05/29/2014 10:04 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake With Coconut Whipped Cream

Claire Thomas

Gluten-free/vegan baking can conjure up images of cardboard dry cakes and "buttercream" interpretations that simply don't come close to the real thing. And here's the reason why: You can't replace butter. Trying to recreate ingredients leads to hyped-up expectations and definitely some disappointments. You know what works? Using great ingredients that have a ton of flavor. That way, whether it's vegan, gluten free, halal, kosher, or ovopescolactarian doesn't really matter. And this gluten-free/vegan chocolate cake fits the bill.

The challenge with gluten-free/vegan baking tends to be structure and moisture, so instead of hitting my head against a wall, I chose to embrace those two challenges with this dense, rich cake. High quality cocoa powder (I use Valrhona) is the key here, along with the "whipped cream, who?" coconut cream. The coconut cream will become your new favorite. It whips up just like the dairy version and has a subtle coconut flavor. So good!


1 cup gluten free flour
2 tablespoons arrow root
1/4teaspoon xantham gum
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for pan
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (vegan)


Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease one 9 inch cake pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, arrowroot, xantham gum, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir in the coconut oil, apple sauce, sugars, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips and pour batter into tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cake stand in tin for 10 minutes, then flip onto cake stand or plate.


Makes 3 cups
1 15-ounce can coconut milk (full fat is necessary, I used Native Forest)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Set the can in the fridge overnight so that the coconut fat solids separate from the coconut water. Open the can and carefully pour out the thick coconut cream. With an electric whisk, beat the cream, agave, and vanilla extract on high until peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. If not serving immediately, place the bowl of whipped coconut cream in the fridge and then beat it again right before serving it.


For more recipes like this one, check out my blog The Kitchy Kitchen.