Paleo Chocolate Cake Recipe

Paleo chocolate cake

The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Cool Time: 65 mins
Total: 2 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 12 to 16 servings
Yield: 1 3-layer cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
463 Calories
30g Fat
46g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 463
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 15g 76%
Cholesterol 48mg 16%
Sodium 291mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 37g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 119mg 9%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 286mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In the mood for celebratory chocolate cake? This one does the trick and it's even paleo. Those following a paleo lifestyle focus on foods our ancestors ate millions of years ago, so refined foods like sugar and grains are out of the equation.

We swapped out white sugar for coconut sugar, and then replaced regular flour with a blend of almond and coconut flours. All of the ingredients in this cake and frosting are paleo. Even though baking soda and powder are not technically paleo, we include them as they are consistently used in paleo baking recipes without issue—it isn't possible for the cake to rise enough without them. Apple cider vinegar is our secret addition (don't worry, you can't taste it) to serve as the acid that activates the baking soda, creating lift and lightness. Additionally, you can use either natural or Dutch-processed cocoa powder in this recipe as it includes both baking soda and powder.

Our paleo chocolate cake has a chocolate frosting made simply from chocolate chips and coconut cream—just ensure you are using paleo-friendly, dairy-free chocolate. For the cake itself, we love how the almond and coconut flour combo balance the deep chocolate flavor without offsetting it.

Serve this paleo chocolate cake for any holiday or a special occasion where you want a beautifully presented dessert. It works equally well in 2 (9-inch) or 3 (8-inch) cake pans.

"This paleo chocolate cake turned out moist and delicious, with rich chocolate flavor. The frosting was somewhat soft, but it hardens after a few hours and makes just enough to fill the layers and cover the top and sides. Make sure the cake is thoroughly cooled and take care when moving and assembling the layers." —Diana Rattray

slice of paleo chocolate cake/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • Baking spray or butter, for greasing

  • 2 3/4 cups almond flour

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) coconut cream

  • 1 1/2 cups dairy-free, dark chocolate chips

  • A pinch of fine salt

Steps to Make It

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients for the cake.

    ingredients to make paleo chocolate cake

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck


  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F. Spray 3 (8-inch) cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment.

    parchment lined round cake pans

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the almond flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well combined and there are no lumps.

    paleo cake dry ingredients in a bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  4. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, the eggs, non-dairy milk, and vanilla until combined.

    paleo cake wet ingredients in a bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until fully incorporated—the batter will be thick. Add the vinegar and whisk to combine.

    paleo cake batter in a bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.

    cake pans filled with paleo cake batter

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  7. Bake until a toothpick inserted the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool completely. While the cake is baking, you can make the frosting.

    bake paleo cakes cooling on wire rack

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Make the Frosting

  1. Gather the frosting ingredients.

    ingredients to make paleo frosting

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. Heat the coconut cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until very hot, about 5 minutes.

    coconut cream heating in a sauce pan

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes to allow to melt. Add the salt and stir well to combine. Alternately, you can heat the coconut cream and chocolate chips together in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted.

    paleo frosting in a saucepan

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  4. Let the mixture cool completely, about 1 hour. Use an electric hand mixer or transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

    paleo frosting in stainless steel bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  5. Once the cake is cool, you can trim the layers to be more level, eating any scraps, or keep as is.

    paleo chocolate cake on a wire rack

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  6. Place one layer on a cake stand, then cover with a layer of the frosting.

    paleo chocolate cake covered with frosting

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  7. Place the second layer, top side-down on the buttercream. Repeat with frosting and the last layer of cake.

    three layers of paleo chocolate cake on a cake stand

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  8. Finish the cake with the remaining frosting, as desired. Serve.

    frosted paleo chocolate cake

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Tips

  • If the frosting is too thin after whipping, put it in the fridge for about 5 minutes to cool slightly and try whipping it again.
  • To keep the batter smooth and lump-free, sift the coconut sugar and cocoa powder through a mesh sieve.
  • We don't recommend substituting almond meal for the flour—the texture will not be as light.
  • Any cocoa powder can be used, but natural is ideal because it will add acidity to the baking soda and deliver a more concentrated chocolate flavor.
  • Light coconut sugar is preferable to dark. We suggest using the lightest golden one available.
  • Make sure that your baking powder and baking soda are no more than 6 months old. If they are older than that, you should replace them as they lose their potency quickly and the cake won't rise properly.

Recipe Variations

  • To make this as a 2-layer (9-inch) cake, line 2 pans instead of 3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • To make as cupcakes, place batter in 24 muffin tin spaces and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

How to Store

  • This cake will keep, well covered, at room temperature for up to 1 to 2 days, or stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 days. The frosting will harden to a fudge-like consistency in the refrigerator.
  • To freeze frosted slices, arrange them on a baking sheet and freeze. When the slices are frozen solid, wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in a resealable freezer bag. Label the bag with the name and date and freeze for up to 2 to 3 months.
  • If unfrosted, the cake layers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 3 months.

Can you eat cake on a paleo diet?

You can't eat regular cakes on a paleo diet. That's because it can contain ingredients like white flour and sugar that aren't allowed. However, you can eat cake on a paleo diet if you use paleo ingredients instead. That's what we've done here. This cake is fully aligned with the paleo diet.

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