top and sides before serving — see “make it a layer cake” below for tips on making it more than a single layer. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
gluten-free // dairy-free // refined sugar-free // nut-free // soy-free // probably paleo
FAQS & COOK’S NOTES
- Taste & Texture
- This is a very moist cake but it does have a lovely crumb. The cake gets better the next day so if you can bake it in advance and refrigerate overnight it will benefit.
- Due to the delicate crumb the cake will not slice through the centre into layers very well so it’s best to follow the “make it a layer cake” directions below.
- This is not an overly sweet cake but if you’re a fan of unrefined and naturally lower sugar recipes this is the one for you. If you want something tooth-achingly sweet then you’re best coating it with a very sweet frosting or going with another recipe.
- Maple syrup is the sweetest of the syrups — use it for the entire syrup quantity for the sweetest option. I prefer using all maple syrup or a combo of 2/3 maple and 1/3 rice syrup.
- Honey is ok as a substitute but can overwhelm the chocolate so I don’t recommend it.
- All rice syrup would be ok but is less sweet than the others.
- In a pinch mix ½ cup packed rapadura sugar (or even brown sugar if you must) with ¼ cup water to make a syrup.
- I don’t use natvia or granulated stevia sugar substitutes so can’t vouch for how they would work.
- I’ve made this with macadamia oil, avocado oil and a combo of coconut and olive oils — all work well. If you’re not a fan of the flavour of a certain oil, it’s best to avoid it.
- I’ve used Jap/Kent/Kabocha and Butternut Pumpkin (called Butternut Squash in the US) — all work well.
- If possible grate pumpkin finely, but the coarser side of a box grater does work in a pinch.
- Readers have substituted both carrot and sweet potato with great success. You can see what they say in the comments below.
- Yes, pumpkin should be peeled, de-seeded and raw.
- No, I haven’t made it with cooked pumpkin puree, but I’ve had reader feedback that it worked well for them.
- I’m not a fan (in this recipe) of substituting with raw grated beet as when I tried it the slivers of beet did not melt into the cake like the pumpkin does.
- Eggs/Vegan Version
- Proceed with caution when substituting eggs as they are really the only thing holding the cake together, I haven’t fully tested alternatives to eggs at this point but some commenters have.
- A few people have left comments below that they’ve had luck making this vegan with psyllium husk eggs and powdered egg replacer eggs. Remember that one egg is 1/4 cup liquid so if your replacement egg is less than that, or thicker than a standard egg, the batter will be much thicker and may take longer to bake.
- Coconut Flour
- Coconut flour is the product left over after coconut milk is made from coconut flesh. It’s dried and finely ground, and absorbs an enormous amount of liquid. You cannot substitute desiccated, flaked or shredded coconut for the coconut flour, nor can you substitute the same amount of wheat or gf flour.
MAKE IT A LAYER CAKE
The cake is too delicate to slice through the centre as you would for a standard layer cake, so baking the thinner layers individually is the best way to go.
Be gentle when stacking — unless refrigerated overnight it can break when picked-up and handled like a traditional cake. Sliding the cooled layers from the rack onto your cake platter (or onto subsequent layers) will give them a bit more support.
- Tall two layer cake (picture below): Make a double batch of Gluten Free Chocolate Cake batter and prepare as in the recipe above, using two 8 inch pans to bake the cakes. Fill and frost with Vegan Chocolate not-Buttercream, or fill with Whipped Chocolate Coconut Cream and frost with the not-buttercream.
- Simple two layer cake (not shown, resembles half of the pictured 4-layer cake): Make a single batch of Gluten Free Chocolate Cake batter. Grease and line two 8 inch pans then divide batter evenly into two thin layers and smooth tops. Bake 18 – 22 mins until edges pull away and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 mins before turning out. Fill and frost with Vegan Chocolate not-Buttercream, or fill with Whipped Chocolate Coconut Cream and frost with the not-buttercream.
- Tall four layer cake (pictures above): Make a double batch of Gluten Free Chocolate Cake batter. Grease and line four 8 inch pans then divide batter evenly and smooth tops. Bake 18 – 22 mins until edges pull away and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 mins before turning out. I only have two pans so I bake them in stages. Fill with a double batch of Whipped Chocolate Coconut Cream, frost with Vegan Chocolate not-Buttercream.