This Stunning Chocolate Cake Is Vegan and Gluten-Free

February 6th, 2020

A decadent and moist chocolate cake recipe is a must-have for any enthusiastic home cook, but what about when you need a dessert that’s both vegan and gluten-free? Prep School host Megan Mitchell took on the task of creating a cake that was so good, no one would even notice she used gluten-free flour, skipped the eggs, swapped coconut oil for butter, and made the creamiest frosting out of coconut milk. If you can’t find extra dark cocoa powder (it’s a bit more intense than a standard option), just use a scoop of our organic cocoa powder instead.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Chocolate Espresso Cake

Yield: 1 cake
Active time: 1 (7-inch) double layer cake
Total time: 2 hours


For the cake:
Cooking spray
2 cups gluten-free flour
1 cup Thrive Market Almond Flour
½ cup dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon espresso powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 (13.5-ounce) can Thrive Market Organic Coconut Milk
½ cup packed Thrive Market Organic Light Brown Sugar
½ cup Thrive Market Organic Cane Sugar
¼ cup liquid coconut oil
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Vanilla Extract
¾ cup mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:
1 (13.5-ounce) can Thrive Market Organic Coconut Milk
Remaining bag of mini chocolate chips
1 cup Thrive Market Organic Powdered Sugar
¼ cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon espresso powder
Pinch of sea salt
Edible flowers, for garnish


Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 7-inch cake pans with parchment paper; mist with coconut spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt.
Combine coconut milk, brown sugar, cane sugar, coconut oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On low speed, slowly add dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated and you no longer see any dry bits. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place on the middle oven rack. Bake 25 minutes, spin cake pans, then bake another five to 10 minutes more, or until puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before running a knife around the sides to loosen. Carefully remove cakes and cool completely on a rack before frosting.

Make the frosting:
While the cake bakes, make the frosting. Scoop thick top layer of coconut milk (reserve remaining liquid) into a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer. Once melted and simmering, turn off heat and add chocolate chips; let sit two minutes, then whisk until smooth. Pour into a shallow bowl and refrigerate for one hour to let ganache firm. (Do not freeze; your frosting will turn icy and watery.)

Scoop chilled ganache into a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whip on low speed for 30 seconds, then add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, espresso powder, salt, and 2 tablespoons reserved coconut milk liquid. Whisk until smooth and fluffy. If frosting is too thick, add more coconut milk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
To assemble the cake, place one cake round on a stand or tray. Top with half of the frosting. Place second cake round on top and cover with remaining frosting; decorate and sprinkle with edible flowers. Refrigerate cake, then let sit at room temperature one hour before slicing and serving.

Note: This cake is even better if you let it sit overnight. Once rounds cool, wrap them tightly in plastic and leave out on the counter. Frost as desired the following day!

Recipe by Megan Mitchell

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Nicole GulottaNicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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