Make a Gluten Free Sugar Free Dairy Free (and Yet Still Delicious) Chocolate Cake




About: Making things inspires me. When I'm in a creative space I feel really alive, whether I'm painting a portrait or renovating a kitchen, and learning new things from the generous example of others inspires me e...

I've been off cane sugar for many years and recently had to stop eating wheat and dairy, so instead of just killing myself I adapted a one pan chocolate brownie recipe for this delicious, easy cake.

It won't be the fluffiest cake in the world, but then I'm not much of a fluffy cake baker even if I did use sugar and wheat flour and dairy. I'm more of a cross country cook really. This one does have eggs in it, although I'm aware there are egg replacement options for those poor souls unable to consume eggs.

The other nice thing about this recipe is it's so versatile, you can add several alternatives if you don't have all the ingredients, and it stops you getting bored with it.


1/2 cup Dairy free margarine (Nuttelex, there's also a new macadamia margarine, olive oil margarines etc) but if you can tolerate dairy then butter is fine
1/2 cup cocoa
4 squares sugar free chocolate or unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup fructose or palm sugar or xylitol - I like a mix of palm sugar and xylitol, as there is less of a glycemic hit for my body to process . Alternatively, try a third of a cup plus a third of a cup of rice syrup, maple syrup or pear/apple juice concentrate - but if you use a syrup you can take out a tablespoon of the margarine as the syrup adds moisture. If you like a bit less sweetness, just cut the quantities down to taste.
2 eggs
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour (to lighten the buckwheat )
1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional extras
1/2 cup walnuts, pecans, coconut, blueberries, or anything else you like the taste of with chocolate cake.

A little note about the flour - buckwheat is a little heavy on its own; sometimes i've used coconut flour, but it's heavy too, which is why i mix in some rice flour - if you prefer you could use another lightening flour like corn flour, amaranth flour or potato flour. Alternately you could use one of the gluten free flour mixes on the market. As i'm also not able to eat potato (it's one of those nasty deadly nightshades that arthritics should avoid) many of the commercial mixes are out for me.

There a lot of information on the gluten free flours available on the web if you want to go looking.

(I've made a double batch here, so you'll see twice the ingredients listed above in the photos)

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Step 1: Prepare and Assemble

First, preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (or 350 F) so it's the right temperature when you put your cake in to cook. I have a fan forced oven but i used to make this in my regular oven and it just took a couple minute longer to cook.

Assemble your ingredients to make sure you have everything you need. I can't tell you how many times i've started making something only to find i have to run out to the shops to get eggs/margarine/baking powder. Not the most organized cook in the world here, hence the instructions...

I like to set up my recipe somewhere handy to read it as i go along. I got to the end of a cake baking expedition only to find the eggs sitting quietly by the sink. That cake didn't quite work out so well.

Very important: test your eggs to make sure they are fresh enough to cook with. Put them in a glass of water and see if they float. If they do throw them away being careful not to break them or you could have a very smelly kitchen. Rotten eggs fill up with hydrogen sulfide which causes them not only to be supremely odiferous, but to float, which is handy because you don't have to crack them to see if they will stink you out.

I like to prepare all my ingredients for the making stage to make it all go smoothly, but more often i just do things as i go along. So for this one i prepared the flours, and chopped the chocolate to be ready ahead.

Step 2: Making the Batter...

Melt butter in a medium sized sauce pan at lowish heat, so as not to burn it. When melted remove from heat.

Add chocolate and stir to melting.
Add cocoa and stir well.
Add sweeteners, eggs and vanilla.
Mix until shiny and smooth.

Add flour, baking powder and salt.

Mix well.

Add choc chips, nuts, blueberries etc as desired.

Step 3: Baking the Cake

Pour into an 8 inch or 9 inch pan. For this double recipe i'm using a 12 inch non stick flan pan, but if you like a thicker cake use a smaller pan and add a few minutes to the cooking time. Or if you want to layer it spread it thinner and cook for a shorter time.  If you don't have non stick, be sure to grease the pan with margarine or cooking spray.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

While it's baking, clean up the mixing pan... (you wouldnt want to waste it now would you??)

