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Gluten-free Christmas Chocolate Cake Recipe – BEST EVER! (dairy-free option)

Gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe, anyone? It’s the ULTIMATE alternative to fruit cake that nobody would know is Coeliac-friendly and wheat-free too. It’s also simple to make the cake and icing dairy free – then simply top with the dairy-free alternatives I’ve linked in the FAQ section instead.

Gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe – if you don’t fancy baking my traditional gluten-free Christmas cake this year, then chances are that you might prefer this! It’s super easy to make and the showstopper we all need after surviving 2020, agreed? And if you liked this recipe, don’t forget to check out my classic gluten-free chocolate cake.

Gluten-free Christmas Chocolate Cake Recipe - BEST EVER! (dairy-free option)

When you say ‘gluten-free Christmas cake’, nobody thinks of a cake quite like this one!

If you or your family/friends aren’t big fans of more traditional Christmas cake, then this easy-to-bake wonder is exactly what Santa ordered.

It’s no more difficult than making a Victoria sponge cake or any two-tiered layer cake. But best of all… nobody would EVER know this gluten-free. Promise!

Festive chocolate finishes this beauty off perfectly (yes, they’re all gluten-free and linked in the FAQ section) and it’s a real show-stopper, despite this recipe being 100% beginner-friendly.

It’s no more difficult than making a sponge and icing. That’s it!

Why make my gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe?

  • It’s gluten-free, but nobody would ever know… yep, muggles will happily eat this too so watch out!
  • This cake is insanely chocolatey with a fudgy, sweet, indulgent icing. It’s not just for Christmas!
  • Thanks to some of the awesome gluten-free festive chocolate options we have this year, decorating this is a doddle.
  • You can also flavour the sponge and icing with festive flavours – add a 1 tsp of orange OR mint extract to the sponge and icing, to make a choc orange or mint chocolate version.
  • This recipe is incredibly easy to make dairy-free with a few simple swaps. And you’d never notice the difference – read the FAQ section to find out how.

Gluten-free Christmas Chocolate Cake Recipe - BEST EVER! (dairy-free option)

So what does a gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake taste like?

It tastes like Christmas came early, that’s what! The sponge is so incredibly soft and moist with a rich, undeniably chocolatey taste. The buttercream is quite simply the best chocolate buttercream I’ve ever made, to be modest about it.

It’s fudgy, yet sweet, fluffy and light with an intense chocoholic-satiating taste. And I haven’t even mentioned all my festive chocolate decorations yet either.

They add a totally different texture, flavour and visual sensation that transforms this from being an epic chocolate cake… into an EPIC Christmas chocolate cake!

So what are you waiting for? Here’s everything you’ll need for this recipe – consider this your shopping list!

Gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe: Ingredients

  • gluten-free self-raising flour
  • gluten-free baking powder
  • xanthan gum
  • cocoa powder
  • butter, softened
  • caster sugar
  • large eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • icing sugar
  • dark chocolate
  • Festive chocolate for decorating (see FAQ section for what I used)

Looking for the measurements? Keep scrolling until you see the recipe card for the measurements and method…

Gluten-free Christmas Chocolate Cake Recipe - BEST EVER! (dairy-free option)

So I thought I’d kick things off with a little frequently asked questions section – if you just want the recipe, then keep scrolling.

But I’ve thrown in some tips here that will be really helpful if this is your first time making this, or you want to adapt it. So here they are!

Gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this recipe gluten-free? Is it suitable for Coeliacs?

It is gluten-free, though nobody would know just by tasting it – trust me!

Bear in mind that minimising cross-contamination is hugely important if you’re Coeliac or making this for someone who is. Here’s some tips from Coeliac UK on minimising the risk of cross contamination:

Also, make sure that all ingredients used don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients. Then make sure that they also don’t have a ‘may contain’ warning for gluten, wheat, rye, barley, oats (which aren’t gf), spelt and khorasan wheat (aka Kamut).

Here’s some more info from Coeliac UK on identifying safe gluten-free products.

Can I make your gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe dairy free?

Of course you can – and this recipe is actually really simple to make dairy free with a few simple swaps. For the cake and buttercream:

  • Use Stork hard margarine instead of butter. The buttercream may be a little looser, so you can either add a little extra icing sugar to compensate, or chill it before spreading.
  • Ensure your cocoa powder is dairy-free. Most are, but not all!
  • Use dairy-free dark chocolate instead.

None of the decorations I used (apart from the sprinkles) are dairy-free. So here’s some easy alternatives:

Easy, right?

