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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Crazy Cake Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
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.