Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Egg-Free Chocolate Cake

by Maggie on August 29, 2012

August is birthday month around here (and it doesn’t seem to slow down too much until the end of October). Now that both of my parents and my sister are gluten-free and dairy-free (and feeling fabulous of course), I’ve been busy baking birthday cakes and cupcakes for my entire family.

One of my go-to gluten-free flours is teff flour. It’s an amazing gluten-free grain jam-packed with nutritional goodness. And it pairs perfectly with chocolate, so naturally I grabbed for it when I was asked to bake chocolate cake (plus I was inspired by Amy’s cake recipe in her cookbook).

I made this gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free chocolate cake for my sister’s birthday, my Mom’s birthday, and for Callum’s 6th birthday (time REALLY does fly). And I’m sure I’ll be making it again this weekend for my Dad’s birthday.

It’s a winner.  And it doubles as cupcakes.  Callum requested an out of this world birthday party with cake AND cupcakes.  Who am I to deny him?

Teff Chocolate Cake (or Cupcakes)


1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup full-fat coconut milk (make sure it’s well mixed)
½ cup dairy-free milk (I use organic almond or soy milk)
¼ cup tapioca flour or arrowroot flour
1 cup teff flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon psyllium seed husks
½ teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
¾ cup granulated sugar (I use coconut sugar)
½ cup coconut oil, liquefied


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cheesecake pan with parchment (see this trick for lining cake pans).

Combine the apple cider vinegar with the coconut milk and dairy-free milk in a large bowl (canned coconut milk separates, so make sure to mix it well before using). Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to create a “buttermilk”.

In a medium sized bowl, sift together the starch, teff flour, baking powder, baking soda, psyllium seed husks, sea salt, and cocoa powder.

Add vanilla, sugar and coconut oil to your “buttermilk” mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in dry ingredients and mix well.

Spread batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 28-32 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and let cool for fifteen minutes. Carefully run a knife around the side of the cake pan and remove outer ring (if using cheesecake pan). Let cool completely.

Frost with desired frosting.

Yield: 1 single layer 8 inch round cake or 10-12 regular sized cupcakes


* If baking cupcakes, bake for 20-22 minutes.
* To make a double layer cake you will need to make this recipe twice. I iced mine in between layers too, doesn’t everyone? Make sure your cakes cool completely before icing and layering.
* Make sure you tightly wrap any leftovers – they’ll keep for a couple of days.


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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Iris August 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm

How did you know that I was dreaming about chocolate cake? Literally…


Alyssa | Queen of Quinoa August 30, 2012 at 10:36 am

Chocolate cake…just thinking about it makes me happy! Sounds like a yummy recipe :) And I love Amy’s tip!!


Shirley @ gfe August 30, 2012 at 10:50 am

Oh, that cutie! Of course, you can’t deny a face like that, Mom! 😉 Wonderful cake and cupcakes, Maggie. :-)



Lauren @ Empowered Sustenance August 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm

The teff + tapioca flour combo sounds intriguing. I love the monster cake! I can’t believe this is gluten, egg and dairy free!


Alisa August 30, 2012 at 2:21 pm

What awesome cupcakes Maggie! Happy belated birthday to all of them!


Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy August 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm

one slice to go please :)


Tessa@The Domestic Diva August 30, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I love this and cannot wait to try it!! Isn’t so great when you don’t have to make a million tweaks to a recipe, I love finding someone who uses similar ingredients to me, thanks Maggie! Pinned….


Ashley T @vegan_kitchen_nuggets August 31, 2012 at 1:29 am

Ohhh I love the mixture of teff and chocolate! A match made in heaven, I’d say.


Dawn @ cuter than gluten August 31, 2012 at 3:59 am

I love your three eyed monster cake! I tried teff twice. I loved the taste, and it baked so nicely, but… I had extreme abdominal cramps after eating the cupcakes I had made. Obviously I took that to mean no Teff for me! But I am just curious if anyone else has that experience? My kids seemed fine- in fact at least 7 people ate it and they were all fine.


