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Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Mud Cake

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A moist, dense, gluten free dark chocolate mud cake. Perfect for covering in fondant, tiered cakes, carved cakes, and decorating using the 3 day timeline.

A cake covered in dark chocolate ganache on a wooden board, sitting on a floral tablecloth, text overlay reads

I have this thing about wanting life to be fair. You know, if someone throws their rubbish out the car window, it’s only fair that later that afternoon they should slip on a banana peel that someone else has dropped and bruise their right butt cheek, y’know?

So on the flipside, to me, it’s really only fair that people who can’t eat most cakes should be able to have a cake that they can, in fact, eat. And darn well enjoy. And in this particular instance by ‘people’, I mean Coeliacs and those who are sensitive to gluten.

Making a gluten-free cake isn’t hard, even making a GOOD gluten-free cake isn’t that hard. Not when you have a good recipe. And I’ve got one for you.

Well actually I have a few, but right now we’re talking about this one – gluten free dark chocolate mud cake.

Close up of the gluten free mud cake, covered with dark chocolate ganache.

I know when a lot of people think “gluten-free cake” they think of a sorry excuse for a slice of cake, 2″ tall and basically just a bunch of crumbs held together by a drunk cake fairy’s last wish before she passes out.

But they don’t have to be, and they don’t have to be plain and undecorated either. You’ll see.


  • RICH CHOCOLATE FLAVOUR – Made with dark chocolate, this cake is about at chocolatey as you can get.
  • SUPER MOIST – And stays moist for ages.
  • CAN BE COVERED WITH FONDANT – This cake is dense and sturdy, and won’t collapse under the weight of fondant.
  • SUITABLE TO CARVE – Can carved into almost any not-cake-shape that you like.
  • KEEPS WELL – Stays perfect for at least a week, so is perfect for decorating using a 3-4 day cake decorating timeline.

Gluten Free Mud Cake Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • Gluten free flour – I use my homemade gluten free flour blend in this recipe, but you can also use a storebought gluten free flour blend instead. Keep in mind that different flour blends can change the texture of the cake, however mud cakes are pretty forgiving so you shouldn’t notice too much difference with other blends. If you need to carve the cake though, I recommend testing the cake out first with the flour you’re going to use, and checking that the texture will be ok for the shape you need to carve.
  • Cocoa – You can use regular or Dutch-processed cocoa in this recipe.
  • Baking powder – Just a little, to stop the cake being tooooo dense.
  • Xanthan gum – This helps bind the cake together and stop it from crumbling. If you are using a storebought gluten-free flour blend, it likely contains a gum ingredient or binder of some kind, so you can omit the xanthan gum from the recipe.
  • Milk – I use regular full-fat cow’s milk in this recipe, however, reduced-fat milk and lactose-free milk will also work, and many readers have also made this with dairy-free milk alternatives with great success ( see more on this below).
  • Butter – You can use salted or unsalted butter in this recipe. If you use unsalted, you may wish to add a pinch of salt to the dry ingredients, as the salt enhances the chocolate flavour.
  • Dark chocolate – Use good-quality dark chocolate with 50-70% cocoa solids for the best results. The higher the cocoa content, the richer the cake will be. I usually use Whittaker’s 50% dark chocolate.
  • Instant coffee powder – This is optional, it enhances the chocolate flavour (you don’t taste the coffee in the finished cake) but you can leave it out if you like.
  • Sugar – Use caster sugar if you have it, as it dissolves faster, but regular granulated sugar will work fine, too.
  • Vanilla extract – I just like vanilla 🤷‍♀️
  • Eggs – Use large eggs. I use (NZ) size 7 eggs, depending on where you live the sizing may be different.

Gluten and Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Mud Cake

Since I first shared this recipe in 2014, many readers have written to me to tell me that they’ve successfully made this recipe gluten free.

To make the cake dairy free, you need to make swaps for the milk, butter and dark chocolate. The brands you have available will be different depending on where you live, but here’s what I recommend looking out for when choosing products:

  • Non dairy milk – Use a neutral-flavoured “milk” such as almond or rice milk. Using brands that are thicker/creamer (such as “barista blends”) will likely give you better results. Coconut milk will also work, but your cake will likely have a slight coconut flavour.
    Please note that in Australia and New Zealand, oat milk is not recommended as a suitable alternative milk for those with Coeliac disease as oats are not considered to be gluten free. However, this may be different in other countries. See more about that in this post.
  • Non-dairy butter – Choose a solid non-dairy butter, margarine or vegan butter alternative that says on the packaging that it is suitable for baking. Liquid vegetable oils and coconut oil are not suitable alternatives in this recipe.
  • Dark chocolate – Many good-quality, high cocoa content dark chocolates are made without dairy, so check the ingredients list to see. Generally, the higher the cocoa content, the less likely it will be to contain milk.

If you scroll down and have a look through the comments at the bottom of this post, you’ll see some recommendations for products that readers have used.

As always, when making a cake for someone with Coeliac disease and/or an allergy to dairy (or anything, really), make sure you check with them what they can and can’t safely eat. See this post for more details on that.

How to Make Gluten Free Chocolate Mud Cake

Mud cakes are ridiculously easy to make, you’ll start by melting the butter and chocolate into the milk…

Gluten free dark chocolate mud cake liquid ingredients.

…dissolving in the sugar, then whisking in the dry ingredients and eggs.

Chocolate mud cake batter in a large red bowl with a handle.


Then trying not to be tempted to drink the batter through a straw. Or maybe that’s a special instruction just for me.

I highly suggest making baking strips for your cake tin to help it rise evenly and avoid a really tough dry crust. (If you didn’t just gag at the words ‘tough dry crust’ and run off to make some baking strips, then we may have to rethink our friendship. Well I’ll still hang out with you, but let’s just say if you invite me over for a homemade afternoon tea, I will probably be busy playing Scrabble with my cat that day.)

Now if you look at my cake, you will see that even with the baking strips and foil lid, the top is cracked. Not the end of the world, but still not ideal. I totally decided that showing is the best way to teach, so I purposely had the oven too hot to make the top crack, just for you. *cough*

Gluten free dark chocolate mud cake with a cracked top.

Ok maybe it wasn’t on purpose, I actually just didn’t check the oven temperature and it was too high, but at least we can talk about why it happened and how to avoid it next time. Short answer – lower the oven temperature. I know, I know, you’ve already got the oven on for three hours and lowering the temperature will make the cake take even longer to cook. But if you’re looking for a cake with a flat top, it’s the way to go.

Icing and Decorating the Cake

You can ice and decorate a gf mud cake pretty much however you like.

It’s hard to go past filling and covering a mud cake in chocolate ganache, I mean really, look at the stuff…

A small bowl filled with dark chocolate ganache.

I could seriously dive into that. Well, belly flop, I never did learn how to dive properly. But belly flopping does sound appropriate.

Carving the Cake

The same rules apply to carving this cake as carving any cake – if it seems a bit soft (or crumbly, depending on the gf flour you used) try chilling it first, and for optimum stability (sounding like a car advertisement much?!) use chocolate ganache rather than buttercream, and make sure to use support dowels and cake cards where necessary.

And I know the whole point of this is you can decorate it any way you want, but sometimes you just can’t go past some smooth ganache and a ribbon.

A dark chocolate ganache covered cake, sitting on a white and blue scalloped cake stand, wrapped with a pink and white ribbon tied in a bow at the base.

Storing the Cake

To store the cake before icing and decorating it, I recommend wrapping the whole cake in plastic wrap and storing it in an airtight container at cool room temperature. You can also split the cake into layers first, and wrap each layer individually, then pop them all in a container.

Freezing the Cake

To freeze the mud cake, wrap as mentioned above, pop it into an airtight container or zip-lock bag and freeze. When ready to decorate, remove it from the freezer several hours in advance, and allow it to come to room temperature, still wrapped and in the container or bag. This will keep the moisture inside the cake.

If you’re making the cake for someone else, make sure you tell them the cake has already been frozen, and that they won’t be able to freeze the leftover cake, as cake should only be frozen and defrosted once.

Who says gluten free cakes have to be dry, crumbly and nasty?

Slice of gluten free dark chocolate mud cake.

Make sure you check out my gluten-free cakes for decorating post before you start baking!

Infographic showing the tips mentioned in the post for baking gluten free.
Slice of gluten free dark chocolate mud cake.

