This is the only gluten free chocolate cake recipe you need. Threaded with chopped figs, this loaf cake is deeply chocolatey. Pockets of soft figs punctuate the tender crumb of this deeply chocolatey gluten free cake—you’ll never guess it’s gluten-free!
California Dried Figs + Chocolate
Using Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Dried Figs brings the familiar sweetness and sparkle of fig seeds that pair so well with dark chocolate flavor-wise. You could use a combination of Mission Figs and our Golden Figs, which have more of a delicate sweetness and slight nuttiness, sliced crosswise to garnish on top of the gluten-free chocolate cake for a bit of color contrast and visual pop.
All in on Cocoa + Chocolate
Cocoa brings rich color and flavor to this gluten free chocolate cake recipe. Let’s dig into the different kinds of cocoa you might find in the baking aisle of your grocery store because the three varieties are not the same. First off, and when in doubt, turn the tin, box, or package of cocoa to the ingredients section to ensure there is nothing but cocoa powder listed. Cocoa powder mix, intended for hot cocoa comes pre-mixed with sugar and while great for hot chocolate isn’t what to use for this recipe. Then, you’ll see two kinds of unsweetened cocoa powder: Dutch and natural. Natural cocoa powder is more acidic and should be used only when a recipe indicates. Otherwise, it might give unexpected results. For the gluten free chocolate cake recipe below, we use Dutch processed cocoa powder, which is unsweetened and has had the naturally-occurring acids neutralized. You’ll find “Dutched” cocoa darker in color too.
The chocolate used to make ganache is 70% bittersweet for a not-too-sweet glaze poured onto the loaf cake that will firm up but still be silky smooth. Making a ganache is as simple as heating the cream and then pouring it over the chocolate, leaving it undisturbed so the cream melts the chocolate, before stirring in salt, for balance, and vanilla. The most important thing to consider next is letting the ganache cool for about 20 to 30 minutes so it thickens up before pouring it onto the cooling cake. Waiting another 10 minutes before garnishing with sliced figs and almonds is a pro move.
Gluten Free Baking Tips
Store the flours in the freezer and that makes it easy to bake this gluten-free chocolate cake whenever you get the urge, since most of the other ingredients are staples that you might already have in your pantry.
If you’ve never baked gluten-free before, you can use measuring cups, but a kitchen scale makes quick and clean work.
For this gluten free chocolate cake recipe, we use a combination of oat, sweet white rice, almond, and tapioca flours. Baker, Alanna Taylor-Tobin, who created the recipe worked as a pastry chef and is an expert at baking gluten free, as this mix of flours considers flavor and texture for the ultimate chocolate cake.
If you’re new to gluten free baking or a seasoned pro, using a loaf cake is a solid move to give structure to a cake that could be reserved for special occasions. This two-bowl gluten free chocolate cake could easily slide into the everyday dessert category too.
Gluten Free Chocolate Cake with Mission Figs
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake:
- 2 tsp butter softened, for pan
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil plus 1 tbsp
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs large
- 1/2 cup buttermilk plus 2 tbsp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
- 1/4 cup almond flour plus 2 tbsp
- 1/4 cup gluten free oat flour
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate 70%, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs
- 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate 70%
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 handful Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs stemmed and sliced into rounds
- 1 handful almonds optional, sliced, toasted
- 1 sprinkle pink salt coarse, or flakey sea salt, optional
Make the Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter a loaf pan and line on all sides with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, sweet rice flour, almond flour, oat flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt, adding back anything that gets caught in sifter. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture until combined. Stir in chocolate and figs.
- Scrape batter into pan and bake until a toothpick inserted near center comes out with moist crumbs, 55-65 minutes.
- Let gluten-free chocolate cake cool 15 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Make the Chocolate Ganache
- Heat cream in small saucepan to a simmer. Place chocolate in small heatproof bowl and pour hot cream over. Let sit 1 minute, then add salt and vanilla and whisk smooth.
- Let ganache sit until thickened slightly, 20-30 minutes, then pour over cake. Let sit until ganache is mostly set, 10-20 minutes, then decorate top with sliced figs, almonds, and coarse salt. Cut gluten-free chocolate cake into slices using a large, sharp chef’s knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean between each cut.
- Store gluten-free chocolate cake at room temperature for up to 1 day or refrigerate for up to 4 days.