Utterly delicious, super-fudgy Gluten Free Mocha Cake, layered with mocha buttercream. The perfect balance of chocolate and coffee to make an incredible celebration cake or tea-time treat. Rice-free; Nut-free; Optional dairy free.
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Who fancies a slice of super-fudgy Gluten Free Mocha Cake?
This Gluten Free Mocha Cake is irresistible. A double layer of super-fudgy, rich and decadent mocha sponge (with a hint of coffee-bitterness), layered with sumptuous sweet and creamy mocha buttercream… All decorated with simple piping, mocha beans and chocolate. What’s not to love?!
And there’s always room for cake in life… right? So, whether you dress it down as a simpler tea time treat, or bling it with bells and whistles for a celebration, my Gluten Free Mocha Cake is one recipe you definitely need to have up your sleeve, ready and waiting.
And if you aren’t sure about cake-making, no worries. It’s really not difficult to make.
What is Mocha?
You will have probably come across the term ‘Mocha’ when visiting a coffee shop (in amongst the often-overwhelming list of coffee options available). But what exactly is a Mocha?
Well… Although today Mocha or ‘Caffe Mocha’ is associated with a mug of coffee, the word is actually linked to a location… the city of al-Makha (or Al Mokka (Mocha)) in Yeman. Apparently, Al Mokka was a port city and was known as a major coffee exporter in the 15th to 18th Centuries. At the time, arabica coffee (grown on the mountains of Yemen) came to be known as ‘Mocha Coffee’ (or Arabian Mocha). And it just happened to be loved for its naturally chocolatey notes.
Of course, ‘Mocha’ coffee today, is not made specifically with Mocha beans, but the happy marriage of chocolate notes combined with deep, rich coffee have been adopted and meddled over time to secure its place in our coffee-filled lives.
At its heart, today’s Mocha is a shot of strong espresso coffee, combined with chocolate, chocolate powder or syrup, blended with milk or cream. (Head over to Perfect Daily Grind if you want to find out more). And in keeping with tradition, my Gluten Free Mocha Cake pairs these two characteristic flavours side by side and together, creating a divine and sumptuous treat.
Making this recipe as a Mocha Celebration Cake
This recipe has been on the blog since 2017 and was originally made as a celebration cake for one of Miss GF’s birthdays. Despite having a reasonable hit of coffee, it (fortunately) didn’t have any ‘hyper’ after-effects, despite being wolfed down by a bunch of kids. But if you are worried, just use instant decaf.
Whatever coffee you choose, the sponge makes an amazing canvass for a celebration cake, because it is fudgy and a little dense (although still moist and tender). It stacks well and will take any manner of decorative additions as a layer cake.
Although I coated my Mocha Cake in a full layer of buttercream, it would work equally well as a ‘naked cake’, slathered in ganache, or simply top decorated. If you want to add a fruity kick, coffee and chocolate work incredibly well alongside blueberries or raspberries.
Is this Gluten Free Mocha Cake safe for Coeliacs?
Absolutely yes! This Mocha cake is made with gluten free flour, so is safe for Coeliacs and (if you live in the States or other places where the spelling is different), Celiacs… Just make sure you check all ingredient labels for any hidden gluten or ‘may contain’ warnings, to avoid any risk of cross-contamination.
Can I also make this gluten free cake recipe dairy free?
Oh yes! If you want to make a dairy free, gluten free Mocha Cake, the sponge works really well with simple subs of dairy free butter (I recommend a good block alternative such as Stork Baking Block) and dairy free milk (to make the ‘buttermilk’). Also make sure the dark chocolate and cocoa used in the sponge are additionally certified dairy free-gluten free.
When it comes to decoration, it’s easy to make the same subs for the mocha buttercream and other additions, or go ‘rogue’ and make variations your own…
What gluten free flour can I use to make Gluten Free Mocha Cake?
Okay… So, when I make my Gluten Free Mocha Cake, I use my own Gluten Free, Rice Free, Blend B flour mix. But this cake honestly isn’t precious! As such, while I can tell you my rice-free blend makes an amazing sponge with no trace of ‘grittiness’ or rice-based arsenic, the cake can happily be made with other gluten free flour blends too. Just make sure you use a flour blend, as these are formulated for general gluten free baking. Singular gluten free flours will not do the same job.
Whichever blend you choose, make sure to add the xanthan gum (UNLESS the blend already contains it – check the ingredients); and raising agents as stated in the recipe. With this in mind, I strongly advise use of a plain flour blend (not self-raising).
What do I need to make Gluten Free Mocha Cake?
In addition to the flour discussed above, when making Gluten Free Mocha Cake, it is worth thinking about some of the other key ingredients listed in the recipe…
- Dark Chocolate – Chocolate comes in various states of quality and when baking I would always recommend using a good-quality brand. It is also essential (for those with either Coeliac Disease or a gluten-linked health diagnosis) that the dark chocolate is confirmed gluten free. I recommend using Callebaut chocolate calettes for quality and meltability (although it is NOT suitable if you are dairy-allergic). Price for price, they are almost identical to a standard bar of ‘Bourneville’ dark chocolate, especially when bought in a larger-size bag.
- Coffee Powder – When baking (and unless a recipe states otherwise), always use an INSTANT powdered coffee that will dissolve and combine easily with the other ingredients. Purely for its strength of flavour, I always use Nescafe Azera Espresso instant powder.
