Gluten-Free Mocha Cake with Vegan Coffee Buttercream


This gluten-free mocha cake recipe was a runner-up in the So Delicious Dairy Free Recipe Contest (view all recipe entries here)! It was created and submitted by Sarah Bakes Gluten Free. It has a decadent dairy-free and vegan coffee buttercream along with a layer of vegan chocolate ganache. The entire recipe is gluten-free, vegan (dairy-free and egg-free), soy-free, nut-free, and generally allergy-friendly!
Mocha Cake with Coffee Buttercream (Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Recipe!)
Sarah uses her own homemade gluten-free flour blend (see the link in the recipe below) in this gluten-free mocha cake, but you can use a store-bought gluten-free flour blend or your own favorite homemade version, as desired. Just note that Sarah does use xanthan gum in her mix, so you will want to use a mix with xanthan or guar gum already in it, or add some as a separate ingredient (about 1 teaspoon in this recipe to equate her flour blend) to get similar results. Also, I recommend leaning toward a rice flour, brown rice flour, or sorghum flour blend with starches to yield the most dessert-like results.

Special Diet Notes: Mocha Cake with Coffee Buttercream

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, vegetarian, and generally top food allergy-friendly.

Have tree nut allergies and concerned about coconut? See this post: Are Coconut-Based Dairy Alternatives Safe for Nut Allergies?

Gluten-Free Mocha Cake with Vegan Coffee Buttercream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This decadent vegan and gluten-free mocha cake was created by Sarah of Sarah Bakes Gluten Free and shared with us by So Delicious Dairy Free as a recipe contest runner-up!
Serves: 12 servings
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake:
  • 2-1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend (see Sarah's homemade blend)
  • 2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage (such as So Delicious Dairy Free)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ⅔ cup mild flavor oil (such as sunflower seed, grapeseed, or canola)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Vegan Coffee Buttercream
  • ½ cup dairy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance Soy-Free), softened
  • ¼ cup organic non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 3 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 2-3 tablespoons dairy-free coffee creamer (such as So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Creamer)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Vegan Chocolate Ganache:
For the Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line the bottom of 2 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray each with cooking spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour blend, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the coconut milk beverage, warm water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour over the flour mixture and beat for 1 minute.
  5. Evenly divide the cake batter between the prepared cake pans, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Vegan Coffee Buttercream:
  1. Place the margarine and shortening in a mixing bowl, and beat for 1 minute.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in the tablespoon of warm water.
  3. Add the coffee, powdered sugar, coffee creamer and vanilla to your mixing bowl, and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add another tablespoon or 2 of the coffee creamer, if needed, to make the buttercream until light and fluffy.
  4. To frost, place one layer of the cooled cake on serving platter or cake stand. Top with half of the buttercream and smooth out to the edges. Place remaining buttercream in piping bag with star tip. Top with the other cake layer and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. While it's chilling, make the ganache.
For the Vegan Chocolate Ganache:
  1. Mix the chocolate chips and coffee creamer in a small microwave-safe bowl, and heat for 30 seconds. Stir, and heat again in 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate has just melted. Whisk until smooth.
  2. Pour ganache over the top of the chilled cake. With an offset spatula, immediately spread the ganache evenly on the top, then the sides of cake (ganache sets fairly quickly). Place cake back in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.
  3. Take the piping bag with remaining buttercream and pipe rosettes on the top of the cake, starting with the outer edge. If desired, sprinkle with candy pearls.
The cake can be stored in the refrigerator, just be sure to let it sit at room temperature for a couple hours before serving.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Pingback: Vegan Birthday Cake - VeegMama

    • Hi Ivana, adjustments to the recipe would need to be made as liquid sweeteners add a fair bit of additional moisture – it isn’t really a 1:1 swap for a baked good like this.

  2. Hi, I tried to cook this tonight, the outside edge looks good but int he middle there is a hard layer on top , what did I do wrong?

  3. Pingback: Gluten free, dairy free chocolate cake | cakedin

  4. Pingback: 33 Delicious Vegan Recipes

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