This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosures.
This Gluten-Free Chocolate Fudge Cake is rich with chocolate and boasts a moist and tender crumb. Finished with a luxuriously silky buttercream for the ultimate indulgence. No xanthan gum is needed for this crowd pleaser of a cake.
If you are in need of an incredible Gluten-Free Chocolate Fudge Cake to become your go-to chocolate cake for birthdays and all kinds of celebrations then this is the cake of your dreams. It is everything that a proper fudge cake should be with bags of intense chocolate flavour, a gorgeously moist yet light texture and a velvety buttercream. Prepare to meet your new favourite gluten-free chocolate layer cake.
- Why you’ll love this recipe
- Watch this video to see how to make it
- What flours do you need?
- Do I need to add xanthan gum to this cake?
- What other ingredients do we need?
- How to make it
- Pro tips
- Ingredients you'll need
- Tools you'll need
- Variations to try
- Make dairy-free
- Make in advance
- How to store
- How to freeze
- More gluten-free chocolate cakes you’ll love!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Deeply chocolatey flavour.
- The sponge is on the right side of sweet.
- Perfectly moist, light and fluffy sponge.
- Creamy rich and intensely chocolatey buttercream.
- Easy to make, the sponge comes together in one bowl without the need for a mixer.
- No xanthan gum is needed.
Watch this video to see how to make it
What flours do you need?
Teff flour is a wholegrain flour. It has a fluffy texture and the caramel flavour undertones pair excellently with chocolate.
Substitution. Instead of teff flour you can use oat flour or sorghum flour.
Sweet rice flour
Sweet rich flour is a starchy flour which helps bind the ingredients and lends a little fudginess to the sponge. This is not the same ingredient as regular rice flour.
Substitution. You can substitute for tapioca flour (but not if you are also substituting the almond flour for tapioca flour – see below - as it would make the sponge too tapioca heavy).
Almond flour, like all nut flours, is excellent for giving excellent structure to cakes due to its high levels of protein. This cake uses ultra finely ground almonds which are not the same as ground almonds.
Substitution. Almond flour is sometimes hard to source so ground almonds can be substituted. For nut-free alternatives then you can use tapioca flour.
Do I need to add xanthan gum to this cake?
Xanthan gum is used to mimic the job of gluten in gluten-free cakes. It helps bind the ingredients together and can make the crumb a little lighter and softer. This cake doesn’t need xanthan gum as the right blend of wholegrain and starchy flours give the cake an excellent structure which is light and moist. Plus the stickiness of the melted chocolate in the batter also helps bind the cake ingredients.
What other ingredients do we need?
- Dark chocolate. This cake uses 70% dark chocolate. However, you can use 50-60% chocolate for a softer chocolate flavour.
- Cocoa powder. Choose a high quality organic brand if possible.
- Espresso powder. Brings out the chocolate flavour rather than giving a coffee flavour. It can be omitted.
- Bicarbonate of soda. Gives the cake a good rise.
- Milk. Use whole milk or a plant based milk if you are making dairy-free.
- Apple cider vinegar. Reacts with the milk to give a lovely tanginess which adds complexity of flavour.
- Caster sugar. A fine white sugar which gives lightness.
- Brown sugar. Adds a gentle flavour and lends a fudgy texture.
- Olive oil. Use a flavourless mild and light olive oil.
- Eggs. This cake uses a medium size. Burford Browns give a lovely rich flavour if you can get them.
- Vanilla extract. Use extract not essence. I like the Neilsen Massey brand.
- Salt. Lifts the other flavours of the cake
And for the buttercream?
- Dark chocolate. 70% dark chocolate for an intense chocolate flavour.
- Butter. Unsalted and make sure it’s at room temperature.
- Icing sugar. Sift before using for an even blend.
- Cocoa powder. Choose a high quality organic brand if possible.
- Salt. A really essential ingredient, without it the buttercream can be quite bland.
How to make it
For full recipe instructions go to the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Dry ingredients. Whisk the flours together with cocoa powder, espresso powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
2. Homemade 'buttermilk'. Mix the milk with the vinegar and let stand for a couple of minutes.
TIP: Since actual buttermilk is often difficult to buy this milk/vinegar trick works just as well. It looks like it has curdled once you have let it rest. That's correct and how it should look. You can substitute the milk/vinegar with actual buttermilk if you prefer.
3. Wet ingredients. Mix the homemade 'buttermilk' with the sugars, olive oil, eggs and vanilla.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Beat together until smooth.
5. Chocolate. Melt the chocolate then pour into the rest of the cake batter and mix until completely incorporated.
6. Bake. Pour the batter into 2 cake tins and bake for 30-35 minutes.
7. Buttercream. Beat butter and icing sugar until very light and creamy. Add cocoa powder, melted chocolate and salt and beat until smooth and creamy.
TIP: If you cover the mixer with a tea towel when beating the butter and sugar then you won’t get a sugar snowstorm in your kitchen.
8. Cool. Turn the cakes onto wire racks and cool completely before filling with buttercream.
- No stand mixer. It isn't necessary to use a stand mixer for the cake batter but if you do then make sure to sift the dry ingredients and the sugars to avoid clumping and to achieve a smooth batter.
