Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake (for shaped pans)


April 2, 2011 by Flora Dawn

The truth is, short of being a professional baker or Martha Stewart, no one else probably owns a bunch of specialty and seasonal cake pans.

What pans am I referring to you might ask yourself. Well, they come in a variety of unique and memorable shapes, like snowmen, vintage miniature cars, honeycombs, 3-D bears, turkeys and rabbits. You probably get the idea.

These pans produce really whimsical cakes, and they typically come with a recipe because they require a sturdy cake, almost like a pound cake (and typically 5-10 cups of batter). So the typical box mix won’t do, add gluten-free to the requirements and you have a recipe for disaster.

So I have had to adapt my old recipes to work in these shaped pans. I have come up with both a vanilla and chocolate version that works beautifully. Although I have used these recipes in regular cake pans, it isn’t your typical cake mix type texture. It is fairly dense and moist, probably more like an old-fashioned cake (you know the ones Grandma made before cake mixes were the norm).

I have made this Chocolate Cake recipe several times and it is always a hit. I am sure you’ve heard this before, but using a more expensive brand of baking cocoa will definitely produce a richer tasting cake, but plain old Hershey’s will also work.

Sprinkling raw sugar (fur) on our 3-D bear cake!

Chocolate Cake (makes 10 cups of batter)

I think making this egg free, by using flax & applesauce, is a great way to reduce the cholesterol and increase the fiber; but if you are opposed to that type of thing, go ahead and use the eggs!

dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder, optional

wet ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream (light works fine)
  • 4 eggs OR 2 TB flaxseed meal dissolved in 6 TB hot tap water + 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • rice flour mixed with baking cocoa to dust pans
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease the wells of the cake pan and dust with the flour/cocoa mixture.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, yogurt, eggs (or substitute), and vanilla until combined. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and beat until well combined (I do this by hand, but you could use an electric mixer if desired).
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, making sure to spread it into all the detailed wells. You’ll want to spread the batter so it reaches the top edges of the pan and is slightly lower in the center; this will help ensure the details show up on the baked cake.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until center tests clean. This is about 18-20 minutes for small cakes (think cupcake size) to 45-55 for a large cake (like my 10 cup bear pan).

5 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake (for shaped pans)

  1. Rhonda says:

    I still have a number of these shaped pans hanging around-now perfect for grand kids! The cake is darling, and your little redheaded cake decorator is absolutely precious 😉

  2. […] the original post: In Flora's Kitchen » Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake (for shaped pans) Posted in baking pans – Tagged Batter, details, ensure-the-details, help-ensure, […]

  3. Flora says:

    Well, I am glad to know I am not the only one that buys those pans 🙂

  4. Laurie says:

    Where did you get that bear pan? Is that the Wiltons 3-D bear cake pan?

    • Flora says:

      It’s actually a Build-A-Bear pan that William-Sonoma had a few years ago. But it creates a very top heavy bear; I have read that the Wilton one is much better.

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