Portillo’s is a Chicago icon. Known for their Italian beef sandwiches, Chicago-style hot dogs, chopped salads and last but not least, their amazing chocolate cake (they even put it in a milkshake).
If you have never tried Portillo’s chocolate cake because you have had to eat gluten-free most or all of your life, you most likely don’t know what you are missing. If you tried it pre-diagnosis (like this Examiner and her son) or before going gluten-free, you do know what you are missing….until now.
It has been a mission of this Examiner for the last six years to recreate (in a gluten-free version) favorite recipes, or find equivalents while dining out, of foods herself and her son loved prior to their diagnosis. She already hit the jackpot finding the best gluten-free deep dish and thin crust Chicago-style pizza years ago (shoutout to Chicago’s Pizza) now onto a favorite dessert.
She thought she would give it a whirl and tackle Portillo’s famous chocolate cake. You will be AMAZED at how much this tastes like the real thing and how easy it is to make on top of that.
After doing some research, it turns out that the actual Portillo’s cake mix is most likely Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food or Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe chocolate cake mix (most swear it is Duncan Hines but you get the idea). This Examiner decided to use the gluten-free King Arthur Flour Chocolate Cake mix because, in her opinion, it tastes much better than the gluten-free version of Betty Crocker’s mixes and is also dairy-free. You can find it anywhere from $4-$6 so it is a wee bit pricier than the gluten-free Betty Crocker mix but well worth it. Their secret ingredient to making it so moist is just using…..mayonnaise! Hellmann’s is the preferred brand and appeared more upon this Examiner’s research.
Okay, let’s get on to the recipe….
Gluten-Free Portillo’s Style Chocolate Cake
King Arthur Flour Chocolate Cake Mix
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup cold water
2/3 cup vegetable oil (extra-light virgin olive oil preferred)
1 8oz. jar mayonnaise (Hellmann’s preferred)
1 can Betty Crocker whipped chocolate frosting (if you REALLY love frosting, you may want to use 1 1/2 cans but 1 can of the whipped should be good).
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (325˚ F if using glass or dark metal pans)
2. Lightly grease two 8″ or 9″ round layer pans
3. In large mixing bowl whisk eggs, oil, mayo and water. Add mix and stir until smooth.
4. Pour the batter into prepared pans.
5. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, and the top springs back when lightly pressed. 8″ layers (25-35 minutes) 9″ layers (20-28 minutes)
6. Remove cake from oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Completely cool on a rack for an hour.
7. Frost the top of one of the layers with the whipped chocolate frosting. Add second layer and completely frost entire cake (top and sides) with frosting.
8. Pour a big glass of milk (dairy-free if you need to) and ENJOY!