This is my favorite gluten-free chocolate cake. It is a rich dark chocolate cake made gluten-free and topped with a whiskey glaze and a decadent Irish cream frosting. This gluten-free dark chocolate cake is made with Glutenberg Stout, our favorite GF beer, but you can also use coffee to achieve the same rich flavor and moist texture.
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This dark chocolate cake is perfect for special occasions like Valentine's Day or Christmas. But I always make it for St. Patrick's Day. It is the perfect end to my favorite meal of the year; Corned beef, colcannon potatoes, and gluten-free soda bread.
Why This Recipe Works
Years ago, before being diagnosed with Celiac, I used to make this decedant Chocolate Stout Cake from Bon Appetit magazine. I modified it over the years to include a hint of whiskey and a Baileys buttercream filling.
Since discovering Glutenberg gluten-free stout beer, I have been able to convert my favorite cake recipe into a gluten-free version.
The stout beer has a malty chocolate flavor with coffee undertones which gives richness to this cake. And high-quality Dutch processed cocoa powder compliments the stout flavors, rather than overpowers it.
This makes for an intensely dark chocolate flavor.
While the addition of sour cream adds moistness. Something most gluten-free cakes lack. And this extra moistness helps it keep for up to a week in the fridge.
This recipe does use stout beer. Which may be hard to find in your neck of the woods. A dark IPA (assuming it's gluten-free) can be used in its place. Or you can substitute an equal amount of espresso or coffee.
While the whiskey glaze is optional, I love the undertones it gives to the cake. I recommend using an Irish whiskey to keep with the theme of the cake, but any whiskey or bourbon can be substituted.
Finally, we have the Baileys Irish Cream buttercream. Wow, that is a mouthful.
I prefer to use buttercream as both the filling and the exterior frosting. I am clearly not the best at cake decorating. But nobody seems to complain. It's just that good.
See the recipe card for quantities.
This cake is foolproof. Unlike our gluten-free banana cake recipe, we don't have to whip any egg whites making the baking process straightforward.
Step 1- Prep
This cake is a two-tiered cake. Getting it cleanly out of the pan is of the utmost importance. I prefer to line the bottom of the round cake pans with parchment.
You can use precut 8 inch round pieces of parchment. Or use sheets, place your cake tin down, trace the pan with a pen, and then cut the sheet to a round shape.
The parchment and the sides of the cake tin need to be oiled or rubbed with butter to prevent sticking.
Before starting the cake batter begin preheating the oven to 350 F degrees.
Step 2- Stout Mixture
In a saucepan, add the gluten-free stout (or coffee) and butter. Heat over medium stirring occasionally. Once the butter has melted bring the mixture to a low simmer. Do not boil.
Remove the stout mixture from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Step 3- Dry Ingredients
For the best results, measure your flour using a kitchen scale. There are a wide variety of gluten-free flour blends and based on the individual flours used the mixes can range from very light to heavy and dense.
For this recipe, I recommend a 1 to 1 gluten-flour blend. I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Flour.
When mixing the dry ingredients, you can sift your flour. Or you can place all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and use a whisk to stir and aerate.
Set aside while you prepare the wet ingredients.
Step 4- Wet Ingredients
Mix together the eggs and sour cream. You can use the paddle attachment and stand mixer, a handheld mixer, or do this the old fashion way with a whisk and a little bit of elbow grease.
Add the cooled stout mixture. Do not overbeat, just stir enough to combine.
Step 5- Combine
Beating on a slow speed (very slow), add the dry ingredients a cup at a time until fully incorporated.
Step 6- Bake and Cool
Pour the batter into the cake pan. Try to get them as even as possible. Use a spatula to smooth out the tops. Rest for 10 minutes before baking.
Bake for 30 minutes, these cakes typically take 35 minutes, but I prefer to begin the toothpick test 5 minutes early. When a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean the cakes are done.
Transfer the cakes to a rack to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Then carefully turn the pans upside down to release the cakes. Use a knife around the edge before flipping.
Completely cool before assembling.
Sugar and syrup glazes are becoming more popular on tiered cakes. The glaze is essentially a simple syrup that is lightly brushed on the top of each layer before adding the filling or frosting.
To make the glaze combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. It should take just a few minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the whiskey. Allow the syrup to cool before using.
