GF Vegan Chocolate Cake


Life is short, eat dessert first! Can you relate? We try to live by the 90/10 rule, 90% of the time we eat clean and healthy, 10% of the time eat whatever the heck we want! This week that included making my favorite gluten-free vegan chocolate cake—because hey, what else are you gonna do during a pandemic with a hurricane approaching?! AND eating gluten-free vegan chocolate cake for breakfast—because it’s so loaded with cocoa powder that if I ate it for dinner it would keep me up all night, LOL!

This gluten-free vegan chocolate cake is SO rich and moist, no one will guess it is gluten-free, vegan, and has no added sugar! It takes a little extra time to make and bake it (think “slow cooking” a cake). But it is so deliciously dense, it’s totally worth the time you put into it. I modified the original recipe for a vegan chocolate cake found online, to make it sans sugar, and use ingredients I had on hand.

The original recipe called for baking the cake so I’ve added the baking instructions below. However, when we make this GF vegan chocolate cake we actually steam it (because our oven heats up our sailboat too much when we bake!) Have you ever steamed a cake? Wait till you try this!

GF Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe image

Steaming a cake

Steaming is now my new favorite way to “bake”! While steaming the cake takes a bit more time, it also makes the cake super moist and delicious, which we love! It will take less time if you bake it, but since I haven’t baked this recipe, I can’t vouch for the texture and consistency, so baker beware.

Delicious with no added sweetener

We also make this GF vegan chocolate cake with no added sweetener besides a couple of bananas and some applesauce, which are plenty sweet enough for us. Picture a quality 80-90% dark chocolate bar. Mmmm… But if you like your cake a little sweeter you can add maple syrup.

There is a small amount of sugar in the frosting, which is optional. So if you’re on a completely no-sugar diet, just top it with organic berries or some shredded coconut flakes.


Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Cake

Print Recipe
This GF vegan chocolate cake is SO rich and moist, no one will guess it is gluten-free, vegan, and has no added sugar! It takes a little extra time to make it and bake it (think “slow cooking” a cake). But it is so deliciously dense, it’s totally worth the time you put into it.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 12


  • 8" cake pan or Pyrex round dish
  • Larger pot with lid for steaming that will fit 8" pan inside
  • Steaming basket


  • 1/2 cup Coconut milk, full-fat
  • 1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Egg replacer equivalent or flax eggs
  • 1/2 TBSP Baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Coconut oil
  • 2 Ripe bananas, mashed (for a sweeter cake add 1/4 cup maple syrup to the mashed bananas)
  • 3/4 cups Organic applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1/2 tsp Pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 cup Organic cocoa powder, non-alkalized
  • 1/2 cup Almond meal
  • ¼ cup Gluten-free oat flour
  • 3/4 cup Gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
  • Coconut flakes to top cake optional
  • Organic berries to top cake optional


