This Triple Chocolate Layer Cake has alternating layers of soft gluten free chocolate cake and creamy chocolate fudge frosting. It's then topped with chocolate ganache, more frosting and sprinkles. If that wasn't enough, this dreamy cake is also nut free, eggless and easily vegan! It’s a must try for all the chocolate lovers out there!
This Triple Chocolate Cake recipe is so easy to follow! The rich cake batter whips up in one bowl with a whisk! No mixer needed. It's soft and moist while still being decadent and luscious.
Reasons to Love this Cake
- Allergy Friendly- This cake is gluten free, nut free, egg free and can easily be dairy free (vegan)!
- Soft & Fluffy- The cake is super soft, decadent and delicious.
- Fudge Frosting- It has a luscious fudge frosting!
- Easy to Make- The batter mixes up in just one large bowl with a whisk!
- Triple Chocolate- It has chocolate cake, frosting and drip!
- Gluten Free Flour- If you also have nut allergies, make sure to use a brand that’s made in a nut free facility. I really love to use this gluten free flour because it’s nut safe but it does contain dairy. It also contains xanthan gum which really helps give baked goods their bounce.
- White Vinegar- We use this along with baking soda to help the cakes rise.
- Vegetable Oil- The cake uses oil instead of butter/vegan baking stick to help it stay moist.
- Cocoa Powders- I like to use two types but if you only want to use one, use Dutch or Natural Unsweetened.
- Heavy Cream- If you want to make the ganache drip vegan, make sure to use a gluten free vegan heavy cream.
- Chocolate Chips- To keep vegan, make sure to use gluten free/vegan chocolate chips. I love these allergy friendly chocolate chips.
See my recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.
Substitutions and Variations
How to Make this Vegan
- Use a gluten free flour that’s free from dairy.
- Make sure the brand of sugar you use is vegan.
- Use vegan baking sticks instead of butter in the frosting.
- Use a vegan heavy cream alternative like in my Cocoa Dusted Truffles.
- Make sure to use vegan chocolate chips.
- If using sprinkles, make sure they're gluten free and vegan.
How to Make this recipe with All Purpose Flour
- Use 3 cups packed AP flour (504 grams).
- Make sure to use packed ½ cup cocoa powder (58 grams).
- Only use ¾ cup vegetable oil.
This recipe has not been tested with these substitutions and/or variations due to celiac disease and food allergies. If you change any of the ingredients, please let us know how the recipe turned out in the comments below!
How to Make Triple Chocolate Cake
Here are the step by step instructions to make this cake!
Make the Cake
Step 1: Whisk Together All the Dry Ingredients
In a large bowl whisk together the gluten free flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powders, baking soda and kosher salt.
Step 2: Make 3 Wells in the Dry Ingredients
In the dry ingredients, using clean hands, make 3 wells for the wet ingredients to be poured into.
Step 3: Pour in the Liquid Ingredients minus the Water
In one well pour the vegetable oil, in the other well pour the white vinegar and in the last, pour the vanilla.
Step 4: Pour the Cold Water on Top
Pour the cold water on top of all the ingredients.
Step 5: Whisk to Combine Everything
Use a whisk to mix everything together until fully combined. If it gets too thick for the whisk, switch to using a spatula. Do not over mix.
Step 6: Scoop the Batter
Divide the batter evenly into two greased and parchment lined 8 inch cake pans and smooth the tops with a butter knife.
Step 7: Bake the Cakes
Bake the cakes in the center rack at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-48 minutes until the top is slightly springy when carefully poked.
Step 8: Cut the Cakes in half
Remove cakes from the oven and let them cool in the cake pans.
Once the cakes have cooked completely, take them out of the pan and slice them in half horizontally to create 4 thinner layers of cake.
If the tops of your cakes have domes, you can very carefully slice them off to make the tops flat.
Make the Frosting
Step 1: Cream the Butter/ Vegan Baking Stick
In the large bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the butter or vegan baking stick until smooth and creamy. About 2 minutes.