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Mud Cake

A dense, dark gluten free chocolate mud cake. Suitable for covering in fondant, tiered cakes, carved cakes, and decorating using the three day timeline.
4.46 from 94 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Cuisine: American
Category: Gluten Free Cake Recipes
Makes: 12 servings
Cake Size: One 7″ round, 3.5 – 4″ high cake

Ingredients

  • 330 g gluten free flour
  • 60 g cocoa Dutch or regular
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 440 ml milk
  • 330 g salted butter cut into cubes
  • 200 g dark chocolate 50-70% cocoa solids, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder optional
  • 450 g sugar caster sugar if you have it
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 160°C (320°F). Line the base and sides of a 7” round (at least 3” high) cake pan, and make a baking strip and foil lid.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and xanthan gum. Whisk to combine well.
  • In a large, heavy-based saucepan, heat the milk and butter over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the butter is melted.
  • Add the chocolate and coffee powder, and stir until the chocolate has melted.
  • Add in the sugar and stir again until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • The liquid mixture now needs to sit until it's cool enough that you can comfortably hold your finger in it. You can either transfer the mixture to a large heatproof bowl to cool it faster, or you can leave it in the pot and wait a bit longer for it to cool.
  • When cool, add the dry ingredients in three additions. Mix with a whisk, but use a folding rather than whipping motion to avoid excess air bubbles forming. Whisk the eggs together with a fork and add to the batter, folding again with the whisk until combined. Leave the batter to sit for a minute to allow bubbles to come to the surface. Swizzle the whisk around the top of the batter to pop them.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place the foil lid over the top and bake for 2.5 – 3 hours.
    To test if the cake is done, use a thin skewer. When the skewer comes out clean, insert a thin-bladed knife into the middle of the cake. When that comes out clean or with only a few crumbs attached, the cake is done. If you have an instant-read probe thermometer, the centre of the cake should be at least 99°C.
  • Remove the foil lid and allow the cake to cool in the cake pan for half an hour or so, then cover the top with foil (either unfold the edges of the foil lid and use that or use a fresh piece of foil), securing around the edge of the pan. Leave the cake overnight to cool completely before removing from the pan.

Notes

Gluten free flour – I use my Gluten-Free Flour Blend for Baking in this recipe, but you can use your own favourite gluten-free flour blend. Keep in mind that if you use different flours than I have, your results may vary from mine. Check out my gluten free cake post for more information. If using a pre-made gluten-free flour blend that contains a gum ingredient, omit the Xanthan gum from the recipe.
Chocolate ganache – To fill and cover a cake this size with dark chocolate ganache you will need 1.5kgs of ganache (1kg dark chocolate to 500g cream.) If you’re new to ganache, you may want to check out my ganache tutorial for more info.

Nutritional Disclaimer: Any nutritional info provided is a computer generated estimate and is intended as a guide only.

Keywords: cake decorating | chocolate | mud cake
Enjoyed this recipe?Tag @sweetness.and.bite on Instagram, and hashtag #sweetnessandbite so we can see it! ❤

Happy baking!

~Natalie
x

More Gluten Free Cake Recipes You May Like…

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Rich, dark caramel mud cake made using real caramel sauce. This is every caramel lover's dream cake! Includes recipe details for making the cake gluten free, and how to make the most amazing caramel Swiss meringue buttercream.
Gluten Free Toasted Almond Chocolate Cake ~ Sweetness & Bite

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172 Comments

  1. Hi Natalie
    My sons birthday is coming up and he has celiacs disease, so this will be my first gluten free birthday cake. I am going to make both you gf chocolate and white chocolate mud cakes. My question is have you frozen your cakes before decorating them? And have you cooked them in different shaped tins? Ie half hemisphere tin and the dolly varden tin? Thanks love you site..

    1. Hi Kerin 🙂

      I haven’t frozen these before decorating before, but I have frozen leftover ones and taken them out just to eat (warmed up with icecream, shhh) and they were absolutely fine. I would suggest wrapping in a few layers of plastic wrap, putting it in a sealed container to freeze, and then when you take it out leaving it sealed and wrapped until it comes back to room temperature so it doesn’t get soggy from the condensation.

      I haven’t baked either of them in a shaped tin, but I think since they’re dense enough to carve, they should be pretty safe to use in a hemisphere or Dolly Varden. Just make sure that you prep the tin well so they don’t stick, and let the cooked cakes cool completely in the tin, as they are pretty delicate when they’re still warm. And remember when I say that, I’m talking about when I make them with the flours I suggest in the recipe, so if you use a boxed flour blend then you may want to test it first in case the results are different.

      Hope that helps and let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

    2. Hi I cant seem to find any xantham gum where i Live.. its all out of stock!! My flour doesnt say anything about xantham gum on it. I want to make this next week for a client and I dont know what to do. Can I replace it with something else? THANKS!

      1. Hi Christina. You can leave the Xanthan gum out of the recipe if you can’t get your hands on some. The cake may be a little crumblier, but it will still work 🙂 If you have a chance to test it out beforehand with your flour then that would be good just to make sure, but it should be ok. Mud cake tends to hold together much better than other kinds of cake anyway.

    1. Hi Molly. I replied to this earlier but then had some website issues and my reply disappeared 🙁 I’ll try and repeat it, just in case you haven’t seen it yet.

      I’ve been working on a dairy free version of this cake but it is so not my area of expertise so it has been a real learning curve. The milk substitutions seem to be fine, I’ve tried almond milk and rice milk and while they both work I find the almond milk flavour to be a bit strong so prefer the rice milk. The chocolate is also fine, the dark chocolate I always use is dairy free anyway so no difference for me there. I did try the cake with coconut oil to replace the butter, and it wasn’t a complete failure but it wasn’t great either, a little too oily. I’m intending to try it with a dairy free butter substitute that is suitable for baking (well it says so on the label!) and I’m hopeful that will work much better, since in it’s solid state it is much more similar to butter. I’d love to know how you get on, and you’ll know how I get on if/when I crack the recipe and post it on here 🙂

  2. Is it possible to replace the caster sugar with coconut sugar in the dark chocolate mud cake. I am making this cake for my grandsons birthday party and decorating with fondant into the hungry catapillar.

    1. Hi Christine, I don’t actually have much experience with coconut sugar (I have an unopened bag in the pantry!) I think it would probably work, as long as you make sure to dissolve the sugar completely into the chocolate mixture. You may just need to spend a bit longer stirring it over a low heat. When you think it’s done, rub a little of the mixure between your fingers and check that there is no grittiness left.

      Sorry I can’t tell you for sure if it will work, but if you try it then I’d love to know how it goes 🙂

  3. I’m making a cake for my son’s birthday and need a sturdy gf cake for decorating. This looks perfect. A couple questions though: 1. Have you ever tried egg replacer in your recipe? My son has an egg allergy so we normally use a powdered substitute in baking. 2. Do you have rough measurements in cups, or is a food scale needed?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Jenna 🙂

      I’m afraid I haven’t tried this with an egg replacer, it’s actually on my list of things to try but I haven’t had a chance yet! I assume though that it should work, especially since the eggs don’t need to be beaten.

      I don’t put cup measurements in my recipes purely because they are really inaccurate, and if something doesn’t work in a recipe it’s very hard to troubleshoot. Cups come in different sizes in different countries, and even just how they’re filled can give wildly different amounts. So I really suggest using a scale, it’s worth it, I promise! 🙂

  4. Hi Natalie,
    Probably my question sounds stupid but since I cannot get the necesary flours to make gluten free flour I was wondering if it would be possible to replace this one by all purpose flour or maybe cake flour in the same proportion as in your Devil’s food cake? Thanks. Victoria

    1. Hi Victoria. Yes, if you don’t need the cake to be gluten free then you can definitely just use regular flour. For the mud cake I would use regular all purpose flour, it’s supposed to be lovely and dense so light fluffy cake flour isn’t necessary. Hope that helps 🙂

  5. Thank you for such a great recipe! Just made this cake as a 5 inch for a trial wedding cake for my sister and it was the best choc mud cake iv made – I like it better than the all purpose flour recipes. I will definitely make it for her wedding as a two tier cake 8″ and 5″ 🙂

    1. Hi Luella, I’m so glad you loved the recipe! Thanks for letting me know, and best of luck with your sister’s wedding cake, I’m sure it will be wonderful 🙂

  6. Hi just letting you know this recipe is AMAZING! I actually subbed the xanthan gum with 1 1/2 teaspoons of Agar Agar and it turned out perfect 🙂
    Thank you for sharing x

  7. HELP!! i made the cake mix and it went very very very thick absoutely not pourable. i will try again i am not sure what i did wrong (i think i added wet ingredients to dry and not dry to wet to will do that right this time, hopefullly that fixes it).. if perchance it is think again.. what coulld i add to loosen it.. more milk? or water?? i have made mudcakes before not issue but this is my first experience using gluten free flour and xanathan gum..

