Small Batch Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Chocoholics, rejoice. This small batch gluten free chocolate cake is deliciously decadent, with wonderfully moist and soft chocolate sponges. The chocolate cream cheese frosting is a total revelation: rich and velvety-smooth, it pipes like a dream and gives the cake a gorgeous glossy finish. The recipe makes a two-layer, 6 inch cake and it doesn’t require any special equipment – no stand or hand mixer needed!

Small batch gluten free chocolate cake on a round wooden board, with a few slices already cut.

I have to say I’m really loving this whole “small batch cake recipe series” idea (if you have no clue what I’m talking about, check out the first blog post in the series). I’ve always loved making cakes, but huge 8 or 9 inch cakes can be a bit overwhelming – both when it comes to decorating and when it comes to eating them.

Plus, much like with cute animals, mini versions are just so much more adorable. (Just have a look at how cute the Small Batch Gluten Free Birthday Cake is!!)

This week’s mini treat is a small batch gluten free chocolate cake – and spoiler alert: it’s AMAZING. So amazing in fact, that it might just be one of my favourite chocolate cake recipes on the blog! (And considering just how many chocolate cakes there are on this website… that’s really saying something.)

Side-on view of the interior of the small batch gluten free chocolate cake.

Here are just a few reasons for why you’ll LOVE this gluten free chocolate cake:

  • It’s perfectly moist, soft and delicate. I used a combination of butter and oil in the sponges – the butter gives them a luxurious flavour, while the oil keeps them extra moist, light and delicate.
  • The sponges are super rich and chocolatey. I used both melted dark chocolate and Dutch processed cocoa powder in the sponges, for double the chocolate flavour. This, in addition to the melted butter, gives them an incredibly luxurious and decadent flavour.
  • The chocolate cream cheese frosting is a revelation. It’s perfectly velvety-smooth and creamy, with an intense chocolate flavour. However, it’s much lighter than a buttercream frosting would be, with the cream cheese giving it a hint of freshness. It also retains the most beautiful glossy shine to it (even if you keep the cake in the fridge!) and it pipes like an absolute dream.
  • It’s dead easy to make – no special equipment needed. That’s right, you don’t need a stand or a hand mixer to make this beauty. Just a couple of bowls, a whisk, a rubber spatula, and you’re good to go!
  • It serves 4-6 people. So, it’s perfect if you’re baking just for yourself or for a small number or people.
  • It’s gluten free and you couldn’t possibly tell.
  • It’s just stunning. Seriously, it looks like something straight out of a super fancy pastry shop… and yet, it requires minimal effort to prepare.

A slice of chocolate cake on a white dessert plate.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this wonderful cake – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

How do you make gluten free chocolate cake sponges?

Making these (small batch, 6 inch) gluten free chocolate cake sponges is beyond simple. There’s no creaming butter and sugar, no whisking of the eggs – just combine all the ingredients in a single bowl, give it a whisk until smooth and that’s it.

I’ve broken it down into individual steps for you below, but seriously: in the world of cake sponges, these just might be the easiest out there, while also giving the most delicious results.

Here’s how you make THE BEST gluten free chocolate cake sponges:

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (gluten free flour blend, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt) and sugar. Give it a quick whisk to combine.
  2. In a separate small bowl or jug, whisk together one egg, sunflower (or vegetable) oil, warm milk and warm water. Add the mix to the dry ingredients.
  3. Then, add the melted chocolate and butter,
  4. and whisk it all together until you get a smooth, glossy and fairly runny chocolate cake batter with no flour clumps.
  5. Divide it evenly between two lined 6 inch (15cm) round cake tins.
  6. Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 26-28 minutes,
  7. until well risen
  8. and an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached. Then, allow to cool in the tins for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

The first 4 steps of the 8-step process of making the gluten free chocolate cake sponges.

The last 4 steps of the 8-step process of making the gluten free chocolate cake sponges.

How do you make chocolate cream cheese frosting?

Just like with the sponges, it truly doesn’t get much simpler (or more delicious) than this chocolate cream cheese frosting. In comparison to a chocolate buttercream, it’s lighter thanks to the creamy freshness of the cream cheese.

At the same time, the frosting has an intense chocolate flavour and a velvety-smooth texture that simply melts in your mouth. It spreads and pipes like a dream (it keeps its shape really well!) and it retains a gorgeous glossy shine, even after the cake has been kept in the fridge for a while.

To make this chocolate cream cheese frosting, you don’t need a stand or a hand mixer – in fact, you don’t even need a whisk! Just a bowl and a rubber spatula will do. Here’s how:

  1. You’ll need only 3 ingredients: melted dark chocolate, cream cheese and powdered/icing sugar.
  2. Add the powdered/icing sugar
  3. and the cream cheese to the melted chocolate.
  4. And then, mix it all together with a spatula until smooth and glossy and luscious. Try to resist the temptation to just go at it with a spoon… though if you do sneak a little taste (or three), that’s perfectly understandable. The frosting is certainly too tempting for its own good.

