Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Chocolate Birthday Cake

Here’s the Chocolate Birthday Cake recipe from my new book, Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free published today! This was inspired by one my sister made for her husband’s birthday. It’s light and moist, with dark truffley chocolate flavours and a rich, creamy icing, all covered with sweetly sharp raspberries. Happy Birthday to my book!

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Makes 1 cake (14–16 slices)     Preparation time 25 minutes, plus 10 minutes and at least 12 hours soaking to make the cashew nut cream icing
Cooking time 45 minutes


  • 150g/5½oz dairy-free margarine, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g/7oz dairy-free dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped or broken into pieces
  • 175g/6oz/scant 1 cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 60g/2¼oz/scant ¼ cup rice flour
  • 60g/2¼oz/¹⁄₃ cup chestnut flour
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 150g/5½oz/1¼ cups raspberries or strawberries, hulled, to decorate


  • 200g/7oz dairy-free dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped or broken into pieces
  • 300g/10½oz/scant 2 cups cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 pitted dates
  1. Put the nuts in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak at room temperature overnight or for at least 12 hours.
  2. Drain and rinse the nuts thoroughly, then put them in a blender. Add the vanilla extract and dates and pour in 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup water. Blend for 10 minutes or until smooth.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and lightly grease two 23cm/9in springform cake tins with dairy-free margarine. Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and rest it over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the dairy-free margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Using a large spoon, carefully fold in the melted chocolate mixture. Sift the flours, gluten-free baking powder and xanthan gum into the mixture and fold in. Make sure the mixture is well mixed but take care not to overmix it. Evenly divide the mixture into the cake tins and level the surfaces with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake for 35–40 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks and leave to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, put the chocolate for the icing in a large heatproof bowl and rest it over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted. Put the blended nut cream and date mixture in a food processor or blender, add the melted chocolate and blend until well mixed.
  7. Put the cake on a plate and spread half of the icing over the top. Put the other cake on top, flat-side down, and spread the remaining icing over it. Decorate with the raspberries and serve.

11 thoughts on “Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Chocolate Birthday Cake

  1. This birthday cake looks so stylish & wonderful too!
    A few days ago, I celebrated my 35 th Birthday! I think, I will make this stunning filled cake because my friends are coming over & because you certainly have to celebrate your Birthday for at least 5 days in a row, don’t you agree????

    1. Happy 35th Birthday, Sophie! Hope you had a wonderful day – and continue to enjoy it for a while. It’ll be good to share the cake with your friends because the raspberries don’t keep well! Gx

  2. Dear Grace,
    I have your Simply Gluten free book which this recipe is in and am looking forward to making it for a friend’s birthday this coming weekend. I was wondering at what point you add the melted chocolate to the cake mixture? Do you add it before the eggs or after? I will be using my fabulous thermomix to help me make the cake :-)

    Thank you so much for your wonderful book. I have made the cupcakes a few times and my friends vote these as the best cupcakes I have made (and I have made a few), I have made them with strawberries as well as raspberries. I have also made the lovely almond cake a few times as well.

    I am looking forward to trying the other recipes. The roast vegies and quinoa is next after the choc cake. I appreciate your sugar substitutions as I can’t digest table sugar. Incidentally maple syrup works well with the almond cake.

  3. Dear Clare,
    Huge apologies for my delay in replying. I’ve been flat-out with another project I’m working on…
    It was utterly lovely to get your post – and I’m delighted to hear that you like my new book and that you’ve been enjoying the recipes! My daughter, Zoe, is now 3 years old so I’ve relaxed the no-sugar approach now that she’s a bit older – and we’ve been making a few baked treats, including the cupcakes which she particularly likes!
    Did you make the Chocolate Birthday Cake? You add the melted chocolate just before you add the flours – and fold in gently.
    All the very best, Grace

    1. Dear Grace, I did in fact make the chocolate cake. The icing in particular was fabulous and was complemented nicely by the raspberries.
      I will be trying the quinoa and vegetables for another lunch this weekend!

  4. Hi Clare, So pleased you enjoyed the chocolate cake. (And cashew nut cream rocks, doesn’t it!) Hope you enjoy the Roasted Vegetables & Quinoa – and if you want to try any other quinoa recipes, there’s a Quinoa Tabbouleh in my first book and on my blog there’s a Moroccan-Style Quinoa and a Passion Fruit & Pine Nut Quinoa.
    Have a lovely week! All best, Grace

    1. Thank you so much for this. I have actually been looking for quinoa recipes. I haven’t tried quinoa before and have been looking forward to using this ingredient.

  5. Hi Di, Great to hear back from you. Do you think you can get hold of a copy of my first book (The Best Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes) in the original hardback version. Maybe ebay or something? I’m married to an Aussie and, having lived there, I put Australian cup measurements in the book, so it would work for you. And in the original hardback version, there’s no xanthan gum.
    If not, lots of my recipes work without it anyway. I use combinations of flour that are pretty strong (it’s the reason why I mix in gram and maize flour so often). Let me know you want to make and I’ll see if I’ve got a recipe…
    All best, Gx

  6. Hi Di, I’m so sorry I’ve been so slow to reply to you – I’ve been writing a new book and living and breathing new recipes! It’s absolutely possible to cook gluten-free without xanthan gum, and often things like brownies etc don’t really need it, but with other things you might just decide to accept a certain level of crumbliness. In fact, I wrote my first book without using xanthan gum because it wasn’t widely available at the time. (So, if you like, I could send you a copy of the original version of the book if you live in the UK.) The other option is to use either chia seeds or flaxseeds which both have binding qualities. Lots of people are finding that they can’t tolerate xanthan gum – and are experimenting particularly with chia seeds with good results. All best, Grace

  7. Thanks for the thought but I’m in Australia. :)

    And I’m relieved that other people have problems with xanthan gum – I’ve had problems with it for so long and I’m a bit over the blank looks I get when I tell people that it makes me very ill. It seems to be in everything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 + 8 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>