Do not over bake, unless you like your cake dry.

Step 4: Check to See If Cooked, Then Eat...

Test the cake by inserting a clean knife and it comes out clean, it's done. Also you might see the edges slightly pulling away from pan.

When it's cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool. Flip out of the pan onto a nice plate, then eat while warm with a dollop of whatever you like to eat with your cake - i've made up an 'icing' out of the margarine, some palm sugar, vanilla and cocoa, but i've also had it before with soy cream cheese made into icing, or soy sugarfree gelato.

In fact i like this best plain - i can store it in the fridge for a few days without a problem, and like it cut up into small squares to have with a nice cuppa.

And best of all - not much washing up at all.

Do let me know if you like it, and if you think of other interesting things to do to improve or vary the recipe.

Step 5: Evolve and Improve Recipe to Suit Yourself....

Over the years since I posted this instructable the cake I've ended up making is even simpler and tastier but is essentially the same idea. The recipe I follow now is this:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Mix wet ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon rice bran oil
  • ¼ cup palm syrup or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons palm or coconut sugar (optional – if you don’t have any make it a third of a cup of syrup
  • 2 fresh eggs – in a double batch I use 5 eggs.
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla or vanilla powder

For Chocolate version - melt 4 - 6 squares chocolate (I make my own coconut sugar sweetened chocolate) and add to the wet batter when cooled enough not to poach the eggs.

In bowl mix together oil, palm syrup and palm sugar, stir with wooden spoon until a nice dark even mixture. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly with spoon until the eggs have combined nicely into the mix.

Then sift together dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond (or hazelnut) meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


For Chocolate cake

  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

For Spice cake with Berries

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves if you like too

After mixing stir in:

3/4 - 1 cup frozen blueberries or cherries (frozen seems to give good moistness) - you can also try other fruits fresh frozen or canned, just be sure to drain canned fruit well.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add flour mixture to the wet mix, mix well again. Pour into a lined or greased lamington pan, or muffin pan with those little cupcake papers.

Bake for 12 minutes then test by pressing lightly in the middle, if it springs back, insert a clean butter knife. If it comes out with batter, cook another 5 minutes and test again. When the knife comes out clean, with a few beads of moisture, it’s done. Cool for 10 minutes in pan before removing onto wire rack to finish cooling. You can serve with coconut cream or whatever you like, but it’s quite nice on its own. I always bake a double batch in a 8 x 12 inch tray because it goes so fast with a crowd.

You can wrap up and freeze if you have leftovers. Notice I said ‘if’ J

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    18 Discussions


    Reply 3 years ago

    just half a teaspoon - when I double the batch ingredients I think I use a heaped teaspoon so it could use a heaped half teaspoon, but it's a very forgiving recipe :)


    3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing the dairy free, sugar free, gluten free chocolate cake. Just one question.... there's no mention of chocolate in the ingredients!
    Am I missing something? The berries are a nice touch though.
    Please help......!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I made this cake for the hubby's birthday. I mixed fresh blueberries into the batter, used fruit-sweetened blueberry jam for the "icing" and coated it with organic shredded coconut and fresh blueberries to decorate his birthday "number".

    The recipe didn't mention a measurement for the vanilla so I used a 1/2 tsp. since that's similar to what I've seen in other recipes.

    I used Xylitol to sweeten. Without the icing, I don't think it would have been sweet enough to serve alone, and we are used to eating less sweet food, less often, being fairly regimented in our intake of sugary treats. I'd like to try it again with the rice syrup to see if that amps the wow factor a little more pre-icing.

    What I liked best about this recipe is it is fairly easy to make and doesn't have a million ingredients like many other gluten-free cakes require. It is the kind of treat you could make as often as you would brownies or cookies. The batter is super easy to mix...I prepared it all in the small saucepan I used to heat the butter which made cleanup easy. And with all the variants it does give a range of flavors and executions. I only had to buy a few extra ingredients to put it together which also simplified the effort involved. Thanks for sharing with us!

