Rich chocolate cake covered in vanilla buttercream – this is the easiest chocolate layer cake to make!
One of the little joys in life is sitting down to a piece of delicious homemade cake on your birthday. Right?
And if you have children, you know how wonderful it is to prepare a special cake for them on their birthday. But if you have food allergies, you may not know where to begin.
If your child is saying things like, “I want a three-dimensional Thomas the train cake!” or, “I want a cake that’s shaped like a unicorn and covered in sprinkles!” you might be feeling overwhelmed. It’s tricky enough to make an allergy friendly cake that tastes good, let alone something that looks like the Cake Boss made it.
That’s where this easy chocolate layer cake comes in. No, this isn’t a tutorial for making a life-size superhero cake, but it is a guide to making a double layer chocolate cake that will taste delicious, hold together, and stand up to whatever decorations you want to put on it.
This allergy friendly cake is a starting place. It’s two layers of rich chocolate cake topped with dairy free vanilla buttercream frosting, and it’s like a blank canvas for you.
There are so many ways you can change this cake! You can make any flavor of frosting that you desire – chocolate, peppermint, orange, berry flavored. Use natural or artificial dye to make any color frosting you wish. You can even use a fancy tip and do an ombre cake like this one.
If you want to make a simple cake that fits in with your child’s birthday theme, this is a great place to start. Get a fancy cake topper and some special candles (affiliate links) and call it a day, or spend time piping on your child’s favorite design.
You could even press sprinkles all over the entire cake for an extra festive appearance, like this. There are so many possibilities! You just need a great chocolate layer cake recipe to build on, and this is that recipe. An easy cake recipe in your bag of tricks will make parties and gatherings so much easier for you.
Notes about substitutions:
- Yes, 8 inch cake pans are necessary for this cake. The depth of the layers helps this cake hold together. 9 inch pans will make thinner layers.
- Yes, you can use all-purpose flour or spelt flour if you are not gluten free. No, I don’t think coconut flour will work in this recipe.
- I have used a mix of King Arthur GF Flour and Namaste Perfect Flour in this layer cake recipe and that worked well, too. I also think Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Flour would work well.
- Yes, you can use any type of yogurt and any type of oil that works for your dietary needs. If you cannot do any kind of yogurt, pureed bananas or applesauce will work.
The Easiest Chocolate Layer Cake (Gluten Free, Vegan).
For the cake:
- 3 cups King Arthur Multi-Purpose gluten free flour
- 2 cups organic cane sugar
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup coconut oil measured solid, then melted
- ¼ cup vanilla coconut milk yogurt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 ⅞ cups cold water
For the frosting:
- ½ cup vegan buttery spread
- 7 cups powdered sugar
- 3-5 Tablespoons non-dairy milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides and bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans, then place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan. Dust a little cocoa powder into the pans to help prevent sticking.
Place the gluten free flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Measure the ⅔ cup of coconut oil into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds until melted. Put the melted coconut oil into a mixing bowl along with the cane sugar and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until combined.
Add the dry ingredients, coconut milk yogurt, water, and vinegar to the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until smooth and combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 33-36 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in the pan, then once they are cool, run a knife around the edge and invert the pans over a cookie sheet or a tray to gently release the cakes.
Prepare the frosting: Place ½ cup of vegan buttery spread in a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Sift in the powdered sugar a little at a time, alternating with the non-dairy milk. Keep adding the powdered sugar and non-dairy milk until all the sugar is used up and the frosting is thick and spreadable. (If the frosting is too wet, the cake layers will possibly slide around).
Place one cake on a cake stand that has been lined with parchment paper on the edges (for easy cleanup). Frost the top of this cake, then place the second layer on top. To help stabilize the cake, take a drinking straw that has been cut down to about 4 inches and insert into the center of the cake.
Frost the top and sides of the cake. Remove the parchment paper pieces from the edges of the cake.
Decorate the cake as desired. If you wish to pipe on frosting in a contrasting color, you will need to make a bit more frosting. You can also melt dairy free chocolate chips and pipe those on in the design of your choice. Or just keep it simple and put a cake topper on top.
Another way to make sure your cake layers are moist is to brush a sugar syrup on them. This is a good trick to use if it seems like the gluten free blend resulted in a dry cake, or you slightly overbaked your cake layers.
Hi what is 1 7/8 cups of water in ml? Does that convert to 214mls? And 350 degrees is in Fahrenheit I assume? Sorry just not used to Us metrics,
Looks delicious. Do your flour nixes have xanthan gum or do I have to add that?
This recipe works with and with out xanthan gum. I’ve done it both ways!
Hi Kelly! This recipe sounds wonderful! My son is not a fan of chocolate. Have you ever made this omitting chocolate to make a white cake?
Do you by chance have any experience with cup4cup gf all purpose flour? Wondering if I should try and use it for this recipe. Thanks!
I haven’t tried that one, let me know how you like it!
Kim @ The Baking ChocolaTess
Your cake looks super moist, decadent and amazing!! Looks like a winner and pinning for later! :)
Kayte @ Allergy Bites
This looks scrumptious and so moist! You are right on… it’s hard to know where to start with food allergies. Truth be told, we ate a lot of bad food – birthday cakes included – in the early days. Thank you for your recipes!
Thank you, Kayte!
Bethany @ athletic avocado
YAY for easy, healthier chocolate cake! This looks amazing! I’m sure it taste just as amazing as a non-vegan version!
Hello Kelly ~
Your recipe sounds delicious !! …cannot remember when I’ve made a lovely chocolate cake…
Thank You for your time, and recipes !!
Two Elder Vegans
This is gooorgeous! I love chocolate cake and am loving the recipe. Definitely up for some layered deliciousness and your tips are all super helpful!