Gluten-Free American Mud Cake with Triple Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate is often the default flavor that bakers go to  when asked to make a gluten-free cake. It makes sense; chocolate is pronounced enough to cover any unsavory flavors that non-wheat flours present and cocoa powder can be used as a starch substitute for some of the wheat flour.  But clear your mind of any preconceived notions of gluten-free chocolate cake.  This is just straight forward delicious cake. This recipe is based on my American Mud Cake and boasts of the same great chocolate complexity and rich, moist, goodness!A-gf-mudcake-stand-webThis cake recipe closely mimics that of the American Mud Cake, yet it has a few changes that help make it an effectively wonderful gluten-free cake.  For general tips on baking gluten-free cakes see Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake.


Here are the changes that I made to the recipe:

  • I substituted rice powder and starch for the wheat flour.
  • I increased the cocoa powder by 1/4 cup which allowed me to use less of the gluten-free flours and maintain a structure that was similar to the original.
  • I increased the number of eggs from three to six. The eggs act as structural stand-ins for flour proteins that are lost when the gluten is removed.
  • Adding eggs causes a significant increase in liquid so I reduced the espresso from 1 1/4 cups to 3/4 cup.
  • I added 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum to act as a binder and batter stabilizer.
  • I changed from using two 8-inch pans to three 8-inch pans which allows for a bit less gravitational force on the cake and therefore more stability.


This cake is actually a touch lighter than the original in texture, likely due to the addition of the eggs, but it has a wonderful balance between fudgy and ethereal.


Mmmm, look at that moist, delicious bite! I made a scrumptious triple chocolate frosting for this cake.  It is so yummy I could eat it by the spoonful. The combination of cocoa, melted and grated chocolate gives deep chocolaty flavor that varies as it melts in your mouth. The grated chocolate results in a slightly chunky, rustic appearance but if you want a smooth buttercream you can leave the grated chocolate out.

If you yourself are gluten free or if you bake for loved ones that are, this cake is an excellent choice.  As my niece put it, “this cake doesn’t taste free, it tastes full!”

Happy baking!

Gluten-Free American Mud Cake with Triple Chocolate Frosting


  • 8 ounces (227 grams) unsalted butter, each halved-1 cup
  • 7 ounces (198 grams)72% cacao or more dark chocolate, chopped or broken coarsely
  • 14 ounces (397 grams) granulated sugar-2 cups
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) Dutch processed cocoa powder- 3/4 cup (I recommend Cacao Barry Extra Brute or Pernigotti)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) strong hot coffee or hot water plus 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 ½ ounces (128 grams) cornstarch or potato starch-1 cup
  • 4 ¼ ounces (120 grams) rice powder-¾ cup
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (9 grams) baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • ½ teaspoon (4 grams) salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) xanthan gum
  • For the Triple Chocolate Frosting:
  • 16 ounces (454 grams) unsalted butter softened-2 cups
  • 2 ounces (57 grams) Dutch processed cocoa powder (such as Pernigotti or Cacao Barry Extra Brute)-2/3 cup
  • 5 ounces (142 grams) semisweet or dark chocolate, melted and cooled to near room temperature
  • 7 ounces (198 grams) marshmallow crème*, 1 small jar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) semisweet chocolate, grated or very finely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C). Spray two 8-inch round cake pans gluten free cooking spray and dust with additional cocoa powder or grease liberally with butter.
  2. In a large, about 8-cup or 1.5 liter, microwave safe container, melt butter and chocolate. Heat butter and chocolate for 1 minute followed with 30 second intervals, whisking until completely melted.
  3. Whisk in sugar and then cocoa powder until fully incorporated. Slowly add hot coffee in 3 increments whisking until smooth. Add vanilla and then the eggs one at a time.
  4. In a mixer bowl combine the cornstarch, rice powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum and mix with the wire beater until combined, about 30 seconds. With the mixer on low speed, gradually pour in the chocolate mixture. Once it is all added, beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and beat for 30 seconds more until smooth.
  5. Pour into cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester just comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out to a cooling rack to cool completely or wrap in plastic wrap until needed. Frost and fill with Triple Chocolate Frosting or other icing and filling. Enjoy! This makes three 1 ¼ inch thick layers.
  6. For the Triple Chocolate Frosting:
  7. In a mixer bowl combine the butter and cocoa powder and mix on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove ½ cup of the mixture and stir it into the melted cooled chocolate until smooth and uniform. Return this mixture to the mixer bowl and mix on medium low to blend. Stir in the marshmallow crème and vanilla and mix well to blend. Stir in the grated chocolate. The mixture will look chunky**. Use to fill and frost.
  8. *If you cannot locate marshmallow crème in your area you can make a substitute by melting 6 ounces (170 grams) large marshmallows with 1 ounce (28 grams) corn syrup and 1-2 teaspoons water in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Cool before using.
  9. **If you prefer you can leave out the grated chocolate for a smooth frosting.









