Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake (gluten free) with Cooked Frosting (gluten free)

cupcake beauty shot
  • Yield : 1 9" 3 layer cake or 36 cupcakes
  • Servings : 10 or 36
  • Prep Time : 60m
  • Cook Time : 30m
  • Ready In : 2:0 h

I re-wrote two traditional recipes to reflect today’s need for gluten free recipes. Tested as a 3 layer cake, and as cupcakes, this recipe is a winner. In fact, the crumb is more fine than if I had used cake flour. This recipe seemed to stay fresh much longer than traditional cakes. In fact, even though I’m a little embarassed to say, I ate a cupcake 8 days after baking and it was as tender as the day I made it. If you don’t want to seek out quinoa and rice flours which stand in for wheat flour in this recipe, then make it a gluten rich cake by using all purpose flour instead.

The frosting called cooked frosting in the States is also known as German buttercream. Typically it uses wheat flour as the thickener. In this case, I used cornstarch and because cornstarch has greater thickening power than flour, I was able to use less of it. It tastes just like traditional cooked frosting, and holds up great in a warm kitchen.

This recipe can also make a 9" 3 layer cake instead of 36 cupcakes.

This recipe can also make a 9″ 3 layer cake instead of 36 cupcakes.


  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1-1/3 cups quinoa flour
  • 2/3 cup white rice flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cooked Frosting:
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 TB + 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


Step 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either spray 3 9" cake pans with non stick baking spray, or put cupcake liners in a 12 cup pan (you'll make 3 batches of 12).

Step 2

In a small bowl, mix together cocoa powder and boiling water. Set aside to cool.

Step 3

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Step 4

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until well combined. Beat in eggs, and vanilla. Continue beating until mixture is pale in color, and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Step 5

Add dry ingredients, and cocoa liquid alternately (4 dry additions, and 3 wet).

Step 6

Divide between 3 prepared cake pans, or fill cupcake liners half way.

Step 7

Bake 25-30 minutes for the cake layers, or 20-25 minutes for the cupcakes. If making cupcakes, turn out the baked cupcakes, refill pan with a 2nd round of cupcake liners, and bake another batch, and then a final batch. Cool completely before frosting.

Step 8

Cooked Frosting: Whisk together sugar, and cornstarch to combine in a medium saucepan. Whisk in milk.

Step 9

Cook over medium high heat until mixture becomes thick and pudding-like. This will take about 10 minutes. Whisk constantly to prevent sticking. Remove thickened mixture from heat. Allow to completely cool at room temperature. Do not refrigerate. Depending on the heat in the room, this could take a few hours.

Step 10

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat butter, and 1/4 of the pudding mixture until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add half of the remaining pudding, and beat until fluffy and thicker, about 1 minute. Beat in the remaining pudding, and vanilla extract. Continue to beat an additional 2 minutes.

Step 11

Place a cake layer on a plate. Spread about 2/3 cup of frosting over top to edges. Add another cake layer topside down. Spread another 2/3 cup over top. Place 3rd layer topside down. Swirl remaining frosting over tops and sides. With cupcakes, fill a pastry bag with desired tip, and make a swirl on top of each cupcake. Or just spoon some frosting onto each cupcake, and swirl with the back of a spoon.

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Recipe Comments

Comments (2)

  1. posted by Cheri on June 1, 2019

    Can frosting be frozen?

    • posted by Janine Washle on September 16, 2019

      No, it cannot. Freezing causes it to separate and become watery. However, it can be refrigerated. Allow to come to room temperature, whip to fluffy texture, and apply.


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