This vegan gluten-free chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting is so good, that your friends may start requesting this cake over a regular cake once they tasted it. It is chocolatey, moist, rich, and not too sweet. This gluten-free chocolate cake kinda reminds me of a Devil's Food Cake with its intense chocolate flavor and tender crumb.
When developing this recipe for Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting my goal was a cake that can be made without vegan egg substitutions such as flax eggs or aquafaba. This eggless chocolate cake is also made without any non-dairy milk products such as soy milk or vegan buttermilk. The main liquid in this recipe is hot water - you may use hot coffee if you like. The fat source for this cake is creamy peanut butter instead of vegetable oil. IF peanut butter isn't your thing, feel free to use sunflower butter or almond butter instead.
This cake is so easy to make, no need to wait for a special occasion. It makes the perfect "any day is a good day to have a cake" cake. And as mentioned, it is so good, that there is no need to make several cakes when you have company coming over. Everyone will love this vegan gluten-free chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Gluten Free Flour: I tested this vegan chocolate cake recipe with my own Gluten-Free Flour Blend as well as Bob’s Red Mill 1 – to 1. Each blend of gluten-free flours produced a beautiful crumb for this vegan chocolate cake. If you plan on using a different brand, I highly recommend containing several different flours as well as a binder like xanthan gum. This recipe has not been tested with almond flour (almond meal) or coconut flour.
Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder: I highly recommend using a high-quality dutch processed cocoa powder in this recipe for Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake. Dutch-processed cocoa produces richer, fudgier flavors. My go-to brands are Cacao Barry Extra Brute and Valrhona Pure Cocoa Powder. If you are looking for a better price point product I recommend Hershey’s Dutched Cocoa, Special Dark, 100% Cacao. Be aware if you use Natural Cocoa Powder in this recipe, the cake may be dry and lighter in color.
Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix: It's no secret that I love adding pudding mixes to my cakes and bakes. Adding instant chocolate pudding mix to this chocolate cake increases the chocolate flavor but also keeps the cake moist. You can use Jell-o Instant Chocolate Pudding or Cook & Serve in this recipe. If you choose to omit this ingredient, please replace it with 25 grams of additional gluten-free flour.
Peanut Butter: The key ingredient for this gluten-free chocolate cake batter as well as the peanut butter frosting is definitely peanut butter. I prefer baking with “conventional” peanut butter such as Jif or Skippy. Conventional peanut butter is made with fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, which help stabilize the peanut butter and prevent it from separating. In my opinion, it’s more reliable in baking than natural peanut butter (which is perfect for snacking!).
Vinegar: The added vinegar activates sodium bicarbonate found in the baking powder which helps the gluten-free chocolate cake rise.
Instant Espresso: The instant espresso powder in this recipe brings out the chocolate flavor. It’s an optional ingredient but highly recommended. Alternatively, you may use hot coffee instead of the hot water (and omit the instant espresso powder)
Non-Dairy Butter: For the vegan peanut butter frosting I use Miyokos European Style butter (which comes in a block). Personally, I prefer blocks of vegan butter vs the spreadable kind. Miyokos vegan butter tastes and performs like traditional fine dairy butter.
How to make a Vegan Gluten Free Peanut Chocolate Cake
This vegan gluten free chocolate cake is incredibly easy to prepare. All you need is a small mixing bowl to sift the dry ingredients and a large mixing bowl to mix the batter in. You also need a whisk, a flexible rubber spatula, and an 8" round or rectangular cake pan.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350F, arrange your oven rack in the middle and line an 8" round or rectangular cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Step 2: In a small mixing bowl sift together the dry ingredients (including sugar). Sifting the ingredients together will prevent pockets of cocoa powder or leavening agents to form in your vegan cake batter.
Step 3: In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar - both work fine here), vanilla extract, and hot water. Whisk together until the peanut butter is fully dissolved in the hot water.
Step 4: Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and using a whisk, mix until fully combined and smooth.
Step 5: Transfer your smooth cake batter to your prepared cake pan and with a small offset knife or spatula smooth out evenly.
Step 6: Bake in the fully preheated oven at 350F for about 30 minutes, until the cake top is bouncy to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean with just a few moist cake crumbs stuck to it. (Don't overbake the cake. There is nothing sadder than a dried-out chocolate cake)
Step 7: Remove the vegan chocolate cake from the oven and allow for it to cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before removing it from the cake pan. Cool cake completely on the wire rack before frosting. If your cake is sticking to the cake pan, carefully run a butter knife around the edges to loosen it.
Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting
The frosting on this cake (as pictured) is a vegan peanut butter frosting made with non-dairy butter, creamy peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
Add the room temperature butter (soft but not melted), peanut butter, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt to a mixing bowl, and with an electric hand mixer mix until combined. At a low speed add the powdered sugar. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, increase the speed of your mixer and mix until light and fluffy (around 2-3 minutes). You can also make this frosting with an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachment.
When the gluten-free vegan chocolate cake is completely cold, transfer it to a serving platter and frost the top with a generous layer of peanut butter frosting.
Garnish with some salted roasted peanuts if you like. Then slice the cake and enjoy a piece of this vegan gluten-free chocolate cake.
