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Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake, with video how-to!

Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake, with video how-to!

Rich, but not too rich; sweet but not too sweet. This moist and tender gluten free devil’s food cake can easily be made into cupcakes or a layer cake. It might just be your new go-to chocolate cake recipe! Be sure to watch the short video that proves just how easy it is.

Devil’s food cake is similar to red velvet cake. But no matter what your red velvet tradition (food coloring! beets for color!), devil’s food cake never ever has red coloring. When you’re a food blogger, that’s quite a good thing.

It means I’m much less likely to get a flurry of angry emails telling me that I’m killing the world’s children, one child at a time. And everyone still gets to enjoy a nice slice of incredibly moist chocolate cake. That means that we all win! *high fives all around* 🙌🏻

Rich, but not too rich; sweet but not too sweet. This moist and tender gluten free devil's food cake can easily be made into cupcakes or a layer cake. It might just be your new go-to chocolate cake recipe! Be sure to watch the short video that proves just how easy it is.

I decided to make this as a layer cake, since making a cake is easier than making cupcakes. This is a robust recipe that will make a full 24 cupcakes (or double that number of mini cupcakes, if you’re making this recipe for a school birthday party as I once did way back when!). It will also make two reasonably-sized 8-inch round cakes that are perfect for layering.

But when it comes to all the leftover confections, cookies and cakes we always have at my house, cupcakes are much simpler to store. Just pop them in an airtight container, squeeze all of the air out and freeze.

Rich, but not too rich; sweet but not too sweet. This moist and tender gluten free devil's food cake can easily be made into cupcakes or a layer cake. It might just be your new go-to chocolate cake recipe! Be sure to watch the short video that proves just how easy it is.

For a frosting recipe, I made the simplest vanilla buttercream ever. Here’s the recipe:

  • 16 tablespoons (224 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups (460 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy (at least 2 minutes). Add the sugar and salt, and beat on medium speed until just absorbed. Add the milk and vanilla and continue to beat, on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. The frosting should hold its shape easily when scooped with a spoon. To adjust the consistency of the frosting, add more milk very, very sparingly and beat to combine.

For an extra special vanilla frosting, add the seeds of a half a vanilla bean before the final mixing. Nothing says “I love you a little extra” like those seeds!

Rich, but not too rich; sweet but not too sweet. This moist and tender gluten free devil's food cake can easily be made into cupcakes or a layer cake. It might just be your new go-to chocolate cake recipe! Be sure to watch the short video that proves just how easy it is.
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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 2 8-inch cakes or 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

3/4 cup (60 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups (327 g) packed light brown sugar

1 1/3 cups (10.6 fluid ounces) warm water

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (120 g) sour cream, at room temperature

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans, or line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins with liners, Set the pans aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar, and whisk again to combine, working out any lumps in the brown sugar. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the water, butter, sour cream, eggs and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be soft and relatively thick. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared baking pans, or fill the wells of each muffin cup about 3/4 of the way with batter. Smooth the tops of the batter.

  • Place the baking pans at the same time, or the muffin tins one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven. If making cakes, bake for 15 minutes, rotate the pans and continue to bake until the tops spring back when pressed lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (about another 10 minutes). If making cupcakes, bake until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly (about 22 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2012. Recipe ingredients and method unchanged; instructions added for baking 2 round cakes; photos all new; video new.

Love,
Nicole

  • Donia Robinson

    Happy birthday to her!

    Whenever you post about birthday celebrations in the classroom, I’m simultaneously jealous and relieved. Schools in our district conform to the Michelle Obama rules of no food in the classroom (because it tends to be unhealthy, like cupcakes ;) Maybe Illinois has to be extra on-board because the Obamas are from here. So I’m relieved, because my daughter with celiac disease doesn’t feel like she’s missing out. But I’m jealous, because a cupcake at school is a nice thing once in a while! Instead, kids bring in little bags of junk, er, stuff. We have more decorative pencils than Carter had little pills. People can only use so many pencils!!!!

