Gluten-Free Brownie Cake Recipe and Then Some . . .

You won’t believe that this brownie cake is gluten-free. It’s rich and chocolaty, and the creamy and light texture — that’s somewhere between a dense brownie and an airy cake — is out of this world!Gluten Free Brownie Cake Recipe -- You won't believe this brownie cake is gluten-free -- it's rich, chocolaty, and the almost fluffy texture is out of this world! I have a lot to say today, and while I hope you check it out, if you’re simply interested in getting to the recipe, please feel free to jump to the bottom and get it! 🙂

Please don’t think I’m being a snob or anything, but I have a pet peeve when it comes to gluten-free labeling – it’s when things that are inherently gluten-free are labeled gluten-free.  Let me explain . . .

My oldest son, who’s 12, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when he was 5.  So I’ve spent a number of years in the gluten-free world.  On many packages, I really appreciate and need strong labeling.  With Celiac, there’s no messing around — no cross contamination allowed!  Even if the item is “processed on shared equipment with gluten” or “in a facility with gluten,” I won’t buy it. I take this very seriously — my son has his own toaster, butter, cream cheese, etc.  If there’s something that may come into contact with “gluten-full” products, he has his own container of it . . . because even a butter spreader can return crumbs to the butter container!

Over the last several years, we’ve all seen that being gluten-free has become more common.  More and more people are finding they have sensitivities or allergies to gluten, and there are also people who simply feel it’s healthier to go without.  (I’m not one of those people — my feeling is that if your body is okay with it, why eliminate it?  That’s just me.)

As the gluten-free diet became more popular, I started to see things like chocolate chips, nuts, and even some produce being labeled as gluten-free. These things never contained gluten! An almond? Really? Chocolate?  Come on.  And produce!?  Don’t even get me started.  (Some chocolate bars and perhaps nuts, could have the issue of shared equipment or facilities, actually.)

I think for people who are less informed about being gluten-free, this is confusing.  And many years ago, when my son was just starting a gluten-free life, that person was me!  I’ll never forget being in a health food store and seeing the chocolate chips labeled gluten-free, and being horrified that I’d been giving “regular” chocolate chips to my son.  I went home and researched all of the brands of chocolate chips I’d been using, only to find out that of course none of them had gluten in them. I felt so silly but after all, I was new at it, and trying to be a good mom.  So my pet peeve is this sort of gluten-free labeling that is done as a marketing tool to get buyers to think something is more healthy, when it’s just what it’s always been.  It’s like labeling gummy bears as fat-free. They’ve always been fat-free!  And that doesn’t make them one bit healthier as they’re probably 100% sugar and food coloring.  Get it?

And now, to return to the main reason you’re here . . .  this oh-so-delicious gluten-free brownie cake!
Gluten Free Brownie Cake Recipe -- You won't believe this brownie cake is gluten-free -- it's rich, chocolaty, and the almost fluffy texture is out of this world!Much like product labels, there are recipe labels, provided by their authors.  Based on how I feel about package labels, it won’t surprise you that I typically only label recipes as gluten-free when they’re not inherently gluten-free.  There are two categories of gluten-free recipes: those that are inherently gluten-free – like salads and meat dishes – and those that are usually made with gluten and require substitutions, like cookies and cakes.  So today’s recipe gets the gluten-free label.

Phew, that was a lot.  I hope you’re still here — and still hungry!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Gluten-Free Brownie Cake Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves about 20
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into large chunks
  • 2¾ cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (I used Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a square (8 X 8-inch) baking pan with parchment paper. (Use a large piece that will cover the sides and cut slits in each corner so that it will lay flat.)
  2. Add the butter, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the vanilla to a small saucepan, and place it over low heat. Once all of the butter has melted, mix everything together and set it aside, off of the stove, to cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the glute-free flour with the baking powder and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside.
  4. In medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the eggs with the sugar and using an electric mixer, whisk until it's thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes on high. (You can also use a hand whisk -- just with a little more muscle.)
  5. Add about half of the cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and sugar and mix to blend. Then add the rest, and mix again.
  6. Mix in the sour cream, and then add this to the larger bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until you no longer see dry areas and then fold in 1 more cup of the chocolate chips.
  7. Pour this into the prepared baking pan and then evenly sprinkle the top surface with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and the remaining ¾ cup of chocolate chips.Gluten Free Brownie Cake Recipe -- You won't believe this brownie cake is gluten-free -- it's rich, chocolaty, and the almost fluffy texture is out of this world!
  8. Place in the preheated 350 degree F oven until the center no longer jiggles when you move the pan, about 40 minutes. (You can test for doneness by sticking a wooden skewer in the center of the cake -- it should come out clean when it's done.)
  9. Let he cake cool to room temperature in the pan and then you can gently pull it out by holding onto the parchment paper.
  10. Cut into 25 even squares and serve. (I like them small, but you can cut them into bigger pieces if you'd like, of course.)