Kim - Cook It Allergy Free August 31, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Oh my gosh, could he be ANY cuter?? I love those August Birthday babies! ;D We have lots of August bdays in our family too… there are 7 of us with them… so we do a lot of baking this month too!!
I am loving this recipe! Conner’s birthday is in a week and a half and I am thinking this would be PERFECT for his cupcakes!!
Happy Birthday, Callum!!


Stephanie September 3, 2012 at 4:38 am

I have all this stuff in my cupboard except the psyllium seed husks. What’s a good substitute? Guar gum, Flax gel, Chia seeds? Thanks. Looking forward to trying this for my daughter’s birthday on Friday. :)


Deanna September 6, 2012 at 11:11 am

I’ve never had much luck with egg free cake. But yours looks great! I do believe I will be making this recipe next time I need a chocolate cake.


Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free September 17, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I love your decorations and, of course, I love your boy too! I am excited to try your teff cake recipe. Egg-free baking is not my forte but I would love to learn how to make fab desserts sans-eggs.



Tyeanna Johnson September 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Where do you get your psyllium seed husks? I don’t even know what that is. Would it be at a grocery store in the health food isle? Is it in a can or bag? Thanks!


Carol King October 26, 2012 at 9:39 am

I have recently started using the psyllium husk as well, and LOVE what it does for my breads, but I haven’t tried it in cake. I have to agree with you about the teff, it’s wonderful. I’m always amazed at all the flavors I was missing out on when I only used wheat and never knew these grains were out there.


Tania December 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Thank you so much for this recipe! my daughter is adjusting to a recent gluten/egg/dairy intolerance diagnosis and I baked these cupcakes for her birthday party. huge success! so light and fluffy for gf! amazing flavor and not sickly sweet either. i think i will bake the cake version to send in to school… mmm… :)


Debbie Carranza December 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I’m a fan of your website and I wanted to let you know that I attempted to make this recipe BUT I didn’t have psyllium husk. So I searched on your website for another cupcake recipe using chia seeds which I had on hand. This recipe so far had the best and closest taste to a wheat flour cupcake and the cupcake tops were wonderfully shaped and remained intact but the bottom part of the cupcake in the cupcake liner crumbled very easily and I ended up eating it with a spoon OR I let the cupcakes sit for a number of days just to harden to remain intact when eating it. I might try again but now I wonder if I continue to bake with chia seeds to expect this to happen? This is one of my baking misses but the boys did enjoy the cupcake tops!


marike December 23, 2012 at 11:46 am

Hi, recipe sounds great, though in our town i cant get teff flour and like to make the cake for christmas! anything i could replace it with? Maybe quinoa flour, almond flour or gluten free oat flour….or anything else?


marike December 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Thanks Maggie, i see what is available in town tomorrow, guess i left it a bit late to get the right ingredients.. Though i have everything else already in my cupboard, teff flour sounds quite crucial but we’ll see, i let you know, thanks! Merry Christmas to you too, Marike.


Allison March 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm

These are in the oven right now, fingers crossed… We need to bring a cupcake for my 3 year old tomorrow to a birthday party so she can feel included since she can’t eat the cake.
Wondering if they could be frozen? I have 12 baking, only need 1, might eat one to “test it” so will be left with 10.. and need more for the end of week.
Have you tried freezing?


donna September 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Wow, this is the best rice, wheat, and egg free cake recipe I’ve made…ever. Thanks soooo much!
I did make a few minor changes though for our own personal needs :0)
1) I used 1 cup milk instead of the coconut milk and non dairy milk (thank the lord dairy is ok at our house right now).
2) I used melted palm shortening instead of the coconut oil (I am scared of coconut anything since some consider it a “tree nut”).
3) I have not yet ventured into trying psyllium husks and since we are trying teff for the first time, I used 1 teaspoon corn free xanthan gum which I know is safe for us.
This is a keeper for sure. This recipe is good for anyone, whether they can eat wheat or not. Thanks again! Oh, and I think I like them without frosting best.


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