The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting

The only gluten-free chocolate cake recipe you need! It is my entire family's go to cake... with Vanilla (or Chocolate) Buttercream Frosting. It has an amazing rich, chocolate flavor and perfect soft & moist texture. And the homemade vanilla buttercream frosting is luscious, not overly sweet and so yummy! Decorate with sprinkles for any occasion.

Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting dessert recipe
The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting

An easy recipe for a Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake everyone will rave about!

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So excited for you to try our Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting!

It is the same cake as our Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting, but obviously with vanilla frosting. And whether you opt for vanilla or chocolate buttercream frosting, this is the only gluten-free chocolate cake recipe you need!

It is a made-from-scratch gluten-free cake with an amazing rich, chocolate flavor and perfect soft & moist texture.

The recipe is from my Aunt (though I have recently learned was adapted from the Hershey’s recipe!), adapted to be gluten-free, and  it’s the cake that my entire extended family makes whenever we need a cake — birthdays, holidays, random get togethers.

And the vanilla buttercream frosting is not overly sweet and so delicious! Perfect for decorate with sprinkles for any occasion.

Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting dessert recipe

How to make the Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

This is one of the easiest cake recipes! Just as easy as using a boxed cake mix!

It’s made with all the usual goods. You’ll need:

gluten-free all purpose flour (we use with GF Jules )

sugar

eggs

Hershey  cocoa (or 100% cacao unsweetened of choice)

baking powder

baking soda

salt

canola oil or oil of choice

vanilla

coffee (we used a dark roast decaf, and the coffee brings out the chocolate flavor)

buttermilk (easy to make!) for extra flavor and moistnesss

gluten-free Chocolate cake buttercream frosting

As an aside, you may have noticed that we are affiliate for GFJules.  A great gluten-free flour is extra important in a recipe like this!  To learn more about why we love GFJules flour and why we have used it for 10 years, click here.

Bonus: at the bottom of that post is a one-time use affiliate Discount Code. And importantly, purchasing through an affiliate link does not change your cost at all. It generates a small percentage of the sale for me, and purchasing through an affiliate link helps me fund this website and all the recipes I share, so thank you.

Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting dessert recipe

Step by Step how to make the Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Making this cake batter is just as easy a a boxed cake mix!

The batter comes together in 2 simple steps:

  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients, then
  2. Add in the wet ingredients and mix for 2 minutes until the batter is smooth.

The batter will be pourable so you can spoon or pour into your pan/ pans.

Bonus: it is a flexible cake, basically fitting any pan… we tend to make it in a 9×13 baking pan or 2 9 inch round cake pans as I did here.

Pro Tip: If you use 2 9 inch round cake pans, cut out some parchment paper to put a the bottom of the pan and grease that as well — it will help ensure the cake comes out of the pan easily.

Bake and cool the cakes in the pan completely before removing from pan and frosting.

Prep ahead: The cakes can be made a day ahead of frosting

How to make the easiest and yummiest Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

You’ll never use store bought frosting again either!

This vanilla buttercream frosting is so simple and soooo yummy!

It’s made with 4 ingredients:

butter or dairy-free butter

powdered sugar (also known as confectioner’s sugar)

vanilla extract

milk or dairy-free milk

All you do it cream all the ingredients together until creamy.

How to Frost a Layer Cake

Frosting a cake always seemed daunting to me but once I started doing it, I realized that it was actually pretty simple. And while it may not always look like it came from a bakery,  it always looks good enough and it tastes great… everyone loves a homemade cake!

I’m sure there are many ways to frost a cake but here is how we do it.  It’s as easy as 1,2, 3!

  1. Place one cake in the center of your serving dish/ cake plate and frost the top of the cake.
  2. Top with the second cake and frost the top of that cake.
  3. Finally frost the edges and give the top an extra swirl of two as desired or needed.

Cake Frosting Pro Tip: especially with this moist cake, to avoid “grabbing the cake” as you frost it, spoon out a generous serving of frosting, then using frosting knife or even a butter knife (I love using a butter knife to spread frosting on the sides of the cake) to spread the thick layer evenly. Repeat by adding more spoonfuls of frosting to the top of the cake and spread until the entire cake is covered.