You may store any leftovers of this gluten-free vegan cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. For longer storage place it in your refrigerator for up to 7 days. This cake also freezes very well. Thaw it at room temperature before serving.
This vegan peanut butter frosting can also be made with almond butter or sunflower seed butter.
Other frostings that would be delicious with this cake are Salted Caramel Buttercream (not vegan), Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream (not vegan), or my All American Vanilla Buttercream (use non-dairy butter).
FAQ for Vegan Gluten Free Peanut Chocolate Cake
What is the best way to store this vegan chocolate cake?
I recommend storing this gluten free chocolate cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or up to 7 days in your refrigerator.
Can I make this recipe without peanut butter?
Feel free to substitute the peanut butter with almond butter or sunflower seed butter. But don't omit the nut butter. Peanut Butter or any other nut butter is key to this chocolate cake.
Can I double this recipe?
You can double this recipe and bake it in two 8-inch round or rectangular cake pans. I have not tested this recipe as cupcakes. If you don't own a 8" cake pan, clearly this recipe will also work in different sized pans. Please be aware the baking time will change.
Does Vegan mean gluten-free?
Many people assume vegan and gluten-free are the same. It is not. Being a vegan means that you don’t consume or use animal products such as meat, dairy, honey, eggs, and non-edibles like leather and wool. A gluten-free diet excludes foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). The Gluten-Free Austrian focuses on gluten-free recipes with an occasional vegan/egg-free recipe thrown into the mix. This is not a vegan blog.
Baking in grams
I share my recipes in grams and by weight since baking by weight is the most accurate way to bake. Digital Scales are very affordable and easy to use. You can purchase them on Amazon for less than a set of measuring cups. . For small amount under 10 grams I like to use this Precision Pocket Scale. Measuring cups are very inaccurate which can cause significant errors when it comes to gluten-free baking or baking in general. Especially since I bake with gluten-free flours which weigh differently than “regular” flours. I do provide some ingredients like spices and leavening agents in measuring spoons. To learn more about Baking with a digital scale, make sure to check out my post about Baking by weight.
Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
All my recipes are tested and developed with a conventional oven. I always bake my baked goods on the rack placed in the MIDDLE of my oven. This way the heat coming from the bottom will not burn my baked goods.
If you are baking with convection (fan-forced), please adjust the recipes accordingly. Be also prepared that the convection oven can cause your baked goods to dry out quickly and still be raw inside. Be aware that it takes at least 15-20 minutes for a standard American Oven to be fully preheated. I highly recommend investing in an Oven Thermometer.
Substitutions and Modifications
Any dietary or ingredient modifications/substitutions to this recipe may alter the end result in appearance and taste. I test my recipes several times as published in this post and The Gluten Free Austrian Blog is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you find on our website.
For the Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
- 200 grams gluten-free multipurpose flour
- 25 grams Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix (see Note)
- 100 grams granulated white sugar
- 100 grams light brown sugar
- 55 grams cocoa powder, dutch processed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 275 grams hot water
- 85 grams creamy peanut butter
- 10 grams vinegar (white or apple cider)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting
- 113 grams vegan butter
- 125 grams creamy peanut butter
- 120 grams powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of kosher salt
Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8″ round or rectangular cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside
- In a small mixing bowl sift together the dry ingredients (including sugar).
- In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, vinegar, vanilla extract, and hot water. Whisk together until the peanut butter is fully dissolved in the hot water.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and using a whisk, mix until fully combined and smooth.
- Transfer the cake batter to your prepared cake pan and with a small offset knife or spatula smooth out evenly.
- Bake in the fully pre-heated oven at 350F for about 30 minutes, until the cake top is bouncy to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean with just a few moist cake crumbs stuck to it.
- Remove the vegan chocolate cake from the oven and allow for it to cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before removing it from the cake pan. Cool cake completely on the wire rack before frosting.
Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting
- Add the room temperature vegan butter (soft but not melted), peanut butter, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt to a mixing bowl, and with an electric hand mixer mix until combined.
- At a low speed add the powdered sugar. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, increase the speed of your mixer and mix until light and fluffy (around 2-3 minutes)
Once the gluten-free vegan chocolate cake is fully cooled, transfer it to a serving platter and frost the top with a generous layer of the peanut butter frosting. Garnish with some salted roasted peanuts if you like.
Storage: Store any leftovers of this gluten-free vegan cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. For longer storage place it in your refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Cake Pan: This cake can be baked in a 9" pan. Please be aware that the cake will be thinner and bakes quicker. Check it at around 25 minutes.
Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix: Jell-o Instant Chocolate Pudding and Cook & Serve can both be used in this recipe. If you choose to omit this ingredient, please replace it with 25 grams of additional gluten-free flour.
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USA Pan Bakeware Round Cake Pan, 8 inch, Nonstick & Quick Release Coating, Made in the USA from Aluminized Steel
Katbite 200PCS 12x16 In Heavy Duty Flat Parchment Paper, Parchment Paper Sheets for Baking Cookies, Cooking, Frying, Air Fryer, Grilling Rack, Oven(12x16 Inch)
Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder 100% Cocoa Extra Brute, 2.2 lb
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 379Sugar: 29g
Calories are a guestimate.