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round cake with green buttercream and chocolate drizzle being held by a window

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cake with Pistachio Buttercream

  • Author: Cristina Curp
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


An egg and gluten free cake with pistachio buttercream. An updated version of the first recipe I ever posted to this blog!



For the Gluten Free + Vegan Cake

  • 1 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/4 cups King Arthur Flour (with xantham gum)
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water (up to 1/4 cup more if needed)

Pistachio Buttercream

  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup nut pods creamer or cashew milk
  • 1 cup softened butter or dairy free alternative 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For Toppings:


Bake The Cake

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Grease 2 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper, grease again and dust with cacao or cocoa powder. 
  2. Mix the dairy free milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside. In another small bowl or cup mix the water and psyllium husk and set aside, this mix will gel to a thick apple sauce consistency. 
  3. In a large bowl mix the flour, sugars, cocoa or cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  
  4. Get your hand mixer out. To the bowl with the dry ingredients you are going to add the milk and vinegar mix and the psyllium husk mix (be sure to stir it up well before adding). Also add in the avocado oil and mix on medium speed until well combined. 
  5. Lower the speed of the mixer and slowly add in the boiling water – the mix should be rather runny at this point, if it’s still thick, add 1/4 cup more water. Psyllium husk absorbs a lot of water. 
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans, set them on a sheet pan (it helps them cook evenly). Bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until the edges separate from the side of the pan and the center looks cooked through. Always do a toothpick test. 
  7. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool – after 30 minutes, un-mold and let cool completly before frosting. The cake will be moist and a little sticky on the outside so careful where you place it, I recommend putting down parchment paper. 

Make the Buttercream

  1. In your food processor grind the pistachios to a crumb. Then add in the milk and process until its a fairly smooth paste. Use a spatula to remove and set aside. 
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whip the butter until light in color and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and pistachio paste and mix until well combined. 
  3. Then sift in the powdered sugar until well combined and the buttercream has a nice creamy but full bodied texture. 
  4. You can add a few drops of plant based food coloring (Whole Foods has it) if you want to boost the green color.

Recipe Notes:

Pro Tips:

  1. I like adding ground up pistachios and chocolate chips to the center of the cake when I frost it for texture, and these look great on top for decoration too! 
  2. Drizzling chocolate ganache on top is beautiful too! I recommend chilling the frosted cake for 2-4 hours before adding the ganache.


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 495
  • Sugar: 49g
  • Sodium: 400g
  • Fat: 22g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 70g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Protein: 4g