Can I make your gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe vegan?

Yep! If you follow the instructions above to make this recipe dairy free, then all you’ve got left to contend with is the eggs.

Here’s a few ideas you can use as egg replacements, so each of these = 1 egg.

  • 3 tablespoons of aquafaba (whisked until frothy) – water from a can of chickpeas. Keep the chickpeas for a future dinner!
  • Egg replacement powder – I’d recommend using Orgran as it’s gluten-free.
  • 1 tablespoon of chia/flax seeds mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and left for 10 minutes in the fridge.
  • 3 tablespoons of applesauce.

I haven’t tested all of these egg alternatives so let me know how you get on in the comments below this post.

Which products did you use to decorate the cake? Are they all gluten-free?

Firstly, yes – all of these products are gluten-free and easily available in supermarkets! Here they are:

You don’t NEED to use all of these – to be honest, I just had leftover Christmas chocolate from all my baking that I needed to use up!

But you can’t deny that it does all look good as a whole, right?

Can I make your gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake in a food processor or standing mixer?

Of course you can! I actually use an electric whisk for the cake, simply because it doesn’t involve mixing for long periods – this makes light work of the cake batter.

However, as the buttercream requires extended periods of mixing, I far prefer using my stand mixer for that and letting it do all the hard work.

A food processor would be fine for the cake batter, but I’d advise using something with a whisk attachment for the buttercream.

Can I make your gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe by hand?

You can of course, bake this without any assistance from any appliance – just a good ol’ fashioned hand whisk will do.

Just make sure you give it a lot of welly, otherwise your mixture won’t be consistent and might not bake properly.

This especially applies when making buttercream by hand!

Gluten-free Christmas Chocolate Cake Recipe - BEST EVER! (dairy-free option)

Do I need any special equipment to bake your gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe?

Certainly not! You will need a good quality baking tin (I used 2) so here’s a link to the one I use.

I’d always recommend having two tins so you can bake both sponges at the same time. If you bake them one at a time, the second sponge won’t rise as much as the first.

Can I make this using the creaming method?

Of course – I prefer to use the all-in-one method for this as I find it’s always a safe bet with a simple chocolate sponge like this.

But of course, you’re more than welcome to cream the sugar and softened butter together, then add the other ingredients in stages, mixing in between each addition.

It works perfect both ways so it’s totally up to you!

Does this recipe need xanthan gum?

In some of my recipes, yes, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving xanthan gum out of this one. You’ll see xanthan gum in a lot of my recipes as it’s an essential ingredient in gluten-free baking.

Without gluten to bind the cake batter together, you can be left with a very loose and crumbly sponge texture which won’t work for this recipe.

Some people have asked if they can use psyllium husk powder instead of xanthan gum, but I’ve found that it definitely results in a denser sponge so I wouldn’t overly recommend it.

If you’re really against xanthan gum or you simply don’t have any, you can omit it if pushed. There’s a little in gluten-free self-raising flour anyway, so it should still turn out fine.

Do I need weighing scales to bake your gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe?

In short… yes, yes and yes! And I wouldn’t advise attempting any of my recipes without them.

A lot of work went into fine tuning ratios and quantities and for me, baking is all about consistency and precision. I want you to make this recipe and for it to turn out EXACTLY like mine did.

I’d recommending using digital cooking scales like these so you know you’re getting an accurate measurement and replicating my recipe as accurately as poss.

Can I bake your gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe with less sugar / without sugar?

I can definitely understand the need to reduce sugar in our foods, but this is one of the recipes where I wouldn’t advise it.

Of course, the sugar isn’t just for sweetness – it’s integral to the structure of the cake once baked and is super important. This bake won’t function without sugar!

Just go easy on the toppings or use your buttercream sparingly instead of reducing the sugar in the sponges. It’s much safer.

Can I make this recipe using other gluten free flours like buckwheat flour or coconut flour?

There’s a big difference between ‘gluten free plain/self-raising flour’ and a *singular* type gluten free flour. When I say ‘gluten free plain or self-raising flour’ in a recipe, I mean a BLEND of gluten free flours, not just one, singular flour.

Most gluten free flour you buy in the supermarket typically contains a blend of rice flour, potato flour, maize flour, tapioca flour AND buckwheat flour. That’s a lot of different flours!

So to replace it with just one specific type of flour… that’s not going to cut it at all. Definitely go for a gluten free flour blend.

How can I tell when my gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake is done?