Step 2: Add the Confectioners' Sugar
WIth the mixer on very low speed, slowly add in the confectioners' sugar.
Step 3: Add in the Cocoa Powders
With the mixer on low speed still, add in the cocoa powders.
Step 4: Add in the Vanilla
Add in the vanilla and beat until combined.
Step 5: Add in the Water
While the mixer is on, slowly add in the water a little at a time until you get the desired consistency. You may not need to use all the water.
Assembling the Cake
Step 1: Divide the Frosting into equal sections
Separate the frosting into 5 equal sections.
Step 2: Frost One Layer of cake
Place one layer of cake on a cake plate/stand. Scoop ⅕ (about 1 cup) of frosting on top of the layer and use an icing spatula to spread it around.
Step 3: Repeat the Process
Place another layer of cake on top; repeat this same process. Do this with 3 layers of cake.
Step 4: Keep the Top and Sides Thin
Once you get to the top layer of cake, place it bottom (or flat) side up so the top of the cake is nice and flat.
Use an icing spatula or a butter knife to frost the top and a thin layer on the sides of the cake.
You should only use ⅕th of the frosting on the top and sides combined.
Step 5: Chill the Cake
Pop the entire cake in the fridge uncovered for 15-20 minutes. This will make it more stable to work with for the ganache drip.
Make the Ganache
Step 1: Place the Chocolate Chips in a Heat Safe Bowl
Set the bowl with the chips aside.
Step 2: Heat the Heavy Cream
Set the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly.
When the heavy cream begins to simmer around the edges, immediately pour the cream over the chocolate chips.
Step 3: Let it Sit
Do not whisk the heavy cream and chocolate chips together yet! Let it sit for one minute and then whisk until combined and smooth.
Make the Ganache Drip
Step 1: Spoon the Ganache
Take the cake out of the fridge and immediately spoon almost all the liquid ganache on top of the cake.
Step 2: Push the Ganache to the Edge
Using an icing spatula, push the ganache around the edges of the cake so it drips down the sides.
Work quickly because the cold cake will quickly stop the ganache from dripping too much.
Decorate the Cake
Step 1: Pipe Swirls
Put the remaining ⅕th of the frosting into a piping bag.
Make swirls all around the edge of the top of the cake.
Step 2: Add Chocolate Sprinkles
Sprinkle some gluten free/nut free/vegan chocolate sprinkles on top of the fudge swirl.
Expert Baking Tips
- Use 2 Types of Cocoa Powder- The 2 types of cocoa powders gives the cake its dark hue. If you only have one type on hand, use natural unsweetened or dutch...just know their color will not be as dark as mine. Do not use dark alone; it will make your cake and frosting too dry and bitter.
- Smooth the Batter- Many gluten free batters have a way of staying exactly as they are placed, when baked. When the batter is in the cake pans, gently smooth the tops with a butter knife prior to baking.
- Make the Frosting the Day Before- You don’t have to do this the day before, but it definitely makes assembling the cake a much quicker process. Store the frosting in a bowl covered with plastic wrap in the fridge. When ready to use, let it come to room temperature and rewhip to regain the creamy texture.
Most gluten free baked goods are best made the same day, but you can make this cake the night before and then do the decorating like the ganache and pipe the extra buttercream in the morning.
If making the cake the night before, keep the cake in the fridge under a dome or wrapped in foil until ready to decorate.
Yes! You can make the frosting the night before.
Store it in a bowl covered with plastic wrap in the fridge.
When ready to use, bring the frosting to room temperature and rewhip if you want to regain that creaminess.
To decorate the cake, if you don’t have a piping bag you can use your icing spatula or butter knife or the back of a spoon to make swirls or marks all over the cake.
You can check out my Vegan Vanilla Cake for inspiration.
I have an easy recipe for a vegan ganache with vegan baking sticks:
- Place ¾ cup of chocolate chips and 6 tablespoons of a vegan baking stick in a heat safe bowl.
