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One Bowl Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

One Bowl Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

This easy gluten free chocolate cake is rich, dense and fudgy, and it’s all made in just one bowl. Make a double layer or single, with the simplest chocolate ganache frosting. Say hello to your new favorite chocolate cake recipe!

This gluten free chocolate cake is rich, dense and fudgy, and it's all made in just one bowl. Make a double layer or single, with the simplest chocolate ganache frosting.

Sometimes, you just need a rich, dark gluten free chocolate cake that you make in 1 bowl, without even melting any chocolate. Usually, to get a really rich chocolate cake or cupcake, your best bet is to use both melted dark chocolate and cocoa powder.

But this one bowl gluten free chocolate cake gets the job done with just the right mix of cocoa, sour cream, and oil instead of butter. It’s your emergency chocolate cake. Hey, it happens!

This gluten free chocolate cake is rich, dense and fudgy, and it's all made in just one bowl. Make a double layer or single, with the simplest chocolate ganache frosting.

This cake is tender enough that you can make it days ahead of time and even store it in the refrigerator without its drying out too much. It’s rich but not cloyingly sweet, and if you cover it with the easy chocolate ganache, it stays fresh even longer.

This gluten free chocolate cake is rich, dense and fudgy, and it's all made in just one bowl. Make a double layer or single, with the simplest chocolate ganache frosting.

It’s also dense and delicate, but never heavy. One bowl, some room temperature wet ingredients (just sour cream and eggs) and get out that kitchen scale (aff link). Measure by weight (even the water!) not volume and you’ll be assured of success.

This gluten free chocolate cake is rich, dense and fudgy, and it's all made in just one bowl. Make a double layer or single, with the simplest chocolate ganache frosting.

I first introduced you to this recipe as a single layer one bowl gluten free chocolate cake in 2014. Absolutely nothing at all about the recipe has changed, but the photos were ready for a facelift.

This gluten free chocolate cake is rich, dense and fudgy, and it's all made in just one bowl. Make a double layer or single, with the simplest chocolate ganache frosting.

This is the cake you make when it’s someone’s birthday (anyone’s!) and you don’t want to disappoint—but you haven’t planned ahead. It takes mere minutes to make the batter, and the cake bakes in about 30 minutes. Simply double the recipe to make a layer cake.

Even when I’m making a layer cake, I don’t make a fancy chocolate frosting. Here, I took the simple chocolate ganache recipe and let it cool. Then I whipped it with a hand mixer until it was thick, light and fluffy. Add about 1 (115 g) confectioners’ sugar if you used extra bittersweet chocolate for the ganache, and if you’d like the frosting to be a bit thicker. But it’s not strictly necessary.

All about chocolate ganache
How to bring eggs to room temperature quickly

This easy gluten free chocolate cake is rich, dense and fudgy, and it’s all made in just one bowl. Make a double layer or single, with the simplest chocolate ganache frosting. Say hello to your new favorite chocolate cake recipe! http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/one-bowl-gluten-free-chocolate-cake/
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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 9-inch cake


For the cake
1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose gluten free flour (I used my Better Than Cup4Cup blend, but any of the others should work fine)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

14 tablespoons (70 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer Dutch-processed in this recipe, but made it with natural cocoa powder and it worked fine)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (200 g) sugar

3/4 cup (168 g) sour cream, at room temperature

1/2 cup (112 g) vegetable oil

2 eggs (120 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

3/4 cup (6 ounces) warm water (about 95°F)

For the ganache topping
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream

8 ounces (or 10 ounces, for whipped ganache) dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar (for whipped ganache)


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round or square baking pan and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the sour cream, oil, eggs and water, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter should be very thickly pourable. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth into an even layer and place in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out mostly clean or with a few moist crumbs attached (about 30 minutes). Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • While the cake is cooling, make the ganache topping. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream until it just begins to simmer. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-size bowl, and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Allow the cream to sit on the chocolate for about a minute, until the chocolate begins to melt, and mix until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.* Pour the warm ganache over the top of the cooled cake, and gently spread toward the edges so the ganache begins to drip down the sides of the cake. Allow to set at room temperature before serving.

