Duncan Hines-Style Chocolate Cake

Duncan Hines-Style Chocolate Cake {Gluten-Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free, perfect for layering or cutting into a shaped birthday cake!}

5 from 6 reviews

A chocolatey gluten-free, vegan, refined-sugar free cake dusted with cocoa powder or an optional chocolate ganache topping.


  • 1¼ cups of my gf flour mix {½ cup brown rice flour, 6 tbsp tapioca starch, 6 tbsp sweet sticky rice flour/glutinous rice flour, ½ tsp guar gum} {or I recommend using 1 cup + 2 tbsp of Pamela's Artisan Flour Mix for a store-bought version}
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup beet puree {I boiled some beets until soft, then pureed them using my magic bullet}
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • ½ cup non-dairy butter, melted
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • additional cocoa powder for dusting the cake once ready

Optional Chocolate Ganache topping {in place of dusting with cocoa powder}:


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9" cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper {for easier removal later}. Set aside.
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add in beet puree, sweetener, and vanilla and mix with a mixer to combine everything.
  3. Place melted butter in a small mixing bowl, add in cocoa powder and boiled water and stir everything to combine. Pour this chocolate mixture into the cake batter and mix everything together.
  4. Transfer batter into prepared cake pan. Tap the pan on the counter lightly to eliminate any air bubbles. Bake in a pre-heated oven for approximately 25 - 50* minutes {until a skewer inserted down the center comes out dr}{See notes below re: big time variance}. Remove from oven and chill on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Carefully flip the cake out onto the cooling rack and then over onto a plate and let it stand until it's just warm to the touch.
  5. When the cake is cooled off enough, dust with some cocoa powder {that's what I did, using a doily-pattern -- see notes in post above} or for a sweeter more decadent cake pour chocolate ganache {see next step} over the cake and serve!
  6. Optional: to make the chocolate ganache topping, simply melt the chocolate chips {double boiler or microwave}, add in butter, vanilla, and almond extract {optional} and mix until the mixture is smooth and velvety. Pour over the prepared cake and serve, or chill in the fridge if you want the ganache topping to set a little.


Baking time: whenever I make this cake, it bakes through in about 25-30 min max. I have had readers report the same results. There have been a few people though who mentioned their cake took twice as long to bake through. It may be something to do with oven temperatures being unsteady in some ovens, but just in case, keep baking the cake until a skewer comes out dry -- that's when you'll know it's ready.

Keep in mind, it is a moist spongy cake, so you wouldn't want it to dry out. So lean towards the 25 min mark and keep an eye on it from there.

Double for a layer cake