A fluffy gluten free chocolate cake slathered with real chocolate buttercream and topped with treats. If that doesn’t sound celebration-worthy to you then I don’t know what is!
I tried a lot of recipe tweaks to get this cake exactly how I wanted it. The result is a proper light chocolate sponge party cake, that would be a guaranteed crowd pleaser with both adults and children alike.
For a more grown up, indulgent chocolate cake try my double chocolate drizzle bundt cake. But for totally scoffable, delicious chocolate cake stay right where you are as I have the perfect recipe for you.
Decorating the Cake
I first made this cake for my daughter’s 2nd birthday, decorated with chocolate fingers (I used the Schar ones) and crushed Smarties Eggs. Great for a colourful topping if you are baking around Easter time. Note Smarties are NOT gluten free, but last year the UK mini eggs were and they worked a treat.
You could also try topping with your favourite chocolate bars (crushed Crunchies could look fab on this cake), or gluten free chocolate treats like Schar Meltos or Tempties. Or anything you fancy really, I cannot wait to see your creations!
What Type of Chocolate Should I Use?
For the buttercream I use a dark chocolate, as even though I am a firm milk chocolate fan I find it makes buttercream too sweet (once combined with the icing sugar).
My favourite at the moment is the Callebaut Select 811 Dark Chocolate – approx 55% cocoa solids – which I buy in bulk from Amazon. For an alternative that is easily found in UK supermarkets, try the Dr Oetker Fine Cooks Dark Chocolate 54%. At the time of writing both of those products were gluten free and suitable for coeliacs.
Gluten Free Chocolate Celebration Cake Recipe
You will find the recipe for my gluten free chocolate cake below and I’ve also added some photo under it to help make the method extra easy to follow. However, if you need any help along the way please do DM me on social media (@myglutenfreeguide) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send me photos of your finished bakes, I LOVE seeing your creations!
Also, if you do enjoy this recipe please leave a review on the recipe card below – it makes a world of difference to me :).
For the sponge cake:
- 300g caster sugar
- 300g unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 300g gluten free self raising flour (I used FREEE by Doves Farm)
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp xanthan gum
- 40g cocoa powder
- 100ml semi-skimmed milk
For the buttercream
- 200g unsalted butter
- 300g icing sugar
- 150g good quality dark chocolate (I use a 55% cocoa solids variety)
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- Preheat the oven to 180C (fan). Take two cake tins (approx 20cm) and lightly grease the edges with butter or oil, then line the base of each with non-stick baking paper.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk until fluffy.
- Add the vanilla essence and then the eggs, one at a time, working them into the mixture after each addition.
- In a second bowl, sift the self raising flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and cocoa powder. Mix them really well and ensure you get rid of any lumps - you want to ensure the baking powder has distributed really well through the flour or you will get an uneven rise.
- Now combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and beat for a minute with the hand whisk or a wooden spoon.
- Add the milk and beat again, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure the mixture is lovely and smooth.
- Split the cake batter evenly between the two tins. Tap each tin hard on the worktop a few times, to knock any air bubbles to the surface. Then level the surface of the cake batter with a small palette knife.
- Pop the two tins into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes, at 180C (fan). Test after 25 minutes - insert a skewer into the centre of the cake - if it comes out clean the cake is cooked but if there is still liquid batter on the skewer it needs the extra 5 minutes.
- Once baked gently run a small palette knife around the edge of the cake inside the tin to loosen, then tip onto a wire baking rack to cool fully (remove the baking paper from the base of the sponge too).
- When completely cool, you can make the buttercream and assemble the cake. For the buttercream, first melt the dark chocolate in the microwave (heat for 30 seconds, stir, heat for 30 seconds - repeat until fully melted), then set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk the butter with an electric whisk for 3-5 minutes until it has become pale and fluffy.
- Add the icing sugar and cocoa powder gradually, working them into the butter with a spoon. Once you have loosely incorporated it all, get your whisk again and beat the buttercream until really smooth and fluffy.
- The chocolate should have cooled by now - you want it to be fully runny, but cool to touch (if still warm it will melt the butter). Keeping the whisk running, gradually add the chocolate the the buttercream, whisking until combined. Remember to scrape the sides of the bowl to catch any mixture that hasn't mixed properly, then whisk again.
- You will have a lovely smooth chocolate buttercream now, you simply need to add 1-2 tbsp of milk to get a consistency that is slightly easier to spread. One tbsp may be enough, so incorporate this and then if it still seems quite thick add a second. It depends whether it is a warm day or not, in the winter on colder days I find two are needed, whilst on warmer days 1 does the job nicely.
- Okay, now for the fun part, assembling the cake! You have enough buttercream to cover the sides of the cake if you wish (great if you want to decorate the edges with chocolate fingers or Matchsticks, both make a great no-fuss collar), or keep it simple and just use as a filling and topping. For the latter, spread half the buttercream on top of one sponge, then place the second sponge on top. Add the remaining buttercream to the top of the cake, spread with a palette knife, then add the decorations of your choice! If you have any buttercream leftover you can freeze it and use at a later date.
For more gluten free baking fun, why not try some other cake and bake recipes while you are here:
- Spiced Orange Loaf Cake
- Victoria Sponge Cake
- Raspberry & Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake
- Red Velvet Cake
- Passion Fruit & White Chocolate Cheesecake