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  1. says

    I am so glad that someone is finally talking sense. I too have a friend with celiac disease and have no problem preparing food that she can enjoy. But to label a piece of fruit gluten free is just plain stupid. I will definitely be making these when my friend pays a visit this summer. Thanks.

    • valentina says

      Thank you so much, Judy! 🙂 I think you’re friend (& you!) will like these. They’re “Mason approved.” xoxo

    • valentina says

      Thank you, Deb! I appreciate it. I am loving adding sour cream to cakes — I know it’s been done forever, but I often don’t think of it. Hope all is well in your kitchen. 🙂

  2. says

    I am not gluten intolerant but I’d happily munch my way through a stack of these – they look incredible. I recently baked for a gluten free friend, researched rice flour to ensure it was gluten free, baked and then read the back of the pack to find that lovely phrase… produced in a factory handling gluten based products – arghhhh.

    • valentina says

      Thanks for visiting my site, Jane! Yes, it’s not good when something’s labeled GF, but produced with gluten products. We all just have to read everything. Enjoy the brownies. 🙂

  3. says

    Ok- for real!!! I am so confused when I try to figure out why a bag of apples or rice is labeled gluten free .. I try to always make sure I’ve got food for anyone who comes over, and I have a friend who went gluten free. I was full of confusion lol. Also these brownies look amazing!!!

    • valentina says

      Ha! I’d forgotten about calorie free water. That’s a good one! And thanks for the brownie love!

  4. says

    First this brownie cake looks REALLY good. Second no one in my family has Celiac so we don’t have to be gluten-free and I’m REALLY glad to hear you talk about it like this. Because it does seem to have turned into the next “fat-free” trend. But for people who truly can’t tolerate gluten (like your son), it’s great that there are so many products easily available 🙂

  5. says

    I think I could have written that post myself!! I am all for clear and precise labeling for our food, but using someone’s health as an excuse to sell carrots makes me wonder about the integrity of the brand. This cake recipe only makes me trust your integrity more – wowza it looks tasty!!

      • says

        I was thinking of making this for a friend who has celiac, but she needs it to be dairy free as well. I know I can substitute coconut oil for the butter without making a structural change, but I’m not sure what to do about the sour cream. Do you have any thoughts?

        • valentina says

          That’s a good question — a few thoughts: silky tofu, applesauce or coconut cream. Never tried these, but I think they’ll add the moisture you need. I know applesauce might sound odd with the chocolate, but I think the chocolate will over power it so you won’t taste apple. Let me know what works! Thanks for checking out the recipe. 🙂

  6. says

    That looks so airy and not at all the heavy the usual gluten free cakes are! Agreed as far as labelling! My Mom is severally Gluten intolerant and well meaning family members have bought crackers, for instance to a party. All well and good until you read the label and they are processed in a shared facility! Drives me crazy! You have to be so careful!

  7. says

    Ah, Valentina, you’re so on point on this! I’m 100% with you about using these labels (gluten-free, fat-free, etc) as a marketing tool. I also loathe when products are advertised as fat-free as if they’re healthier, when it’s actually loaded with more sugar to make up for lost flavor. Anyhow, love the look of these brownie cake. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  8. says

    How good of you to work so hard to make delicious and fun gluten free recipes for your son! These look fantastic! I love that I can see chocolate chunks in the middle of the brownie.

    • valentina says

      Thank you, Kate! I can’t have a brownie or a cookie or ice cream for the matter!) without chocolate chunks of some sort. 😉

  9. says

    First thing I saw when I checked into your blog today was that massive photo of these gorgeous brownies.
    Then I licked my computer monitor.
    Now my brain has come to a complete stand-still.

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