    1. Hi Verity, I’m so sorry to hear you’re having trouble with the recipe. I can’t say from experience what has gone wrong as I haven’t had that happen, but the first thing to double check would be that you weighed all of the ingredients correctly. Which seems pretty obvious and silly, but sometimes things just get weighed incorrectly or the scales may a bit off. It sounds like possibly there wasn’t enough liquid or there was too much flour. Can you tell me which gluten free flour/s you used?

      1. i used a white wings gluten free flour, the gf person i am making it for said that should be fine (then again she asked me to bake her cake lol) i will make again tonight.. triple check my measurements and hopefully have the right result 😀 i know i will get there i am thinking as i added the wet to dry ingredients i may have overworked the flour, which i hear can caused GF flour to sieze sooo i will read you directly clearly (not quickly!) and i expect a much better result 😉

        1. Hmmm, does white wings flour already have xanthan gum or guar gum in it? I’m afraid I haven’t used it (it’s not available in NZ) but if it already has a gum ingredient added to it then you may not need to add the xanthan gum. If the flour is sold as a straight substitute for regular flour, then I would suggest giving it a go without adding the xanthan gum, or perhaps just use half a teaspoon. It’s possible that if the flour already has a gum component then that combined with the xanthan gum could be causing the batter to thicken too much.

          I have heard of people having good results making mud cakes using the white wings flour, I just wish I knew if they’d needed to add the xanthan gum when they used it! But I’m sure if you persevere it will work out 🙂

          1. I just did a quick Google and it looks like the white wings gf flour has hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (aka. vegetable gum 464) in it, which is used as a thickener. I’m thinking it’s highly likely that that, combined with the xanthan gum caused the excessive thickening. So I’d definitely consider giving it a go without the xanthan gum.

            1. oh dear have already mixed it up! i alas have also realised my scales are out of whack. a 780 gr bag of flour divided by 660 (2 x 330) should NOT result in empty bag!. so looks like i may have to make a third batch tomorrow night lol but in your praise you are wonderful with quick replies the too thick version i made already tasted great and i will persevere until i can get it 100% and post a 5 star 6 thumbs up review of your recipe 🙂 your insightful tips like checking if there is already gum in flour shows your knowledge of baking and desire to help so thanks 😀

              1. Oh I have baking days like that too so you’re not alone! And you’re very welcome, I’m happy to help. I will cross my fingers for you that you’ll nail it and make someone very happy with an awesome cake 🙂 Good luck!

    2. Hi I make alot of mudcakes not G/F but usually if the mixture in the end is really thick and almost un pourable its due to the wet mix mainly the chocolate is solidifying again as it gets cooler

    1. Hi Casey, I generally use a three day decorating timeline, Day 1 – Bake, Day 2 – Ganache, Day 3 – Fondant (and decorate). Sometimes I add an extra day for decorating as well. After that this cake will keep well for at least a couple of days, so that’s basically a week. We have eaten this cake well over a week after it was baked, and my Dad has eaten leftovers that were almost two weeks old, and it was perfectly fine. Obviously I wouldn’t do that if I was selling it, but generally it’s still perfectly edible for quite some time after baking, due to the amount of sugar in the cake. And once it is ganached and covered in fondant it is basically airtight. Hope that helps 🙂

  8. Hi..
    If I were to make this cake as not gluten free, would I need to use self raising flour or plain flour.. I do not see baking powder mentioned anywhere.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Iris. You would swap the gluten free flours for regular all purpose flour (and omit the Xanthan gum). There is one teaspoon of baking powder in the recipe, just below the cocoa 🙂

  9. Hi, does this cake rise all the way to the top of the pan? If I check the cake at the 2.5hour mark to see if it’s Cooked will it deflate if I do that if its not quite ready?

    1. Hi Kirsty, the cake ends up about 3.5″ tall, which is higher than the 3″ tall cake pan that I use. That’s why I line my cake pans with baking paper that comes above the edge of the pan, so the cake has that little bit of extra room to rise.

      Mud cakes are pretty forgiving when it comes to opening the oven door, so you should be safe to check it after the first couple of hours of baking. Like any cake though, you want to be pretty quick when checking it so you don’t let too much heat escape from the oven.

  10. Hi Natalie, so excited to have found this page! If I was to make this cake for a wedding cake and also serve it as dessert, how many people do you think it would serve?

    1. Hi Lisa,

      A 7″ round cake serves about 37 coffee sized serves (1″ x 1″ slices) or 15 dessert sized serves (1″ x 2″ slices).

      Hope that helps 🙂

  11. Hi, just wondering if anyone has used ‘orgran’ brand all purpose flour in this recipe? And if it turned out ok?
    Thanks
    Jackie

    1. Hi Jackie. I haven’t used Orgran’s flour in quite a few years, but it should work in this recipe. When I did use it I found it a bit gritty, but their flour blend may have changed since then. If you sift it through a fine sieve then it should take any bigger gritty bits out anyway 🙂 Just make sure you leave out the xanthan gum, the Orgran already has a gum in it.

      1. Hi Natalie, Thank you for your reply. I have managed to find the separate flours in my grocery store. What I would also like to know is potato starch the same as potato flour? and the Tapioca flour I bought is called “Arrowroot” but the ingredients say it’s tapioca flour? Very confusing when you are new to all this Gluten Free stuff! By the way your website is amazing. Thank you for sharing all your little hints and tricks, very helpful.

        1. Now that, unfortunately, is a difficult question to answer, and I also struggle with it when I buy my potato starch. Technically, “potato starch” and “potato flour” are two very different products. Potato starch is a fine starchy powder (it looks and feels a lot like cornstarch) and it’s made from the dried starch of the potato. Potato flour is a heavier flour which is made from ground cooked potatoes and has a strong potato smell.

          The one we want for baking with is the starch, since it is nice and light. BUT, often suppliers mis-label the starch as “potato flour” (presumably because they expect people to bake with it, like an actual flour) so it gets very confusing! In general, if you bought it near the other baking ingredients, then it is probably starch even if it is labelled flour. It should also be a nice bright white, whereas potato flour is more of a cream colour. It should feel like cornstarch when you pinch it, and it shouldn’t smell potato-y.

          I’m not too sure about the tapioca flour being labelled as arrowroot. But I would assume that if it is labelled tapioca flour in the ingredients list, then it should be the same thing.

          I hope that helps, and I hope it hasn’t put you off the idea of baking this way. Really once you have your flours sorted it is much easier, I promise! 🙂

  12. Hi, I would just like to know if this recipe would work using milk chocolate instead of dark for the cake and the ganache?
    Thanks
    Jamie

    1. Hi Jamie. You can definitely try this cake with milk chocolate. You may find it is much sweeter due to the extra sugar in milk chocolate, so you may want to reduce the sugar slightly. Or you could use half dark chocolate and half milk chocolate (and/or replace the cocoa with the same amount of flour) if you’re just after a less-rich chocolate flavour. You can use milk chocolate for ganache, but you’ll need to increase the amount of chocolate as milk chocolate doesn’t set as hard as dark chocolate. I use a ratio of about 2.5 or 3 parts milk chocolate to 1 part cream. You can check out my ganache tutorial if you need more info on ganache 🙂

  13. I have coeliac disease and this is by far the best gluten free chocolate cake recipe I’ve come across!
    I filled mine with chocolate buttercream, covered it in white fondant, wrapped it in chocolate lace and topped it with strawberries! It was so beautiful and so delicious!
    Thank you so much Natalie 🙂

  14. Hello, I’m going to try this on the weekend as a trial for my daughters upcoming birthday party. Being a coeliac for 10 years I can make a decent gluten free chocolate cake, my one problem is that they don’t last, they go dry after 1 day. So its always last minute, crazy stressed baking the morning of the party. And messy carving. I’m really hoping this is the answer I’ve been looking for. I’ll let you know how it goes. If this works my husband will be the happiest man alive, being aussie he grew up on mudcakes! So happy I found this.

    1. Hey Sally. Gluten free cakes that go dry after a day are my pet hate! But it doesn’t have to be that way, and this recipe certainly isn’t. In fact, just quietly (because I would never suggest this to anyone to try, but I’m being honest here) my Dad has eaten leftovers of this mud cake (stored in an airtight container) almost two weeks after I’ve baked it, and it was still really moist. I have to admit I wasn’t keen on him doing it, but he said it was absolutely fine and tasted just as good, if not better, than when it was freshly baked. Hopefully your husband will like it just as much as my dad does! 🙂

  15. This recipe sounds amazing ! Wanting to bake for my partners birthday , however it’s needs to be bigger as Its going to feed about 50 people , is it fine to double the mixture and bake in a larger tin ? What do you recommend ? Thanks in advance x

    1. Hi Melina, this recipe scales up or down really well, so yes you could just double the mixture and bake it in a bigger tin.

