I am so excited to have perfected this recipe for gluten-free chocolate sponge cake. Gluten-free chocolate cake has been a bit of mystery to me with most of my attempts resulting in a cake that falls after it comes out of the oven (even with box mixes). I finally tried converting a traditional sponge cake and the result was surprisingly perfect on the first attempt.
The cake recipe has just a few simple ingredients but it is a little bit of a process that involves separating the eggs and whipping the whites. This is the normal process for sponge cake. The good news is that this cake bakes in just 12 minutes. Because it is thinner than a traditional layer cake, it will also cool much more quickly. I cut the cake in half and use it just as a layer cake. For a taller cake cut the full l cake into 3 or four.
I’ve provided a super EASY way to coat this cake with a decadent chocolate ganache. And yes it is easily made dairy-free too. Just use any milk alternative like almond, coconut or rice milk.
Frostings – Check out my full list of gluten-free frosting recipes including my vegan chocolate cream cheese frosting and my traditional vanilla buttercream frosting and pipeable cream cheese frosting.
Berry Filling – Before placing the the top layer, swirl a tablespoon of raspberry or strawberry jam into the ganache on top of the bottom layer
Peanut Butter Ganache – Following the ganache recipe in the card below, add 2 Tbsps creamy peanut butter to the milk and heat until the peanut butter is incorporated and the milk bubbles around the edge of the pot. Combine with the chocolate as directed.
Strawberry Frosted – Chocolate and strawberry are an awesome combination. Frost the cake with this strawberry buttercream frosting that is flavored with freeze dried strawberries. Grind the dried berries to a powder and they give the frosting a perfect pink color.
Mint Chocolate Ganache – Add 1/2 tsp peppermint oil to the ganache
I have used several different gluten-free flour mixes for this cake and they all worked well. My custom blend of sorghum, millet and brown rice flours with some starches is my favorite. See the notes in the recipe for a super simple DIY gluten-free flour mix or my post on gluten-free flour mixes for lots of great info on making your own. It can be a huge cost saver!
If you prefer a store bought blend, I like King Arthur Flour All Purpose Gluten-Free flour or their Measure for Measure flour mix. I prefer King Arthur because they are certified gluten-free (unlike Bob’s Red Mill flours).
Gluten-Free Chocolate Sponge Cake
- ¼ c cocoa powder
- 6 Tbsp gluten-free flour blend*
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum omit if your flour contains xanthan or guar gum
- 4 eggs
- ½ c + 2 Tbsps sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 c milk or any milk substitute
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped or 1¼ c chocolate chips
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
- Grease a 13x9x2 pan with spray, line with parchment paper, then lightly grease the parchment. The cake has a tendency to stick even to the paper so greasing the paper is important.
Make the Ganache
- Place the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat the milk in a pot until tiny bubbles form around the outside of the pot. Pour the milk over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.
- Stir until it is combined and smooth. If any chunks of chocolate remain, heat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
Make the Cake
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder together 3 times.
- Separate 2 of the eggs. Be very careful not to get any yolk in the whites.
- Beat together: 2 whole eggs + 2 yolks with ½ c sugar. Beat 2 minutes. Add vanilla and beat another minute.
- Whip the 2 whites until foamy. Sprinkle in 1 Tbsp of the sugar. Beat to soft peaks. Sprinkle in the remaining 1 Tbsp sugar, beat until glossy.
- Fold ½ of whites into yolk mixture. Sprinkle in ½ of dry ingredients and fold. Fold in the remaining whites and then the remaining dry ingredients. Pour into the pan and spread evenly.
- Bake 10-12 minutes
- Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Then remove from the pan, peel the parchment off it it has stuck and cool completely on the rack.
Assemble the Cake
- Cut the cake half, cutting parallel to the short end.
- Place one of the halves on the wire rack and put the rack on the baking sheet. Pour the ganache over this layer, just enough to coat the top.
- Place the 2nd piece on top and pour the remaining ganache over the cake allowing it to drip over and coat the sides. Do not touch the ganache. Just let it run over the cake and it will form a nice smooth coating.
- Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Serve with berries and whipped cream
2/3 c potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
Could I bake this cake in a jelly roll pan and use it for a Buche de Noel?
Janet Harlow says
Hi Karen, I have not tested this cake for rolling. Gluten free cakes tend to be a little more delicate and I am not positive how it will hold up. If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes.