Crazy Cake Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Crazy Cake Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

This crazy cake gluten free chocolate cake is made with no eggs, no butter, and no chopped chocolate—but it’s still super moist and tender. And packed with chocolate flavor.

This crazy cake is a gluten free chocolate cake made with no eggs, no butter and no chopped chocolate—but it's still super moist and tender.

A vegan gluten free chocolate cake

Have you seen the Buzzfeed Tasty red wine cake? I saw it in one of those food-pornographic “oh yeah” videos after a reader linked to it and said, um, I want to have it. And make mine gluten free, please.

But the Buzzfeed recipe didn’t look so great to me, just at a glance, and anyway gluten free recipes are different. If I’m going to recreate a cake, I’m just going off taste, texture, and concept. Not the “regular” recipe.

Now, usually, to get deep, rich chocolate flavor from a cake or cupcake, I’ll replace some of the butter in the recipe with melted chocolate. Not surprisingly, the fastest way to get to a rich chocolate cake is to add, well, chocolate.

But this amazingly moist, naturally dairy-free chocolate cake doesn’t have any chopped, melted chocolate in the batter. And it doesn’t even need it. 

To make this simple cake, I started with one of my favorite gluten free chocolate cake recipes. It’s a Depression-era special when butter and eggs were simply out of reach for many, so it’s naturally vegan.

This crazy cake is a gluten free chocolate cake made with no eggs, no butter and no chopped chocolate—but it's still super moist and tender.

Do you have to use brewed coffee?

In a word: no. Since I hadn’t made this recipe in a while, I first made it straight-up with water. It was, in a word, delicious. No eggs, but there’s still plenty of rise and it’s insanely moist and tender.

I then replaced the water with strong brewed coffee, since coffee really does greatly enhance the chocolate flavor. Even better. That was my winner, for sure.

Next, it was time to replace water with wine. This time, no bueno for the kids so that just means more for me. Making this crazy cake with wine made it taste really intense.

The texture of the cake made with wine was still absolutely perfect. The taste was different, but the difference is subtle like you can’t quite put your finger on it but it tastes kind of fruity and earthy, almost.

If you’re invited to a cocktail party and you don’t want to go empty-handed, try making this into a crazy wine cake. It would be spectacular—for adults of course.

This crazy cake is a gluten free chocolate cake made with no eggs, no butter and no chopped chocolate—but it's still super moist and tender.

Make it in rounds or as a bundt cake

When I first tried making this cake, I only made it as a bundt cake. Bundt cakes make such an amazing presentation, and not every cake recipe seems to work well in that form.

But I had long suspected that I could either halve the recipe and make it in one round pan, or make it as is in two round pans. Well, I’m happy to report that it this recipe works amazingly well in rounds.

You will be so impressed by how it rises without a dome (unless it’s a muffin, I don’t want a dome!) on top. That makes it perfect for layering.

The ingredients are so simple to cut in half if you’d like to make just one round—which is what I usually do. It’s a thick enough cake when cut in half that I don’t feel like I need a layer cake even for a festive occasion.

This crazy cake is a gluten free chocolate cake made with no eggs, no butter and no chopped chocolate—but it's still super moist and tender.

How to make this crazy cake

This crazy cake gluten free chocolate cake is so ridiculously easy. By the time you get it in the pan and the oven, you almost can’t shake the feeling that you must have forgotten something. But it’s really that easy.

Because there are no eggs, no butter and no milk, none of the ingredients need to be brought to room temperature before baking. If you only need 1 round cake, halve all the ingredients.

If you’re looking for a more traditional, somewhat richer cake, there’s always my spectacular one bowl gluten free chocolate cake. The secret to the moistness of that cake is the sour cream.

Would you rather make a layer cake instead of a bundt? Divide the batter between two round cake pans.

And if you’re thinking of a flourless chocolate cake, my favorite recipe is waiting for you in all its rich fudginess. This is just a different style of chocolate cake.

This crazy cake is a gluten free chocolate cake made with no eggs, no butter and no chopped chocolate—but it's still super moist and tender.