  • The chemical reactions that take place between the different ingredients are important in this recipe so please follow directions carefully.
  • If baking, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Pour coconut milk into a glass or small bowl, add the apple cider vinegar to it, stir and set aside.
  • Prepare the egg replacer for equivelent of 2 eggs or make flax eggs and let sit. (I use ENER-G Egg replacer and an electric beverage whisk/frother to whip the egg replacer and make it thicker. For flax-eggs use 2 TBSP fresh ground flax meal +6 tablespoons water, mix and let sit in fridge for 15 minutes.)
  • Add the baking soda to the coconut milk/vinegar mixture, stir and let sit.
  • In a small bowl, mash the bananas thoroughly until there are no lumps. If using maple syrup for a sweeter cake, add the maple syrup to the mashed bananas in this step.
  • Pour the egg replacer into a large bowl and add the coconut oil, mashed bananas (plus maple syrup if using). Whisk thoroughly to combine all ingredients.
  • Add the applesauce, vanilla, and sea salt and whisk again to combine all. Add the coconut milk mixture and whisk again.
  • In a small mixing bowl combine the baking powder, cocoa powder, almond meal, oat flour, and gluten-free baking flour. Stir thoroughly to mix well, ensuring no clumps. 
  • Slowly fold the dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients. Whisk thoroughly to ensure everything is well mixed with no clumps.
  • Prepare an 8” cake pan. (We use an 8” round flat-bottomed Pyrex dish instead of a traditional cake pan, as this fits nicely inside the pot we use to steam the cake. If you plan to steam your cake, ensure your cake pan fits inside of another pan for steaming.) 
  • Oil your cake pan with coconut oil, then flour it with a little gluten-free baking flour. Pour in the batter. If steaming your cake, put a piece of foil over the top of the pan and seal around the edges. (This is to keep the condensed steam on the pan lid from falling into your cake.)
  • If baking your GF vegan chocolate cake, bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350°F, until done (toothpick comes out clean).
  • If steaming your GF vegan chocolate cake, it will take more time as I mentioned, but it is totally worth it! We use our large spaghetti/soup pot with a stainless steamer basket in the bottom and about 1“  of water (you may have to add more water part way through.)
  • Place your cake pan with the foil topper on top of the steaming basket in your steaming pot and secure the lid of the steaming pot. 
  • Cook on high flame until steam begins, then turn the flame to low and continue steaming for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the cake is done. 
  • When checking the cake for doneness, it will be necessary to remove the steaming lid, then carefully remove the piece of foil on top of the cake pan to insert a toothpick and check doneness (the toothpick comes out clean). Be careful not to get a steam burn! 
  • When cake is done, place on rack to cool. After cake is cooled, place a plate over the top of the pan, turn the pan/plate upside down and tap the bottom of the pan. Cake should slide out of pan onto plate. Frost or top your cake. Buen provecho!


Note: This recipe will make one cake, if you want a layer cake you can double or triple the recipe for additional layers. Keep in mind that steaming two or three cakes takes more pans and more time.
If you're doubling the recipe and making a layer cake you can use two of the Pyrex glass storage containers which stack nicely one on top of the other. (This method can take up to two hours to steam on low heat. Swap the pans moving the top one to the bottom halfway through the cooking process.) We have also used two separate pans to steam each layer. (This takes about one hour if you have the right combination of pans, or two hours if you have to do each layer one at a time.)
You could also bake this cake in a pressure cooker much quicker. An online search shows several different methods to pressure cook a cake. But I have not tried that so cannot vouch for how it will turn out.

Frosting your gluten-free vegan chocolate cake

Once your GF vegan chocolate cake is done, frost using the decadent chocolate frosting recipe below. Pour the frosting over the top of the cake letting it pool on top and drip down the sides. Or Top with coconut flakes and/or fresh organic berries. Honestly, this cake is so rich on its own that it doesn’t really need frosting, but the frosting is delish too.


Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Print Recipe
The decadent chocolate frosting is deliciously rich with minimal added sugar.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 cake


  • Sauce pan


  • 1 TBSP Coconut oil
  • 6 TBSP Coconut milk, full-fat
  • 4 TBSP Coconut sugar
  • 3 TBSP Organic cocoa powder, non-alkalized


  • Add coconut oil, coconut milk, and coconut sugar to a small saucepan. Heat over a low flame. 
  • Whisk together stirring often to heat the coconut milk until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil the coconut milk, but ensure it’s hot enough to dissolve the sugar.
  • When the coconut milk is slightly hot and all the sugar is dissolved, add the organic cocoa powder. Whisk very well to ensure all ingredients are well blended with no lumps. 
  • Pour the warm frosting into a glass jar or container and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes until the frosting thickens slightly but is still pourable.
  • Pour the frosting over the top of your cake letting it pool on top and drip down the sides.

Enjoy! And please leave a message letting us know which way you cooked your GF vegan chocolate cake, what substitutions you made, and most importantly how you liked it! And if you like this recipe, check out more GF recipes on my Recipe page.

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating