Dark Chocolate Cake

Recipe Classifications




Snack, Dessert


Gluten-Free, Vegan


No Color (meat or drink only)

Freezes well:


Prep Time  (total time):

Under 15 Minutes  (Under 1 Hour)


Decadent, indulgent, and irresistibly divine.

Chocolate cake is perhaps the most sinful dessert. It will get you hooked until you’ve finished up the last morsel.

Every bite tempts you to go for another more, and more, and more. Until you’ve realized you have almost finished the entire cake!

Sadly, chocolate cake is not always the healthiest dessert. It has loads of fat and sugar. But you can still indulge in this heavenly goodness with this dark chocolate cake recipe!

This gluten-free recipe makes use of the healthier type of chocolate.

The darker the color is, the better for your health. And this rings true for chocolate.

So while the crowd’s favorite milk chocolate has tons of sugar, dark chocolate is made of pure cacao.

And to make sure you’re getting as little sugar as possible, opt for dark chocolate bars with 70 percent cacao or higher.

How can dark chocolate cake make you happy

Chocolate never fails to put a smile on anyone’s face. Chocolate, specifically dark with 70 percent cacao, seems to have an effect on the brain that makes one happy.

Give me chocolate ice cream, a chocolate bar, or a slice of dark chocolate cake, and I’ll love you.

It’s because chocolate indeed does something to your brain.

Chocolate comes from cacao. And to get the full health benefits, you have to consume dark chocolate that contains at least 70 percent of cocoa.

Cocoa triggers the release of serotonin and endorphins. These two hormones are called happy hormones, and low levels in the body are linked to episodes of depression.

No wonder you always reach for a slice of chocolate cake or a tub of chocolate ice cream when you’re depressed.

Chocolate also contains another hormone that is responsible for making you happy. It has phenylalanine, which the body needs to produce dopamine. It is a hormone that triggers your brain’s reward system.

That’s why you also feel a sense of euphoria after finishing a chocolate bar.

Dopamine is also called the “feel-good hormone.” Have you noticed why you always feel an air of positivity after finishing your favorite chocolate dessert? Yes, it’s because of this neurotransmitter.

So you see how chocolate excites your brain and triggers it to be happy. That’s why the chocolate cake was dubbed as a slice of happiness, because chemically speaking, it really is.

Health benefits of dark chocolate

Both milk chocolate and dark chocolate can trigger the release of happy hormones and feel-good hormones. But milk chocolate is often masked with a lot of sugar, making them an unhealthy choice.

So if you want to give in to your craving with less guilt, eat dark chocolate instead.

And your dark chocolate fix can also do your body good. It has a lot of benefits for your body too. So it will not just make you happy, it can be good for your health too.

It’s rich in polyphenols and flavanols

Dark chocolate has a rich concentration of polyphenols and flavanols. It is teeming with flavonoid, a type of flavanol that has antioxidant effects. Flavanoids can also improve your cardiovascular health. It also helps prevent blood clotting by enhancing the flow of blood to your brain and heart.

Polyphenols are antioxidants that scavenge free radicals. These, in turn, help protect your body from a plethora of diseases.

The antioxidant effect of cacao is similar to red wine and cruciferous veggies. It also has significant anti-cancer properties.

It’s rich in copper, magnesium, and iron

Did you know that cacao can make your skin more plump and dewy apart from heart and brain protection?

Skip the creams. This is a better and more natural way of preventing fine lines.

Cacao has a high concentration of copper, magnesium, and iron. these nutrients can help your body produce collagen. And collagen makes your skin plump and more youthful.

This is most sinless yet satisfying dark chocolate cake that you’ll ever have

Cacao from dark chocolate offers an array of health benefits. But not all dark chocolate cake recipes can be good for you. This recipe is gluten-free and has reduced sugar.

Instead of granulated sugar, we made use of maple syrup. Maple syrup is a healthier alternative. It has antioxidants and nutritional value that sugar doesn’t have.

But you have to be careful where you get the maple syrup. It has to be pure and free from additives. That’s why gluten-free maple syrup will be a better option.

Alternatingly, you can also use raw honey or manuka honey, Which will have more nutrients, specifically Vitamin C, than maple syrup. And manuka honey is sweeter, so you can use half the amount of maple syrup that is called for in the recipe without compromising the sweetness.

If you do plan to use honey instead, there are certain adjustments that you have to make.

One, dial down the temperature by 10 degrees. Honey tends to caramelize and burn faster than sugar so you also have to be more attentive to the baking time when substituting homey for baking.

And two, because honey has more liquid than maple syrup, you may also have to reduce the water by 1/4 cup.

This dark chocolate cake recipe makes use of brown rice flour. It has a nutty flavor that complements the cacao very well. So it results in a bittersweet nutty slice of surprise. Brown rice flour also has a lower glycemic index and has the husk intact. So it can also make you fuller longer and it’s naturally gluten-free too.

We also used garbanzo bean flour. It’s also gluten-free and can give the cake that nice dense form. It also serves as a binder and can mesh well with other gluten-free flours.

But if you are allergic to garbanzo beans, you can use chestnut flour instead. This type of flour is drier and has a texture similar to regular flour. That’s why it always has to be combined with other gluten-free flours when used for baking.

You can also make this recipe into mini dark chocolate cupcakes. Take some for work and share it with your colleagues too.

And if you are allergic to chocolate, we also have an array of healthy cupcakes and muffin recipes on our website that will surely satisfy your cravings.

The Recipe:

Dark Chocolate Cake

This gluten-free dark chocolate cake is a slice of heaven. The rich and decadent cacao flavors will tickle your palates. You'll be 100% satisfied with every slice! You can also make this into quick-grab cupcakes and bring one for work.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 slices from a 9-inch three-layer cake
Calories 639kcal


  • Oven


  • 1 3/4 cups brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour or chestnut flour (sifted)
  • 1 1/3 cups cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup maple syrup


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line the bottoms of three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (i.e. brown rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt). In a separate large bowl, combine the liquids (i.e. oil, water, maple syrup). Then, slowly whisk the flour mixture into the liquid mixture until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until the cake springs back when you press the center with your finger, about 25 minutes. Once the cake has cooled, you can frost it according to your preference.
  • For cupcakes: Divide the batter evenly among 25 lined cupcake tin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.


  1. If you have histamine intolerance, chocolate is off the list. However, you can substitute with other flavors like white chocolate or toffee. 
  2. Use chestnut flour instead of garbanzo bean flour for a histamine intolerance diet.


Calories: 639kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 864mg | Potassium: 545mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 4IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 3mg

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Hi! I’m Mike. I’m happily married and have a young daughter. I’ve lived all over the world and have learned a lot from seeing others’ perspectives. I’ve also had many life altering health challenges. Fortunately, my lovely and brilliant wife helped save me by finding a new and better way for us to live. We started The Healthy Treehouse to share what we’ve learned and to learn from others, too.