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    great to hear, thanks for the feedback! I've got another recipe for a berry cake but haven't done a full instructable for it yet, but here it is in case you wanted to try that:


    1/3 cup rice bran oil
    1/2 cup palm syrup or maple syrup or mix of the two
    2 large eggs or 3 smaller ones - helps if they are really fresh!
    1 tablespoon vanilla (alcohol free)

    1 cup almond meal
    1/3 cup brown rice flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    2/3 or up to a cup cup frozen blueberries or raspberries

    Preheat oven to 180 degrees. This is a low enough heat not to dry your cake out inside, and high enough to get a nice crispness to the outside if you like that by leaving it in the oven an extra few minutes.

    In a pan mix the oil and palm syrup/maple syrup, heating til it just moves a bit (doesn't have to boil) or place in a bowl and microwave for a minute. Cool, then add eggs and vanilla. Mix until shiny and smooth.

    Cut together with a knife or fork, or if you have time, sift dry ingredients:

    Add the flour mix to the batter. Mix well by stirring with a wooden spoon, til there are no lumps.

    Add 3/4 cup (more or less to taste) of frozen (or fresh if you have them available) berries. My absolute favourite for this recipe is blueberries, and raspberries are a real treat too.

    Pour into an greased lamington pan or muffin pan. Set oven timer for 18 minutes. While it's baking, lick the pan and spoon. This really is the best bit, but you can't just eat the whole cake batter without baking an actual cake. No, really, you can't. Trust me on this one.

    Do not over bake. At 15 minutes check to see if it's getting done by gently touching the top with your finger, if it springs back, then insert a butter knife. If it comes out clean, or with a hint of moisture but no 'batter' then it's going to be cooked just right. If there is batter still on the knife, bake another 5 minutes before testing. You might see the edges slightly pulling away from pan.

    Cool, then remove from the pan by slipping a flexible knife or spatula around the edges and underneath a little at a time. Turn onto a serving platter and eat. I find it will store in fridge for up to a week if I can restrain myself!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yum! Thank you for taking a moment to share another recipe! You can't beat any cake that only takes 15 minutes to cook! Now that's instant gratification. .Especially if you're licking the spoon while it heats! ;)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I bought SunSpire Fair Trade Organic Baking Bar 100% Cacao at my local Sprouts. Luckily, a lot of unsweetened chocolate bars designed for baking comes without sugar already added since that is included in the recipe itself. (That makes it a bit easier to find that some other ingredients.)

    I haven't found a dairy free unsweetened chocolate, I tend to use the stuff sweetened with stevia, xylitol, fructose, or when i feel like taking risks, artificial sweeteners.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    So, buckwheat is gluten free? That would be good to know. I've been GF since 1996 but haven't kept up with the research. I have a great GF hot fudge cake, but it's 50% sugar! It's still a treat though.

    1 reply

    YES! Buckwheat is neither deer nor wheat! ;-) It's not even a grain, but a fruit, believe it or not. (Then again, so is sesame, go figure)

    It grows on these bean-like vines with little white flowers.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Ivé recently experimented with substituting rice oil (a nice light tasting healthy oil) for the margarine/butter, and it works great. Been using 1/3 cup, but i think my next attempt will have 1/3 plus a tablespoon or two.

    I've decided the blueberries version is my favourite!

    And for a slight variation, i put this batter in a slightly larger tin and overcook it 5 to 10 mins it's a tad crunchier, more like a slice. Anyway, it's a versatile recipe and resilient to changes.

    This is FABULOUS. Thank you for sharing and I wanted to pass it on! I have shared the link and write up on Your write up is well worth it for those struggling to not, as you put it, not DIE with out sugar and wheat!

    Thank you!

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Love it! I've been gluten free for a while now and this is one of the better pastries that I've had.

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I tried it - yummo - it works! 

    The only downside is that you may be obliged to start a Gluten Free Choc Cake Recovery group in your area for people who become powerless over their urge to make more of this delicious hot choc goodie : )