Ingredients and substitutions

The chocolate cake itself is already gluten free, dairy-free and vegan. Here are some notes on additional ingredients in the glaze and some in the cake:


The glaze can easily be made dairy-free (and vegan) by using dairy-free chocolate, nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening in place of butter, and canned coconut cream in place of heavy whipping cream. I’ve done it (and so have many of you over the years!) and those substitutions work beautifully.

Virgin coconut oil

Triple-filtered virgin coconut oil is totally free of any coconut aroma. If you’d still like to avoid it, you can use grapeseed oil, avocado oil, or Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening, melted.

Cocoa powder

I have made this cake using natural cocoa powder, and using Dutch-processed cocoa powder and they both work beautifully. The richer the cocoa powder, the richer your chocolate cake will be.

I haven’t tried carob powder or anything alternative like that, but it’s worth a shot. If you’d like to make this recipe without chocolate at all, I now have a vanilla crazy cake version, which is delicious, too.


The brewed coffee in the cake can be replaced with lukewarm water or a dry red drinking wine like Pinot Noir, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Never bake with anything you wouldn’t want to drink, as baking intensifies the flavor.

The cake doesn’t taste like coffee when you use brewed coffee; it just serves to intensify the chocolate flavor. The brewed coffee in the glaze does contribute a bit of a coffee taste.

You can replace that with more cream. Oh, and of course decaffeinated coffee is great—we aren’t in it for the caffeine in this recipe at all.


This crazy cake is a gluten free chocolate cake made with no eggs, no butter and no chopped chocolate—but it's still super moist and tender. Find out just how this simple cake is done! https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/crazy-cake-gluten-free-chocolate-cake/This crazy cake is a gluten free chocolate cake made with no eggs, no butter and no chopped chocolate—but it's still super moist and tender. This crazy cake is a gluten free chocolate cake made with no eggs, no butter and no chopped chocolate—but it's still super moist and tender. #glutenfree #gf #vegan #dairyfree #chocolate #cakeThis crazy cake is a gluten free chocolate cake made with no eggs, no butter and no chopped chocolate—but it's still super moist and tender.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 bundt cake or 2 round cakes


For the cake
3 cups (420 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (Dutch-processed also works fine)

2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

12 tablespoons (168 g) virgin coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups (16 fluid ounces) brewed coffee

For the glaze
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons brewed coffee, dry red wine or lukewarm water


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a standard 12-cup bundt pan, dust it lightly with cocoa powder and set it aside. Alternatively, grease and line an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan and set it aside. If using a single round cake pan, halve all of the ingredients.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and place the melted coconut oil, vinegar, vanilla, and coffee, and whisk to combine well. The batter will be soft. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted halfway between the center of the bundt pan and the edge or in the center of a round cake comes out clean (about 45 minutes for a bundt; 30 minutes for an 8-inch round pan; 25 minutes for a 9-inch round pan). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a small heat-safe bowl and melt in the microwave in 30-second bursts at 70% power or over a double boiler, stirring until melted and smooth. Add the whipping cream and coffee, wine or water, and mix to combine well. Allow the glaze to sit until no longer hot to the touch. Pour the glaze evenly over the top of the cooled bundt cake. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature or in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.

  • Adapted from the Crazy Cake on page 151 of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy. Originally published on the blog in 2016. The video, some photos, and some text are new; recipe unchanged.


Comments are closed.

  • Sheryl
    November 20, 2018 at 4:25 PM

    Would red wine vinegar work in place of the white?

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 21, 2018 at 8:53 AM

      Hi, Sheryl, I’d really recommend something that is more neutral tasting than red wine vinegar.

  • Christina
    November 15, 2018 at 2:25 PM

    hello again,
    i used Better Batter flour, and weighted all my ingredients. I think its time to have the oven re-calibrated :(

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 16, 2018 at 11:34 AM

      I don’t recommend that, believe it or not, Christina! Even once you have it calibrated, it will fall back out of calibration. Just get an inexpensive oven thermometer and use that as a gauge instead.