      Depending on how big you want your slices to be, you’ll probably need either a 8″ round cake (for small “coffee sized” servings of 1″ x 1″) or a 12″ round (for “dessert sized” servings of 1″ x 2″). When I want to scale recipes I work out what size I need and then I use the Cake O Meter to work out how much batter I need. All you need to do is input the recipe, the current tin size and the required tin size, and it tells you exactly how much of each ingredient you’ll need. I don’t know what I’d do without it!
      Hope that helps 🙂

      1. Very helpful! Thank you !
        What ganache goes best with this recipe ? Dark chocolate or milk chocolate ? Thanks again !

        1. I’m a sucker for dark chocolate ganache with dark chocolate mud cake, but if you like something a bit sweeter then milk chocolate ganache is lovely too. As is white chocolate ganache, and that gives a really nice contrast in colour and flavour as well. It’s pretty safe to say that you can use any ganache you like with this recipe 🙂

      2. I’ve made this cake as a trial for a wedding cake I have to do and I LOVE it. I’m going to have to make a 12″ version. I’m fine on the amount of batter to make up but do you have any idea on the length of time for baking?

        1. Hi Sue, it’s hard to tell exactly, but I would say maybe 4 – 5 hours. I’d check it after 4-ish hours and go from there. It will be a loooong baking time 😉

  16. Hi there,
    I’m just about to attempt your choc mud cake and am very excited! Before I hit the shops I want to clarify whether tapioca ‘starch’ and potato ‘starch’ are the same as flour- I live in Hong Kong and they are called flours here and not starch but are they the same thing producing the same results?! Many thanks!

    1. Hi Anthea. My answer is kind of in two parts so hopefully I’ll explain it in a way that isn’t confusing (because it confused me when I started buying gluten free flours!) Tapioca starch and tapioca flour are the same thing. Potato starch and potato flour are two different things. Potato flour is made from whole potatoes (including the skin), the potatoes are cooked and then dried and ground into flour. Potato flour isn’t often used in baking as it has a strong potato smell and taste. Potato starch is made from just the starch in the potato and has no real potato smell or flavour. This is what I use in my recipes. BUT, unhelpfully enough, often potato starch is sold as “potato flour”, because it’s used more often in baking. But I have generally found that as long as you can see the product in the packet and it’s very white and looks quite similar to cornstarch (and if you can give it a sniff, it won’t smell like potato) then it is in fact potato starch. Potato flour is more of a cream colour and as I said, is very potato-y. Hope that helps! 🙂

      1. That helps thank so much! And I just got back from the shops with Tapioca FLOUR and potato STARCH so was relieved to read your response. Thanks for getting back to me so quick! I’m already melting butter and milk so will be sure to let yo!u know how I get on 😉
        Thanks again! 🙂

  17. My son’s best mate is a celiac and my son requested I make a gluten free cake for his birthday in 5 weeks time and I needed one which I could carve, so I trialled this recipe yesterday.

    This was my first attempt at gluten free baking and I was so impressed with the results! I followed all your detailed and fantastic hints (including making some baking strips to protect the cake crust) and it worked a charm.

    It took three hours to cook and took the foil lid off for the last 30 minutes.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this out. I am very appreciative!

    1. Hi Rachael, you’re so very welcome, I’m really glad you love the recipe and it came out so well for you! Good luck with the next cake, and I hope your son’s mate has a great birthday 🙂

  18. Hi Natalie,
    I made the Dark Chocolate Mud Cake both gluten and dairy free and it is fantastic! I used Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Chunks for a dairy free chocolate chip. I used a mixture of 3/4 Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk from the can and 1/4 Amy and Brian Original Young Coconut Water for the diary free “milk”. I used Earth Balance Natural Soy Free Buttery Spread for the diary free “butter”. I cooked the batter in 8″ diameter by 2″ tall pans for 2.5 hours at 320F and they cooled to be the full 2″ height of the pan. The top of the cake was ever so slightly cracked, but nice and smooth otherwise. They are lovely and very delicious! I have pictures that I can send to you if you’d like for me to share.
    Your directions were so clear and accurate. I do appreciate you taking the time to document this process. You have given a wonderful gift to the gluten-free community.
    Warm Regards,
    Kim

    1. Hi Kim. Thank you so much for letting me know that! It’s so helpful if another reader asks me what they can use and I can tell them that someone has had success with specific ingredients. And I would absolutely love to see a picture! You can email me at sweetnessandbite(at)live.com . Thanks Kim! 🙂 x

  19. Hi, this looks amazing!! I am just about to try and bake it for my nephews birthday tomorrow! I was wondering, does the over temperature go down to 140 degrees if it’s fan forced? Or leave it at 160? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!! I can’t wait to try it ! 🙂
    Thanks so much

    1. Hi Steff, yep I’d drop the temperature if the oven is fan forced. I find it hard sometimes to comment on oven settings because in our oven I bake on the ‘multifunction’ setting which is basically not fan forced, but does have a small fan going (I’d actually call it fan forced if it didn’t have an actual fan forced setting as well!) but it seems closer to regular bake than fan forced. But long story short, yes in a traditional fan-forced oven, I’d drop the temperature to 140 – 150 degrees the first time you use the recipe, and see how that goes. If it takes forever to bake then next time (providing you like the recipe as much as I do!) you make it, you can have the temperature a bit higher, or if it bakes too quickly and gets too crusty on the outside, then you can drop the temp a bit more next time. Hope that helps!

  20. Hi Natalie,
    Thank you so much for your advice. I have put it in at between 140-150 and hoping for the best!
    Also, do you use unsalted butter in your recipe ?
    Seriously looks delicious!! So can’t wait to taste 🙂
    Thanks again Natalie!!

    1. No worries 🙂 To be honest in mud cakes I use whatever butter I have the most of in the fridge. I’ve made it with both and can’t really tell the difference (and I do have super picky tastebuds!)

  21. This is a fantastic recipe! I used self raising gluten free flour from Aldi’s in Australia and it has guar gum in it. Worked an absolute treat. I found it didn’t need 2-3 hours but closer to 1.5. Not sure but I used a fan forced 160c oven. It’s moist and dense just like it should be. Just chilling at the moment with its ganache before I decorate it for my friends 40th 🙂

    1. Great to hear that, Kate! The fan forced oven will have helped it to cook faster, but as long as the edges didn’t burn then it’s all good 🙂 And thanks for letting me know about the flour, I’ve started keeping a list of what flours work for people in different countries, so I can make suggestions when people ask.

  22. I would love to make these individual muffins for my sisters birthday! im planning on freezing them, then dipping the bottoms into melted dark chocolate and letting them set, then icing the top. any Tips? they will obviously need less time in the oven im assuming?

    1. Hi Lucy. Sounds like a great plan! I haven’t made this recipe in muffin tins, but yes they’ll need a lot less cooking time. I’d check them after 20-30 minutes. Make sure you grease the muffin pan well, the batter has quite a bit of sugar so they could stick a bit. Good luck, and I’d love to know how you get on with them! 🙂

  23. Hi Natalie
    I’m going to make this cake on the weekend for my husband’s birthday, I’m going to use the baking strips as suggested for the sides but have you ever had the bottom of the cake burn from cooking that long? Do I need to place the rack lower in the oven? Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Tania, I have definitely had burnt-bottom cakes before. It used to happen to be frequently with white chocolate mud cakes. I now put a heavy baking tray on the bottom rack of our oven (I actually just leave it there all the time now), so that is on the bottom rack and then I put the cake on the rack above that. For cakes like fruit cakes that take even longer to bake, I often make a baking-strip-like pad to put underneath. I just wet some paper towels and place them flat onto a strip of foil, and just fold the foil in half and fold over all the edges, so that I end up with a square-ish pad. I snip around the edge like I do with the regular baking strips, and then I just put that under the cake tin. Does that make sense? Next time I do it I’ll try and remember to take some pictures and add them to the baking strip tutorial.

  24. Hi Natalie just found your website like so many others. I am wanting to make this cake for my daughter in laws 30th birthday and wanting to shape it into a handbag. Would this amount be enough for a bag and would it be better if I made tray bakes with this mixture. So I can stack and carve. Hope this question make sense.

