Gluten-Free Chocolate Layer Cake

Typically gluten-free desserts can be dense and try. But America's Test Kitchen figured out a way to make a moist and delicious gluten-free chocolate cake. Pastry chef Bridget Lancaster says it's all about the flour -- not all flour can be swapped out for wheat flour and have the same effect. Plus, the secret ingredient addition of xantham gum will help the cake rise. 

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1 cup vegetable oil
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz (2/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
7 oz (1 1/4 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup whole milk
3 (14 oz) cans coconut milk
3 1/3 cups (1 1/4 lbs) semisweet chocolate chips

1. Start by making the delicious chocolate frosting. Refrigerate the unopened cans of coconut milk for at least 24 hours to ensure that two distinct layers form. Once enough time has passed, skim the cream layer from each can and measure out 1 1/2 cups cream. Discard the milky liquid and leftover cream. 


2. Microwave the coconut cream and semisweet chocolate chips in a bowl, whisking occasionally, until melted and smooth (about two to four minutes). Add in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and mix. Transfer chocolate cream into the bowl of a stand mixer. 


3. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream in the bowl and refrigerate until cooled and the texture resembles firm cream cheese (about three hours). Stir halfway through. If the mixture has chilled for longer and is stiff, let it stand at room temperature until softened but still cool. 


4. Using a stand mixer, whip chocolate cream at high speed until fluffy, mousse-like soft peaks form (two to four minutes). Scrape down the bowl halfway through whipping. Set frosting aside until cake is baked. 


5. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper and grease parchment.


6. Microwave oil, chocolate, and cocoa in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until melted (about two minutes). Whisk mixture until smooth, then set aside to cool slightly.


7. In another bowl, whisk flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt together.


8. Whisk eggs and vanilla together in another large bowl. Then mix in the sugar until well-combined. Whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Add in flour blend mixture until the batter is thoroughly combined and smooth. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and smooth tops with rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (30 to 32 minutes) switching and rotating pans halfway through baking.


9. Let the cakes cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of cake pans and remove cakes from pans and discarding parchment. Let them cool completely on a rack for about one and a half hours (cake layers can be stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours).


10. Line edges of a cake platter with four strips of parchment paper to keep platter clean. Place one cake layer on the platter. Spread 1 1/2 cups frosting evenly over the top right to the edge of cake. Top with the second cake layer, press lightly to adhere, then spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Carefully remove parchment strips before serving.


11. Serve the cake within a few hours of frosting and enjoy!