The Best (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Birthday Cake

The Best (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Birthday Cake!

Summer is birthday season in my house. Birthdays pop up one after the other, and with them, a parade of cakes. As the resident cake baker, that makes me pretty busy.

I’m all about easy baking, but there’s no way to cheat a layer cake. Steps have to be followed. Still, making it as easy as possible is ideal, and this chocolate cake is three things: incredible, simple, and gluten-free.

If you’re a doubter, you need to try this. I served this cake at my daughter’s birthday party to a group of people who either openly or covertly believe that gluten-free baking is crap. This cake proved them all wrong.

The Best (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Birthday Cake!

It’s funny how people are so quick to form judgments and hold onto them, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Our country’s laws might indicate that somebody is innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn’t protect people from ordinary, day-to-day judgment.

The Best (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Birthday Cake!

We all do it, of course. We put people into categories: soccer mom, yuppie, player, punk. These first impressions usually stick the hardest, especially because we form internal judgments of people we don’t know, whether we’re standing behind them in line at Starbucks or passing them angrily on the road.

The Best (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Birthday Cake!

Every now and then, we’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to get to know someone better, and then we can undo some of that initial judgment.  But that first impression doesn’t ever fully go away, not with people or with cake.

The Best (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Birthday Cake!

Still, I’m asking you to keep an open mind here when I tell you that this chocolate cake is the best one I’ve ever made, gluten-free or otherwise. It’s dense, fudgy, moist, and puts other more popular cake recipes to shame. Even better, the cake can be whipped up in one bowl by hand.

To make this recipe, I doubled the base (which will make one bundt-sized cake). Out of that, I got three nine-inch cake rounds and enough batter for an 8-inch square cake. Of all the baked goods in my house that were around for my daughter’s birthday weekend, that little square cake went the fastest.

The Best (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Birthday Cake!

And the rest of it went into this My Little Pony-themed cake, which my daughter loved. See?

The Best (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Birthday Cake!

If you’ve judged gluten-free desserts too quickly, try again. This one will change the way you look at the world of GF dessert!


The Best (Gluten-Free) Chocolate Birthday Cake


Note: This recipe can be doubled for three 9-inch cake rounds and one additional 8-inch square cake. That's what I did!
2 cups sugar
1 and 3/4 cups oat flour (labeled gluten-free)
3/4 cup cocoa
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil (I used canola)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening, softened
3 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
3-4 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. If doubling the recipe for a layer cake as suggested above, line three 9-inch round pans with parchment rounds and coat with cooking spray. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray as well.
  2. Combine the sugar, oat flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla and eggs, mixing until smooth. Fold in the boiling water carefully.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set the square cake aside for later use.
  5. Cool the three round cakes for five minutes. Carefully invert each round onto heavy-duty plastic wrap and seal the cakes. Cool completely. Place each round in the freezer overnight.
  6. When you're ready to frost and stack, make the frosting. Cream the butter and shortening until combined. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa, beating again until smooth. Slowly add the milk until the frosting is the desired consistency.
  7. Spread the frosting onto the cake layers, stacking each layer evenly over one another. Do a crumb coat first, making sure to scrape down the frosting smoothly. Refrigerate the cake for at least one hour. Cover your bowl of frosting.
  8. When the cake is chilled, do a second coat. Ice the cake with the remaining frosting, being sure to mix the frosting vigorously before spreading it on a second time to get air bubbles out. Once again, even out the frosting.
  9. Decorate as desired!



I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner. This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker. Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. Jasline (Foodie Baker)

    How can gluten-free baking be crap?! 🙁 I am glad you have set these people right. Your cake looks absolutely gorgeous and delicious! Love the decoration!
    Jasline (Foodie Baker) recently posted…Mini Marble Cakes + Versatile Blogger AwardMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Jasline! People get really weird about GF baking. It doesn’t have to be that hard!

