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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. You can even store it in the refrigerator without its drying out too much.

This cake is rich but not cloyingly sweet. 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. 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! https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/one-bowl-gluten-free-chocolate-cake/

Like this recipe?

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. 


Comments are closed.

  • Hilda Deavall
    February 14, 2017 at 2:30 PM

    I made it but substituted the sour cream with yoghurt, the oil with coconut oil and the sugar with coconut sugar. I used what I had in the house 🙄 I baked it in a muffin tin. It came out very dense and gooey. Not nice. Did any of my substitutions cause it too go south?

    • February 15, 2017 at 9:07 AM

      Yes, that’s quite a lot of substitutions, Hilda. I’d try making it as written, with one of my recommended flour blends—and baking by weight. Good luck!

  • Lifematters
    October 27, 2016 at 9:03 AM

    I wonder if anyone has veganised this?

  • Tiah Lindner
    October 15, 2016 at 6:27 PM

    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!!

  • Pippin24
    August 21, 2016 at 2:26 PM

    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?

    • January 22, 2017 at 3:36 PM

      Baking soda and bicarbonate of soda are the same thing. Yes, you can usually substitute unflavored, plain Greek yogurt for sour cream 1:1. If your Greek yogurt seems watery, and not the same consistency as sour cream, drain it to reach the proper consistency and weight it as drained.

  • Jenae Meines
    August 2, 2016 at 11:47 PM

    Can you use the batter in cupcakes?

    • January 22, 2017 at 3:36 PM

      I’ve never tried that, Jenae. Worth a shot!

  • Mare Masterson
    May 12, 2016 at 6:05 PM

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

  • Donna
    May 11, 2016 at 9:41 PM

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

  • youngbaker2002
    May 11, 2016 at 10:40 AM

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

  • […] One-bowl chocolate cake. […]

  • Laura
    February 23, 2014 at 8:49 PM

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

  • LeAnne Smith Fifield
    February 23, 2014 at 9:24 AM

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

  • Candice
    February 22, 2014 at 2:53 PM

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

    • March 13, 2015 at 9:43 AM

      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.

  • Laura
    February 22, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    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?

  • Shay
    February 20, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    Would nuttelx work for the ganache instead of cream?

  • Lorie Saad
    February 20, 2014 at 9:48 AM

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

  • Joanne Pateman
    February 19, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    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?

  • Stephen Lovejoy
    February 19, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    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!

  • Tina
    February 19, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Darn, just when I vowed to lose 5 lbs!

  • Sara
    February 19, 2014 at 1:07 PM

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

  • February 19, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    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. :)

  • Denita Ruhnow
    February 19, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    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!

    • February 19, 2014 at 8:27 AM

      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.

  • Kelly Shiraki
    February 19, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    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!!

  • Kileymk
    February 18, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    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!

  • Terri Plattner Dyckoff
    February 18, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    What can I use instead of sour cream Lactose intolerant

    • Katie B
      February 18, 2014 at 10:48 PM

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

      • Donia Robinson
        February 18, 2014 at 10:55 PM

        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.

      • February 19, 2014 at 8:29 AM

        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.

      • February 19, 2014 at 8:30 AM

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

  • wendyintexas
    February 18, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    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…!

    • February 18, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      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! :)

  • Dawn Voss
    February 18, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Pan size?

    • February 18, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      Please see step 1 of the recipe instructions.

    • Anne BeloncikSchantz
      February 18, 2014 at 1:05 PM

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

    • Jennifer S.
      February 18, 2014 at 5:11 PM

      9 inch square or 9 inch round

  • Zachalian
    February 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM

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

    • February 18, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      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.

  • Debbie G
    February 18, 2014 at 9:53 AM

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

    • February 18, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      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.

  • Christin
    February 18, 2014 at 9:31 AM

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

    • Jennifer S.
      February 18, 2014 at 12:07 PM

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

      • Christin
        February 18, 2014 at 12:29 PM

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

  • Susan W
    February 18, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    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!

  • sarah
    February 18, 2014 at 9:12 AM

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

    • February 18, 2014 at 9:13 AM

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

      • Sarah
        February 18, 2014 at 10:12 AM

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

      • Karen
        February 18, 2014 at 8:09 PM

        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 :)

  • Dave
    February 18, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    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 ;)

    • February 18, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      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.

  • Amy
    February 18, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    14 tablespoons of cocoa powder? Wow!

  • Donia Robinson
    February 18, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    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
      February 18, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      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 :-)

      • February 18, 2014 at 9:10 AM

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

      • Jennifer S.
        February 18, 2014 at 2:31 PM

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

      • Carole
        February 18, 2014 at 8:49 PM

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

    • Kadren
      February 18, 2014 at 8:43 AM

      How would you make this dairy free?

      • Jennifer S.
        February 18, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        see the yogurt DF option above.

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