34 thoughts on “Gluten-Free American Mud Cake with Triple Chocolate Frosting”

  1. I personally am not gluten free, but have a niece who is. She loves cake so am definitely going to try this recipe, but where the heck do you find gluten free vanilla? Would homemade vanilla be gluten free? You use regular vanilla in your gluten-free vanilla cake, so is this something new that you’ve just discovered? As you can tell, I don’t really know much about gluten-free baking, but am hoping to learn!

    1. Most natural vanilla extract is gluten free. You just have to be careful if you are using imitation because caramel color can contain gluten. 🙂

  2. Thank you for all of the wonderful recipes, especially the ones that use alternative ingredients and flours. Can you please tell me if rice powder is the same as rice flour?

    1. Hi Paige, Yes rice powder is the same as rice flour but it is more finely ground and I have found that it gives cake a texture that is more like wheat based cakes and less rough on the tongue. Rice flour will work fine, just be sure to use the finest grind you can get your hands on. Authentic Foods makes beautiful, superfine, gluten-free flours but I believe you have to order them online in most cases. 🙂

  3. Thank you for letting me know. I already order some of my ingredients online so I will definitely look into Authentic Foods as I would love to make this cake soon!

  4. Hi Summer
    I was hoping you can help me out here. I did your recipe for the American mud cake (not the gluten free) and it turned out great. I was so happy with it! Every one loved it and the texture was perfect . Now I am having my sons birthday party next week and I was wondering if the triple chocolate frosting will be better for kids? It’s my first cake for an occasion. I am new in the cake baking and decorating world and have been only making cakes practice for family and closest friends.
    And thanks a lot for this great blog I learned soooo much here and in moments of frustrations I found my answers here.


    1. Hi May! Yes, I think the Triple Chocolate Frosting would be a bit more kid friendly. You can make it several days ahead if you want and refrigerate it. Just bring it to room temperature and rewhip it before frosting the cake. I am so glad you like the American Mud Cake and are finding help on the site! 🙂

  5. Oh one more thing, how long can I store this frosting I wanted to do it today or tomorrow to spare some time. And would it be as good as when it’s fresh made? Especially because I the grated chocolate.

    1. Yes, it can be used for a crumb coat but note that it has chocolate shavings in it so it is not super smooth. Other than that it should work. 🙂

  6. Hi Summer,
    I was wondering – and this might be a stupid question-, but could I not use gluten free plain or self raising flour? instead of rice flour/powder? I’m confused.. Would it still be a gluten free cake? Would that still produce a nice texture?

    thanks so much!

    1. No questions are stupid! You can use a gluten free flour mix but often the character of the gluten free cake is determined by the combination and quality of flours used. If you have one that you love and trust it should work fine. I would not use self-rising flour because it will add leavening agents and they will be in excess of what you need. Good luck!

      1. Hi Summer,

        Just wanted to say that this cake was beautiful. I baked it for the first time last week, and it rose beautifully and tasted wonderful and was moist and delicious, and so chocolaty, yum! I couldn’t even tell it was a special gluten free recipe!! Just magic!!

        thanks again for your wonderful recipes!!
        Jaime 🙂

  7. I would love to use this recipe for a child’s smash cake but wonder what I could use instead of the coffee for religious reasons…. thoughts?

  8. Hello, thank you for sharing your recipes. I know absolutely nothing about gluten free baking, but I told someone I’d give it a try. Is the xanthan gum absolutely necessary? I hate to spend the money on 1/2 tsp… But I hate altering recipes unless I’ve tried them already. Please advise- thanks so much!

  9. Hi Summer- Love all of your recipes! One question–are we supposed to be using two or three 8″ pans? In the notes I think you say that “I changed from using two 8-inch pans to three 8-inch pans which allows for a bit less gravitational force on the cake and therefore more stability.”, but in the recipe instructions, I believe it calls for only two 8″ pans. Also, have you ever tried freezing this cake if making it ahead?

  10. Hi there. I made this recipe last night with really high hopes. I made cupcakes instead of rounds and they came out super dry and fluffy, not like a mud cake at all. I baked them for 17 minutes, just until the tooth pick wasn’t wet with batter. Any thoughts on why t was so dry? I followed the recipe word for word and measured in grams for better accuracy.