  2. Michele @ Two Raspberries

    this looks freaking amazing! I can’t believe it’s GF!!! love this recipe! the inside looks so moist and SO much chocolate its heavenly!!! 😉
    Michele @ Two Raspberries recently posted…Soft Smashed Chocolate Chunk Cookies Vegan GF Soy Free Refined Sugar FreeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Michele! It’s totally fudgy and very GF! 🙂

  3. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    Yay! Thank you, thank you for posting a gluten free cake recipe. I have never quite been able to get it right, it is always a bit dense, but I trust your baking skills. The next person I know who has a birthday is going to get this cake, but I might just eat it all before it gets there haha.
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on Friday Favourites – Vegetarianism, Kale and Long Summer Walks by DanniiMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Let me know how it works for you, Dannii! If you want the smaller version, just make it with the amounts as posted instead of doubling. It’s a great cake, I promise!

  4. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    Your daughter is adorable, Mir! And the summer is birthday season in my family, too. My mom, two brothers, sister-in-law, my Dad, and I all have summer birthdays. This cake look gorgeous, not to mention delicious! Love that it’s gluten free!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…Pesto Tortellini BakeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Gayle! I’m biased, but I think she’s cute, too. 🙂 Good luck with your birthday season!

  5. Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes)

    Well this is absolutely a stunner!!! Love!
    Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes) recently posted…Latin BurgerMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Jocelyn! That means a lot coming from you!

  6. Linda@TodaySheLoves

    Your daughter has such a sweet smile. She’s a cutie!

    This chocolate cake recipe looks delicious. I can see how moist and decadent it is. Can I substitute it for almond flour?
    Linda@TodaySheLoves recently posted…Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog TreatsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Linda! You could try the almond flour, but it’s a grittier texture, so my guess is that it would not be as smooth. If you can’t get the GF oat flour (I order mine on Amazon Prime), then a GF baking mix would probably work better!

  7. Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen

    Awwww, that’s an adorable cake! A real show stopper, Mir! This is Gluten free for real? Just wow! Amazing amazing!
    Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen recently posted…Top 17 Refreshing And Cool Summer Drinks Belong to Your Summer Drinking Bucket ListMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Anu! It really is! I promise!

  8. mira

    She is soo cute Mir! Love this cake, beautiful!Love B-Day season!
    mira recently posted…Tartlets With Mascarpone Whipped Cream And Blueberry SauceMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Me too, Mira. Birthday seasons are the best!

  9. Manali @ CookWithManali

    your daughter is adorable!! love her smile! the birthday cake is gorgeous, can’t believe it’s gluten free!
    Manali @ CookWithManali recently posted…Chocolate Dipped Coconut Peanut Butter PopsiclesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Manali! It always turns out well!

  10. Renee@Two in the Kitchen

    Happy birthday to Ayla!! I love how you decorated this pretty cake!!
    Renee@Two in the Kitchen recently posted…Skillet S’Mores BrownieMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I wanted to make it super girly, Renee. Thanks! 🙂

  11. Heather

    Mir, your daughter is just adorable! What a gorgeous cake you made for her birthday:) I love fooling people too and hopefully changing their misguided perceptions(especially when it comes to food). Tell Ayla I said “Happy Birthday!”

    1. Mir

      Will do, Heather! It’s so nice to see you on the site! Hope all is well with you and yours!

  12. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    This is such an amazing cake! Love the decorating and it looks so delicious, chocolatey, and moist 🙂
    Medha @ Whisk & Shout recently posted…Weekly Obsessions!My Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Medha! It’s one of those GF miracles!

  13. Harriet Emily

    Wowowow I would never have known this was GF, it looks sooo moist and fudgy. Mmm. What a beautiful birthday cake – anything chocolate and I’m sold. Love the flower decorations and the icing too!
    Harriet Emily recently posted…THE VAQUITAMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Harriet Emily! I’m a total sucker for girlie cake decorations!

  14. Trish - Mom On Timeout

    What a gorgeous cake Mir! And you make it look both easy and delicious – great job!
    Trish – Mom On Timeout recently posted…Coconut Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Gooey BarsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Trish! Definitely not as easy with the decorating if you can hear me swearing to myself as I make little mistakes… 🙂

  15. demi

    hi.could u please tell me the flour ingredients in grammars?i find sites have different weights for a cup of cocoa or oat flour.thanks.also if I make this recipe what tin should I use and how many layers I coud make of it?

    1. Mir

      Hi! So I actually don’t understand grams because it’s completely not the system we use in the US, but there should be some online conversions. As for the pan, use a 9 x 13 or a bundt pan. You could also make 2 9-inch rounds, but the cake will be very moist, so be sure to freeze it before you stack and fill it.

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