Gluten free German chocolate cake is perfect for a special occasion! A rich, moist, chocolate cake topped with a decadent coconut sauce is an absolutely delectable dessert. This is an easy vegan gluten free recipe that’s sure to become a favorite.
What desserts do you remember from your childhood?
When I was growing up, we were able to choose what type of cake we wanted for our birthdays. More often than not, I requested my mom’s German chocolate cake. It was such a rich, delicious cake! The cake part was super moist, and the frosting was just heavenly, with lots of flaky coconut and crunchy pecans.
We can’t eat that cake anymore, and that’s okay! There are many decadent, celebratory cakes that we can eat, like this cookies and cream cake, and this chocolate gingerbread bundt cake.
After baking without allergens for many years, I’ve learned that you can have a delicious chocolate cake even without wheat, dairy, or eggs, and this German chocolate version is no exception. It’s rich, dense, and the perfect base for a delectable coconut pecan frosting. And if you can’t do nuts, you can just leave the pecans out.
- Gluten Free Flour Blend – This cake works well with a gluten free flour blend, like my homemade blend, or a store bought blend like Namaste or King Arthur (if those work for your diet). If you’re not gluten free, feel free to use all purpose flour instead.
- Coconut Oil – I like using coconut oil in this recipe because it adds to the coconut flavor of the cake, but you could also use melted vegan buttery spread or organic canola oil.
- Baking Soda and Vinegar – These ingredients are necessary to help the cake rise.
- Coconut Flakes – These give the caramel-y coconut frosting a nice texture. Traditional German chocolate cake also has pecans, but I think it’s good even without nuts.
Step by Step Instructions
- Place the sugar and melted coconut oil in a mixing bowl and mix until combined.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, water, and vinegar, and mix until smooth.
- Grease a 9 inch cake pan and line it with parchment paper.
- Spread the batter evenly in the pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35-40 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan before removing it.
- To make the frosting, place the sugars and vegan buttery spread in a pan, and melt over medium low heat. It will start to thicken and bubble.
- Add the cornstarch mixture, and stir while it thickens. Then stir in the coconut flakes (and pecans if you’re using them).
- Stir well until everything is coated.
- Spoon the coconut frosting onto the cake.
- Remember not to over bake this cake. Keep an eye on the time, and use a toothpick to check and make sure it’s done in the middle. If you over bake it, it will be dry.
- Another tip to keep this cake from drying out is to store it properly. If you are going to bake it ahead of time, make sure to wrap it well with plastic wrap so that it stays moist and fresh. Once you have served the cake, store any leftovers in an airtight container.
How to Remove a Cake from the Pan
Gluten free cakes can be a little fussy, so you do have to take a little extra care with them. To get your cakes out of the pan in one piece, try:
- using a non-stick cake pan
- greasing the pan and lining the bottom with parchment paper
- allowing the cake to cool in the pan for at least 40 minutes
- once the cake has cooled, use a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it
- turn the pan over a cookie sheet and tap the bottom to release the cake from the pan
More Vegan Cake Recipes
I do have other vegan cake recipes that are also rich and delicious. If you love baking cakes, try my chocolate zucchini bundt cake, double chocolate banana cake, or my classic egg free chocolate cake with coconut oil frosting.
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Easy Gluten Free German Chocolate Cake (Gluten Free, Vegan).
You're going to love this vegan and gluten free version of German Chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting.
For the Cake:
- ⅓ cup organic coconut oil measured solid, then melted (you could also use melted vegan buttery spread)
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 ½ cups gluten free flour blend or all-purpose flour if you are not gluten free
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 cup water
For the Frosting:
- ½ cup vegan buttery spread
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons non-dairy milk I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 1 cup coconut flakes if you aren't using pecans, you can add a bit more coconut to the frosting
- 1 cup chopped pecans optional
Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch cake pan and line with a circle of parchment paper.
Place the sugar and coconut oil in a mixing bowl and mix on high speed until combined,
Add the gluten free flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl, Add the vinegar and water and then beat on medium speed until smooth.
Pour batter into cake pan and bake at 350 degrees F for about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 45 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife and invert onto a cake plate. Don’t remove from the pan too soon, because it might fall apart – gluten free flour is a little bit more delicate.
Make the Frosting:
Melt the buttery spread in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
Add the sugar, and stir frequently. It will melt and start to thicken a bit.
Combine the cornstarch and non-dairy milk in a small container with a lid. Shake well and drizzle the mixture into the pan a little bit at a time, stirring constantly. The frosting should start to thicken.
Stir in the coconut and pecans (if you are using), and heat through. If the frosting seems too sugary and thick, you may have to add a little bit more non-dairy milk. As it cools, it will thicken up.
Spoon the frosting over the cake. You could also slice the cake first and spoon sauce on top of each slice individually. This is the best way to do it if you want nice, neat slices.
Store leftover cake in an airtight container. It should stay fresh for up to 4 days.
You can make the sauce without nuts if you wish. Just add more coconut flakes.
If you aren’t gluten free, go ahead and use regular all-purpose flour.
This is delicious! I love the coconut frosting.
Is this only one cake?
One 8 or 9 inch cake. If you need a double layer cake, you will need to double the recipe.
I used this recipe last weekend for my boyfriend’s birthday and it was delicious!
He has PKU, which means we have to avoid proteins when we cook, since his body can’t digest Phenylalanine. We typically have to use dairy substitues, and GF flours, as they are lower in protein. The PKU websites have kind of ‘boring’ recipes, but I loved finding all sorts of great recipes on here that were Gluten and Dairy free. I did have to not put nuts in the ‘frosting’ (legumes, nuts, etc are also off limits to him), but It was still yummy!
Yay! I’m so glad that you liked it! Happy belated birthday to him!
Made this for my Mom for her b-day. Wow, so terrific and yummy!
Do you think the cake could be made in mini muffin tins too?
So glad you liked it! I think they could be made as mini muffins, I just would really watch them, the bake time would be much less.
My famIly has a tonne of food allergies and it’s so hard to find something that suits everyone. Well done on re-creating your favourite cake. It looks great!
Thank you so much!
I’m trying it tomorrow as my son is now not eating dairy (including eggs), can’t wait to try it!
You made my day:gluten, dairy, soy, corn free scrumptious cake! Made it for my dad’s 89th birthday! The whole family loved it!!!!
Oh, I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Wonderful news! And for such a special occasion!
This cake looks wonderful! It looks so moist and decadent, I can’t believe it’s gluten-free! Love the pecan/coconut topping. :)
Thanks, Sarah! It was really rich, perfect for a special occasion!
Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens
What a gorgeous dessert! I love the idea of a sauce rather than a frosting, actually – so upscale! Yum!!!! :D
Thank you so much! :)
I’m SOOO glad you shared this! I have been searching everywhere for a gluten free German Chocolate cake recipe for my SIL. Thanks so much!
Oh good, I am so glad that you found this recipe, then! I hope she enjoys it!
Natalie @ Tastes Lovely
Glad you were able to get the recipe to work! Hope you had a good birthday : )
Thanks, Natalie! It was a nice day, and we were able to have dinner out, just the two of us, which was nice!