Gluten-free chocolate chiffon cake

The gluten-free chocolate chiffon cake is a soft and delicious dessert, with a slightly moist and airy texture. Great as it is or used as a base for a birthday cake, the chiffon cake prepared with this recipe is truly inclusive: not only is it gluten-free – made using rice flour and cornstarch – but also dairy-free, perfect for those who are lactose intolerant.
The recipe for gluten-free chocolate chiffon cake is similar to the classic one: you always need to beat egg whites and yolks separately and gently fold them together, so as not to deflate the batter. For the chocolate chiffon cake, both baking powder and cream of tartar are used as leavening agents, which – along with the beaten egg whites – ensure a very soft consistency. The pan used is the specific chiffon cake pan, essential for preparing this typical dessert.
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  • DifficultyEasy
  • CostVery cheap
  • Preparation time20 Minutes
  • Cooking time1 Hour
  • Serving10 servings
  • Cooking methodOven
  • CuisineAmerican
  • SeasonalityEvergreen

Ingredients for a gluten-free chocolate chiffon cake of 10 inches (25.5 cm) in diameter

6 eggs (medium size)
11/4 cup rice flour (190 gr – 6,7)
3 tablespoons cornstarch (30 gr – 1 oz)
1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened; 60 gr  – 2,1)
11/2 cup sugar (300 gr – 10,5)
200 ml water
1/2 cup sunflower oil (120 ml)
1 tablespoon baking powder (14 gr)
1 tablespoon cream of tartar (9 gr)
1 pinch salt
q.s. icing sugar


1 Pan
2 Bowls
1 Spatula
Planetary Mixers
1 Whip Hand
or1 Wooden Spoon
1 Sieve

How to prepare gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate chiffon cake

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To prepare the gluten-free chocolate chiffon cake, you’ll need 2 very large bowls, as the batter will be quite voluminous. Keep the eggs at room temperature, so they whip up better. Start by separating the yolks from the whites. Be careful not to let any yolk traces get into the whites, or they won’t whip properly.

Set the egg whites aside for now. In the bowl with the yolks, add the sugar – if available, use extrafine sugar as it dissolves more easily – and begin mixing with a hand whisk or wooden spoon. You don’t need to beat them excessively. Also, add the oil and continue mixing.

Then, add the water. In the end, you’ll get a semi-liquid batter. Place a sieve over the bowl and sift in the rice flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Carefully sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and gently mix them into the batter using a whisk. You should end up with a homogeneous and rather dense mixture.

ocus on the egg whites: add a pinch of salt and start beating them with electric beaters. When they are slightly foamy, add the cream of tartar.

Continue beating for a few minutes until they are white and fluffy. To check if the egg whites are whipped perfectly, try flipping the bowl upside down: if they stick to the bottom and sides, they’re ready; if they start to slide, they need to be beaten for a few more minutes.

Now it’s time to fold the egg whites into the batter. Since the batter is quite dense, it’s best to start by softening it slightly by adding just a spoonful of egg whites at first and vigorously mixing to incorporate them.

At this point, you can fold in the rest of the egg whites in two or three additions, gently incorporating them with a spatula, using slow, upward motions to avoid deflating them. Do this carefully and without rushing.

In the end, you’ll have a fluffy and homogeneous batter. Pour it into a 10-inch (24.5 cm) chiffon cake pan. Remember not to grease or flour it, nor line it with parchment paper.

Bake the gluten-free chocolate chiffon cake in a preheated oven at 320°F (160°C) in conventional mode for 1 hour, making sure to place the cake on one of the lower oven racks. Never open the oven door in the first 50 minutes of baking. Then, if it seems done, you can check by inserting a long toothpick. Generally, though, it takes about an hour to bake. When it’s done, remove it from the oven and let it cool upside down, placing a plate underneath.

The peculiarity of the chiffon cake pan is the feet that allow the cake to cool upside down, allowing all the moisture to escape without deflating it. The one I used also has a removable bottom, which makes it easier to remove the chiffon cake. Normally, it detaches from the edges on its own when cold.

Gently remove the bottom with your hands or with the help of a knife. Once cool, dust the chocolate chiffon cake generously with powdered sugar. Serve the gluten-free chocolate chiffon cake for breakfast or tea time, or use it as a base for filled and decorated birthday cakes.

How to store chiffon cake

The gluten-free chiffon cake stays soft and fragrant for up to 4 or 5 days when stored in a cake container.

Tips and variations

You can flavor the chocolate chiffon cake batter with two tablespoons of rum or another liquor of your choice.
For the gluten-free chiffon cake, I used a mixture of rice flour and cornstarch, but you can also use 220 grams of a gluten-free cake mix. However, make sure it does not already contain baking powder.

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