Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake W/Chocolate "Buttercream" Frosting

1 Cake
40 min

I have been spending a lot of time reading through my Grammy's recipe books for inspiration lately. She is the main reason I have such a deep love of baking. I remember spending countless hours in the kitchen baking all kinds of treats with her every summer and holiday season and they're some of my favorite memories. There is one recipe she has that was always a crowd pleaser, something I'd make with her year in and year out but I've only now sort of just realized.... holy moly Grammy's chocolate cake recipe is VEGAN! Now, I don't think this was intentional. Based on the original vegan chocolate cake recipe's name "Lazy Wife Cake" I thought I'd do a little research to see why eggs and dairy were left out. Turns out, this vegan chocolate cake is also often referred to as "Lazy Woman's Cake" and as much as I loathe the name, apparently it is simply because this vegan chocolate cake recipe uses just a few ingredients and one bowl, so if you're someone that doesn't love to bake this is the perfect recipe for you!

It occurred to me that I do not have any cake recipes on here and I absolutely need to get on that! I have been on a vegan desserts kick lately, mostly because I'm sick of buying so many eggs, so it made sense that I start my cake recipes out with this vegan gluten free chocolate cake recipe. And what better to top that off with than a little chocolate hazelnut buttercream frosting?! This vegan chocolate buttercream frosting reminds me of my favorite fudge-filled cookies as a kid, you remember, the ones shaped like little elves?! Yea. It tastes like THAT. Are you drooling yet?!

I love how versatile this vegan gluten free chocolate cake recipe is. I've made it for birthdays, for Valentine's day topped with Vegan Chocolate Covered Strawberries, or for random evenings when chocolate cravings won't stop calling. It is seriously THAT easy! And it bakes in just 30 minutes so you can literally have cake before you're done binge watching an episode of Bridgerton!

What do I need to make this gluten free vegan chocolate cake?

Gluten Free 1:1 Flour: The original vegan chocolate cake recipe calls for all purpose flour so I have simply swapped in my favorite gluten free all purpose flour from Bob's Red Mill. Another brand I like a lot when it comes to gluten free 1:1 flour is Cup4Cup. I think both would work well in this vegan gluten free chocolate cake recipe.

Granulated Monkfruit: First, let's discuss. What IS monkfruit anyway?! Monkfruit, or Luo Han Guo, is actually a gourd native to Southern China + Northern Thailand. The plant is harvested for its fruit extract, called mogrosides, which create a sweetness almost 200 times sweeter than regular cane sugar. The benefits of using monkfruit sweetener as opposed to white cane sugar are plentiful! Monkfruit sweetener is an unrefined sugar, meaning it has not gone through a chemical process which generally removes any nutrients the sugar cane provides. Unrefined sugars still maintain their nutritional profile, though it should be noted, sugar is sugar! Unrefined sugars generally have a lower glycemic index, however, and monkfruit in particular contains 0g of calories + carbohydrates, making this appropriate for all diets including paleo + keto.

Almond Oil: The original recipe for this vegan chocolate cake calls for 1 scant cup of vegetable/canola oil. Canola and vegetable oils are not great for your gut so I am constantly looking for gut-friendly neutral oil substitutes in baking. Sometimes coconut oil is a great choice, but since it solidifies easily I did not want to use that in a vegan chocolate cake recipe as I knew it would make the gluten free cake very dense. I used almond oil as a substitute and it worked beautifully!

Vinegar: Since this is a vegan gluten free chocolate cake recipe, raising agents like eggs and gluten are missing. Adding vinegar simply helps the cake develop more of a rise. The texture is moist + rich and more of a snacking cake texture.

Unsweetened Cacao Powder: You can use cocoa or cacao powder to make this vegan gluten free chocolate cake, but I prefer using cacao powder because of the health benefits. Cacao powder is very lightly processed and still contains the natural nutrients + minerals found in the cacao bean like magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium. Cocoa powder also often contains sweeteners and even milk powder so if you are choosing to use cocoa, make sure you're choosing a brand that does not contain either of those ingredients.

Vanilla Extract: Make sure you are choosing quality pure vanilla extract in your gluten free baking. Oftentimes "vanilla" extract is actually just vanillin which is a manufactured artificial flavor designed to taste like vanilla. Yuck! If you don't have any pure vanilla extract on hand when you are making these super fudgey paleo brownies, you can substitute in pure maple syrup instead. Pure maple syrup is my favorite vanilla extract substitute.

Water: I haven't tried this yet, but I will be testing this recipe out using oat milk instead of the water to see if that adds any more depth of flavor or changes the texture at all. Stay tuned or let me know how it goes if you decide to test that yourself!

Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake W/Chocolate "Buttercream" Frosting
Recipe details
  • 1  Cake
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 40 min
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For the Cake
  • 3 cups gluten free 1:1 flour
  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated monkfruit
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 scant cup almond oil (just under 1 cup)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp vinegar
For the Frosting
  • 1 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 2 cups powdered monkfruit sugar
  • 1/3 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup oat milk or non dairy milk of choice

Pre-heat oven to 350F and line a 13x9 cake pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients first and mix gently with a fork to combine.
Next, add in all wet ingredients to the dry and using an electric hand mixer, mix on medium low speed until all ingredients are fully incorporated and a thick batter forms.
Pour the cake batter into the 13x9 cake pan and smooth out evenly using a silicone spatula.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, make the buttercream frosting. Add softened butter + chocolate hazelnut spread to a large mixing bowl. Cream together using an electric hand mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
Next, add powdered monkfruit sugar and cacao powder and continue mixing with an electric hand mixer on low speed. Once powdered sugar and cacao are almost fully incorporated into the chocolate hazelnut spread + butter, add the oat milk and continue mixing on medium low speed another 2-3 minutes. This can be stored at room temperature until cake has cooled. Allow cake to fully cool before frosting.
Kimberly | Pretty Delicious Life
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  • Hic49702933 Hic49702933 on Oct 24, 2021

    Can you substitute the monkfruit for anything else?

  • Lorraine Otto Lorraine Otto on Oct 24, 2021

    This is a cake that I have been making since I was 5. The original that is. We called it wacky cake and you can make a variety of flavours. It was also called depression cake because you could make it very cheaply

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    • Donna White Donna White on Oct 24, 2022

      Yes, that is what we always called it too. Wacky Cake. Absolutely a favorite here and we just top it with whipping cream (Cool Whip) instead of frosting