This Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cake is moist and fluffy, rich and chocolatey and coated in lashings of velvety chocolate buttercream. It tastes just as indulgent as the cake of childhood parties, but is secretly much healthier. It’s easy to make, comes together in one bowl and is refined sugar free too. Perfect for birthdays and other occasions!
How to make the cake
Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the sponge in a glass mixing bowl.
Tip: Use a measuring jug to measure out the milk.
- Transfer into two 18 cm / 7 inch sandwich baking tins.
Tip: Line the tins with greased baking paper to make the sponges easier to take out after.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the sponges onto a cooling rack to cool down before applying the frosting.
For the frosting
I used my Sweet Potato Chocolate Buttercream recipe – using vegetables to make buttercream may sound crazy, but the creamy texture and natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes is magical. It’s perfectly sweet, rich and velvety – everything a cake frosting should be right? It’s also budget-friendly and easy to make!
- Place one half of the cake onto a plate and use a palette knife for frosting to spread just less than half of the buttercream onto it.
- Place the other half of the cake on top of that and use rest of the buttercream to spread on top and around sides of cake.
- Decorate with whatever you like – I like to use rose petals or freeze-dried raspberries as an alternative to sprinkles!
How long does this Chocolate Cake keep for?
This Chocolate Cake does taste best when fresh, but keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days.
Substitutions you can make
- You can use any type of oil: coconut oil, olive oil or vegetable oil.
- You can use any type of plant-based milk: almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, cashew milk, oat milk etc.
- You can use any type of liquid sweetener: maple syrup, agave syrup, brown rice syrup etc.
- You can replace the vinegar with lemon juice.
- You can replace the ground almonds (almond meal) with ground walnuts.
- For a nut-free version: replace the ground almonds (almond meal) with ground sunflower seeds or use 30g (¼ cup) coconut flour instead of 150g (1 ¼ cup) ground almonds.
- You can use plain flour, wholemeal (whole wheat) flour or spelt flour instead of the gluten-free flour if you’re not gluten-free.
- Make sure to use the right amount of baking powder – 2 heaped teaspoons! Use too little baking powder and your sponge won’t be fluffy, too much and it’ll have a bitter taste.
- The vinegar is crucial as it’s acidic, which means it reacts with the alkali bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to create a bubbly batter, and fluffy sponge.
- Make sure to use an all-purpose shop-bought gluten-free flour blend (or a homemade gluten-free flour blend), as opposed to just using any type of gluten-free flour you can find (such as almond flour, coconut flour, buckwheat flour etc).
More vegan chocolate treats
- Mississippi Mud Pie
- Chocolate Truffle Cake
- Chocolate Pie
- Chocolate Muffins
- Chocolate Cheesecake
- Chocolate Baked Donuts
- Chocolate Truffles
- or browse the whole collection of chocolate cake recipes!
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d really love to hear any feedback! Please give it a rating, leave a comment, or tag a photo @rhiansrecipes #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! Thank you.
Watch how to make this recipe
Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cake
For the cake:
- 60 g (¼ cup) coconut oil (or sub olive or vegetable oil)
- 250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened almond milk (or any plant-based milk)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- 12 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 150 g (1 ¼ cup) ground almonds (almond meal) *
- 150 g (1 ¼ cup) gluten-free flour blend (or sub plain flour if not gluten-free)
- 2 heaped teaspoons baking powder (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 50 g (½ cup) cocoa powder
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Place the coconut oil in a large bowl and melt over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave (skip this step if using any other oil)
- Once melted, add the milk to the same bowl along with the vinegar, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and ground almonds
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder
- Mix well, adding a tiny splash more milk if it’s looking too dry
- Divide mixture between two greased baking tins lined with baking paper (I used two 7inch/18cm baking tins)
- Bake in oven for around 15 minutes until risen slightly and an inserted skewer comes out clean
- Once out the oven, transfer cakes from baking tins onto a wired rack to leave them to cool completely before applying the frosting
For the buttercream:
- Cook sweet potatoes by boiling, steaming or roasting them until very soft and tender
- Discard any skins, and add to a food processor or blender (or hand-held blender) along with all other ingredients
- Whizz until completely smooth
- Taste and adjust ingredients as necessary – add more maple syrup for sweetness, more salt for saltiness, more cocoa powder for chocolate flavour etc
- Leave to cool before using to frost the cake
To frost and decorate the cake:
- Place one half of the cake onto a plate and spread just less than half of the buttercream onto it
- Place the other half of the cake on top of that and use rest of the buttercream to spread on top and around sides of cake
- Decorate with fresh fruit, chopped nuts, dried fruit, or whatever else you fancy!
- Keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days
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