Teff Chocolate Cake: gluten-free, vegan, corn-free, rice-free

This cake is made in a pressure cooker! You need a cake pan small enough to sit inside your cooker, on some kind of platform (I use a cheap aluminum mini loaf pan). Other than that, it’s not too different from baking a cake in an oven.

A dark cake with light icing on a plate.

A springform pan inside a pressure cooker.

A dark cake cooling in a pan.


  • 1 1/2 cups teff flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder (corn-free if needed)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 can (12 oz) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)


  • Prepare pressure cooker by adding 2-3 inches of water, and inserting the rack the cake pan will sit on while it bakes. Start simmering the water, if desired.
  • Prepare springform (or other) pan by lining the bottom with parchment (not wax paper!), or lightly buttering the bottom.
  • Warm the can of coconut milk in a bowl of warm water (or your simmering, uncovered pressure cooker) in order to mix the solid coconut cream with the liquid coconut water. This step is not necessary, but it makes mixing the ingredients easier.
  • Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, then mix in coconut milk and vanilla extract. Use an electric mixer or an analogue mixer (your arms) until no lumps remain, and everything is well-mixed. Because this cake is gluten-free and contains no thickening agents (like xanthan gum or guar gum), it’s nearly impossible to over-mix the batter and get a tough cake. In fact, the longer gluten-free flours are mixed, the more the teff’s proteins develop and start to resemble the useful but occasionally toxic gluten some of us love to hate. So go ahead and mix the heck out of it.
  • Smooth the batter into the pan, lower the pan into the pressure cooker, and cook at pressure for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  • When the cake is done, release the valve and let the cake rest uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Let the cake cool on a rack for another 10-15 minutes, then remove from the pan and onto a serving plate. (Or leave it in the pan because it means fewer dishes. We don’t judge.)


Topping Ideas:

  • The Teff Company grows my favorite teff, and they post tons of good recipes, too. It’s gluten free, grown on dedicated fields without gluten grains, and comes in dark brown or ivory varieties. Alternately, Bob’s Red Mill teff is also certified gluten-free and is sometimes more readily available in stores.
  • You might think that’s a lot of vanilla extract. You’re welcome to use less! We happen to love vanilla around here, but we’ve also noticed that gluten-free baked goods love a little extra vanilla.

4 thoughts on “Teff Chocolate Cake: gluten-free, vegan, corn-free, rice-free”

  1. Hi, this cake sounds delicious!
    I love Teff and buy from the same company. : )
    How can we bake this cake in the oven?
    Thank you

    • Thank you! Teff is so great πŸ™‚

      I haven’t tried to bake this exact recipe in an oven, but if I were, I would definitely start at 325 degrees (F) for 40 minutes, and then check it with a toothpick to see if it’s done, every 5 minutes after that.

      I think I might also put a small pan of water in the oven with the cake, to simulate the moisture from the pressure cooker.

      If you do give it a try in the oven, I’d love to know how it works out for you. πŸ™‚

  2. The cake is beautiful.

    For it to be truly corn-free, you need to pay attention to the vanilla: most commercial vanilla extract is 35% corn alcohol.

    • Thank you! And thanks for the reminder! I personally do okay with corn-based alcohols (it’s the protein that gets me), so I appreciate the reminder. πŸ™‚


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