  • Christina
    November 14, 2018 at 9:40 PM

    Mine didn’t turn out. After an 1 and 15 mins in the oven, it was still raw in the middle, and slightly burnt on the edges. Right after it was cooled, it ended up in the garbage.

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 15, 2018 at 9:48 AM

      That’s really a shame, Christina. This is a very well-tested recipe that will work when made as written. I’m afraid there are just too many variables for me to guess what went wrong, but making any substitutions, not measuring by weight, using a poor-quality all purpose GF flour blend and not using an oven thermometer are always good places to start.

  • Norma
    November 11, 2018 at 10:57 PM

    Hi. This. recipe looks delicious. I would need to use almond flour, I believe the amount would be higher than your gluten free blend. Do you have an idea of the amount? Thanks for any information.

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 12, 2018 at 11:27 AM

      You can’t replace all purpose gluten free flour with almond flour, Norma. You can only use almond flour in recipes that are formulated for it. It isn’t an all purpose flour. You’d probably prefer my Paleo recipes. Just have a look at that recipe category here on the blog! https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/category/paleo-2/

  • Liz
    November 11, 2018 at 5:30 PM

    Made this today and it is as good as I used to make before I needed to go GF. Family loved it and were amazed it was GF.

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 12, 2018 at 11:29 AM

      That’s so amazing, Liz! I’m so happy to hear that. Music to my ears!

  • Robyn
    November 11, 2018 at 3:27 PM

    It would be ok for kids as the alcohol content of the wine evaporates during baking :)

  • Mary Gordon
    November 11, 2018 at 11:59 AM

    Have u baked with coconut flour? I’m new to gluten #ree baking n not have much knowledge of using the different flours. Could u tell me about the measurement of each i.e. like rice to water.

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 11, 2018 at 2:13 PM

      If you’re new to gluten free baking, Mary, your best bet is just to follow recipes to the letter. I’m afraid it’s all much more complicated than my giving you ratios, especially with respect to coconut flour. Have a look at the Paleo recipe category here on the blog if you’re curious about baking with coconut flour and almond flour.

  • Carole C Leonardis
    November 9, 2018 at 3:03 PM

    My Mom used to make this cake (not gluten free) for Serbian Orthodox holidays that required fasting, because fasting requires no eggs, milk, or butter. She always made it with coffee and Heinz white vinegar. She always made it in a 13 by 9 pan, and topped it with powdered sugar. I think I’ll go and make this now. Thanks, Nicole.

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 9, 2018 at 3:39 PM

      Hi, Carole, thank you so much for telling me about that memory. I know it sounds cliché, but I develop these recipes in the hope that someone can reclaim a memory just like that. I hope you love the cake just like you used to!

  • Gail
    November 7, 2018 at 8:38 PM

    Sounds great. Cannot wait to make it. Do you have any sugar free recipes?

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 8, 2018 at 4:34 PM

      Hi, Gail, I don’t have any recipes that are specifically sugar-free, no. Wherever possible, I provide suggestions for how you can try replacing the sugar in a recipe with a substitute. I think you might be able to make this recipe with Swerve granulated sugar substitute, but it does tend to be drying so you might have to add some more coffee. Just pay close attention to the texture of the batter.

  • Leigh
    November 7, 2018 at 7:44 PM

    Not sure, but I think Karla meant apple, not access. Auto-correct can be a pain!

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 8, 2018 at 4:35 PM

      I don’t know why that never occurred to me, Leigh! Thanks for weighing in. I wouldn’t use apple cider vinegar in this recipe as it has a distinct flavor that you don’t want here.

  • Karla Gossen
    November 7, 2018 at 12:14 PM

    Do u think coconut sugar in place of sugar and access in place of the white wine vinegar would work

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 7, 2018 at 12:26 PM

      Hi, Karla, I’m afraid I don’t think that coconut sugar would work, no. It behaves quite differently than refined granulated sugar in baking. I’m afraid I don’t know what access is.

  • Nita
    November 7, 2018 at 11:58 AM

    What does the white wine vinegar do? Does it need to be white wine vinegar? Thanks! Can’t wait to try it.