    1. Hi Julie. It really depends on the size and shape of handbag you want to make, but I would probably do 1.5 times this recipe and bake it in a deep 8″ square cake pan, and it should end up about 4″ tall. Then you could split it in half and stack it up to get the height you want, and carve the handbag shape from there. If you don’t have a deep 8″ pan, then yes you can definitely bake it in trays, I often do that with excess batter and the texture is much the same as when it’s baked in a cake pan. You will need to keep a close eye on it while it bakes though, the baking time will depend on the size of the tray and depth of the batter, and you don’t want the edges drying out too much before the middle is cooked. Hope that helps 🙂

  25. Hi Natalie, when I added my flour to the wet ingredients the end result after whisking it in, ended up being a very thick stodgy batter. Yours seems more runny. I weighed everything perfectly so unsure what went wrong? I used the exact flours and quantities you mentioned.

    Thanks Sandra
    NZ

    1. Hi Sandra. That’s really weird, I’ve never had that happen before. My first thought would be if it was measured incorrectly, but if you weighed everything and used the same flours then it can’t be that, unless your scale is calibrated wrong. Apart from that, if you’ve followed all the other instructions, then I’m really at a loss to pinpoint what could have gone wrong. The only thing I can suggest is that if you try it again and the same thing happens you could add a little extra liquid to thin the batter out a bit. I’m so sorry I can’t be more help!

  26. Hi Natalie,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your website; your humour is atrocious as mine…

    But seriously, I’m about to embark on my virgin mud cake-ing experience and I can’t find the flours you’ve used at our local market. I can get banana and coconut flours but I have no idea what the outcome of these will be and whether an actual starch product is necessary. My mother-in-law is a coeliac so the gluten free is a must.

    I’m inclined to think that if the banana and coconut flavours are subtle throughout the cake, it might make for an interesting taste experience. I’m a fan of banana and coconut and chocolate, and if no-one else is, then I’m in Cake Utopia.

    Many thanks,

    Daniel

    1. Hi Daniel. Well now you’ve gone and blown my mind, because (and maybe I should be ashamed to admit this) I’d never heard of banana flour before. Sounds really interesting, I’m going to have to try and get my hands on some. But back to your problem at hand, I do have some experience with coconut flour, and it likes to absorb water like crazy, which is why I tend not to use it as it takes a lot of adjusting to the recipe and is usually used in conjunction with other flours. The banana flour sounds like it could maybe work on its own, and mud cakes do tend to be quite forgiving, but having said that, obviously I have no idea how it would turn out. According to this website you’d need 30% less banana flour than the recipe states. I don’t know what other flours that you can get your hands on, but have a look at this post by Gluten Free Girl where she gives suggestions on how to build your own gluten free flour blend. I hope that helps, and that you end up being the golden son-in-law treating your mother-in-law to an awesome cake 😉

  27. Hi, i am about to make my first gluten free cake for a 21st birthday they have requested a cake with the numbers 2 and 1 . I have a few questions, firstly do i need to add the xanthan gum to the flour if i have the white wings brand ? I only have some guar gum in my pantry. Also, how far up the tin shohld the mix come? Im not sure whether to double or triple your quantities for the tin i have hired . I need to make the cake tnis afternoon and i really starting to worry!
    Thankyou in advance,
    Shelli

    1. Hi Shelli. I’m pretty sure White Wings gf flour has a gum additive, so I would suggest not adding any other gum to it. I know a few readers have told me they’ve had success baking with that brand so it should be fine. This cake doesn’t rise a huge amount, so I tend to fill my tins almost to the top. However, when I do that I have the sides of the tin lined with baking paper which extends well above the top edge of the tin, so it can’t overflow. I don’t know how easy it would be to line those number tins fully, so if you can’t do that, then only fill the tins 3/4 full, just in case. Last thing you need is mud cake batter all over your oven 😉 I’m afraid I can’t help with whether you need to double or triple the batter, but I prefer to err on the side of having too much than too little, so if it was me I would probably triple it. Hope that helps 🙂

      1. Thankyou for your fast reply, I’ll definitely line the tins and, as you suggested, triple the quantities just in case.

  28. I just made this AMAZING cake as a GF and DF cake for one of my clients, and it has turned out SO WELL! I can’t even taste the difference to standard chocolate mud cakes. I thought I’d share my DF alterations in case they are helpful to anyone else:
    – replace butter with Nuttelex (Australian dairy free margarine)
    – use Sweet Williams brand dairy free/vegan milk chocolate blocks instead of normal chocolate
    – replace normal milk with almond milk

    On another note (I saw a few comments above), I used White Wings GF flour and therefore omitted the xanthan gum in this recipe – worked like a charm!

    Such a beautifully rich and moist cake! So happy to now have a yummy cake I can offer to my GF or DF clients! Thank you for such a wonderful recipe Natalie!! 🙂

  29. I made this cake for my son’s 1st birthday and it was fantastic!

    I used egg replacer as my son is allergic. Even my picky in-laws loved the cake, and were extremely surprised to find out it was both gluten and egg free.

    I also doubled the recipe and used a 10″ × 3″ tin and it worked perfectly.

    Natalie, I have made your white chocolate mud cake; it was amazing. This chocolate mud cake is incredible and extremely versatile. I am a big fan. Thank you so much for creating such fantastic gluten free recipes.

    1. Hi Nicky. Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so glad to hear that you love the recipe (and even more that the picky in laws liked it! 😉 ) Really good to hear that it works well with the egg replacer too, I’ve got some in the cupboard but I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. Thanks again for letting me know, I really appreciate it 🙂

    1. HI Chantel. A few of my readers have had success making this cake with purchased Egg Replacer. This is a dense cake so it doesn’t need the egg for fluffiness, but it does help to bind the cake together. I don’t know where you live but here in New Zealand and in Australia there is a brand called Orgran than make an egg replacer product. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet but I hear good things about it. If you live elsewhere then hopefully there is an equivalent product where you live. Hope that helps 🙂

  30. Hello
    I need to make a gluten free cake for a family gathering this Christmas and yours looks fab!
    I have a 9″ tin to use but don’t really want to scale up the ingredients (it would be too big for us!) and am happy to compromise on the height. Will it still work in this size tin? I was thinking that decreasing the cooking time would help. And I am totally using baking strips! Genius!!

    1. Hi Rebecca. You can absolutely make this recipe in a 9″ cake pan. It will indeed be a bit shorter and will probably need less cooking time (I’d start checking it after 2-ish hours), but other than that it will work just fine 🙂 Good luck and Merry Christmas!

  31. Hello,

    I made this cake last night for my son’s 8th birthday. The recipe is superb, even with only 90 mins to bake (I did it at 180 degrees and a smaller tin) and no xantham gum, it worked perfectly. Gooey, moist, excellent crumb, really great. Used the remaining batter to make mini mud cakes for my son’s school staff morning tea. Delicious!

    Thank you, it’s rare to find a baking recipe online that is so good.

    Regards,
    Tanya

  32. I want to make a spherical cake with this (specifically a 3D bb-8 cake) and I am wondering how many cups of batter this recipe makes for the 7″ diameter 3″ high cake? And have you had any experience baking this is a spherical cake pan?

    1. Hi Kristin. I’m afraid I’ve never actually measured the batter amount, but since it comes most of the way to the top of the 3″ high 7″ round cake pan, after some Googling of volume calculators I’d say it would be around 8 cups. I haven’t made this one in a sphere pan, but I’d suggest you fill the pan with batter up til about 2cm from the top to make sure it has room to rise without overflowing. It doesn’t rise a huge amount, but the last thing you want is it all over the bottom of the oven 😉 If it darkens too much on the top before the middle is done baking, just pop some foil over the top to protect it 🙂

  33. Pingback: Dipped Blog
  34. Hi Natalie. This has become my “go to” recipe used as a base for learning to decorate. (White Wings flour works best for me btw). I keep getting told how yummy and rich it is. Have you tried using it for cupcakes? I wonder how it will go if I reduce the quantities – either halving but using 2 eggs, or trying to measure 1/3 tsp of baking powder. Any suggestions on timing?

    1. Hi Lyn, I’m glad to hear you love the recipe as much as I do! I’ve heard good things about White Wings flour, and it’s always good to hear from more people that it’s working for them with my recipes 🙂 I haven’t tried this recipe as cupcakes yet but it should work. I would do as you mentioned with 2 eggs, and use 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. I’d probably drop the oven temperature to 150°C, and check them after about half an hour. They may need a bit more or less than that, depending on the cupcake case size. Hope that helps, and I’d love to know how you get on! 🙂

  35. Hey Natalie,
    thanks so much for this recipe, I’ve trialled it ready to make my sister’s 60th birthday cake and it’s absolutely delicious and just perfect for carving/decorating 🙂

    I’m planning on making a hidden heart cake with it and, I was just wondering, whether you have a gluten free recipe recommendation for the red velvet cake I need for the heart (i’ll be carving the mud cake and then filling with broken up red velvet cake bound with frosting). I’ve done this before but never with gluten free so I’d appreciate advice on best recipe!