- Chocolate. Make sure the melted chocolate has cooled for at least 10 minutes before adding to the cake batter or buttercream.
- Buttercream. For the lightest creamiest result then mix the butter and sugar for at least 6 minutes in the stand mixer, scraping down the sides every so often.
- Serving. For neat clean slices, place the cake in the freezer for 20 minutes. It will firm up the cake to make it easier to cut. In between cuts wipe your knife with a warm damp cloth for clean slices.
Variations to try
This cake is a great base for making all different variations on chocolate cake.
- Chocolate Orange. Use 1½ teaspoons orange extract in the cake batter, ½ teaspoon orange extract in the buttercream and decorate the cake with Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments.
- Mint Chocolate. Use 1 teaspoon peppermint extract in the cake batter and ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract in the buttercream for a delicious Mint Chocolate Cake.
- Berries. Decorate your cake in seasonal raspberries, strawberries or blueberries or add a layer of crushed berries in between the layers of the cake.
For the sponge you just need to substitute the milk for a plant based milk and make sure you use dairy-free chocolate.
For the buttercream you can swap the butter for a plant based spread and make sure you use dairy-free chocolate.
Make in advance
This cake keeps really well due to its moist texture. You can make this cake up to 3 days in advance.
How to store
This cake keeps best in the refrigerator but is best eaten at room temperature so remove from the fridge at least 2 hours before serving. If you are keeping in the fridge then chill completely uncovered on a plate. Once the cake is cold the buttercream will firm up enough that you can then cover it with plastic wrap without spoiling the look of the buttercream.
How to freeze
- You can freeze the whole cake with the buttercream. It is best to chill the cake completely overnight in the fridge so that the buttercream firms up. Then wrap well in plastic wrap and aluminium foil before freezing. Defrost the cake overnight in the fridge before removing the plastic wrap then bring to room temperature before serving.
- You can also freeze the cake in slices. Chill completely before slicing then store the cake slices layered up in airtight containers with a piece of baking parchment in between layers. The cake slices take a couple of hours to defrost on the kitchen counter.
More gluten-free chocolate cakes you’ll love!
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake
- Chocolate Cranberry Clementine Cake
- Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
- Chocolate Raspberry Cake
- Bounty Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread
I urge you to give this Gluten-Free Chocolate Fudge Cake a try. If you do then please leave a comment below and give the recipe a rating which helps others find the recipe on Google. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own culinary creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Fudge Cake
- 125 g 70% dark chocolate
- 100 g teff flour
- 80 g sweet rice flour
- 50 g almond flour
- 90 g cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1¾ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 400 ml whole milk
- 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 160 g caster sugar
- 100 g soft light brown sugar
- 170 ml olive oil
- 3 eggs - medium
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Fudge Buttercream
- 300 g 70% dark chocolate
- 500 g unsalted butter - room temperature
- 50 g cocoa powder
- 500 g icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 160°C fan assisted oven / gas mark 4 and line and grease 2 x 8 inch round cake tins.
- Melt the chocolate in a bain marie, or a glass bowl set over a pan of boiling water, then set aside.
- Pour the milk into a jug and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to curdle slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, whisk together the flours and starches, cocoa powder, espresso powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until well mixed.
- In a separate bowl mix together the vinegar milk, sugars, olive oil, eggs and vanilla then beat into the flour mixture.
- Finally mix in the melted chocolate until completely incorporated.
- Divide the mixture between the 2 cake tins and bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until an inserted skewer is removed without a wet crumb.
- Turn out the cakes and cool on wire racks before filling with buttercream.
Chocolate Fudge Buttercream
- Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or a glass bowl set over a pan of boiling water, then set aside to cool.
- Beat butter together with the icing sugar in a stand mixer for at least 6 minutes until light and creamy, scraping down the sides every so often.
- Add the cocoa powder, melted chocolate and salt then beat until smooth and incredibly creamy.
Unit ConversionsA unit conversion for US customary measurements has been included above but please note the recipe has not been tested using cup measurements. Weighing ingredients is always recommended for accurate results.
- 70% chocolate. Swap for 50-60% chocolate or a dairy-free chocolate.
- Whole milk. Swap for plant milk for dairy-free version.
- Teff flour. Swap for sorghum flour or oat flour.
- Almond flour. Swap for ground almonds or tapioca flour.
- Butter. Swap for a plant based butter for dairy-free version.
- Chocolate. Make sure the melted chocolate has cooled for at least 10 minutes before adding to the cake batter and the buttercream.
- No stand mixer. You don't need to use a stand mixer for making the cake batter. However if you are not then make sure to sift the dry ingredients and the sugars as they have a tendency to clump and it will mix better.
- Buttercream. If you cover the mixer with a tea towel when beating the butter and sugar then you won’t get a sugar snowstorm in your kitchen. For the lightest creamiest result then mix the butter and sugar for at least 6 minutes in the stand mixer, scraping down the sides every so often.
- Slicing the cake. If you are serving straight away then place the cake in the freezer for 20 minutes, it will make it easier to cut. In between cuts wipe your knife with a warm damp cloth for clean slices.