Gluten free chocolate cake – The perfect Birthday cake!

Gluten free chocolate cake with a ganache topping

Updated 21st October 2021

Popped together this gorgeous, gluten free chocolate cake last weekend. The recipe I used, and ever so slightly adapted to make it gluten free, was listed as a ‘Birthday cake’ in Nigella Lawson’s book How To Eat. I love this book so much. Nigella’s writing style is awesome and since writing my own blog I really look at the finer detail of publications…not to copy, but to admire. How To Eat is a recipe book, that not only makes you want to get in the kitchen and bake/cook. But it is also the perfect book to have beside your bed, to pick up for a little joyful night time reading. Beware though, it may just want to make you sneak back down into your kitchen in the middle of the night and crack on with a batch bake!

Back to the cake. To be totally honest with you, originally I made this cake for pure indulgence for myself. Rather shockingly, I hadn’t even thought about sharing the recipe with you (I know…I’m sorry!). However, this beautifully dense gluten free chocolate cake with its delicious, rich, shiny ganache, turned out fabulously, was rather photogenic and sparked a great response on social media, I decided to type it up.


Ingredients (Serves about 10)

For the cake
225g of gluten free mix or gf self-raising flour (on this occasion I used Juvela gf white mix)
30g best *cocoa
200g caster sugar
100g Lurpak spreadable butter (not low fat)
200g condensed milk
100g best quality *dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate – watch out as lots of Lindt is not gluten free)
100ml boiled water
2 large eggs, beaten

For the chocolate ganache
250g best quality *chocolate (Nigella recommends that you use the best continental chocolate you can with your own preference on whether it be dark, milk or mixed.  I used Dr Oetker dark chocolate 54% cocoa and a few odds and ends of nice M&S chocolate I had knocking about)
250ml double cream


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4/160C Fan.

Grease and line a 20cm cake tin. Nigella does recommend a springform tin, but I don’t have one. If you do and choose to use it, you will only need to grease and line the bottom rather than the whole tin. You could use two sandwich tins instead and divide the mixture. Should you use two tins you would need to reduce the baking time to approx 20-25 minutes.

Pop the sugar, butter, condensed milk, chocolate, and water in a pan and heat until everything has melted. Give it a good stir to blend everything together.

Sieve the gluten free mix/flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Pour in the melted ingredients, mix well and then add the beaten eggs. Again, give the mixture another good mix until you a achieve a smooth consistency. Transfer into the prepared tin and pop into the oven

Bake for about 40 minutes until the cake feels firm (I recommend that you don’t open the oven before the 40 minutes is up). Nigella advises when checking if the cake is done, not to expect a skewer to come out clean in fact she quotes “Indeed you wouldn’t want it to. And don’t worry about any cracking on the surface. The ganache will cover it later.”

Gluten free chocolate cake -recipe from Nigella Lawson How To Eat

Once baked remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so, before turning it out onto a rack.

To make the ganache

Finely chop the chocolate or blitz in a food processor (much easier this way) and then transfer into a large mixing bowl.

Heat the cream in a saucepan until it just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour onto the chocolate. Leave for 5 minutes, then with an electric mixer whisk the cream and chocolate together until thick and glossy.

Slice the cake in half and spread a generous amount of ganache over the cut side of the cake and then pop the other half back on top. Pour the remaining ganache over the top of the cake and encourage it to run down the sides. With a pallet knife, smooth out the ganache over the entire cake.

Gluten free chocolate cake topped with ganache

Leave for a couple hours to allow the ganache to set and then tuck in!

Gluten free chocolate cake topped with ganache

Recipe notes and suggestions:

The cake will keep in a cool place for up to two days. After this time, due to the ganache containing fresh cream it needs to be popped into the fridge.

This chocolate cake can also be frozen. Just portion up into individual slices or size that suits, wrap in foil, pop into a bag and into the freezer. No pressure to eat in a rush then and you can take a piece out as and when you fancy. Allow it to defrost at room temperature for an hour or so and enjoy.

If your a fan of hot chocolate fudge cake you will love this cake. To heat the cake gently warm individual slices either in a microwave or oven. It’s delicious when serve with a good vanilla *ice-cream or fresh cream.

Gluten free chocolate cake portions

As this chocolate cake recipe only requires half of the 397g can of condensed milk, I used the other half of milk to make up a batch of chocolate fudge. I used the recipe from the back of the can of carnation condensed milk, halving the amount of all the other ingredients. The fudge tasted great, but I don’t recommend you pipe it like I did as I feel fudge is best enjoyed when cut into nice thick chunky pieces.

Chocolate fudge on a pretty plate

Hope you get to make this delicious gluten free chocolate cake. Credit for original recipe of course goes to Nigella Lawson.

For now,
Liz x

*Check this product to ensure no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack. If in doubt leave it out.

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