Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Moist chocolate sponge cake recipe (gluten free)

Hi all!  

Well, firstly, thank you all so much for your kind words and thoughtful comments, I just love reading them! It's been a busy few days here at the little Welsh house.  I've been working on getting things ready for a production of Macbeth, which I'm directing ready for a performance in June.  We also met friends for a meal in Cardiff and then went to see Wicked at the Millenium Centre (which was way better than I expected, I really enjoyed it), rebuilt our hens' run in the back garden which blew down during the storms, and then the last few days I have been endeavouring to get things a bit more under control on the allotment.

Anyway, I promised a recipe for a lovely fellow blogger Joy - a gluten free rich chocolate sponge cake.  This is great for celebrations - it is solid enough to ice easily without being stodgy and it keeps well for a good few days.  It also freezes well if you like batch baking.

It's one I came up with when two of my friends were diagnosed with coeliac disease - I wanted something easy that I could bake for parties so they didn't feel excluded. I like this recipe because it doesn't require special flour or additives and you can have a bit of a play with the quantities to get your preferred texture without it going horribly wrong.  

If you don't like chocolate, you can replace the cocoa with cornstarch, just make sure to use baking powder and add whatever flavour you like - I feel it does need a little something to cut through the richness of the almonds, so I don't personally recommend it plain.  Vanilla extract or a few drops orange essence and a couple of pinches allspice are favourites of mine.  In fact I sometimes include all three of those flavours in with the cocoa as they add a certain richness.

Rich chocolate cake


4 medium or large eggs
250g/9 oz butter
250g/9 oz muscovado or dark brown soft sugar
150g/5 oz ground almonds
100g/31/2 oz cornflour/cornstarch
2-3 heaped teaspoons good cocoa powder (I use Green & Blacks which is Dutch processed)
level teaspoon (gluten free) bicarb of soda OR (gluten free) baking powder
teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat your oven to about 160C.  In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric whisk until really light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla extract, then the eggs one by one, whisking each time until the mixture is well combined and looks creamy.  

In a separate bowl, mix all the remaining dry ingredients together well.  Pour on top of the egg, sugar and butter mix and fold in gently with a metal spoon until well combined.  

Grease a loose bottomed cake tin (I use about an 8 inch diameter one) and dust with either cornstarch (fine if you plan to ice the cake) or a little cocoa (if you plan to just dust with icing sugar to serve).  

Pour in the batter and spread out well, then pop in the oven for 25 - 40 minutes.  The cake is done when it is solid and a sharp knife or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  It isn't as quick to burn as a classic sponge but if it is browning too quickly, just tweak the temperature down a little.  It will rise but don't panic if it sinks a little after cooking
It tends to flatten itself down nicely but it will still have a great crumb inside.

This cake is really good warm with vanilla ice-cream or cold with a good buttercream.  For a slightly less naughty topping you could also make an orange drizzle with orange juice and a little brown sugar.  It also looks good sprinkled lightly with a little icing sugar while still warm.  I got the striped effect on the one above by sprinkling the sugar on through a cooling rack which I thought looked nice.

Happy eating!

H xxx


  1. it looks very yummy, good luck with your production.

    1. Thanks Meredith! I have butterflies already and it isn't till June... xxx

  2. Thanks so much for the lovely recipe Hazel, and for putting my name up in lights, haha! I made your lovely sponge cake yesterday substituting g.f. flour and it turned out beautifully - needless to say my grandsons and family have devoured it and are shouting for more!!! That's a good idea with the cooling rack, I like it, thank you, and it's less fussy than a paper doily effect for something different.
    I'm wishing you all the very best with your production - I'm sure it'll be very professional as well as an enjoyable experience. Thanks again, hugs, Joy xo

    1. I am so glad you had a successful baking session with the recipe - as they say the proof is in the pudding and it's always rewarding to see it all scoffed isn't it! I love the idea of a paper doily but on occasion I can be all fingers and thumbs, so I like something that is nice and simple like this - glad you like my cheat! Thanks for the good wishes on the play. It's all a bit scary really, I just hope it goes well and we manage to sell tickets etc... :) xxx

  3. Oh thank you for sharing this one friend! It looks amazing!!!! And boy have you been busy!!! WOW! Have a lovely week ahead friend! Nicole xoxo

    1. No problem - thanks for stopping by! Yes it feels like everything is one big whirl punctuated with the odd sleep at the moment... It feels like a big achievement when I manage to put the hoover round! :) Hope you have a wonderful week too xxx

  4. The Scottish play! Good luck. The cake sounds really delicious, thank you for sharing the recipe.

    1. Thanks for the luck, I will certainly need a little something as it's our little theatre company's first production. I'm really glad you enjoyed the recipe :) lovely to hear from you xx

  5. Sounds lovely i will try this...my eyes lit up when i saw gluten free...thanks for the recipe :)

    1. Aww, I am so glad to hear that! I really hope you enjoy making it - and eating it too. Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the trouble to comment xx

  6. Hello Hazel, I've been thinking of you and thought I must have missed a post or two while I've been away, but on checking up I see you have been quiet! I trust everything is going well for you and you are still just busy - take care and I'll look forward to reading your next post! Love, Joy xo