This 6” gluten free chocolate peppermint cake is just the cake you need to make this winter! Made with a deliciously moist and rich chocolate layer cake, then frosted with smooth and fluffy peppermint buttercream.
I can’t believe it’s already December! With all that has gone on the past several months, this year seems to have flown by…. even though we really didn’t do too much. Crazy, right? But one thing’s for certain: I definitely did a lot of baking this year.
And speaking of baking, this Gluten Free Chocolate Peppermint Cake was one of my latest cake creations!
You guys, this cake is soooo good my family and friends could not stop talking about it. The gluten free cake is so chocolatey, moist, and rich yet is the perfect cake texture. I seriously could make this cake all the time and be perfectly happy.
This recipe makes three 6” round cake layers and serves 10-12 people. This cake is also frosted with smooth and fluffy peppermint buttercream. I love adding vanilla extract in addition to peppermint extract in here… it adds an additional depth of flavor to the buttercream so that it’s not overwhelmingly peppermint-tasting.
WHAT FLOUR TO USE FOR GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CAKE
I like to mention this in almost all of my recipes because the gluten free flour type you use is so important! For all my cupcake and cake recipes, I use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free baking flour. This is the flour that I have been using since my Celiac diagnosis and seems to work the best for me! Not all gluten free flour mixes absorb moisture the same way, and they all have different proportions of ingredients used, so keep in mind that this recipe was designed specifically for this flour mix.
I always measure my flour by weight to ensure I’m using the exact amount needed, as even just a little bit more or less could change the texture of the cake. It’s also nice because I don’t have to dirty as many measuring cups, so I just spoon my flour into a bowl on my kitchen scale to weigh. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can measure your flour by spooning it into your measuring cup and then leveling it off before adding it to your dry ingredient bowl. This helps to prevent you from using too much flour, which can happen when you scoop it out of the bag with your measuring cup.
I haven’t tested this recipe with other flours, so I can’t guarantee that your cake will turn out the same if using a different flour mixture. If using a different gluten free flour mixture, I recommend using a 1:1 mix that contains xanthan gum and measure by weight. I have seen some bakers make my recipes successfully with Pillsbury gluten free flour. If you made this successfully with a different flour, please let me know!
CAN I USE A DIFFERENT PAN SIZE?
This recipe makes three thick 6” round cake layers. Because the layers are thicker, you could also bake in 4 layers instead.
This cake also bakes very well in different pan sizes. Here’s all the baking info:
For 6” round cake pans:
- Three pans will hold about 400-410g of batter in each. Bake as directed in the recipe (about 40 minutes).
- Four pans will bake for about 30-35 minutes. Divide the batter evenly among the pans (there will be less in each) and start checking at 28-30 minutes to see if the cakes are done.
For 8” round cake pans:
- Divide the batter evenly between three pans and bake for 28-33 minutes.
CAN I MAKE OTHER SUBSTITUTIONS?
Gluten free baking is very finicky so I don’t ever recommend making a lot of substitutions as this it can really change the structure and texture of the cake.
However, there are a few that I have personally done that work well for this recipe:
Dairy: This recipe uses buttermilk for the best texture. You cannot substitute regular milk as the acidity in buttermilk is needed to interact with the amount of leavening and other acidic ingredients.
You can definitely make your own buttermilk using the milk of your choice if you don’t have any on hand! Simply pour the amount of milk needed for the recipe and stir in 1 Tbsp of white vinegar. You could also use lemon juice. Let it sit for about 5 minutes or so before using it in the recipe. I made this cake once using So Delicious original unsweetened coconut milk and white vinegar and it turned out just as amazing!
Lastly, I like to use heavy cream for the frosting. It makes the frosting nice and light/fluffy when whipped. You can definitely use any type of milk here, though.
Oil: You can use any neutral oil you’d like in this gluten free chocolate peppermint cake recipe. I used local organic sunflower oil.
HOW TO STORE GLUTEN FREE CAKES
This is something I always like to mention too… it’s become my favorite trick when creating moist gluten free cakes that also taste great a few days later. One thing I’ve found really helps with the texture of gluten free cakes is to refrigerate them before and after frosting. This cake is still great without refrigeration if you are going to eat it right away, but it’s even better when chilled as refrigerating helps to lock in the moisture and keep the cake from drying out.
Once the cakes have baked and then cooled for about 10-15 minutes, carefully remove them from the pans and place them on a wire cooling rack lined with parchment paper to cool completely.
After they have cooled completely, place the cakes on a large parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a piece of parchment (to help prevent the cake tops from sticking) and cover over the whole thing tightly with foil. Then, place the baking sheet into the refrigerator to chill at least one hour. You could also do this step the night before and keep the cakes chilled overnight. This not only helps to keep the cakes very moist but also makes it much easier to level, stack, and frost… I like to level off the tops of my cakes to make them flat, and chilling helps immensely with that.
Once you have filled and frosted the whole cake (the frosting for this cake recipe makes enough to fill, cover, and decorate a 6” cake), you could either eat it immediately or store it in the fridge for later. My cake recipes all work well for making a full day ahead of time. Just cover the assembled and frosted cake either with a glass cake dome or in an airtight cake container/carrier, then place it back into the refrigerator – just bring it out at room temperature 15-20 minutes before you are ready to serve.
6” stacked cakes are usually anywhere between 6-8” tall (or taller depending on if/how you decorate the top of the cake and how many layers there are), so make sure your cake dome is large enough. If you don’t have a cake dome or airtight cake storage container, you can also place the cake on a large plate and cover it with a large/tall stockpot if it fits in your fridge! The cake just needs something over it to prevent air from getting in and drying out the cake. Covering losely with some foil would also work here.
Store any cake leftovers in the refrigerator under the cake dome, or you can pre-slice and store in airtight containers. The cake should stay fresh this way for 3-4 days before it starts to dry out.
HOW TO DECORATE GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CAKE
I love this cake so much just because it was so much fun to decorate! It’s so easy to get festive here with the decorations or feel free to keep it plain and simple.
I decorated the outside with some fun candy cane stripes, using beet powder instead of food coloring to color some of the frosting. Here’s a great video tutorial that shows how to make stripes: https://youtu.be/7NBJ9wrlc24.
I also added a chocolate ganache drip on top. This is totally optional as well, but I love how it emphasizes that there is chocolate in the cake! You could use milk, dark, or even white chocolate for the drip. I use a squeeze bottle for this as I find it much easier to control the drips. Here’s a great video tutorial on drips: https://youtu.be/55w65rj0pJQ.
Lastly, I added some crushed gluten free candy canes sprinkled over the top. So fun and festive!
Here’s a list of my favorite decorating tools I used for this gluten free chocolate peppermint cake:
I posted a finished cake video on my Instagram page, you’ll definitely want to check it out!
I hope you enjoy this cake! If you make it, be sure to comment below or tag @zestandlemons on Instagram.