  • *To make whipped ganache frosting, use 10 ounces of chopped chocolate with the 6 fluid ounces cream and follow the same instructions. Allow the ganache to cool at room temperature until no longer hot to the touch. Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm enough to scoop with a spoon. Transfer the cooled ganache to a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until thickened and fluffy. The ganache will also lighten in color. Add the optional confectioners’ sugar and beat until well-combined. Frost as desired.

  • This recipe was first published on the blog in 2014. The photos are updated but the recipe remains the same. 


  • Donia Robinson

    Why do you do this to me? I don’t need more chocolate recipes that are super easy to make!! And should be pretty easy to make dairy free! I have no willpower.

    • Susan

      I was just thinking that! I need fewer desserts in my recipe box and more veggies….. but I do think I’ll be making the cake very soon :-)

      • You don’t need me to show you how to make vegetables, though!

        • Jennifer S.

          I don’t know Nicole – I struggle with getting good flavors on my veggies – I’d appreciate your take, for sure.

        • Carole

          My sister just sent me a recipe for a gluten free chocolate cake made with beets and almond flour.

    • Kadren

      How would you make this dairy free?

      • Jennifer S.

        see the yogurt DF option above.

  • Amy

    14 tablespoons of cocoa powder? Wow!

  • Dave

    Hey this looks great, but what do you suggest for a non diary alternative to the creams. As well as being Coeliac I have developed a diary intolerance. And hey thanks for the weight in grams, helps us Brits out with the measurements no end ;)

    • I haven’t tested this recipe with any substitutions, Dave, so I don’t really know. You can try using a nondairy yogurt, like one based on soy or coconut, but if it’s very thin, you should strain it to make it thicker.

  • sarah

    Yoplait has a non dairy vanilla yogurt that would work in place of the sour cream.

    • Really, Sarah? I didn’t know that Yoplait makes nondairy yogurt. Very interesting. Thanks for posting.

      • Sarah

        they make vanilla, cherry and strawberry. I get it at our local wal mart, 50 cents a carton

        • Karen

          Actually, I think the product you’re talking about is lactose free but still contains dairy. Just clarifying for the casein-free people out there :)

  • Susan W

    Just in time for my birthday (tomorrow)! I started eating gluten free in the last week and have enjoyed playing with your recipes (Cheddar Bay biscuits, pasta, chocolate chip cookies, Japanese milk bread, and the copycat Starbucks chocolate cinnamon pound cake). My daughter and Husband are making my birthday cake (so sweet!), and we were looking at the devil’s food layer cake but didn’t see any remarks on using regular-sized cake pans for it…? Has anyone tried that recipe who can give me ideas on how to bake for 8″ or 9″ cake pans? If not, we’ll go with this one, which looks luscious!

  • Christin

    Would Greek Yogurt work as a substitution for the sour cream?

    • Jennifer S.

      yep – I do it all the time with great success!

      • Christin

        Great, thanks! Can’t wait to make this this weekend!

  • Debbie G

    Can I use regular flour in this recipe and can I omit the xanthan gum…..what is xanthan any way??

    • This is a gluten free recipe blog, Debbie. I don’t recommend using my recipes with conventional flour. I’d try Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for conventional recipes.

  • Zachalian

    Is 14 TABLEspoons of cocoa a mistake? Because 70 grams is 14 TEAspoons.

    • It’s not a mistake, Zachalian. 70 grams is 14 tablespoons. 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder = 5 grams. 1 full cup of cocoa powder is 80 grams.

  • Dawn Voss

    Pan size?

    • Please see step 1 of the recipe instructions.

    • Anne BeloncikSchantz

      Recipe says 9-in round or square. Round is awfully pretty! :)

    • Jennifer S.

      9 inch square or 9 inch round

  • wendyintexas

    Just what I’ve been craving! You’re a bonafide mind reader, and I’m making this today. I may even add a bit of cinnamon, because that has such an amazing effect on chocolate, as you know, (and it’s what I always do with my Texas Sheet Cake). Or what about a little espresso powder—the possibilities are mind-boggling and I can’t wait to try this.

    Thank you for keeping this blog my favorite and making your emails the ones I look forward to the most. Your books are all my go-to books, and I will pre-order your next one as well. I can do this…!

