One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
Elizabeth Barbone

Rich and moist, this recipe makes a chocolate cake very similar to those beloved (and easy-to-make!) wheat-based cake mixes. 

This one-bowl cake can be made dairy-free. Replace the milk with a dairy-free alternative. For the buttercream, replace the butter with a solid butter replacement, like dairy-free margarine or, if you don't like margarine, shortening or lard. (Yes, lard.) The recipe does not work egg-free.


2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup warm water (warm from the tap is fine)

Basic Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients
- makes about 3 cups 
4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk

  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. For this cake, I used natural cocoa powder. Happily, dutch-processed cocoa powder works just as well. Use whichever you love. A cake made with dutch-processed cocoa powder will be darker than one made with natural cocoa powder. This step is important because of the xanthan gum present. You want the xanthan gum to be evenly distributed throughout the dry ingredients before you add the wet ingredients. This will prevent the xanthan gum from clumping.


  3. Add wet ingredients. Mix until a smooth batter forms. You want the batter to be thoroughly mixed. No pockets of dry ingredients should remain. The final batter will have a slightly thick consistency.


  4. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. I spray my pans with non-stick gluten-free cooking spray. You could also grease them with vegetable shortening and dust the pans with cocoa powder. It's up to you!


  5. Bake for bake for 30 to 35 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes should come out clean. 


  6. Once the cakes come out of the oven, allow them to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool. This allows steam to escape from the cake and prevents a gummy cake. The cake might sink just a little in the center as it cools. This is normal and allows for more icing! Mmmm....more icing. Where was I?


  7. Once cake is cool, ice as desired.


  8. Chocolate Icing: Basic Chocolate Buttercream


  9. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.


  10. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. About 30 seconds. (Use high speed on a handheld or stand mixer.)


  11. Add powdered sugar and cream together for 10 seconds. Icing will be very thick.


  12. Pour milk and vanilla extract evenly over the icing.


  13. Blend, on low speed, for 45 seconds or until smooth and creamy. If the icing is still stiff, add a bit more milk.


  14. Use as desired.

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