- Heat them in the microwave in 10 second increments, stirring after each time until the chocolate chips and vegan baking stick are fully melted and incorporated.
Then follow the directions for spooning it on the cake and letting it drip down the sides.
Once the cake is cut into, it’s best to cut the entire cake into slices, wrap each slice in foil and store in a zip top bag in the fridge. Eat extra slices within 2 days.
When ready to eat, let the slices sit on the counter, in the foil for about an hour or until the cake is room temperature and soft. If desired, warm each slice in the microwave for 5-10 seconds; be careful not to burn your mouth.
If not eating all the extra slices within 2 days, take the slices wrapped in foil and place in the zip top bag and freeze them. You can keep the slices frozen for up to 30 days.
When ready to eat, put the slices in the fridge the night before or leave them out on the counter for 2 hours prior to eating or until the cake is room temperature and soft. If desired, warm each slice in the microwave for 5-10 seconds; be careful not to burn your mouth.
Triple Chocolate Layer Cake
For the Cake
- 3 cups gluten free flour (I use a 1:1 gluten free flour with xanthan gum)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder (I use ¼ cup Dutch or Natural Unsweetened and ¼ cup Dark)
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups cold water
For the Frosting
- 1.5 cups unsalted butter or vegan baking stick, room temperature
- 7 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 cups cocoa powder (I use 1 cup of Dutch or Natural Unsweetened and 1 cup of Dark)
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup water , room temperature
For the Ganache Drip
- 6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
For the Decorations
- Chocolate gluten free/nut free sprinkles if desired.
Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 8 inch cake pans with vegetable oil, line with parchment paper and then lightly grease again with vegetable oil.
- In a large bowl whisk together the gluten free flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
- Make 3 wells in the dry ingredients.
- In the first well, pour the vegetable oil.
- In the second well, pour the white vinegar.
- In the third well, pour the vanilla.
- Pour the cold water over everything and whisk together until just combined. If it starts getting thick, use a spatula instead of a whisk.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two 8 inch pans and smooth the tops with a butter knife.
- Bake in the center rack of the oven for 45 minutes or until the cakes spring back at you when carefully touched.
- Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely in pans. Once cool, remove from pans and transfer to a cooling rack and slice both in half horizontally. Now you have 4 thin layers of cake.
Make the Frosting
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the butter or vegan baking stick until smooth and creamy. About 2 minutes.
- With the mixer on very low speed, slowly add in the confectioners' sugar.
- With the mixer on low speed still, add in the cocoa powders.
- Add in the vanilla and beat until combined.
- While the mixer is on, slowly add in the water a little at a time until you get the desired consistency. You may not need to use all the water.
- Divide frosting into 5 equal servings.
Assemble the Cake
- Place one layer of cake on the cake stand. Take ⅕ of the frosting and frost the top. Place another layer of cake on top and repeat. Do this process 3 times.
- Frost a thin layer of frosting on the top of the cake and sides of the cake. Use a cake scraper or an icing spatula to scrape excess frosting off the sides of the cake. This should be a semi naked cake. Pop in the fridge uncovered for 15 min to harden.
Make the Ganache
- While the cake is chilling, place chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl. Place heavy cream in a pan on the stove over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the edges begin to simmer. Immediately pour on top of chips and do not mix! Let sit 1-2 min then whisk until fully combined and smooth.
- Take the cake out of the fridge. Spoon almost all of the liquid ganache on top of the cake. Take an icing spatula and push the ganache around to the edges of the cake so it drips down the sides. Work quickly since the cold cake will harden the ganache fast.
Decorate the Cake
- Put the rest of the fudge frosting into a piping bag and pipe a swirl all around the edge of the outside of the cake. You may have frosting leftover. You can save it in a bowl covered in plastic wrap in the fridge for a few days.
- Place chocolate sprinkles on the fudge swirl if desired.