    • Wendy, I love love love your attitude! With that sort of perspective, you can do this, whatever “this” is! Thank you so much for your support, and I think this cake would be great if you substituted brewed coffee for the water. Great idea! :)

  • Terri Plattner Dyckoff

    What can I use instead of sour cream Lactose intolerant

    • Katie B

      Why not try apple puree/sauce? I reckon that could work – though I haven’t tried it at all.

      • Donia Robinson

        There are some suggestions below. Don’t tell Nicole, but I often use almond milk and vinegar in place of sour cream. I just use a little less, since it has far more liquid in it. Obviously the results will not be quite the same, but I find that it tastes good (and I can eat it!). I find all of the soy stuff tastes really gross.

        • I’m glad you found something that works for you, Donia, but I do not recommend that substitution. It is too imprecise, and you will have very varying levels of success. Katie, I suggest you try coconut milk yogurt. If it seems thin, just strain it until it is the consistency of sour cream.

      • Applesauce is not a substitute for sour cream, Katie. Terri, please see my responses to your same question in this thread.

  • Kileymk

    Anyone have any tips on making the ganache dairy free? Or is there another type of topping/frosting that would be good over the cake? The ganache sounds great, so i’d love to make it if possible!

  • Kelly Shiraki

    I did not have a 9″ pan, only 8″ (I make wedding cakes and all my pans are even inches). I used the 8″ and it turned out great. The toothpick was clean and it took a few more minutes to bake. Came right out of the pan. Thanks for all the great recipes!!

  • Denita Ruhnow

    I’m on a ketogenic diet and aside from gluten-free, I generally try to avoid any flours that have rice in them as well. Would coconut flour work as a good substitute? This cake looks absolutely incredible!

    • Definitely not, Denita. None of my recipes that call for all purpose gluten free flour would be good for you, then. I would recommend you try my Paleo recipes.

  • I just made a three-bowl chocolate cake last night. I think it’s going to be good, but I wish I’d found your recipe first. :)

  • Sara

    This cake looks amazing!!! Do you think the recipe can be used at cupcakes?

  • Tina

    Darn, just when I vowed to lose 5 lbs!

  • Stephen Lovejoy

    I just made this, along with the Yellow cake from “Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy.” I only have 8″ pans at this time, but add a few minutes to baking time,, test with a toothpick, and we have 2 loverly cakes -not to mention a wonderfully aromatic house. Yum!

  • Joanne Pateman

    Has any one tried making it with a dairy free alternative and did it work? I can’t have lactose free and I don’t think we have the dairy free yoplait yogurt in Australia haven’t seen it we have lactose free but i react to that also, I was wondering if coconut cream might work?

  • Lorie Saad

    I love this, but need to replace the 1 cup white sugar.

  • Shay

    Would nuttelx work for the ganache instead of cream?

  • Laura

    Mmm!! Rich chocolate cake is the number one thing I miss from my gluten days. I usually just avoid making a gf version cause I can’t seem to get that taste/texture/whatever it is I remember chocolate cake to taste like BUT I’m trying this one!! It’s so easy, how could I not?

  • Candice

    Do you ever sift your ingredients? Would it hurt in any way? I like sifting dry ingredients, it reminds me of my grandma. lol

    • Of course it wouldn’t hurt to sift your ingredients, Candice! I only sift ingredients in chiffon cakes, angel food cakes and other light and airy cakes.

  • LeAnne Smith Fifield

    All I can say is that this is the best cake I have had since going Gluten Free, THANKS!!!

  • Laura

    I just made this. It was so easy and so good!!!

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  • youngbaker2002

    I’ve made this cake several times and it has always come out perfect!

  • Donna

    Nicole, can I substiute cream cheese for the sour cream?…or vinegar and cream cheese?

  • Mare Masterson

    Coveting this cake right now! Having to be grain free bites!

  • Jenae Meines

    Can you use the batter in cupcakes?

  • Pippin24

    Hello, I’m from the UK and wondered if baking soda is the same a bicarbonate of soda? If not could you tell me what the equivalent is please? I also wondered if it was possible to use plain or Greek yogurt instead of sour cream?

  • Tiah Lindner

    I love your recipes, Nicole! They consistently turn out SO well, and your site is the first I turn to when I get the craving to bake. For this recipe, I tweaked it by adding some espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Amazing!!

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