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!This 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!”
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- *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.
- **If you prefer you can leave out the grated chocolate for a smooth frosting.