    Thanks again, love your website!
    Sarahxx
    p.s. I read in the comments that you’re collecting flours used for the cake. I’m based in the UK and used Doves Farm ‘Freee’ Self Raising White Gluten Free sold in Tesco’s – worked a treat!

    1. Hi Sarah, you’re so welcome! I haven’t actually experimented with red velvet cake yet, but I would suggest trying this one from Gluten Free on a Shoestring, her recipes are great. Another option could be to use my white choc mud cake, add a little cocoa and some red colouring to the batter, and use that for your cake crumbs. That could work well too. Hope it helps! 🙂 xx

      PS: Thanks for the flour tip too! I feel much better about making suggestions the more times I hear a flour recommended, so I really appreciate it.

  36. Hi,

    I am making a birthday cake for my twins. I am going with 2 tier, top tier unicorn bottom tier owls. I am thinking of doing the gluten free dark chocolate mud cake on the bottom and the white chocolate one on the top. My question is can i cook them both in the oven at the same time, would i need to keep swapping them between top and bottom shelve and also my fan setting is broken on my oven will i need to change the heat and time to compensate this? The only possible time i can bake is evening after kids go to bed so can’t really spend 6-7 hours baking the cake. Thanks

    1. Hi Keely-Anna, yes you can bake the cake at the same time. If your oven fan isn’t working I would probably increase the temperature to 170°C, with two cakes and no fan it will probably need a bit of extra heat. If you know your oven is hotter either from the bottom or the top, I would put the white choc mud wherever it’s cooler, as it generally browns quicker than the dark one does. They may take a bit longer to bake, probably closer to the 3 hour mark, maybe a little more. I wouldn’t swap them over until about 3/4 of the way through the cooking time, to make sure they’re fairly set before jiggling them around. Hope that helps, and good luck. I hope your twins have an awesome birthday! 🙂

  37. I’m wondering about giving the chocolate ganache a mint flavour – any ideas how much peppermint essence to use in your ganache recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kate, it’s hard to say exactly because flavouring essences and extracts vary so much in intensity. I would start with a few drops, give it a taste and add more if necessary 🙂

      1. Thanks Natalie! Will give it a try… the mud cake itself has turned out beautifully. Am going to make another one today – I’m doing a tiered cake for a graduation so am freezing them so it’s not a last minute rush.

  38. Hi! So I couldn’t find xanathan gum or potato starch, I substituted Gelatin and cornflour respectively. My cake rose and overflowed in the oven! It’s a decent 5 inches tall hehe
    BUT while tasting pretty good, it is quite rubbery/chewy. I’ve since read in the comments here that just leaving out xanathan gum even if using your flour mix, might be the best approach?

    1. Hi Lauren, cornflour is definitely a good substitute for potato flour in my flour mix, but gelatine isn’t a good substitute for Xanthan gum, as it sounds like you found out with the rubbery texture! 🙁 If you can’t find xanthan gum then yes it is best to just leave it out, your cake will generally still come out fine, it may just be a little more delicate and/or crumbly when you cut it. But with mud cakes they tend to be ok as they are quite dense and moist anyway, so they aren’t as likely to crumble 🙂

  39. Thanks for this recipe.

    My husband thought I was crazy with baking strips and foil hat but I was complemented on my moist cake so I felt fully justified.

    I made it dairy free. I used rice milk and pure sunflower spread and then coconut milk for the ganache (this was less successful as it separated a bit but was quite probably something I did rather than the ingredient).

    My 4 year old son said it was the best cake ever (but clarified that he only liked the icing!). It’s quite rich so maybe a bit much for little ones but the adults loved it.

    1. Hi Beatrice, well aside from the ganache splitting, that sounds like a pretty successful cake all around! I’m glad to hear it worked so well with the dairy-free substitutions. You might want to try a higher fat-content coconut cream for the ganache next time, it might help it emulsify a bit better.

      PS: Tell your husband if baking strips and foil hats make us crazy, then I don’t want to be sane ? They’re so worth it for delightfully moist cakes, right?! xx

  40. This recipe looks brilliant! I am looking to adapt it to fit two 6 inch round tins that are 3 inches deep – can the cake batter be split into two tins without ruining the recipe? Or would I have to adjust the temperature and cooking times so as not to burn the mix?

    1. Hi Toni, absolutely, I often split the mixes between tins. It can be hard to tell how long they’ll take to cook, some ovens bake a bit differently when there is more than one tin so the times can vary, but for two six inch tins, I would guess maybe around the 2-hour mark would be a good time to start checking. To be honest, I usually just check mine once they start to smell chocolate-y. They don’t rise much so you’re not really risking the cake sinking if you check it too soon, so I just start checking when I can smell it and go from there ?

      1. thanks Natalie, I did read somewhere however in teh comments about using self raising flour and working fine to?

        1. The recipe has a little baking powder in it so there is no need to use self-raising flour, but yep, some readers have used self-raising flour and had good results with it. I’m assuming they left out the baking powder from the recipe, otherwise the cake would be much lighter in texture. The amount of raising agent in self-raising flour can vary a bit, which is why I prefer to just use plain flour + baking powder, as I know that it gives the texture I like in a mud cake. You can do whichever you like though, it’s a super forgiving recipe so either way, it should work just fine ?

          1. Thankyou once again. Is it a cake that rises alot?
            I am wanting to make the cake without layers. and as this reciep makes a 7inch cake, i was hoping to make the recipe 1 & 1/2 times. would this be ok for an 8 or 9 inch cake tin? again i would like for the height

            thanks

            1. No it doesn’t rise a whole lot. If you did 1.5x the recipe in an 8” tin it should be at least 4” tall. For a 9” tin you may want to increase it a bit more. ?

    1. I prefer to use them as it helps stop the outside drying out, but you can definitely do it without. It will probably take a little less time for the cake to bake, so just keep an eye on it. I can’t tell you exactly how long it will take since you’re increasing the batter and tin size as well, so you’ll just need to keep an eye on it 🙂

  41. Hi Natalie
    I’ve just attempted this cake following the recipe to the letter with the exception of the faff with different flours (I couldn’t find some) so I just used a premixed flour (Doves Farm) I’ve wrapped the tin well and it’s in on 160degrees and has been in 3 hours – it’s still not baked through yet but my problem is that I’ve got HUGE cracks in the top ? They are literally an inch deep!! I assume this is because the temperature has been too high but it’s been on at 160 (it is fan though) I’ve turned it down now but its been well over 3 hours as it is! Is it pretty normal for it to be as long as this? I’m guessing it’s going to be at least 4hours in total…would’ve taken even more considering it’s obviously been on too high with the size of the craters I’ve managed to get!! I get so disappointed when my baking goes wrong :(. Any advice for a failing baker?

    1. Hi Rachel. Argh, it’s so frustrating when cakes crack! But it can happen to anyone, so it doesn’t make you a failing baker 😉 And yes, the oven being too hot is usually to blame for that. Cakes crack when the top of the cake is fully set before the middle is cooked and obviously, the steam escaping from the uncooked middle has to crack the crust to escape. Having the fan on will definitely speed up the crusting process, so if you can bake without the fan then that’ll definitely help. If not, turning the oven down to 150 or even 140 and baking for longer will help. Also, I’m not sure if you used a foil lid like I describe in my baking strip tutorial, but they also help to stop the cracking as it stops the crust forming as quickly.

      It does seem quite strange that they took so long to bake if they were only an inch deep though. If they’re not deep cakes then it seems really odd that they would be so cracked but not done in the middle. I don’t think the different flour would make that happen (and I know a lot of readers have used the Doves Farm flour in my recipes).

      My best guess is that maybe your oven might be doing funky things with its temperature. At our old house, we put in a new oven and I had so many issues with cakes sinking, or not baking through, and I thought I had completely lost my ability to bake. It turned out that the thermostat wasn’t working properly and the temperature was fluctuating. Once we got a new thermostat my cakes started working again. Of course, it may not be that serious for your oven, but ovens can vary in temperature (in fact, most ovens run a little hot or cold) so it could be worth investing in an oven thermometer to see what yours is doing. It could be starting off hot (and setting the top of the cake) and then dropping a bit (so the cake takes longer to cook.) And when I say “investing” in a thermometer, they’re generally not that expensive. I have two, and I think they were only about $15nzd each.