    • Nicole Hunn
      November 7, 2018 at 12:26 PM

      It balances the recipe and activates the baking soda, Nita. Yes, you need it! You could use another vinegar but you want one without any unpleasant taste.

  • Natalie Gifford
    March 17, 2016 at 8:42 PM

    Yum! I made this cake for St Patrick’s Day & instead of the white wine I added 2 tbsp of Creme de menthe liqueur. And the just the lukewarm water. It was so savory & very rich. I’m not sure if Creme de menthe is gluten free, but it made for a good mint addition. I decided to try it because I remembered my Mom making a grasshopper cake with the whip cream & chocolate…. Maybe you could try a gluten free version of that cake 😉

  • Charlotte
    March 15, 2016 at 1:53 PM

    Would it be possible to make this cake vanilla instead of chocolate? Would I substitute the 1/2 cup cocoa with an additional 1/2 flour then add a splash of vanilla extract?

    • March 15, 2016 at 4:34 PM

      You can’t, no, Charlotte. Flour is simply not equivalent to cocoa powder in baking. But never fear! I’m working on a vanilla version of this fabulous cake. Stay tuned!

      • Charlotte
        March 15, 2016 at 6:51 PM

        Okay, great! Thanks for the info :)

  • Yvonne Marcoux
    March 14, 2016 at 12:07 PM

    Nicole could you please advise on the substitution of Carob powder for the cocoa (if possible)? Bob’s red mill directions recommend the cocoa be replaced with one and a half to two parts carob by weight.

    I was thinking a straight exchange by weight may be my starting point…

    Thanks a bunch for your recipies. 💕

    • March 15, 2016 at 4:34 PM

      Hi, Yvonne,

      Carob powder is really quite different in taste from cocoa powder, so I honestly don’t know how it would behave. I’m afraid you’ll just have to experiment!

  • Cathy Leslie-Hunt
    March 13, 2016 at 7:50 PM

    This was an excellent cake!! I loved that it was also for the most part dairy free – I used some dairy free butter and coconut milk in place of the cream in the glaze and I was really happy with it, as were the rest of my family.

  • Becky White
    March 13, 2016 at 7:32 PM

    I was just thinking how much I missed this cake from my childhood! I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make it GF, this recipe is perfect!!!! Thank you!

  • LeeO
    March 10, 2016 at 6:56 PM

    I am in love! This cake was awesome! Being Gluten, dairy and egg sensitive this was perfect. I cut back on 1/2 cup and used xilitoyl in place of sugar and used vegan marg, coconut cream and earth balance chocolate in the glaze it was amazing! Thank you this is now my favorite desert recipe.

  • Jennifer S.
    March 10, 2016 at 10:35 AM

    another homerun and sister, I love me a good bundt cake! :)

  • Char 1957
    March 9, 2016 at 4:07 PM

    can the glaze be made non-dairy? what can I subsitute the whipping cream for?

    • Mare Masterson
      March 9, 2016 at 4:45 PM

      Coconut cream!

      • Jennifer S.
        March 10, 2016 at 10:34 AM

        Totally agree with this. I also saw some cashew cream at my co-op recently…. looked delicious.

  • Pamela F
    March 9, 2016 at 3:27 PM

    Having managed a small wine shop in WA state for several years, I had the opportunity to try some amazing wines. I am so going to make this cake for my next wine tasting event. I’ll bet it would also be delicious made with a great WA state Syrah. I’m excited to try this soon!!

    • March 10, 2016 at 9:49 AM

      That’s awesome, Pamela. I bet it’s going to be a big hit!

  • Kim
    March 9, 2016 at 1:50 PM

    I love chocolate cake with coffee but I am wondering how do you think it would taste with half coffee and half wine?

    • March 9, 2016 at 2:18 PM

      So funny you should ask that, Kim, since that’s basically the one combination I haven’t tried! If you want to use less wine, I have made it with 1/2 wine and 1/2 water. I’m honestly not sure about the wine/coffee combo, but I’m totally curious!

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