Grab a skewer and give it a poke in the centre. If it comes out clean, then it’s done!

But if the skewer comes out moist and cake-like, it’s best to pop it back in for a bit longer.

How long can I keep your gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake for?

I’ve kept it for about 4-5 days in an air-tight container with no problems. If you need it any longer than that, I’d highly recommend freezing it (see advice below for doing that)

When the cake starts getting a little dry, it’s probably starting to get past its best.

Can I freeze your gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake?

Of course! I’ve frozen it for up to 2-3 months no problem. Ideally, slice up the cake first before freezing – that way you can simply defrost slices as and when you need them.

Plus, it’ll thaw a lot quicker. When you want to eat it, each slice should take around 4 hours to defrost at room temperature.

Gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe: Method

Oh and here’s a printable version of my gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe. Please remember to give it 5 stars if you tried it and enjoyed it as it helps people know it’s worth trying too! ⭐️

Gluten-free Chocolate Christmas Cake Recipe (dairy-free option)
Yield: 12-15 slices

Gluten-free Chocolate Christmas Cake Recipe (dairy-free option)

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Gluten-free chocolate Christmas cake recipe - the ULTIMATE alternative to fruit cake that nobody would ever know is Coeliac-friendly and wheat-free.


For the sponge

  • 185g gluten free self raising flour
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 40g cocoa powder (ensure dairy free if necessary)
  • 225g butter, softened (use Stork hard margarine if dairy-free)
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

  • 250g butter, softened (use Stork hard margarine if dairy-free)
  • 185g icing sugar
  • 55g cocoa powder (ensure dairy free if necessary)
  • 110g dark chocolate, melted (dairy-free if needed)

For decorating (use whatever you like, but here's what I've used - all linked in FAQ section alongside dairy-free alternatives)

  • Schar gluten-free chocolate fingers
  • Aero Snowbubble Chocolate Balls
  • Gluten-free KitKat Mini Santas
  • Red/Green Christmas sprinkles (ensure gluten-free)


For the sponge:

  1. Prepare 2 circular cake tins (mine are 20cm) - grease them and cut a circle of parchment paper to sit in the bottom. Preheat your oven to 160C Fan / 180C.
  2. Place all your sponge ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk until well combined and thoroughly mixed (1 minute should do it).
  3. Divide the mixture between the two tins evenly.
  4. Bake for around 25-30 minutes (remember never to open the oven until you think they are definitely done). To check if the sponges are cooked, insert a skewer and if it comes out clean, it's done!
  5. Leave the sponges in their tins for about 5 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack.

For the chocolate icing:

  1. Melt your dark chocolate (I do this is the microwave in 20 seconds bursts), put to one side to cool whilst making the rest of the buttercream.
  2. To make your icing, place your butter in a stand mixer (or electric hand whisk if you don't have a stand mixer), mix on its own on a high speed for about 5 minutes. The butter should change from a more yellow colour to being a lot more pale.
  3. Add your icing sugar gradually to the butter (I do this in two stages). I mix each addition of icing sugar for around 3 minutes before adding the second half.
  4. Sieve in your cocoa powder and then mix again until fully combined.
  5. Add in your cooled melted chocolate and mix until dispersed evenly and the colour is a lovely rich chocolate colour and it's a nice thickness to spread.

To assemble and decorate:

  1. Carefully place one of your sponges onto your serving plate.
  2. Spread a layer of icing over the centre. I don't ever go right up to the edges or else if all comes out when you put the top layer on. Make sure you reserve some icing for the top and also you will need some to go round the edges too - not much is required for around the sides though.
  3. Carefully place the top layer on and spread with more of the icing.
  4. Spread the remaining icing around the sides of the cake, this will allow you to stick the chocolate fingers to it.
  5. Press your chocolate fingers all around the edge of the cake. Place Aero snowballs around the edge on top and cover in festive sprinkles. Add a few KitKat Santas to the top if you like too! Enjoy 🙂

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 484Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 407mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 2gSugar: 33gProtein: 5g

Nutritional info is estimated and not always accurate.

Thanks for reading how to make my gluten-free Christmas chocolate cake recipe! If you make it, I’d love to see how it turned out so don’t forget to take a snap of your bakes and tag me on Instagram!

Any questions about the recipe? Please do let me know by following me Instagram and leaving me a comment!

Thanks for reading,

Becky xxx

Oh and don’t forget to pin this for later!


Tap here to buy my first ever gluten-free recipe book!

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