Like many, I absolutely adore a good chocolate cake; one that’s rich, decadent, moist and indulgent! For many, when they discover an intolerance or allergy to gluten, one of the sweet bakes they miss the most is chocolate cake. This super-moist gluten-free chocolate cake recipe from Baked to Perfection by Katarina Cermelj is the answer. It’s also a great cake to make for a party or any occasion when one or more of your guests follows a gluten-free diet and you don’t want them to miss out!
The main recipe makes a dark chocolate cake, but there Cermelj provides detailed adaptations to make milk chocolate and white chocolate versions.
Read our in-depth review of Baked to Perfection by Katarina Cermelj by our regular guest writer Nicky. Nicky and her husband follow a strictly gluten-free diet and assessed this book through the lens of their experiences of gluten-free cooking.
Super-Moist Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
The initial version of this cake relied on only cocoa powder for the chocolate flavour. I won’t lie – it felt like cheating. As delicious the cake was, cocoa powder simply doesn’t match actual melted chocolate when it comes to giving a cake that deep, luxurious chocolate flavour. In this improved version, I’ve used both melted chocolate and cocoa powder in the sponges as well as in the frosting – and all of a sudden, it’s become every chocoholic’s dream come true. Because chocolate has a slightly acidic pH, it helps boost the activity of the raising agents and helps makes the sponges even more tender and delicate, without venturing into crumbly, falling-apart territory. Don’t be scared by the addition of hot water to the cake batter – together with the milk, it helps keep the cake incredibly moist, so that it simply melts in your mouth.
- 280 g dark chocolate (60–70% cocoa solids), chopped
- 200 g unsalted butter
- 250 g caster sugar
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 160 g gluten-free flour blend
- 80 g almond flour
- 40 g Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 120 g hot water
- 120 g whole milk, warmed
- 600 g unsalted butter, softened
- 400 g icing sugar
- 100 g Dutch processed cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 300 g dark chocolate (60–70% cocoa solids), melted and cooled
Put A Twist On It: Milk chocolate cake – In the sponges, replace the dark chocolate with milk chocolate (for best results, melt the milk chocolate and butter separately), reduce the sugar to 200g, increase the gluten-free flour blend to 240g, and omit the cocoa powder. In the buttercream, replace the dark chocolate with milk chocolate and reduce the cocoa powder to 40g (but add it slowly until you get the desired flavour and colour).
Put A Twist On It: White chocolate cake – In the sponges, replace the dark chocolate with white chocolate and reduce the butter to 160g (for best results, melt the white chocolate and butter separately), reduce the sugar to 150g, increase the gluten-free flour blend to 240g, increase the almond flour to 120g, and omit the cocoa powder. In the buttercream, replace the dark chocolate with white chocolate and omit the cocoa powder.
Adjust the oven shelf to the middle position, preheat the oven to 180°C and line two 20cm round cake tins with baking paper.
In a heatproof bowl above a pan of simmering water, melt the dark chocolate and butter together. Set aside to cool until warm, then add the sugar and eggs, and mix well.
Sift in the gluten-free flour blend, almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum and salt. Mix well until you get a smooth batter with no flour clumps.
Add the hot water and milk. Whisk well until combined.
Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake tins and bake for about 35–40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the cake tins for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer fitted with the double beaters, beat the butter for 2–3 minutes. Sift in the icing sugar and beat for a further 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
Sift in the cocoa powder and salt, and beat until evenly distributed.
Finally, add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat until you get a rich, smooth chocolate buttercream.
Assembling the Cake
If the sponges are domed, level them using a sharp, serrated knife.
Place the bottom sponge layer on a cake stand and spread a generous layer of buttercream on top, but leave enough buttercream for the outside of the cake. Sandwich using the other sponge layer, turned so that its bottom faces upwards. This will give the cake a nice, flat surface for decoration.
Use the remaining chocolate buttercream to cover the outside of the cake. Decorate the cake by creating swirls of buttercream with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
Keeps 3-4 days in an airtight container or wrapped in cling film in a cool, dry place or the fridge. If you keep the cake in the fridge, leave it out at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.
This delicious cake lasts for 3-4 days if stored correctly (see recipe) so it can be made ahead if needed.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Baked to Perfection by Katarina Cermelj from publisher Bloomsbury Absolute. Recipe photography in this post by Nicky Bramley.