This rich and decadent chocolate buckwheat cake is perfect for special occasions. It has a sweet, chocolaty glaze that drips down the sides of the cake for a pretty presentation. Serve it as a birthday cake or whenever you’re craving an indulgent yet nutritious gluten free vegan treat.
Main ingredients and substitutions
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Buckwheat flour is the star of this recipe. If you haven’t tried baking with buckwheat flour yet I highly recommend giving it a try. Buckwheat flour is one of my favourite gluten free flours because it adds a satisfying texture and an earthy flavour without any hint of that “gumminess” that sometimes plagues gluten free baked goods. It’s also quite nutrient-rich. I tend to purchase buckwheat flour online because it can be tricky to find at grocery stores.
This cake is sweetened with maple syrup. You can substitute honey, agave syrup, or even date syrup instead if you prefer.
I used extra virgin olive oil as the fat in this recipe but any relatively neutral flavoured oil will work. Avocado oil or melted coconut oil are good substitutes.
This cake calls for cocoa powder. You can use any type of unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe (both dutch process cocoa powder as well as natural cocoa powder will work well).
I used coconut milk in this cake but you can substitute any type of milk you prefer. Almond milk and oat milk are good options.
A small amount of apple cider vinegar activates the baking soda in this recipe which helps the cake rise. You can substitute lemon juice or white vinegar if you prefer.
This recipe calls for unsweetened applesauce. You can use either homemade or store bought applesauce in this recipe (just be sure that it doesn’t contain added sugar). Or you can substitute very ripe mashed bananas instead of applesauce if you prefer.
The chocolate glaze calls for arrowroot starch (aka arrowroot flour). Arrowroot starch/flour is a gluten free and grain free ingredient that’s perfect for thickening sauces and glazes. I always have some on hand in my pantry and tend to order it online since it can be tricky to find at the grocery store. It adds a deliciously gooey consistency to the glaze.
How to make it
This cake is so easy to prepare. Start by preheating your oven, then add the maple syrup, olive oil, unsweetened applesauce, coconut milk, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, salt, and cocoa powder to a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix those ingredients well.
Next you’ll add the buckwheat flour and baking soda and whisk once more to thoroughly combine those ingredients.
Grease a 9 inch baking pan with olive oil, then cut some parchment paper and place it on the bottom of the pan. Your goal with the parchment paper is for it to cover most of the bottom of the pan without climbing up the sides of the pan. I prefer to use a round shaped pan because I think a round cake looks prettier with the glaze dripping down the sides, but a square pan is absolutely fine too.
Pour the batter into the pan, then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake looks clean upon removal).
While the chocolate buckwheat cake is baking you can prepare the glaze. It’s very easy to make, but if you’re short on time you can serve the cake without the glaze (it’s delicious that way too, just a little less decadent and more of a casual dessert when served without the glaze).
To make the glaze, add the coconut milk and arrowroot starch/flour to a saucepan or small pot stir to dissolve. Then you’ll add the cocoa powder, maple syrup, and salt and place it on the stove set to low-medium heat.
Heat that mixture until it noticeably thickens, stirring constantly. Don’t walk away from the stove as this step doesn’t take very long and the glaze may burn quickly if left unattended. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the glaze has thickened.
Allow both the glaze and the cake to cool to room temperature before pouring the glaze on top of the cake. Once you’ve poured the glaze on top of the cake you can either wait a few hours to allow the glaze to dry or serve it immediately.
For an extra layer of flavour and texture, you can sprinkle some finely chopped nuts such as pecans, almonds, or walnuts on top of the glazed cake while it’s still wet. Freshly grated orange zest is another delicious optional topping you can add if you’re a fan of the orange chocolate flavour combination (I am!).
Store this chocolate buckwheat cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to six months. You can slice the cake before freezing so it’s easy to defrost the perfect amount for a quick dessert.
More buckwheat flour recipes
This buckwheat banana bread is vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free. It’s spiced just right with cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.
Or try these yummy chocolate buckwheat muffins. They’re easy to make and perfect for using up ripe bananas.
Chocolate Buckwheat Cake
For the cake:
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup coconut milk (or substitute your preferred milk)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon extra to grease the pan (or substitute melted coconut oil)
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or substitute white vinegar or lemon juice)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the glaze:
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk (or substitute your preferred milk)
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch (aka arrowroot flour)
- Pinch of salt
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add 1 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a large mixing bowl and use a whisk to mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add 2 cups buckwheat flour and 1 teaspoon baking soda and whisk again until combined.
- Transfer the batter to a greased and parchment paper lined 9 inch baking pan (use the extra 1 teaspoon of olive oil to grease the pan. Cut the parchment paper so that it covers the bottom of the pan but doesn’t climb up the sides of the pan).
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake looks clean upon removal.
- Let cool completely before pouring the glaze on top of the cake and serving.
For the glaze:
- Add 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch and 1 tablespoon coconut milk to a saucepan and stir until dissolved.
- Add 1/4 cup maple syrup and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to the saucepan and place on the stove set to low-medium heat.
- Stir the glaze constantly while heating until it noticeably thickens.
- Remove the pan from the heat immediately as soon as it has thickened and transfer the glaze to a bowl.
- Allow the glaze to cool completely before pouring it on top of the cooled cake.
Glazing the cake:
- Once both the cake and glaze have cooled to room temperature, remove the cake from the baking pan and place the cake on a serving plate.
- Pour the glaze on top of the cake and allow it to dry for 4 hours or enjoy immediately – it’s delicious either way.
- Makes 12 servings of chocolate buckwheat cake.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to six months.
- Optional additions: sprinkle some chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, and/or freshly grated orange zest on top of the glazed cake while the glaze is still wet.
I’m Jennifer, the author at A Sweet Alternative. I create simple, gluten free recipes made with nourishing, nutrient-rich ingredients.