You are viewing Allergic Living United States | Switch to Canada
Allergies, Asthma & Gluten-free

SIGN UP For Our Free e-Newsletter

Click To See Past Newsletters
Allergy Safe Recipes

Chocolate Layer Cake with Buttercream

chocoalte layer cake cropPhoto: Chris Gonzaga

Recipe by Catherine Ruehle

This recipe is old-fashioned goodness at it’s unpretentious best. For my own spin, I add a little coffee to the batter. You won’t detect the coffee, but it rounds out and enhances the chocolate flavor.

Makes: One 8-inch Layer Cake (12-16 slices)
Free of: Gluten and all top allergens, egg and dairy optional.


Chocolate Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups (425 mL) Cat’s Gluten-Free Whole Grain Flour Blend (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups (475 mL) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) natural (non-alkalized) cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs or Flax Egg Replacer (see recipe note)
  • 1 cup (250  mL) unsweetened dairy-free rice or coconut milk beverage
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) melted and cooled coconut oil.
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) hot coffee

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup (250 mL) soy-free shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups (710 mL) powdered confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) natural (non-alkalized) cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened dairy-free, coconut milk beverage



  1. For the cake, preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil two 8-inch pans.
  2. Add flour blend, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to thoroughly combine.
  3. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk eggs, milk beverage, coconut oil and vanilla, just to combine. Add to flour mixture and mix on low 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl, and then mix on medium-low 1 minute. Add coffee and mix on low 30 seconds, just to combine, and then on medium-low 30 seconds more, until well-combined and smooth.
  4. Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Bake in oven center 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake center tests clean. Cool on wire racks 10 minutes, and then invert cakes onto racks to cool completely.
  5. For the buttercream, place shortening or butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high 2 minute, or until well whipped. Add confectioners’ sugar, cover most of the bowl with a kitchen towel, and beat on low 1 minute. Add cocoa powder, cover bowl, and beat on low 1 minute to combine, and then on medium 1 minute, or until well whipped. Add milk beverage, beat on low 30 seconds to combine, and then beat on medium 30 seconds, or until whipped and smooth.
  6. To assemble a two-layer cake, place a cake layer on a serving platter and spread top with 3/4 cup buttercream. Top with second cake layer, upside down so top of cake is flat, and firmly press down.
  7. Frost cake top with 3/4 cup buttercream. Use remaining buttercream to generously frost sides. Finished cake can be stored in an airtight container (or tented in plastic wrap) at room temperature 1-2 days or in the refrigerator 5-7 days. Unfrosted cake layers can be frozen, each tightly wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap, up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature before removing plastic to frost.

Recipe Notes:

Flax Egg Replacer: For 2 eggs, thoroughly whisk 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal with 6 tablespoons water in a glass measuring cup. Let sit 3 minutes, or until mixtures has thickened.

Four-Layer Cake Option: Cut each layer in half horizontally with a long serrated knife. Follow step 6 for each layer, turning bottom halves upside down, so cake is level.

Cat’s Gluten-Free Whole Grain Flour Blend

Sorghum is an ancient grain that adds protein and fiber, but its subtle flavor does not throw off the balance in sweet baked goods the way many other whole grain flours do.

Makes: 6 cups
Free of: gluten and all top allergens


  • 2 cups sweet sorghum flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1 cup potato starch (not flour)


  1. In a large bowl, whisk sorghum flour, rice flour and potato starch until well combined.
  2. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place up to 1 month. For longer storage, keep in the refrigerator up to 6 months or in the freezer up to 1 year.
  3. Before using, bring to room temperature. Just before measuring, whisk the flour blend to aerate. Sifting is not necessary if you whisk.


Recipe is reprinted from Let Us All Eat Cake by Catherine Ruehle, with permission of the publisher, Ten Speed Press
Find more recipes from Catherine Ruehle at

more recipes like this
back to previous page
Close Close Free E-Letters From Allergic Living Free E-Letters From Allergic LivingFree E-Letters From Allergic Living