    1. The two culprits I can think of would be the rice powder or the cocoa. I use a cocoa that retains a fair amount of cocoa butter and can contribute noticeably to moisture in the cake. Also, rice powder can vary from brand to brand so you may need to slightly reduce the volume/weight. You can increase the cake’s moisture by raising the volume of liquid and fat. I hope this helps! This cake should be fudgy and moist. If you have more question or discussion let me know. 🙂

  11. Hi Summer, I am going to make your GF chocolate mud cake recipe. The original is the chocolate cake recipe I use for my clients who want a fudgey vs fluffy chocolate cake and they love it! Question- would it be a bad idea to try this in 6″ pans? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Pam, You can make this in 6-inch pans but you will want to scale the recipe to 3/4 the original size to keep a similar thickness. I don’t think it will hold up well if it is baked in a thick 6-inch layer. I hope that helps!

      1. Thank you Summer! I’m going to make the Vanilla this month and the chocolate in February for Valentines day now. I have a question posted to you in the Vanilla GF cake- a little confused.

  12. I love this cake so delicions but i didnt bake it using gluten free ingredients, For the rice flour I subsitituted it w/ cake flour and never used xanthum gum either. It’s delicious but I would like it to be as moist as yours. Do you think removing the xanthum gum does this for my cake? I plan to add a bit of oil. Is it a good idea?

    Btw, been a fan of all your recipes. thank you!

  13. From reader Clint:
    I love this cake so delicions but i didnt bake it using gluten free ingredients, For the rice flour I subsitituted it w/ cake flour and never used xanthum gum either. It’s delicious but I would like it to be as moist as yours. Do you think removing the xanthum gum does this for my cake? I plan to add a bit of oil. Is it a good idea?

    Btw, been a fan of all your recipes. thank you!

    Thank you Clint! Sorry for this funny way of responding but WordPress won’t currently allow me to approve comments so I have to paste them into a response.

    The issue with this cake is not likely the xanthan fun but the reduction of liquids. Many gluten free flours don’t utilize or absorb water as readily as wheat flour does. Try increasing the coffee by 1/4 cup. That should do the trick. Adding liquids is generally the best way to add moisture to a cake. Please let me know how this works for you!

  14. Hi Summer- I have the superfine rice flour from the vanilla cake recipe. Is this too fine for the mud cake? Is it best to stick with the regular rice flour?
    2nd question- I don’t use marshmallow cream and like to keep my frostings from scratch. Would I somehow substitute heavy whipping cream instead?
    Thanks so much- And btw- I made the vanilla GF cake- over 20 people tasted it and several were GF people. They loved it! Said there was no resemblance to GF. My GF tester said he’s never tasted GF like that. It WAS delicious. I made white chocolate SMBC for the filling and frosting. I wish I could attach a photo- it was beautiful too.

  15. Hai summer. Can I substitute xantan gum with CMC or Agar-agar (or maybe other hydrocoloids)?I can’t easily find Xantan gum or Guar gum on store in my country.

  16. Hi Summer I have been a fan for several years. Been an avid baker for longer but was forever avoiding ABC because it was just too sweet no matter what others promised in their recipe description – cream cheese fasting found its way onto everything!

    Finally got the guts (and built the patience) to try SMBC and it worked but trying to whip meringue down from 72°C In an Australian summer to a reasonable temp in a non AC kitchen? Arrrghhh that takes patience…and then I found you and your recipe like a shining beacon of hope in the distance! The happy dance I did in my kitchen when it worked FIRST time I tried was out of control lol for me its virtually unbreakable and completely reliable every time. Love adding powdered lemon to it for a delicious zing, recently loaded in powdered peanut butter (YUM!) and really like how a little melted white chocolate can give it that ice-cream flavour feel.

    Like I say to people you can either make DMBC (The D is for Dumb) or go to Summer and learn how to make SMBC (S for SMART/SUMMER!) 😉

    I have lead many people here and have been thanked for making their lives so much easier.

    But I kept forgetting that you are more than your SMBC and I made your vanilla cuppies the other day – moistest most beautifully crumbed cupcakes, they are in my go to file and I will be here a lot in the future. Apparently you think YOUR red velvet is better than moine….we’ll just have to see about that

    Anyway I know this seems disconnected to this recipe BUT came here hoping this was not an ABC buttercream and its not, using Marshmallow Creme – huh? Never heard of it here in Australia but its now on its way from a local supplier and I can’t wait to try this one as well – another frosting from Summer – woohoo – and my housemate will die for the GF cake!

    I always wanted to leave a comment but assumed that you no longer really administered the site till I saw some comments from you this year so am glad I can let you know how much you have changed my baking – your SMBC features on so many of my bakes so THANKYOU!

    The internet is so full of recipes but now I have reminded myself that YOU provide the best I will be a regular.



    1. Dave! I’m so glad you took the time to message. It makes me incredibly happy that these recipes have worked well for you. Please let me know if you have questions in the future. I’m not good about posting these days but I always try to help fellow bakers and answer what questions I can to the best of my ability. 🙂

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