- Eggs – The recipe shared for Gluten Free Mocha Cake uses UK LARGE eggs. For consistency, it’s what I always use in baking. However, bear in mind that egg sizing varies around the world, so if you don’t live in the UK, make sure your eggs are the right (equivalent) size. If unsure, check out my International Egg Size and Weight Comparison Chart.
- Decoration – How you choose to decorate your Gluten Free Mocha Cake is up to you… But if you like what I have done, you’ll need some chocolate cigarillos and some mocha beans. I get my cigarillos from the Chocolate Trading Company (as they are a superior quality and are packaged for transportation exceptionally well to avoid crushing). The mocha beans can be found on-line, or sometimes, in Waitrose.
To make my Gluten Free Mocha Cake, you’ll need:
- Two deep 8 inch cake tins (I always use the Masterclass tins).
- Good quality baking paper to line the tins or baking paper circles.
- Small non-stick saucepan.
- A good set of Kitchen Measuring Scales. I’ve linked the ones I use.
- Measuring Spoons.
- An Electric Whisk and a flexible Spoon/Spatula.
- Mixing Bowls.
- Oven and hob.
- A Wire Rack.
Ready to make Gluten Free Mocha Cake?
Below, you’ll find my recipe for Gluten Free Mocha Cake. I hope you love it. If you make it, please let me know how you found it. You can either leave a comment or tag me on social media with your delicious cake pics. (Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter). And if you aren’t already, why not subscribe to our weekly update, so that you never miss a recipe? Just fill out the subscription box on the Home Page or at the end of this post.
And if it’s big cakes you’re after, have you visited our dedicated Celebration and Big Cake Index yet? There’s loads to choose from, including my epic (and very popular) Gluten Free Coffee and Walnut Cake; Super-citrussy Orange Celebration Cake; Perfectly-balance Banoffee Layer Cake; Reader-requested Best Gluten Free Carrot Cake; and even a traditional fruit Simnel Cake.
Other Mocha recipes at Gluten Free Alchemist…
Gluten Free Mocha Cake
- 2 x deep 8 inch loose-bottomed cake tins
- Small saucepan
- microwave or hob and saucepan
- cake spatula
- piping bag and nozzle – optional
- 2 tbsp instant espresso coffee powder
- 125 ml cold water
- 200 g good quality dark chocolate cut into pieces
- 200 g unsalted butter or dairy free alternative cubed
- 170 g plain gluten free flour blend I used the GFA rice-free blend B – See NOTES for link
- 1½ tsp baking powder gluten free
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 400 g golden caster sugar superfine sugar
- 25 g cocoa powder
- 75 ml milk/dairy free alternative
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 3 large eggs UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 200 g good quality dark chocolate chopped
- 240 g unsalted butter softened
- 1 tsp instant espresso coffee powder mixed to a smooth paste with 1 teaspoon boiling water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 180 g icing sugar confectioners sugar
- 1 to 2 tbsp milk/dairy-free alternative as needed
Decoration – optional
- 17 chocolate Mocha Beans
- 8 dark chocolate cigarillos
- a dusting of finely grated chocolate
- Base-line two deep 8 inch (20 cm) round loose-bottomed non-stick cake tins with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
- Mix the coffee powder with the water in a small saucepan and add the chocolate and butter.
- Place on the hob and (stirring frequently), heat over a medium setting until just melted. Set aside.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl (or shake vigorously in a sealed airtight container), making sure the mixture is well blended and all lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.
- Heat the milk either in a microwave or in a small saucepan over a low heat until almost simmering and then take off the heat and add the lemon juice.
- Stir until the milk thickens and looks curdled.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended and light.
- Add the milk mixture to the eggs and beat again.
- Pour the milk-egg mixture and the chocolate mix into the bowl of flour and stir with a large spoon or spatula until you have a well blended and smooth batter.
- Pour the mixture into the two tins and bake for 1¼ to 1½ hours until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes, before loosening the sides with a spatula and turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Place the chocolate in a small glass bowl and melt in the microwave on a medium setting, 30 second bursts, stirring well between each until smooth (or in a heatproof bowl set above a saucepan of lightly simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth). Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and pale.
- Add a little icing sugar and the vanilla extract and beat again until smooth.
- Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar, the coffee, the melted chocolate and (if necessary) a drop of milk, to ensure a thick, creamy, spreading consistency, beating between each addition. (if it seems a little too loose, keep beating until thick and/or add a little extra icing sugar).
Putting the cake together
- When the sponges are cold, place one of them on a decorating board and spread some of the buttercream in a thick, even layer across it, before placing the second sponge on top.
- Using a spatula, spread a further layer of buttercream across the top and down the sides (making sure you leave some icing to pipe decorations) and smooth to the look that you want.
- Arrange the cigarillos across the top in an even ‘spoke’ pattern.
- Using a wide, star-tipped nozzle and piping bag, pipe flower decorations on the sides and top of the cake.
- Finally, add the Mocha Beans and a light, fine grating of dark chocolate.
- Chill in the fridge for about 40 minutes (to firm up the icing), before transferring to a serving plate.
- The cake is best stored at ambient temperature in an airtight container.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
Gluten Free Mocha Cake shared with
- Sundays on Silverado #58 with The House on Silverado
- Handmade Monday #247 with Sum of Their Stories
- Full Plate Thursday #555 with Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
- What’s for Dinner #333 with The Lazy Gastronome
- Cook Blog Share Week 42 2021 with Farmers Girl Kitchen
- Fiesta Friday #398 with Angie and Of Goats and Greens
Previously shared with Free From Fridays with Le Coin De Mel