1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Close up shot of a slice of three layer Gluten Free Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

When I was in college I worked in a movie theater diner, and my absolute favorite part of my shift was when the restaurant closed. We got to turn up the music (we had a jukebox that had really good songs on it), dance around while cleaning, laugh with coworkers about the ups and downs of our shift, and finally eat some food after all the patrons left. 

My friend Katie was a server, and I managed the dessert counter (are we surprised?). And we both had a thing for the chocolate cake on our menu. It was three layers of rich, decadent, chocolatey goodness, and every once in a while, after a particularly long shift, we’d buy a slice, heat it up, top it with fudge, take two forks, and go to town. Ah, sweet bliss. 

One bite of this homemade chocolate cake sent me right back to that sweet moment in my adolescence. I don’t remember Katie’s last name or I’d absolutely look her up and tell her that she should make this cake so we could eat some together virtually.

I’m thrilled to have created a cake that stacks up to the decadent bakery versions to help us all celebrate and commemorate the special moments in our lives regardless of special dietary needs. 

The really amazing part? This EASY 1-bowl cake is 100% vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free, and 1000% delicious. Yes, dreams do come true. Let us show you how. 

Applesauce, maple syrup, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, bananas, gluten free flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and dairy-free milk

For this recipe, we used banana and applesauce in place of eggs. They help give it a moist texture and also add sweetness. The banana taste is hardly distinguishable and the main flavor is definitely CHOCOLATE!

Vanilla extract adds a hint of vanilla flavor, while almond butter is used in place of oil to keep this recipe oil-free.

Whisking banana, applesauce, and vanilla in a mixing bowl

For sweeteners, we used a combination of maple syrup and coconut sugar to keep it refined sugar-free. The maple syrup adds moisture, while the coconut sugar adds substance.

For gluten-free flours, we went with a combination of almond flour and potato starch. This pairing gives this cake a fluffy yet crumbly texture!

Dairy-free milk adds moisture, and cocoa powder gives this cake its rich, chocolaty flavor.

Whisking dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a whisk

The batter is added to cake pans for baking. We like to use three 6-inch round cake pans for an impressive three-tier look. But we include options in the recipe for different size pans.

Three rounds of Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake on a cooling rack

Once your cake is baked, it’s ready for frosting!

We frosted it with our decadent, date-sweetened Vegan Chocolate Frosting (that’s also oil-free!). But our Vegan Chocolate Ganache Frosting would also be incredible. Or, if you’re not really a frosting person, this cake is still amazing without frosting!

Using a knife to spread Creamy Cashew Butter Chocolate Frosting onto a three tier Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

We hope you LOVE this cake! It’s:

Naturally sweet
Easy to make

It’s perfect for special occasions (such as birthdays) and beyond!

Three tier Gluten Free Chocolate Cake topped with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

More Vegan Gluten-Free Cake Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Glass of almond milk next to a plate with a slice of Dairy Free Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 35 minutes

Total Time 55 minutes

Servings 14 (Slices)

Course Dessert

Cuisine Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan

Freezer Friendly 1 month

Does it keep? 4-5 Days


  • 2/3 cup mashed ripe banana (~2 small bananas as original recipe is written)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter (or sub peanut butter, cashew butter, tahini, or sunflower butter)
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • 1 ¼ cup dairy-free milk (we used boxed unsweetened almond milk // cashew or rice milk would also work)
  • 1 cup sifted cocoa powder
  • 1 cup potato starch (not flour)
  • 2 ½ cups almond flour (not meal // we prefer Wellbee’s brand)

FROSTING (choose one) optional

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and lightly grease (avocado oil is best) two standard 8-inch round cake pans, one 9×13-inch pan, or three 6-inch round pans (our preferred) and dust with cocoa powder. Shake out excess and set aside.

  • To a large mixing bowl add banana and mash (measure to ensure it’s the correct quantity). Then add applesauce, vanilla, almond butter, and whisk to combine. Next add maple syrup, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt (optional) and whisk to combine.

  • Next add dairy-free milk and whisk to combine. Then add sifted cocoa powder and whisk to combine. Then add potato starch and whisk to combine.

  • Next add almond flour a little at a time until the batter has reached a pourable, saucy consistency (see photo). It shouldn’t be thick like brownie batter and it shouldn’t be watery. If too thin, continue adding almond flour. If too thick, thin with a little dairy-free milk. We used about 2 ½ cups almond flour (as original recipe is written). Depending on your ingredients, you may need more or less.

  • Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pan(s) and bake on a center rack for 28-38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out free of crumbs (a little brown color is okay) and the edges appear dry / slightly pulled away from the pan. Be careful not to over-bake.

  • Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. To remove from pans, run a dull knife around the edge of the pans to loosen the cakes. Then place a plate or cooling rack on top and quickly invert. Let cool completely before frosting (~1 hour // expedite the process by cooling briefly in the refrigerator or freezer).

  • At this point you can enjoy your cake as is. But we recommend frosting with Vegan Chocolate Ganache Frosting or our Vegan Chocolate Frosting (Oil-Free) (pictured above).
  • Best within the first 24-36 hours after baking. The texture tends to become dried out after that. Store cake covered at room temperature for 2-3 days* or in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Freeze up to 1 month (then thaw at room temperature).

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
*Recipe adapted from our 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake and 1-Bowl Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.
*We found the texture of this cake to be best when consumed within 24-48 hours. The nature of potato starch is a bit drying, so keep this in mind if making days in advance for an event or special occasion.

Serving: 1 slice Calories: 266 Carbohydrates: 38.8 g Protein: 6.1 g Fat: 12.4 g Saturated Fat: 1.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.8 g Monounsaturated Fat: 7.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 208 mg Potassium: 349 mg Fiber: 5 g Sugar: 19.9 g Vitamin A: 53.68 IU Vitamin C: 0.98 mg Calcium: 153.9 mg Iron: 1.8 mg

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