Cake Frosting Pro Tip 2: after frosting the entire cake, use a damp paper towel to wipe along the edge of the cake plate and remove any excess or stray frosting.

You can leave it with just the frosting or decorate any way you love!

I always love adding sprinkles to a cake as it is easy and festive! Just be sure to add sprinkles before the frosting sets and gently press down on the sprinkles so they stick to the frosting.

Here we decorated the cake with red and green sprinkle for Christmas.

Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting dessert recipe

And that’s it!

The easiest, most moist and chocolaty gluten-free cake, frosted with the yummiest vanilla buttercream frosting!

No one will believe it is gluten-free! And everyone will be asking for the recipe.

So who wants a slice?

Hope you love it!

For more cakes, try our:

Best Chocolate Cake with CHOCOLATE Frosting

Yellow Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

NY Style Crumb Cake

Lemon Bundt Cake

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Almond Flour Orange Cake

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Recipe

 

Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting dessert recipe
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The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

The only gluten-free chocolate cake recipe you need! It is my entire family's go to cake... with Vanilla  (or Chocolate) Buttercream Frosting. It has an amazing rich, chocolate flavor and perfect soft & moist texture. And the vanilla frosting is luscious, not overly sweet and so yummy! Decorate with sprinkles for any occasion.
Can be made as a single sheet cake in a 9x13 inch pan or baked in 2 9 inch round cake pans for a double layer cake as I did here.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Dessert, Baking, Cake
Cuisine: Nut-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Optional
Keyword: easy gluten-free cake recipe, best chocolate cake, best gluten free chocolate cake, gluten-free birthday cake recipe, gluten-free chocolate cake recipe, reliable gluten-free chocolate cake recipe, vanilla buttercream frosting
Servings: 10 12 servings
Author: Healthy Gluten-free Family

Ingredients

Pan size:

  • Recipe makes a 9x13x2 inch cake pan OR 2 9 inch round cake pans for a layer cake as I did here

Cake

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¾ all purpose gluten-free flour with xanthan gum we use GFJules
  • ¾ cup Hershey’s Cocoa (100% cacao unsweetened) or unsweetened cacao powder of choice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup strong black coffee (decaf great too!)
  • 1 cup buttermilk to make buttermilk: add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup and add milk of choice to equal 1 cup, let sit 5-10 minutes
  • ½ cup oil of choice (we've used canola and olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 1 lb box confectioner sugar (approx 3 3/4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter, softened
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons milk of choice

Instructions

Chocolate Cake

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease and flour whichever pan(s) you're using. If using 9 inch cake pans, cut out a round of parchment paper and place on bottom of pan and grease that as well -- this will help ensure the cooked cake comes out of pan easily. Set aside.
  • In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk or paddle attachment.
  • Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes (batter will be thin).
  • Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake 35-40 min. or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • After removing from oven, let cool in pans for 45 minutes, then if using 9 inch round pans, turn over to remove from pan, peel off parchment paper and using a second baking rack flip back over. Cool completely before frosting.
    Can be made a day ahead of frosting: Store overnight at room temperature, leaving the cakes on the baking racks (or in the 9x13 pan) loosely covered in wax paper, using a tooth pick or two in the cake so that the wax paper doesn't stick to the cake.

Vanilla Frosting

  • In a small mixing bowl, beat butter. Add remaining ingredients, and mix until combined and creamy.

Frost the Cake

  • Place one cake in the center of your serving dish/ cake plate and frost the top of the cake.
    Tip: to avoid “grabbing the cake” as you frost it, spoon out a generous serving of frosting, then using frosting knife or even a butter knife (I love using a butter knife to spread frosting on the sides of the cake) to spread the thick layer evenly. Repeat by adding more spoonfuls of frosting to the top of the cake and spread until the entire cake is covered.
  • Top with the second cake and frost the top of that cake.
  • Finally frost the edges and give the top an extra swirl of two as desired or needed. Use a damp paper towel to wipe any excess frosting off the edge of the serving plate. Top with sprinkles as desired and enjoy!
  • Store in the refrigerator, loosely covered with wax paper, for up to 5 days.
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthyGFfamily or tag #healthyGFfamily!

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