Gluten-Free, Flourless, Vegan Chocolate Cake

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(from 6 reviews)

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Hope you folks had a lovely Valentine's Day! I tried 2 muffin recipes early in the first week of February and was vowing not to bake anything until March because you guys know that I'm trying to eat healthy and lose weight. But Valentine's Day sort of made me weak. How can I not bake something? That's when I remembered the gluten-free chocolate cake recipe I came across in Reader's Digest magazine. What was unusual about the recipe was that it used just chickpeas and eggs. "How weird is that?", I thought initially. But if you know me very well, you would have guessed by now that I love all these type of recipes. I get my high by sneaking unusual ingredients in the everyday recipe.

Note: Although the following recipe is called a chocolate cake, the texture is not similar to that of usual cakes. This gluten-free chocolate cake is not light, fluffy or crumbly. Instead it is smooth and has a fudge like texture and I don't have anything to complain about that because it tastes awesome. So if you are looking for something different than the regular cake or want to try a gluten-free and flour-less recipe, then this is absolutely perfect.

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Gluten Free Flour-less Vegan Chocolate Cake

As much as I was excited about trying the recipe, I had my doubts too, if it will really work. So I Googled to see if anybody else has tried the recipe and found this one. So Reader's Digest had pulled out the recipe from AllRecipes. The recipe had about 400 reviews, most of them claiming it to be excellent. But we have a different challenge though, trying to make it eggless. So I started reading each and every review and saw that some of them had tried a vegan version with flax seed meal and I was not sure about that. That's when I had a light bulb moment and I decided to use pureed beets for some of the eggs and use some organic, refined coconut oil to replace some of the fat from the eggs. Actually I had pressure cooked some beets to prepare the beets version of red velvet cupcakes, but I decided to use it in this recipe instead to see if I can pull off a gluten-free and red velvet chocolate cake. I guess I was greedy! The cake didn't turn red or even purplish but just brown like any other chocolate cake. Or maybe I will notice a difference in color if I compare this one to another cake baked using some other pureed fruit. Maybe the other cake would not be as bright as this one. I don't know, it's just a guess. Anyhow I'm not complaining at all because the taste makes it up for all the other ifs and buts.


Gluten-Free, Flourless & Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

Prep TimeCook TimeMakes
30 Mins50 Mins9 Inch Cake
Gluten-Free, Flourless, Vegan Chocolate Cake
4.5 from 6 reviews
The unusual combination of chickpeas, beets and chocolate come together and transforms into this delicious and decadent gluten-free, flour-less and vegan chocolate cake.
  • 2 cups Chickpeas (canned or freshly cooked)
  • 3/4 cup Beets (cooked and pureed)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coffee Powder (I used instant granules)
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips (I used vegan and mini)
  1. Cook the beets, cool it and blend it into a smooth paste using the beet cooked water itself. Set aside. Peel the skin off the chickpeas and puree it smooth using little water.
  2. Preheat the oven at 350F/180C for 15 minutes. Line the pan with parchment paper and very lightly brush it with the melted coconut oil. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave oven in small time intervals until the chocolate is completely melted.
  3. Now in a food processor/blender, blend together the pureed chickpeas, beets and sugar. The mixture has to be lump free. Now also incorporate the coconut oil, baking powder, coffee powder, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Once all these ingredients come together, blend in the melted chocolate chips too and run the mixer for a couple of minutes until all the chocolate is mixed evenly throughout the batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan to avoid any air bubbles and put it in the oven for 40-50 minutes. If you think the corners might get burnt, loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil. Note that the cake does not firm up in the middle. (See My Notes)
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and cool it on a wire rack. Let it cool completely. Mine was still wiggly in the middle after a couple of hours, so put the cake in the refrigetor overnight thinking that it would firm up by the next morning and it did. Gently slide off the cake from the pan and place it on a serving platter and sprinkle some confectioner's sugar and serve it with strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream or devour it just like that.
  1. I couldn't wait to taste the cake. I was so excited that I literally couldn't sleep that night and it was well worth the wait when I tasted it the next day. The cake firmed up very nicely in the middle. I was also able to get the cake off the pan without any difficulty. I tasted a small piece and the cake was very soft and smooth. It didn't actually feel like a cake but more like a fudge. I haven't tasted a flour-less cake, so I don't know if this is supposed to be the texture. That being said I don't think it really matters because who doesn't like chocolate? We were not able to smell or taste the chickpeas or beets. It tasted just like chocolate and nothing else. My husband and son couldn't believe that it was made with just chickpeas and beets. They kept asking for more.
My Notes:
  1. The prep time will be way less if you are going to use the chickpeas without removing the skin and also if you use beets straight from a can.
  2. Regarding the baking time: The original recipe suggested baking the cake for about 40 minutes, but mine was all bubbly in the center even after 45 minutes. The corners seemed to firm up well but not the middle. So I covered the pan loosely with aluminum foil and kept baking it for additional increments of 5 minutes up to 60 minutes but the center did not seem to firm up at all. I did not want the whole thing to get burnt, so took it out of the oven and put the pan on a cooling rack, while I was thinking of ways to save the cake. That's when I got the idea of putting in the fridge for the cake to firm up. So once the cake cooled completely in the pan, I stored the cake with the pan in the fridge by covering it with a plate. I left it in the fridge over-night. Around 10am the following day, I pulled out the pan and saw that it had firmed up nice, so tried removing the cake gently from the pan and it did come off easily. So do not forget to line the pan with parchment paper or use a spring-form pan. If you are going to just grease and flour the pan, you will not be able to get the cake out of the pan because it's heavy and dense when you invert the pan like you do for the regular cakes, chances are very bright for it to fall apart.
  3. I went through the hundreds of reviews for the original recipe and have incorporated a lot of changes based on those reviews, which are: 1) removing the skin off the chickpeas (yes it was a painstaking chore but I think it's worth the effort), 2) including some fat (coconut oil) while making it vegan to mimic the fat from the eggs, 3) increasing the quantity of baking powder, and 4) cutting back on the quantity of sugar.
  4. The lemon juice was my addition. I thought that maybe the baking powder, lemon juice and beets would create a magic and make it a red velvet cake as well but it did not happen. The batter had a magenta hue to it but when it baked the cake was dark brown like any other chocolate cake. It did not turn red or at least crimson. So you can very well omit the lemon juice. The lemon juice did not lend its flavor or taste either.
  5. Adding coffee powder was also my idea. Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate.
  6. I pressure cooked the beets and pureed it using some of the beet water. You can also use canned beets instead to simplify the whole process.
  7. I have used Spectrum's Organic, Expeller Pressed and Refined coconut oil. As it is refined it does not smell coconutty, and because it is organically refined, extreme heat and harsh chemicals are not used in the process making the oil toxic.
  8. I used Enjoy Life Brand's vegan mini chocolate chips as against the regular sized chocolate chips in the original recipe and felt that maybe I could have used a little bit less. Maybe around 1 and 1/4 cups. Even being chocoholic myself, I felt that the cake was a bit too chocolatey.
  9. I will be including some chopped walnuts the next time I bake this chocolate cake.
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Gluten Free Flour less Vegan Chocolate Cake

