Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cake

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cake

Deep, rich and intensely chocolatey, this gluten free chocolate fudge cake is for the chocolate lovers who live among us.

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cake

For chocolate lovers

I took a good, long look at an (apparently) fabled Wellesley Fudge Cake (that I had never before heard of), and made the cake into a deeper chocolate experience. The frosting is spreadable chocolate frosting perfection.

I’ve honestly never seen (or eaten!) anything quite like this chocolate fudge cake. It’s for chocolate lovers only, but if you’re not into such depth, we have at least 9 other amazing gluten free chocolate cakes here on the blog.

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cake

A better type of chocolate frosting

As soon as I saw those swirls, I knew exactly how the frosting would taste—as I had tasted it in my dreams. Even the best buttercream frosting (chocolate or not) just isn’t going to sparkle and shine like that.

Like everyone else, I consider buttercream frostings to be essential to cake-making, but I’m always hoping they’re not going to be tooth-achingly sweet in that too-much-confectioners’-sugar sort of way.

If you get the consistency just right, you can, of course, spread buttercream frosting. But not like this.

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cake

Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cake

This is the sort of frosting that you simply must sample with a spoon. If you find that you have chilled it for a bit too long, just let it settle at room temperature for a bit in the bowl. The frosting is ready when you can stir it thickly with a spoon.

Needless to say, this is my go-to chocolate frosting from now until the end of time. The method is simple, and the results are truly spectacular.

This is the gluten free chocolate fudge cake for the ages. Write it out on an index card and pass it off as your own. I won’t tell, and you’ll be famous for it!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 10 to 12 servings


12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter, chopped

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 1/2 cups (350 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I have used both Dutch-processed and natural cocoa powders—both work fine)

1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar

2 eggs (120 g, weighed out of shell) + 1 egg yolk at room temperature, beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups (14 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature (try souring some almond milk if you need dairy-free)

Fudge Frosting
3 1/2 cups (400 g) confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I have used both Dutch-processed and natural cocoa powders—both work fine but I much prefer the Dutch-processed)

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter

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

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup whole milk

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • First make the cakes. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease well two 8-inch square pans and set them aside.

  • Place the chopped butter and chopped unsweetened chocolate in a medium-sized heat-safe bowl on top of a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan that contains a small amount of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the surface of the water. Allow the water to simmer, stirring the chocolate and butter occasionally, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside to cool briefly.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Set the bowl of dry ingredients aside. To the bowl of melted chocolate and butter, add the sugar, eggs and egg yolk and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the buttermilk and then the chocolate and butter mixture, and mix to combine. The cake batter should be thick and glossy. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans, and smooth the tops with a wet spatula. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once during baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached (about 25 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder into a medium-sized bowl, and set it aside. In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, place the butter, brown sugar, salt and milk, and whisk occasionally over medium heat until it reaches a simmer. Continue to cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture has begun to reduce (about 4 minutes). Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate and vanilla. Whisk until the chocolate is melted. Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder, and whisk until combined. The frosting will be pourable. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the frosting (to prevent it from forming a skin), and refrigerate until it has begun to thicken and is spreadable (about 20 minutes).

  • Assemble the cake. Once the frosting has reached the proper spreadable consistency, place one overturned cake layer on a flat surface and cover the top and sides of the cake generously with frosting. Top with the second inverted cake layer, and frost the rest of the cake. Allow to set at room temperature or in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Slice thickly.

  • Adapted from the Siftingfocus.com Wellesley Fudge Cake.



P.S. Gluten Free Classic Snacks, my next cookbook, is available for preorder! I recently saw some of the typeset pages, and it’s packed with full color photos and so, so gorgeous!!

Comments are closed.

  • Connie
    November 6, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Could this beautiful cake be made in 2 8″ cake pans?

  • Em HippieGeeky
    November 5, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    My icing came out very runny – checked your recipe and it says 3.5c icing sugar (400g) so I just used the weight. My Googling tells me that 3.5 cups of icing sugar would be 490 grams – Can you double check that?

    • November 6, 2014 at 7:50 AM

      Hi, Em, 3 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar is, indeed, 400 grams (402, to be exact).

  • Carole
    November 5, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    Thank You, just in time for my birthday Tuesday.
    Made the pumpkin butter but it took two hours of stirring to get it reduced my half, can it be frozen for future use ??

    • November 5, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      Sounds like you should use a bigger, possibly heavier pot to make pumpkin butter, Carole! I haven’t frozen it, but I’m sure it would do fine. It might separate a bit upon thawing, but you can stir it back down. And happy almost birthday!

  • Lauren
    November 5, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    WOW! That is one beautiful cake.
    You brought up a really fun question, Nicole. Do you really dream about food?
    Unfortunately, most of my sleeping time is spent in nightmares, but the rare sweet dream is usually about blissfully consuming foods that I’m allergic to in real life: wheat-based cinnamon rolls, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and huge, huge cakes.

