The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

This is the only gluten-free chocolate cake recipe you need! It is my entire family's go to cake... with Chocolate or Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. It has an amazing rich, chocolate flavor and perfect soft & moist texture. And both buttercream frostings (but especially the chocolate if you're a chocolate fan!) are unreal! Perfect creamy texture and not overly sweet.

The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Chocolate Buttercream Frosting easy dessert gluten-free recipe
The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

A gluten-free chocolate cake everyone will rave about!

If you’re looking for Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting, click here.

For Chocolate Sheet Cake with Buttercream Frosting (same cake with smaller quantities to fit 1/2 sheet cake), click here

If you’re here for The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake, read on!

This Gluten-free Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting is for all chocolate lovers!

It is an old-fashioned, made-from-scratch cake that is moist and chocolatey and sooooo good!

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

And it’s always served on Christmas Day!

So naturally, it is one of the first cakes we made gluten-free once my son was diagnosed with celiac disease over 13 years ago.

The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Chocolate Buttercream Frosting easy dessert gluten-free recipe

Just look at that texture! It’s so soft and moist, and has the perfect cake “crumb” .

How to make the Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

It is one of the easiest cake recipes!

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

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



Hershey  cocoa (or 100% cacao unsweetened of choice)

baking powder

baking soda


canola oil or oil of choice


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

and buttermilk (easy to make!) for extra flavor and moistness.

Chocolate cupcakes buttercream frosting gluten free #glutenfreerecipes

As an aside, you may have noticed that we are affiliate for GFJules.  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!

Back to the Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake….

The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Chocolate Buttercream Frosting easy dessert gluten-free recipe

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.

Seriously, just as easy as a boxed cake mix!

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

Of note, 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.  Pro tip: the cakes can be made a day ahead of frosting it.

How to make the easiest and yummiest Buttercream Frosting

The cake is frosted with a homemade classic buttercream frosting that is amaaaazing!

Note: I also provide a recipe for a vanilla buttercream frosting that is equally yummy.

The Best Chocolate Frosting!

It’s made with 5 ingredients:

butter or dairy-free butter

cocoa powder (we use Hershey’s cocoa, 100% cacao unsweetened)

vanilla extract

powdered sugar (also known as confectioner’s sugar)

milk or dairy-free milk

All you do it cream the butter, then alternately add the cocoa powder/ powdered sugar and milk until smooth and 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 that while it may always look like it came from a bakery, that it didn’t matter — it always looked good enough and it tasted 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: when the frosting is on the entire cake, use a damp paper towel to wipe along the edge of the cake plate and remove any excess or stray frosting.

And 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 gently press down on the sprinkles so they stick to the frosting.

And that’s it!

The easiest, most moist and chocolaty cake, frosted with the yummiest buttercream frosting!

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

So who wants a slice?

The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Chocolate Buttercream Frosting easy dessert gluten-free recipe

Hope you love it as much as we do!

It can also be made with vanilla buttercream frosting and both ways, it is unbelievably delicious! No one ever believes it is gluten-free!

The Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake Chocolate Buttercream Frosting easy dessert gluten-free recipe



We’ve even made this cake as cupcakes and they are so good!

Chocolate cupcakes buttercream frosting gluten free #glutenfreerecipes

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The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Chocolate Buttercream Frosting easy dessert gluten-free recipe
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5 from 6 votes

The Best Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

This is a long time, family favorite recipe that we have been making gluten-free for years. It's moist, chocolatey and so yummy! It can be made with with a chocolate or vanilla frosting, and 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 Time15 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Dessert, Baking, Cake
Cuisine: Gluten-Free
Keyword: best chocolate cake, best gluten free chocolate cake, reliable gluten-free dessert recipe, gluten-free birthday cake recipe, gluten-free chocolate cake recipe, easy gluten free dessert recipe, easy gluten-free cake recipe
Servings: 10 12 servings
Author: Healthy Gluten-free Family


Pan size:

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


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¾ all purpose gluten-free flour with xanthan gum we use GFJules (affiliate link)
  • 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 idealy
  • 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 use canola)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Frosting

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

Chocolate Frosting

  • 6 Tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa or unsweetened cacao powder of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 to 6 Tablespoons milk of choice



  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • 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.
  • In large mixing bowl, blend sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes (batter will be thin).
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35-40 min. or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool completely. Remove from pans if using 9 inch round cake pans. Frost as desired.

Vanilla Frosting

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

Chocolate Frosting

  • In small mixer bowl, beat butter. Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk; beat to spreading consistency. Blend in vanilla. Makes about 2 cups frosting.
Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyGFFamily or tag #HealthyGFFamily!




27 thoughts on “The Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

    1. Hi Tina! Thanks so much for catching this! It’s 1/2 cup. I will update the recipe now.

  1. My Mother’s made this cake for us all the time. She would color the frosting of the time of year or holidays. My favorite chocolate cake!

    1. Yay!It is my extended family’s go to cake as well! Love the idea of coloring the frosting to make it more festive! Thanks for sharing!

  2. This looks amazing and I plan on making it for a friend’s birthday next week as she has celiac disease. One question though, can’t I just use 2 round cake pans? Is there a reason for the spring form pan?

  3. I just made this cake last night. It was easy to make and tastes delicious. It really is the best chocolate cake! My only concern is the center of the cake was concave…it did not rise like a typical cake. Any thoughts on what I did wrong?
    Will absolutely make again!

  4. I made this cake today, and it was absolutely, wonderfully, delicious. Usually when I make gluten free cake it’s very dense, not the case with this recipe. This cake was moist, and fluffy, and the icing was fantastic!
    My family loved it, and will definitely be making this again.

  5. I made this as cupcakes today for my daughter’s birthday. We are a family of 3 Celiacs and my birthday daughter is also lactose intolerant. I substituted with oatmilk and water instead of coffee. Used vegan butter in the frosting as well.
    This was the most moist and flavourful GF chocolate cake/cupcakes I have ever tasted. Thank you so much. Will definitely make it again ❤️.

      1. Can I use another unsweetened cocoa powder? I’m not a fan of Hershey’s. I don’t even have any in my pantry. My husband’s birthday is coming up, and I would love to make this for him. I’m the one who has to be gluten free and I hate to deny him a real cake.

  6. 5 stars
    We made this chocolate cake with vanilla frosting for our wedding cake and it was delicious!! My non-celiac husband approved and said he couldn’t tell it was GF! I’m going to make it again for our 1st anniversary ❤️

  7. 5 stars
    This is now my go-to chocolate cake recipe! I have made this cake many times for celiacs and non-celiacs alike and everyone loves it. I do the 9in 2 layer cake or half the recipe for a single layer. I also love that it doesn’t dry out quickly, so that if there is any left it can be stored in a cake carrier for the next day. LOVE THIS CAKE!

  8. If we are making this cake for someone who can’t have coffee, what would you substitute in place of the coffee?

    Thank you,

  9. 5 stars
    Hello Karen, I wish I could hug you. I am so grateful I stumbled across your page on Instagram. Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and I made him the most delicious (and super easy) chocolate cake – with Nutella in the middle. I am not a baker, but the cake turned out amazing and is the best cake I have ever had (even before my son’s celiac diagnosis last year). We tried so many gf bakeries or cake mixes before I came across your site and they were OK, but I would never go back buying cakes EVER. I almost feel like I should open a bakery (I am joking, while I love baking for my family – it wouldn’t be anything I would want to do full-time) as there is a true need for amazing baked goods. I just wanted to let you know, how absolutely amazing your recipes are.

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