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  1. latha

    Can I use coconut sugar instead of plain sugar?

    • Madhuram

      Yes you can, Latha.

  2. Sunyukta

    omg i just discovered your website now!

    For a long time I’ve been looking for ways to make cakes without any eggs or flour. Thanks so much will try this out soon ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Madhuram

      You’re very welcome Sun. But not all my recipes are flour-less.

  3. Lisa Ziccardi

    I followed this recipe exactly it does not say how big the pan should be so i tried using a round 9 in and it was too big cause the cake came out flat and thin and did not rise much.Also I baked it longer like she suggested and put it in the fridge it did firm up, on the outside it would not cut the texture was like a thick fudgy pudding I was disapointed it tasted good but it was not like a cake.

    • Madhuram

      If you check the recipe I have made it very clear that it does not taste exactly like a regular cake. It won’t rise because it doesn’t have gluten or eggs in it. It would taste more like a fudge than a cake.

      • lisa ziccardi

        Well even fudge can be cut into squares Madhuram, and I read your post over and over again for a month cause this ‘ cake’ was for my boyfriend you never specified what size pan to use which had to have been very small to make it look like the thickeness of a brownie I used a regular sized springform cause you said the cake was ‘too dense’ to turn out which I guess a springform is too big cause it looked like a giant cookie. and I put it in the fridge to firm and baked it longer like your suggestions cause I read all of your side notes on this recipe so I expected it to cut like fudge at least but I got thick pudding frosting.I was not please with the recipe and I followed all your directions and advise/notes cause this cake was not for me it was for my boyfriend who is vegan and gluten free.

        • Madhuram

          It’s a 9-inch pan Lisa. I have mentioned it in the yield section of the recipe. Frankly speaking I have tried that recipe only once. As you can see in the first picture the cake did firm up after putting it in the fridge.

  4. janet

    Can I substitute canned pumpkin for the oil and is so, how much?

    • Madhuram

      You can but it would be very dense is my opinion. Maybe you can do it 50:50.

  5. Melissa

    I’ve just taken this cake out the oven and it smells fabulous! Trying to be patient now …
    As I was adding the baking powder I wondered if it might come out lighter in the middle with two teaspoons of baking powder or one of baking soda added to the one baking powder.
    A lot of the egg free cake recipes that I usually use have both baking powder and soda in them – I’m not sure how they work differently or why some recipes will use one while other recipes use the other…?
    Biscuits will often have soda for example.
    Have you tried increasing the raising agents for this cake?

    I’m very excited to find your website – many thanks for the inspiration!

    • Madhuram

      Thanks Melissa. I haven’t tried increasing the raising agents though.

  6. Rk

    I wanted to know the purpose of adding beets. Can I avoid them completely? Also can I use besan (chickpea flour) instead of pureeing the chick peas?

    • Madhuram

      Beets is one of the main ingredients. So it cannot be avoided. Adding chickpeas flour will give a raw taste and the texture will not be right.