    • Seriously, I so wish they didn’t allow food in school. It would be SUCH a relief! And I wouldn’t have to constantly send in a “special snack” for my son nearly every week, at least once, when someone is having a birthday in his class (7 times already in 5 weeks of school so far!).
      xoxo Nicole

    • Jennifer Sasse

      Donia – MN is the same way – see my post about re: the birthday book. Though I tried to send bananas last year for snack and my daughter said it was a HUGE flop so please mom, do not send fruit again – ever.

    • Anneke

      Donia — we collected so many decorated pencils that one year I didn’t buy any pencils for school, the kids split up the fancy ones and used those. The girls did agree to let the one boy in the family pick first, so he wasn’t stuck with the pink hearts from Valentine’s Day!

  • Cinji

    How did you get your school to agree to the homemade treat? Most schools require store-bought items.

    • I didn’t get them to do anything, Cinji. They allow it. I don’t ask to bend rules like that unless it’s for my celiac son!

      • Jennifer Sasse

        wow – that is amazing, I had the same question! We have to bring store bought everything. Actually for b-days, we are not allowed to bring treats at all. We have a b-day book program in which you send $ to buy a new book for the library in which they put your child’s name and b-day in the front cover. I think it’s kind of sad actually.

  • Cinji

    How did you get your school to agree to the homemade treat? Most schools require store-bought items.

  • Jennifer Sasse

    Ok – will you move back to downtown or to FL? I hear NYers love their FL. :)
    Thanks for a great recipe! Have you ever heard of a cooked sugar frosting? My mom used to boil this great sugar concoction that she would pour on a chocolate cake and then it would harden into this awesome yumminess on the cake. I miss that and I have no idea where the recipe is or if she even had one.
    I just got done with b-day stuff for the 9 yr old and after 5 dozen of GF cupcakes, I need a break – so maybe in a couple of weeks, I’ll make these for the kiddos!

    • Martha Barr Horne

      Jennifer, The frosting you are longing for is Fudge Frosting and I make it like this: 2 c. sugar, 1/2 c. cocoa, 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. butter. Cook, stirring constantly over low heat to the soft-ball stage. Remove from the stove, add 1 t. of vanilla, set the pan in a larger pan of cold water and beat until it starts to get hard. This frosts a 9 x 13″ cake or 2 layers. (Also makes great fudge.) It takes a lot of stirring, but is really worth it for a special treat. It’s great on either chocolate of yellow cake. My mother in law made this all the time without a recipe, so chances are, your mom did too. I haven’t made it for a while, but it is still my grown son’s favorite.

      • Jennifer Sasse

        Thanks for the recipe Martha – but this isn’t it. It is white and is not whipped with anything (i.e egg whites). Just boiled and poured on. I called my Dad last night to ask him and he remembers it but of course has no clue how Mom made it. He said his mother made it too but of course his mother and sisters are gone as well. *sigh* I’m still going to search – it has to be out there somewhere!!!

        • Martha Barr Horne

          Ah, so sorry that wasn’t it, Jennifer. But when you find the one you’re looking for, let us all know so we can try it too. (My M.I.L. also made “sea foam” frosting, a cooked egg white frosting, like divinity, only with brown sugar. It is to die for, too.) But, until you find yours, try the fudge frosting on something and let me know if you like it. Marty

        • Jennifer, it sounds like the frosting you make by cooking evaporated milk and sugar until the sugar reaches the softball stage (between 235°F and 245°F), then allowing it to cool and whipping it until it’s spreadable. You can also add some cocoa powder and/or some pure vanilla extract before beating it, too. Does that sound about right?

  • Martha Barr Horne

    My grandchildren are allowed to take b-day treats, but nothing homemade. So Little Debbie cakes, candy or whatever junk food is OK, as long as it is wrapped and the ingredients do not list peanuts. Not only the school, but the little league concession stand and the H.S. sports concessions are all about keeping “peanut free” for the kids who have peanut allergies. I would personally bet there are more kids in this school system who have celiac as there are kids with peanut allergies. And no one does anything for the celiac kids, that’s totally up to the parents.