The 4-step process of making the chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Yes, it’s really that simple. No stand or hand mixers, no whisking – just stir these three ingredients together and that’s it. The recipe below makes enough frosting to fully cover a two-layer 6 inch cake, plus to pipe a few pretty swirls of frosting on top for decoration.

Assembling the small batch gluten free chocolate cake

Now, with all the individual components ready, you can start assembling the cake!

To assemble the gluten free chocolate cake:

  1. Level off the sponges with a sharp serrated knife. (The cut-offs make a great snack for while you’re frosting the cake, by the way!)
  2. Place the bottom sponge on a cake stand or serving plate of choice.
  3. Dollop some of the frosting on top and smooth it out into an even layer.
  4. Place the other sponge on top, with the bottom side facing upwards (this will give you a nice flat top).
  5. Use most of the remaining frosting to cover the outside of the cake (reserve some for piping the decorations on top). Smooth out the sides and top as much as you can – but don’t worry about it being 100% perfect!
  6. Transfer the leftover frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle of choice, and decorate the cake with swirls and dollops of frosting.
  7. If you want, you can finish it off with some sprinkles – but I really liked the elegant simplicity of the glossy chocolate frosting, so I left it as is.

Piping swirls of chocolate frosting on top of the cake.

Small batch gluten free chocolate cake on a round wooden board.

And there you have it: an incredibly easy and delicious recipe for a really cute small batch 6 inch gluten free chocolate cake with wonderfully moist and tender chocolate sponges, and a luxurious chocolate cream cheese frosting.

It’s the perfect dessert for when that sneaky chocolate craving strikes, but you really don’t feel like making a large, fussy cake. Though, fair warning, when the last slice disappears, you’ll wish you made a larger batch. (Yes, I’m definitely speaking from personal experience here.)

I really hope you’ll love it.

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat.

Side-on view of the interior of the small batch gluten free chocolate cake.

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Small batch gluten free chocolate cake on a round wooden board, with a few slices already cut.
5 from 3 votes
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Small Batch Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Chocoholics, rejoice. This small batch gluten free chocolate cake is deliciously decadent, with wonderfully moist and soft chocolate sponges. The chocolate cream cheese frosting is a total revelation: rich and velvety-smooth, it pipes like a dream and gives the cake a gorgeous glossy finish. The recipe makes a two-layer 6 inch cake and doesn’t require any special equipment – no stand or hand mixer needed!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten Free
Prep Time 45 minutes
Bake/Cook Time 26 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 11 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

For gluten free chocolate sponges:

  • 70 g (2.5 oz) chopped dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids)
  • 38 g (⅓ stick) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 120 g (1 cup) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour, which doesn't contain xanthan gum. You can also mix your own blend from 50% white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour by weight.)
  • 125 g (½ cup + 2 tbsp) caster/superfine or granulated sugar
  • 20 g (3 ½ tbsp) Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum (Omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum.)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 80 g (⅓ cup) warm milk
  • 80 g (⅓ cup) warm water
  • 30 g (⅛ cup) sunflower oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)
  • 1 UK medium/US large egg, room temperature

For chocolate cream cheese frosting:

  • 240 g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids), melted and cooled until warm
  • 200 g (1 ⅓ cups) powdered/icing sugar

Instructions

For gluten free chocolate sponges:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line two 6 inch (15cm) round cake tins with baking/greaseproof paper.

  2. In heat-proof bowl above a pot of simmering water (or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave), melt the chocolate and butter together. Set aside to cool until warm.

  3. In a large bowl, sift together the gluten free flour blend, caster/superfine (or granulated) sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt.

  4. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk together the milk, water, oil and egg.

  5. Add the melted chocolate and the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk well until you get a smooth, glossy and fairly runny chocolate cake batter with no flour clumps.

  6. Evenly divide the cake batter between the two lined cake tins and smooth out the top.

  7. Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 26-28 minutes or until well risen and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

  8. Allow to cool in the cake tins for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For chocolate cream cheese frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the frosting ingredients and mix (with a rubber spatula) or whisk (with a balloon whisk) well until you get a smooth, glossy and fairly thick frosting that is easily spreadable.

Assembling the cake:

  1. Level off the sponges with a sharp serrated knife.

  2. Place the bottom sponge on a cake stand or serving plate of choice.

  3. Dollop some of the frosting on top and smooth it out into an even layer, using a small offset spatula.

  4. Place the other sponge on top, with the bottom of the sponge facing upwards (this will give you a nice flat top).

  5. Use most of the remaining frosting to cover the outside of the cake (reserve some for piping the decorations on top). Smooth out the sides and top as much as you can – but don’t worry about it being 100% perfect.

  6. Transfer the leftover frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle of choice, and decorate the cake with swirls and dollops of frosting. If you want, you can finish it off with some sprinkles (optional) before slicing and serving.

    Tip: For extra neat and clean slices, cut the cake with a warm/hot knife. Choose a sharp knife and dip it into very hot water. Wipe it dry, then slice the cake while the knife is still hot/warm. In between slices, dip the knife again in hot water, wipe it off and repeat.

Storage:

  1. The gluten free chocolate cake keeps well in a closed container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

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