      Having said all of that, if you’ve baked other cakes lately and not had this happen, then it’s probably not your oven, and I’m really not sure what else it could be. I’ll have a think about it though, and let you know if I can think of anything else!

      1. Thanks for the advice Natalie! The cake was a good 4 inches when baked (it was the cracks that were an inch deep) After taking the cake out of the tin this morning I can see that the cracks have appeared because the cake had risen well over an inch above the tin so the top didn’t have any protection from the sides as it had around the base if you get my drift (next time I’d certainly make sure I wrapped well above the actual tin!!) I had made a foil lid and used this throughout so it was definitely the lack of side protection. However, my family are happy with the error as they get to taste the leftover bits I’ve cut from the top! The cake itself is DIVINE so thank you so much for the recipe – it’ll definitely be my go-to gluten free for carving and stacking! I look forward to trying out some more of your cakes! ?

        1. Oh, of course, that’ll teach me for replying to questions before my second cup of tea! I was so confused about 1″ high cakes not baking through ? That does make sense, and sounds like it’s the only difference between what you did and what I do, as I do a high collar of baking paper and then have foil-wrapped baking strips that come all the way up as well, so the sides have that bit of extra protection if they rise above the edge of the tin. I’m glad you sussed the problem though, and I’m also happy to hear that the offcuts didn’t go to waste and that you enjoyed them! ?

  42. Hi I have used the cakeometer to resize the recipe up to a 10 inch square. It has told me to almost triple the recipe. I have done this and there is so much of the liquid ingredients that alone would overfill my cake tin. Not sure whats gone wrong here, but there is way to much ingredients. I have made this delicious recipe before in a 7 inch round to test and it was perfect. I think I’ll mix everything together then pour in tin to height I need then have a whole lot of batter spare to eat for later.

    1. Hi Jayne, sorry for my delayed reply, I’ve been under the weather this week. That’s really strange, and I’m sorry you had issues with the CakeOmeter. I usually find it to be really accurate. I have this recipe saved on the CakeOmeter app on my phone, so I just asked it to convert the recipe to a 10″ square, 4″ high cake and it’s telling me that it should be 2.6x the recipe. It’s been a long time since I made it as 10″ square, so I can’t remember how much batter I would have made for it and whether it was too much or not. I’m not sure what could have gone wrong with the calculations, possibly a glitch somewhere. I hope you managed to put the leftover batter to good use! ?

      1. Hi Natalie, no worries at all. After thinking a bit about it before I put it in the tin, I realised that it would take forever to cook with all the batter in that size tin. So I decided to divide it into 3 lots (Thankfully thought of this before I had combined the wet to dry and the eggs) So I baked 3 separate layers and it turn out the perfect height once I had leveled them. So all good! You can see my cake on my facebook page ‘Cakes of Virtue’ if you like. Thank you for your reply.

        Ps. The off cuts were were very much enjoyed by my family 🙂

        1. Oh good, I’m so pleased it worked out perfectly in the end! Just had a look at the cake on your page, it looks fab. I love the frame around the photo. Glad to hear you enjoyed the offcuts too! 💜

    1. Hi Michelle, yes I used salted butter. Sorry, I should have been more clear on that! I’ll update the recipe.

      1. Natalie! Thank you so much! It was a real hit at my daughter’s wedding. I received another request recently for a birthday cake from a guest who had eaten it at the wedding. = )
        You might have mentioned this in one of your posts, but I learned from another regular flour recipe, that you really shouldn’t eat a mud cake for 3 days! It needs the extra time for the chocolate to “mature”with the other ingredients. We found that to be totally true even with this recipe. Here’s the link if you are interested. = ) Blessings!

        https://www.dimasharif.com/understanding-the-mud-cake/

        1. Hi Michelle. Yes, you’re right, mud cakes definitely improve after a few days. I usually use a three day bake/ganache/decorate timeline for my cakes so they have a bit of time to mature, but I do actually prefer them after a week or so. In fact, I’ve just been snacking on some almost two week old mud cake offcuts that were particularly good ? The idea of “old” cake seems dreadful, but with mud cakes they just get better ?

  43. I made this cake yesterday using your flour mix(I made my own brown rice flour) It is an amazingly beautiful cake. Will be making again and again. Thank you for sharing your recipe

  44. Hi Natalie,
    This cake looks and sounds amazing, I’m hoping to get my head around it to make for my son’s 3rd birthday 🙂

    I may have missed it in the info, but just wondering if the recipe quantities are for the 4 layers shown in the photo. And if so, did you just bake one cake and cut it into 4 layers?

    1. Hi Gillian. Yes the cake ends up around 3.5 – 4″ tall, and then I split it into 4 layers. You can also bake it in two cake pans, and then just split each cake in two ?

  45. Hello! I have made your vanilla mud cake recipe and everyone died over it. Getting ready to make this chocolate version and wondered if you had any advice for me since I will be using TWO 6” x 2” round pans. I’d like the height to be at least to the 2” mark after baking. Will this recipe be enough for that? Seems like I should be fine, but wanted to double check. Approximately how full are your pans when you put the batter in? Thanks for the help!!

    1. Hi Aymie. Yes, you’ll definitely have enough batter to get two 2″ high six inch cakes. You’ll probably actually have a bit too much batter for tins that size, so you may want to line an extra tin for any excess batter. Make sure you use baking paper on the sides of your pans and that it comes up at least a couple of inches higher than the edge of the pan, otherwise they may overflow (and mud cake batter is not fun to scrub off the bottom of an oven, don’t ask me how I know that ?). Because I use high collars of baking paper around my tins, I can fill the mud cake batter almost to the top of the tin, between 1/4″ to 1/2″ below the edge of the tin. Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  46. Hello Natalie!
    This cake looks delicious!
    I am wanting to make it for my mum in laws birthday cake tomorrow… almost the entirety of our family is gluten free…! I am going to make it with the well and good flour mix which has the thickeners already in it. I am going to double the recipe for one large cake… do you have any suggestions around baking time?
    Many thanks!

    1. Hi Britt, it’s really hard to say as it depends on what size cake pan you’re baking it in, and therefore how deep the batter ends up being. If you’re baking it in a 10″ tin I would say maybe 3.5 – 4 hours as a rough estimate. In a larger pan, it may be less time as the batter won’t be as deep. I usually go by smell with these cakes, once it starts smelling really chocolately, it’s usually a good time to check it. Because it’s a dense cake it doesn’t really tend to sink if you open the oven door before it’s cooked, so you can generally safely check it a few times after it’s been in for an hour or two and see how it’s going, and leave it a bit longer if needed. Hope that helps! 🙂

  47. Hey, I’m wanting to make this cake for a friend! I would like to do a 6inch cake tho will it still cook fine or do I need to adjust cooking temp? Or would you recommend deviding the mix into 2 tins? Thanks! X

    1. Hi Stacey, I would suggest baking it in 2 tins, and you’ll end up with a taller finished cake. Leave the oven temperature the same, but I would check them after 1.5 – 2 hours, or whenever you start to smell the chocolate-cake smell 😉 x

  48. Thank you this recipe is amazing! I used it to make a cat birthday cake for my friends child. Everyone loved it! Really couldn’t tell it was gluten free.

    1. Hey Aria, that awesome, I’m really glad to hear it! I hope your friend’s kiddo had a wonderful birthday 🙂

  49. Hi! I will try for first time to bake a gluten free mud cake.. Your recipe look amazing, so definitely I will try it! Maybe is a silly question, but the normal cocoa powder or the fresh cream is gluten free? I don’t want to make someone sick.. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Dora, cream is definitely gluten free, and the cocoa should be as it’s usually 100% cocoa powder, just double-check the pack to make sure. Sometimes they will say “may contain traces of” wheat. If the cake is for a highly sensitive person with Coeliac disease then it’s not ok, but for people with gluten sensitivites, it should be fine. But as I said, usually it’s just 100% cocoa and it’s all good 🙂

      1. Hi Natalie!Thank you so much for your reply!?
        I will use good quality cocoa powder..I have to bake a big cake square pan 12″×12″ can you please tell me if the double recipe will be enough? I need a 3,5″ high one layer. One more question is if I can frozen this cake and if yes, for how long? I want to defrost and cover with ganache and decorate with fondant.. I will use your ganache dark chocolate recipe, so I wonder if I keep the cake in room temperature for 3 days will be ,,food safe ” (because of fresh cream)
        Sorry for so many questions ? Is first time I saw someone to reply to everyone.I can see your passion and love in every recipe you made it. Thank you! ?