  7. Mayuri Sodha

    Can we use any other oil instead of coconut oil?

    • Madhuram

      Yes any oil of your choice is ok Mayuri.

  8. adarsh

    Hi, I love your website. The way you explain each and everything. Especially the my notes section. I have never seen this much detail anywhere else. I was searching for recipes to bake with fruits and vegetables, I think I have found everything I need in your website. I haven’t been through all your recipes, but I will definitely try a lot of them. Love the beetroot brownies and chickpeas and beetroot cake. Thanks for taking the time to explain everything. Keep up the good work.

    • Madhuram

      Thank you very much for the compliments, Adarsh. Hope you will try the recipes and like them too.

  9. Maha

    Awesome…vl try next time.btw iam Ur big fan..i mean r้cipes.:)

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    • Riley Eleveld

      Greetings from California! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I love the information you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.

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  12. shannon

    I am so excited to try this! I’m going to make it for my husband for his birthday.

    I did have one question, though: I’m confused about the amount of melted coconut oil to use. Is the 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil you mix in the batter in addition to the oil you brush the pan with? Or is the brushing oil separate?

    It may be a dumb question, but I’m a cook, not a baker. I have horrible luck with baking because I often guess or “improvise” – which works great with cooking but not so much with baking.

    Anyway, thanks! I was so excited to find a vegan flourless torte recipe that didn’t use Ener-G egg replacer! I will be back to rate it =)

    • Madhuram

      All the best Shannon. The oil to grease the pan is separate. It actually takes about 1/4 teaspoon of oil or even less to grease a pan.

  13. Richard

    We tried this recipe in a wood burning oven. The temperature was a bit higher than called for (around 400F) and the cake was only cooled as long as you’d cool any cake and eaten as soon as it had cooled down.

    The result was spectacular. I have no problem with gluten or eggs myself and I can honestly say that this cake was simply delicious on its own – no need for qualifications like, good for GF, etc.

    I think the key difference, besides the somewhat higher temperature, was the fact that a wood burning oven has a hot floor. Perhaps a convection oven might help duplicate our success.

    One other note. We are in France and we used whole cooked beets (these are not canned and are available at any market or farm-stand), and canned, peeled garbanzos. Perhaps if we had started with a fresh beet and fresh garbanzos it could have been better, but it is hard to imagine,

    • Madhuram

      Thanks for the comment Richard. I don’t think that starting from fresh beets/chickpeas would make a huge difference though.

  14. Ivelina

    I made the cake and it tastes really amazing. It seems more like a fudge, but may be I put too much water when I was making the chick peas into puree. I also took your advice and added some chipped almonds. I will be making it again for sure, as this was my first ever vegan cake.
    Thank you so much for such informative and tasty recipe.
    Looking forward to try some of your other ones.
    Sending blessings and love ,

    • Madhuram

      You are very welcome Ivelina.

  15. Simone

    Even the batter is yummy. Just popped the cake in the oven and my niece and I enjoyed cleaning out the bowls. We are both gluten intolerant and she informed me “this is the best cake ever!”. We are now really looking forward to trying the finished product. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Madhuram

      You’re welcome Simone. We too were licking the bowl shamelessly while I baked this cake. Don’t forget to rate the recipe, because I think you are the first one to try this recipe.

    • Madhuram

      Yes Jay, it’s the purple beetroot.

      • Jay

        It’s been a long time since I posted here and now, looking up this terrific recipe again, I have feel guilty for not commenting again earlier. I’ve meade this cake (well, rather fudge) countless times since 2012 and everyone who tried it is hooked instantly.
        Thank you sooooo much for this recipe and your effort!
        This chocolat madness is a lifesaver whenever I try to bring something for a potluck, a charity thing or a birthday and am not sure whether any attendee can’t have gluten.

        One thing I figured out over time, though, is that at least for me it doesn’t make a difference whether I take an hour to peel hundreds of chickpeas… or just don’t. It really tastes 95% the same.

        On my todo-list, but not tried yet: Adding some avocado, as I think it would be a gread combination or a matcha-spread on top.

        Thank you again and have a great day!

        • Madhuram

          Wow! Thank you so much, Jay for the compliments and lovely feedback. You made my day.

  16. Jay

    Hello there.

    I found this entry when I was looking for some new gluten free recipes – now I’m totally looking forward to baking this awesome cake.
    As I’m not a native speaker and not living in an English speaking country I’m not so sure what kind of “beets” I should use/you used when making this cake.
    Could you help me with an image, the scientific name or a link?

    Thank you very much
    Jay (wants cake right now..)

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  18. Sandhya

    Very Very Interesting Madhu.. Where do you get such funda ideas?? Will definitely try & let you know

  19. Lelouch

    Wow this is something really different. I will definitely try this. This recipe is very informative as well. Good work

  20. Cham

    I ve seen a muffin recipe with besan flour, somehow that doesn’t intrigue me. But seeing ur cake is totally doable and tasty i guess.

  21. Aparna

    Looks amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Aparna from Square Meals

  22. Porkodi

    Madhuram!!!!!! I yam lou you!!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Madhuram

      Thanks Porkodi.