Chocolate cake

This easy and ‘incredible’ gluten-free chocolate cake

My friend Erika Gray describes this gluten-free chocolate cake as “amazing”, admitting that she and her partner have made the cake three times in the past two weeks.

“It’s a cake that we gladly share with non-[gluten-free] neighbors.”

She was so convincing that I had to try her.

The recipe, from, uses rice flour rather than the usual gluten-free blend of flours and additives. It is important to use finely ground flour. Gray uses the Authentic Foods brand, which is available online. I only had cup4cup all purpose flour on hand, so that’s what I used. The results were always delicious. It won’t fool anyone who isn’t gluten-free, but it’s a great cake. The icing – buttercream made with brown butter – is exceptional.

Gray loves this cake topped with white and dark chocolate chips and toffee. I covered it with colored glitter, but it really doesn’t need any embellishment.

For best results, use a scale to weigh ingredients. However, for convenience and to accommodate cooks without kitchen scales, cup and tablespoon measurements are also included. Please note however that George Eats is Australian, so the cups and tablespoons measurements on this website will be different from those here, which I have converted to US cups and tablespoons. Gray uses a scale and I encourage you to do so as well.

The easiest gluten-free chocolate cake ever

  • Just 1 cup/220 grams of granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup/50 grams lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups/210 grams of fine white rice flour
  • ¾ cup/75 grams processed Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons fine salt
  • 1 cup PLUS 1 tbsp/250ml milk (dairy or plant-based)
  • 4 tsp/20ml apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup/180ml vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup/60ml freshly brewed espresso or very strong coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup PLUS 1 tbsp/250ml boiling water
  • For the buttercream:
  • 13 tablespoons / 185 grams butter
  • 1 ½ cups/150 grams icing sugar, plus more if needed
  • ¾ cup/75 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup/125ml milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract, optional
  • Pinch of fine salt, optional (omit if salted butter)
  • Desired toppings such as chocolate chips, crushed caramel, sprinkles

Heat the oven to 355 degrees. Grease and line 2 cake pans (8 inches).

In large bowl, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, rice flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk well.

In another bowl, mix the milk and apple cider vinegar and let sit for a few minutes.

Add the milk-vinegar mixture, vegetable oil, brewed espresso, vanilla and eggs to the dry mixture. Whisk to form a smooth paste. Add boiling water and whisk to combine. The dough will be very thin. Divide the mixture between the prepared cake pans and bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through, a tester inserted near the center should come out clean or with a few crumbs.

Cool the cake completely before frosting it with the buttercream.

To make the buttercream: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, cook, stirring the pan constantly, until the butter begins to brown and takes on a nutty aroma. Immediately remove from heat. Pour the browned butter into a heatproof bowl and refrigerate or freeze until set, 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. (I left it in the fridge overnight, then brought it back to almost room temperature before using it the next day.)

Once the butter has completely cooled, place it in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat butter with whisk on medium speed until butter is light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl every few minutes. Be patient. It will take 10-15 minutes of threshing and scraping. The mixture should be light and fluffy, not quite white but a very pale beige.

Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa.

With the mixer on low, carefully add about half of the confectioners’ sugar-cocoa mixture, followed by the milk, then the rest of the confectioners’ sugar-cocoa mixture. Add vanilla and salt (if using). Beat until smooth, fluffy and creamy. Taste and adjust consistency if needed with more sugar or milk – I added about ½ cup more icing sugar.

To assemble: Once the cake has completely cooled, place a layer on a tray and top with a dollop of frosting, spreading it around the edges. Cover with remaining layer and frost with remaining frosting. Decorate with your choice of chocolate chips, crushed caramel or vermicelli.

This cake keeps well for a few days in the fridge.

Makes 1 cake (eight inches, two layers).


◼️ Cheese soup like the one served at Scallions in Little Rock for Cindy Allen.

◼️ Potato Chop like the one served many years ago at Eat Your Heart Out on Main Street in downtown Little Rock for Linda Webb. The restaurant featured belly dancers, if that helps jog anyone’s memory. In 2006, Idea Alley answered Carolyn Porter’s unanswered request for the same menu item. Here’s how it was described in this column:

“Potato Chop, a dish served at the former Syrian or Middle Eastern restaurant, Eat-Your-Heart-Out, in downtown Little Rock about 30 years ago. …[It] was like hash browns but in a “puffy” ball shape. The coating was like mashed potatoes but thicker, and the filling was like spicy shepherd’s pie. Apparently baked, it had a light crust on the outside and may have been brushed with oil or butter.”

Next week: How to make Fettuccine Carbonara like The Villa and more requests for favorite restaurant recipes.

Send your culinary contributions, requests and questions by e-mail to: [email protected]

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