        1. No worries, I’m happy to answer your questions! ? You’ll need to at least triple the recipe for a square cake that size. I’d probably go 3.5x to be sure, but keep in mind you’ll need a very large bowl or pot to mix it in. It would be easier to bake it in two batches, as a cake that size will also take a very long time to bake – probably at least 5 hours.

          Yes, you can freeze it, it’ll be fine for at least a few weeks in the freezer. Probably longer but I haven’t tested that so can’t tell you for sure! And yes, the ganached cake will be absolutely fine for three days kept at room temperature. Because the cream gets brought to the boil, the ganache lasts well for at least a week. Have a look at my cake decorating timeline post for more info on that, if you like 🙂

  50. Hi
    I was surfing your website and your mud cakes caught my eye, because they look so good and dense ?
    However, this recipe and the white chocolate mud cake are gluten free, and the thing is i don’t have these ingredients as i don’t have anyone in my family that’s gluten free, is there a way to make this without the gluten free ingredients (like can i substitute gluten free flour with normal flour, etc). If i can’t substitute these ingredients do you have a recipe for a chocolate mud cake that’s not gluten free?
    thank you in advance and i apologize if i’m being annoying, but i really want to try your recipe and i can’t go and buy all these ingredients now

    1. Hey Asma. Yes, you can very easily make this mud cake and the white chocolate mud cake non-gluten-free, just replace the gluten-free flour with regular all-purpose wheat flour, and leave out the xanthan gum. You don’t need to adjust anything else in the recipes 🙂 Hope you enjoy them! ?

  51. Hi Natalie! Just let you know I bake the huge cake ? I come back with this comment because I want to share my experience and maybe will help someone else… First at all I want to say one huge THANKS!! Everyone must try and trust your recipes!
    I bake for first time this gluten free cake and I try in a huge pan ? honestly I was very scared because was a lot of ingredients
    So I use this recipe ×3 in 12″×12″ inch square pan 9 cm high. I remember you told me to make sure I use a big bowl to combine ingredients. Very important to mix all ingredients well if triple the recipe. I don’t over mix just I put my butter in sieve to make sure I don’t have any flour left. I use ready mix gluten free flour and I leave the xanthan gum out. I think all ready gluten free flour have all ready xanthan gum, some packets have 412, some 415 is same thing
    Very important to follow Natalie advice!!!!to have perfect success! I bake first cake and I make baking strips with old kitchen towels. I bake my cake with up and down program without fan force.I don’t cover properly the pan with aluminum foil, my mistake I didn’t give much importance for this step ? I bake 160C for 6 hours. Cake was okay but in corners very, very dry. WAS MY MISTAKE!! I make another butter and this time I perfect follow all Natalie advices ? First I line my pan 3 times with baking paper (to avoid the very dry corners)second I put more wait kitchen towels around the pan (the towels I put first in water),I put my butter in pan and I make sure is everywhere same quantity, I covered this time with a lot of aluminum foil in corners and in the middle of pan in aluminium foil I make a hole, I bake for 6 hours and this time I don’t open like crazy the oven door?. The cake comes out perfectly, straight, no cracks, wait, moist, with nice corners, everywhere the same nicely baked, 6cm high . So happy for this success ?Thank you again dear Natalie! P.S apologize for my English ?

    1. Hi Dora! You are so very welcome, and thank you so much for coming back and letting us know how you went! I’m sorry about that first cake but so glad to hear you persevered and came out with such a good result ? I’m really happy to hear you loved the cake.

      PS: No need at all to apologise for your English! I only speak one language so I have major respect for anyone who can make themselves understood in multiple languages ?

  52. Hi natalie
    your cake looks delicious (like all your other cakes :D) but i was wondering
    i don’t want to make a mud cake that large, and i don’t want to layer it, so should i half the recipe? should i change the baking time? should i use a different sized pan?
    thank you in advance

    1. Hi Asma, yes you can halve the recipe if you want. You could either bake it in the same sized pan (7″ round) for a shorter cake, or bake it in a 6″ round pan for a smaller but slightly taller cake. It will take less time to cook but I probably can’t tell you exactly how long, I would suggest you start checking it after around 1 hour. You will usually be able to smell the cake when it’s almost ready 😉 Hope that helps!

  53. Hi Natalie
    This looks exactly like the GF kind of cake I want to attempt for my parents 50th in a couple of weeks…however I am hoping to be able to make it also sugar free. Do you know if I can sub the sugar for granulated stevia or the like?

    1. Hi Lianne. I’m afraid I don’t have much experience baking with sugar substitutes. All I can really suggest is that you find one that says it’s suitable for baking, and then follow the substitution suggestions on the packet to adapt the recipe. I’m not sure what kind of effect it will have on the cake texture, as sugar does play a part in the crumb formation of the cake, but mud cakes do tend to be quite forgiving when it comes to substitutions. If you do give it a go I would love to know how you get on 🙂 Sorry I can’t be more help!

  54. Hi Natalie
    just made your gluten free mud cake ,mine also needed to be dairy free so i used almond milk and dairy free margarine its amazing.Imake a lot of different mud cake creations and you would not tell the difference
    thanks so much ps its delicious hot

    1. Hi Deborah, that’s awesome, I’m so glad it worked well for you and thanks so much for letting me know, I love it when I can recommend alternatives that readers have tried 💜

  55. Made this recipe this week and it made a fabulously generous amount of batter that I was able to make a good 6″ size cake and 16 cupcakes from it (and they all tasted delicious!).
    I always cook my cakes low and slow, so the tallish 6″ cake turned out perfect after 2.5 hours at 150°C. And I used your method to make baking strips and a foil hat (which I was totally tempted to wear – cause you never know right?) and the cake was beautifully level and rose evenly so I was incredibly happy to say the least! I will definitely be using your recipe again the next time I need a gluten free cake 🙂

    1. Hi Samantha! Yay, I’m so glad this turned out so well for you! 💜 And just quietly, I’ve been known to pop a tin foil hat on my head before 😂 (But only literally, not figuratively. The only conspiracy I’m convinced of is that my family encourage my work only because they want to taste test more sweets and a tinfoil hat won’t protect me from that 😉😂) xx

  56. Hi Natalie, I absolutely loved this cake – my husband didn’t even realise it was gluten free. 🙌🏼 Would you be able to help me adjust the ingredient amounts to a 30cm square cake tin? It looks to be fairly deep – I just ordered it. Any help would be mostly appreciated by a 2yr old boy. Kazz x

    1. Hi Kazz, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! So according to the recipe scaling app I use (which unfortunately isn’t available to download anymore), you would need 3.7x the recipe to get a 30cm square cake of a similar height. If you were to do that you would need to make sure you have a really big bowl or pot to mix it in (I’ve used our giant pasta pot in the past to mix mud cake batter) and it will take quite some time to bake. You’d be looking at maybe 5-ish hours to bake.

      But what I would probably be more inclined to do is to double the recipe (or you could do 1.8x, to be more exact, but I’m lazy and would just double), bake it, and then the next day do the same thing again, so you have two cakes. That way it will be easier to make sure the cakes are cooked through properly right through to the middle, and you can just trim off any doming on the top of the cake.

      Another good trick if you can get your hands on one is to use a flower nail in the middle of the cake, which will help conduct heat to the middle of the cake and make it bake more evenly. Here’s a long to an article on how to use them: https://www.cakecentral.com/tutorial/20232/cake-baking-flower-nail-method-tutorial . You can definitely skip that, but I do find it helpful for big cakes.

      I hope that helps, and if you have any more questions just let me know 💜 Have a great week!

  57. I wonder if you can suggest a brand of chocolate l can use please? I know not all dark chocolate is gluten free. I think Whittakers used to say it was but I’m not sure now. I’m in Australia.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Marion, I’m so sorry I missed your question, somehow it ended up in the spam folder 🤦‍♀️ I personally use Whittakers – they can’t label the chocolate as gluten free because a few of their flavoured chocolates contain gluten so there is a chance of cross-contamination, but they have strict allergen protocols in place so in our house we consider the risk very low. But that is, of course, a personal decision. If you’re looking for chocolate that is labelled as gluten free, then Sweet William might be a good option for you as it is made in a gluten free facility. Hope that helps!

  58. 5 stars
    The best chocolate mudcake recipe I have used so far. I doubled the recipe which made 2 x 8inch cakes 2inches tall after cutting tops off, plus 6 cheeky cupcakes 😊 I needed a good stable cake for a 2 tier wedding cake and it has not disappointed. It is delicious and beautifully dense, not dry or crumbly.
    So relieved to find your recipe, great work! Thank you ☺️