Any extra can be used to sweeten cocktails like our Apple Whiskey Smash.
Irish Buttercream Frosting
Add your softened butter to a mixing bowl. Using an electric or stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat on medium speed for at least 2 minutes. It should be nice and creamy.
Add the Baileys Irish Cream, salt, and 4 cups of the confectioner's sugar. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds to incorporate the sugar before moving to medium speed. Beat for a full 2 minutes.
Slowly add the remaining sugar to get to a spreadable consistency.
You want to start with even layers, meaning the top of the cake has to be totally flat. If your cake has a domed top, use a serrated bread knife to trim off the dome.
Brush the whiskey syrup onto both of the cake tops. Don't soak the cake but do be sure to evenly distribute the flavor.
Place your first layer on the cake plate. Add about a cup of buttercream, use an offset spatula to spread evenly. Add the second tier on top of the first.
Use the remaining buttercream to frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate as desired.
This cake is beautiful without any special decorations. However, if you want to dress it up, I have a few ideas.
I used grated chocolate to sprinkle around the sides and top. You could also make chocolate curls or add chocolate sprinkles.
For more advanced bakers, making a small batch of chocolate ganache and piping on a border or chocolate roses would be a spectacular look.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Always weight your flour rather than using a measuring cup.
- If using a measuring cup and not a scale, use a spoon to scoop your flour out. You don't want to pack it down.
- Use a scale to weigh the cake pans to ensure you have evenly distributed the batter for even layers.
- Chocolate ganache can be substituted for the Irish buttercream.
- Always rest gluten-free baters before baking. Just 10 minutes rehydrates the flour and proteins building a better structure.
Your finished cake should be covered and stored in the refrigerator. It will last for up to a week when properly stored.
I often make my cake and frosting the day before and assemble it the following morning. The cake tiers should be returned to the tins and covered. They can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge.
While the buttercream frosting should be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator. Set out for 1 hour to soften before you frost your cake.
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Dutch does not refer to the origin but the type of processing. Dutch-processed means the cocoa beans were rinsed alkaline solution of potassium carbonate. This process removes the acidity of the powder making it neutral.
The Dutch-processed cocoa powder dissolves easily into liquids. Making it perfect for this cake.
Overmixing the batter will result in a rubbery cake. Under mixing slightly (compared to ta traditional cake) and allowing it to rest before baking will result in a moist cake with a soft texture.
Easy Gluten-Free Baking Recipes
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Dark Chocolate Stout Cake (Gluten- Free)
Irish Whiskey Glaze
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
Irish Buttercream Filling
- 1½ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup Baileys Irish Cream
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper and sides of the pan.
- Add the stout (or coffee) and butter to a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.1 cup Glutenberg stout, ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup unsalted butter
- In a large bowl add your flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt whisk to blend. Set aside.10.5 ounces gluten free flour blend, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- Add the eggs and sour cream to a large bowl. Beat with an electric or stand mixer (use paddle attachment) to blend. Add the cooled stout-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low, just to combine.2 eggs, ⅔ cup sour cream
- Add flour mixture gradually, beating on slow. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Allow the cakes to rest for 10 minutes before baking.
- Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto a rack and cool completely.
Irish Buttercream Frosting
- With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Add confectioners’ sugar, Baileys, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium-high speed and beat for 2 full minutes. Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or another tablespoon of Baileys if frosting is too thick.1½ cup unsalted butter, 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, ¼ cup Baileys Irish Cream, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- In a small saucepan combine the water and sugar. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the whiskey. Cool before assembling the cake.¼ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey, ¼ cup water
- While your cake is baking and cooling make your glaze and frosting. Dot the cake plate with frosting and place 1 cake layer on the plate. If the cake is domed use a bread knife to horizontally trim the to make the top even. Use a pastry brush to spread on the whiskey glaze.
- Using a small offset spatula, evenly cover the top of the first layer with 1 cup of buttercream. Spread the buttercream so it extends beyond the edges of the cake. Trim the second layer and gently place it on top of the first tier. Brush with the whiskey glaze.
- Use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and the outside of the cake.
- Add 1 teaspoon xanthan gum if your flour blend does not already contain
- A kitchen scale can be used to ensure each cake pan has an equal amount of batter
- You may need more or less confectioners sugar for the buttercream depending on the brand of butter and the temperature and humidity of your kitchen