    • November 5, 2014 at 2:57 PM

      Aw, Lauren, you can have all those things—without the gluten of course. :) And actually I rarely dream about food but I frequently have dreams where I can fly. Needless to say, my waking life is a terrible disappointment after a dream like that.

      • Lauren
        November 5, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        LOL! Your blog and cookbooks have definitely helped make my waking life much less disappointing than it used to be after my food dreams! I still haven’t found a way to make a suitable faux peanut butter candy, though! I use sunbutter on a sandwhich and in cookies, but candy always scares me since it usually takes either corn syrup or powdered sugar to pull it together, and I’m allergic to corn as well as wheat and peanuts (I’m thinking of Butterfingers, Reese’s cups, peanut brittle, and buckeyes). Plus, there’s a depth to peanuts that sunbutter just doesn’t have, and the things I’ve tried a 1-1 substitute usually taste too sweet. But your blog has encouraged me to be brave and keep trying! Thank you!

        • November 5, 2014 at 7:58 PM

          I think there is corn-free confectioners’ sugar, Lauren (using a different starch, I assume). I frequently use cream of tartar in candy-making instead of corn syrup (like my corn-free marshmallow fluff recipe here on the blog), so that should help. The peanuts are a whole different story! Can you have almonds? If so, I’d definitely try Barney Butter, a no-stir almond butter that is amazing (although it seems to have gotten crazy expensive lately). Hope that helps!

  • Donia Robinson
    November 5, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    You’re so right about knowing exactly what the frosting tastes like just by the swirl! This is the cake of my dreams.

  • November 5, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    !!! Why can I not grab this through the computer screen? The frosting looks incredible. Thanks!

  • Lucy
    November 5, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Hubby’s B-day yesterday, sure wished I had this recipe…next time :)
    Thanks Nicole, I would never pass off a recipe of yours as my own…God forbid!
    I will always give credit to the genius behind the recipe…HUGS :)

    • November 5, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      Aw, Lucy, you could claim credit. I really wouldn’t mind! Happy birthday a day late to your husband!

  • Kclark
    November 5, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Looks amazing!!!! Can’t wait to make it.

  • Jennifer S.
    November 5, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    this looks sooooo awesome. I guess I know what cake I’m making for our “Happy Birthday baby Jesus” cake this year….

    • November 5, 2014 at 3:01 PM

      The happy birthday Jesus cake, Jennifer! That’s quite an honor for this cake. :)

  • Shelly22
    November 5, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    Hi, I’ve been gluten free just about a yr now but I still haven’t really gotten into the baking part. This looks awesome! I’ve tried a few store bought kind of GF cakes and brownies, but at least 4 or 5 came out with bitter chocolate. Does this come out like the traditional type of cake mix or does it lose it’s sweetness. I don’t like dark chocolate and I’ve tried a few recipes with basic cocoa. I see unsweetened chocolate as an ingredient. Is this almond bark or can you explain or provide a link on chocolate. When I’m in the store, I am overwhelmed and not sure what to buy other than almond bark, Hershey’s cocoa, or chocolate chips. Is there a little insight you can give on this part?

    • Mare Masterson
      November 5, 2014 at 10:24 AM

      Shelly, for me, Nicole has made being gluten free not scary at all anymore! I can honestly say her recipes are amazing! She truly does the work and will not present it unless it is just like (usually better) than the gluten counterpart. Check this whole blog out, but especially check out this: https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/stock-your-gluten-free-pantry-baking/

      • Tara
        November 5, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        Would love to know what brand insweetened choc u use as i recently read the nestle im using isnt necessarily gf. This cakes looks fan.

        • November 5, 2014 at 3:00 PM

          I have used Baker’s brand, Tara, but also Vermontnutfree.com has great unsweetened chocolate, too. So does Scharffen Berger.

      • Shelly22
        November 5, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        Thanks for your additional comments :)

    • annagg
      November 5, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      Unsweetened chocolate is available in almost every grocery store under the “Baker’s” brand. It is just chocolate, and has a terrible flavor, before the sugar, but is really rich and robust and purely chocolate when sweetened. This is not Almond Bark, which is a mess of chemicals and artificial ingredients, and tastes quite terrible, when compared.

      • Shelly22
        November 5, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        Thanks, I have worked in grocery stores most of my life and had to quit when I got too sick with Celiac and other stuff but I’m only 33 and did the typical kind of box cooking in the past. I’ve seen Baker’s brand before but until now, I didn’t understand what people did with it or what the real stuff was. I appreciate your reply. I’ve been following sites like this for my regular cooking but now that I’ve learned how to eat day to day, now I’m ready to explore some more. :)

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