    • So true, Martha. But since a peanut allergy can cause anaphylaxis, it makes sense that it is treated differently. I do wish there were more awareness of celiac disease in the school, but the truth is I’m okay with sending my son in with someone of his own from home so I know exactly what he’s getting!

  • Cindy

    Well, I don’t know about anybody else but I love hearing about your kids and family. Mine are all grown and I have grandkids. It’s pleasant reminders of when they were in school. And these cupcakes look awesome! You are the best mom!
    Cindy

    • Thanks so much, Cindy. That is so sweet of you to say. I try to keep the family anecdotes to a minimum, mostly because I find that so-called lifestyle blogs that post a lot of photos and stories of their families end up painting an idyllic, unrealistic picture of their lives (who wants to see the ugly bits anyway!), and readers end up feeling worse overall, not better. But gentle inserts about the 8th birthday of my youngest seems light enough to be okay. :)
      xoxo Nicole

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  • Jennifer S.

    I love love love your devil’s food cake recipe (is this the one used in the floor trials?). I make it for every birthday and people RAVE about it!!! Thanks for being so good to us!

    • It sure is, Jennifer! I can’t believe you remember the flour test!! Isn’t this your “baby Jesus” cake? 🎄

      • Jennifer S.

        It sure has been in the past because it’s easy and super yummy!!! :)

      • Kylah Arias

        With either the vanilla and devil’s food GF cake recipes, I’m looking to make a 12×18″ sheet cake and a Wilton cross cake (which states it takes any two layer cake batter/recipe). How much should I increase the ingredients by for each cake?

  • Lorraine

    love this! thanks. and oh, so timely!

  • karen_303

    yum!

  • Carole

    I now own all five of your books and love them.
    Please tell me how to eliminate the If you liked this recipe you’ll love this book at the end of each recipe I copy. It’s wasting a lot of paper.

    • Gillian

      Download a free pdf app then you can copy just the pages you want and print them out after. I use foxit phantom PDF printer (Firefox), but there are many others, this copies the recipe to your pc, (you decide which pages) and then you can print it out afterwards.

  • Mesti

    Could this cake be made dairy free? I’m super new to my new lifestyle brought on my serious health issues and I can’t have gluten or dairy

    • Mare Masterson

      Google vegan sour cream, Mesti. There is also Earth Balance that could be used for the butter substitution.

      • Mesti

        Ok, I was wondering if I could replace coconut oil for the butter, just wasn’t sure about the sour cream…Thank You!!! I’ll check it out…like I said I’m in my infant stage with all this, so I’m trying to learn all I can!!!

    • Laurel Atkinson

      I have dairy and gluten and corn allergies. Instead of sour cream try a goat or sheep’s milk yogurt. The yogurt gives a sour flavor like the sour cream.

      • Mesti

        Ok!!! Thank You I didn’t realize goat milk was lactose free

        • Natalie

          Goat Milk is NOT lactose-free. That is a misconception. It actually has more lactose than cow milk, but because the fat molecules are smaller, it is sometimes easier to digest that cow milk. Just an FYI.

          • Mesti

            I didn’t think so but thought I might have missed something…I have to be absolutely lactose free!!!! Thank You for clarifying 😊

  • Notenell

    Is there a difference in baking time if you use a convection oven? I forget, so don’t like to rotate baked goods in the oven. My convection oven moves the heated air so things tend to cook in a shorter time period. Is this ok?

  • Yvonne Kadelski

    My husband is diabetic. Can you use sugar-free brown sugar? Thanks in advance.

  • Shannon

    I made this with Cup4Cup and it turned out amazing. My family has been GF for 5 years now so family and friends know what I make is GF. However, last night I still had several family members ask if the cake was GF. They could not believe it. Thank you again for such wonderful recipes!

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