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Molten Chocolate Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream and Pistachios (gluten-free, paleo)

This decadent and sinfully good molten chocolate cake (aka – chocolate lava cake) will have you doing the happy dance. It’s also gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and paleo.

When I made this recipe for the first time I seriously did a happy dance. It’s so unbelievable decadent and sinfully good – you guys are gonna love it!

It’s a healthier take on the traditional molten chocolate cake, using honey instead of processed sugar and high-quality, dairy-free chocolate. I also swap out butter for organic palm shortening to keep it 100% dairy-free. Now, I can (and do) eat grass-fed Kerry Gold butter, but palm shortening is an awesome alternative for those who are dairy sensitive. Quite frankly, I was super curious to see how this recipe would turn out removing the butter, so it was a bit of an experiment. But I’m happy to report that these molten chocolate cakes are just as good with palm shortening as they are with butter.

So what exactly is palm shortening? It’s derived from palm oil and a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fats. Remember, good quality saturated fats are NOT bad for you (butter was thankfully redeemed in this Time article)…and healthy fats are critical for basic bodily functions such as immunity and hormone development.

But let’s be very clear, organic palm shortening is NOT the same as Crisco. Crisco is very unhealthy – it’s highly processed, hydrogenated and contains trans fats which have been linked to cancer, type 2 diabetes, hardening of the arteries, stroke, immune dysfunction and a whole host of other diseases. In other words – you really shouldn’t come anywhere near Crisco.

Organic palm shortening on the other hand is trans fat free, not hydrogenated and derived from virgin palm oil. A few more things I love about it – it’s neutral in flavor, has a high melting point (so is a good fat for frying) and is extremely shelf stable. I’ve had one tub of palm shortening for a long time, so it’s worth the investment for the good stuff. And it’s absolutely perfect for this recipe! But if you can handle butter, feel free to use that instead.

So what makes this molten chocolate cake recipe perfect for those who are also gluten-free and grain-free? Cassava flour! I’ve touted the benefits of cassava flour numerous times before in my recipe for cassava flour tortillas and my post 5 Things You Need to Know About Cassava Flour. It’s an amazing gluten-free, grain-free flour. And just a couple of tablespoons in this recipe ensures that your molten chocolate cake stays firm on the outside and oozy, gooey, delicious on the inside.

The topping is a quick and easy coconut whipped cream. Well, easy if you get a good can of coconut milk that separates appropriately when chilled. Yep, they’re totally temperamental. I typically put two cans of coconut milk in the refrigerator each time, just in case. I’ve worked with every brand of coconut milk under the sun and unfortunately none of them are 100% consistent, but this brand seems to work the best.

And that’s it…with some chopped pistachios on top. A scrumptious molten chocolate cake that’s dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly and maybe, just maybe, your new favorite dessert!


If you make this, I’d love to see! Tag your photo with #downshiftology on Instagram.

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Molten Chocolate Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream and Pistachios (dairy-free, paleo)

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 4
Author: Lisa Bryan
This decadent and sinfully good molten chocolate cake (aka – chocolate lava cake) will have you doing the happy dance. It’s also gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and paleo.
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  • 1/2 cup organic palm shortening
  • 7 oz dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cassava flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


  • 13.5 oz full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/3 cup chopped pistachios


  • Ensure that the can of coconut milk has been refrigerated overnight. Open the top of the can and carefully spoon out the hardened coconut cream into a small bowl, leaving the coconut water behind. (note: If your can has not fully separated into coconut cream and coconut water, you'll need to try again with a new can).
  • Using a hand mixer, whip the coconut cream, vanilla and honey for 1-2 minutes. Place in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Grease and flour four 6 ounce ramekins with a little palm shortening and cassava flour. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet and set aside.
  • Heat the palm shortening in a small pot over medium heat until fully melted (1-2 minutes), then turn off the heat. Add the chocolate to the warm palm shortening and stir until melted.
  • In a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer with a medium sized bowl), beat the eggs, egg yolks, honey, vanilla extract and salt at high speed for approximately 2-3 minutes. The mixture should slightly thicken and turn a pale yellow.
  • Turn the stand mixer to low speed and slowly add the chocolate and cassava flour until fully combined into a batter consistency. (note: the chocolate should not be hot, only slightly warm).
  • Spoon the batter into the ramekins and bake for 8-9 minutes or until the tops and sides have set but the centers are still soft and slightly jiggly.
  • Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for one minute, then invert each ramekin on a plate. You may need to gently tap the ramekin to unmold the cake.
  • Top with the coconut cream and pistachios and serve immediately (as the coconut cream will melt quickly on the warm cakes).


Calories: 921kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 76g, Saturated Fat: 38g, Cholesterol: 180mg, Sodium: 205mg, Potassium: 710mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 27g, Vitamin A: 6.2%, Vitamin C: 2.4%, Calcium: 10.2%, Iron: 59.3%
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free molten chocolate lava cake, molten chocolate lava cake, paleo molten chocolate lava cake
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DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I'D LOVE TO SEE!Tag @downshiftology on Instagram and hashtag it #downshiftology.

Other desserts you might like:

Roasted Cherry Cardamom Ice Cream
Nectarine Panna Cotta with Roasted Plums
Raw Mixed Berry and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Watch the video for how to make coconut whipped cream