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Amazing Paleo Chocolate Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free)


Posted by on August 2, 2017 / 36 Comments

This paleo chocolate cake recipe is fluffy, light and airy. It’s also unbelievably decadent, rich and moist. It’s the perfect dessert or birthday cake.

(gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free) This paleo chocolate cake recipe is unbelievably rich, decadent and moist. It's the perfect chocolate birthday cake.

I’m not one to use superfluous words in my recipe titles unless something is truly extraordinary. Case in point: this amazing paleo chocolate cake. And yes, it really is amazing. So much so, that I even debated leaving off the word “paleo.” Because I think you could offer up this chocolate cake recipe to someone who eats gluten and grains and they’d have no idea that it was gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free. You guys, it’s incredibly delicious!

Unlike most paleo cake recipes, this version is light and airy while still moist and spongy. I mean, just look at those crumbs. There’s the perfect amount of air pockets in the cake yet it holds together like a real deal chocolate cake. But it’s a paleo chocolate cake.

Watch me make this Paleo Chocolate Cake:

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It’s also the perfect way to kick-off my birthday month – with a deliciously decadent chocolate birthday cake. Now, it’s a birthday tradition of mine to always have a mint chocolate something on my actual birthday. Last year I made these Mini Skillet Brownies with Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. But it’s quite involved. So I’m thinking something slightly easier this year. My birthday is the last day of the month, so I’ve still got a few weeks.

Until then, you’ve got this paleo chocolate cake to enjoy. And trust me, you will. I even whipped up a video (above), so make sure to watch that.

(gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free) This paleo chocolate cake recipe is unbelievably rich, decadent and moist. It's the perfect chocolate birthday cake.

(gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free) This paleo chocolate cake recipe is unbelievably rich, decadent and moist. It's the perfect chocolate birthday cake.

(gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free) This paleo chocolate cake recipe is unbelievably rich, decadent and moist. It's the perfect chocolate birthday cake.

It’s taken me several years to perfect my paleo baking and I think I’ve finally got it nailed. But I’m sure many of you will have questions regarding the ingredients, so let’s dive into those.

  • Are all three flours (almond, tapioca and coconut) necessary? Yes. For some reason, most paleo cake recipes only use almond flour or coconut flour. But I find those results less than stellar (i.e. dense and dry). If you think about it, gluten-free flour blends are always a combination of flours to achieve the right texture. Paleo baking should be no different. And this triumvirate of flours (my signature blend) is what I use on many of my recipes, including my reader favorite Paleo Pancakes.
  • Why is each flour important? Almond flour is the main nut flour providing most of the bulk. Tapioca flour provides the light, airy, fluffiness. And the coconut flour provides structure to the cake.
  • Can I swap honey or maple for the coconut sugar? Unfortunately no. The coconut sugar crystals are what helps to provide all those mini air pockets that make this cake so delicious. Honey or maple syrup would create a much more dense cake.
  • Why do you add espresso powder? To make this cake unbelievably rich and decadent. The espresso powder doesn’t make the cake taste like coffee or even mocha. In fact, you don’t taste it at all. But what you do taste is a depth of chocolate flavor that makes you go, “wow!” To give you an analogy, vanilla extract is added to most baked goods to enhance the flavor. Well, that’s what espresso powder does here. It takes this paleo chocolate cake recipe to the next level.
  • Can I use almond milk instead of coconut milk? You can, but it likely won’t be as moist. Full-fat coconut milk is thick and adds necessary fat, on par with dairy milk or buttermilk.
  • Why do you add vinegar? Well, speaking of buttermilk (which is frequently used in traditional cake recipes), my version of buttermilk is coconut milk plus vinegar. Voila! The vinegar also creates a chemical reaction with the baking soda, a la baking powder-style, to create fluffiness in the cake.

Hopefully that answers some of your questions, but if you have more, please feel free to ask them below in the comments.

(gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free) This paleo chocolate cake recipe is unbelievably rich, decadent and moist. It's the perfect chocolate birthday cake.

(gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free) This paleo chocolate cake recipe is unbelievably rich, decadent and moist. It's the perfect chocolate birthday cake.

(gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free) This paleo chocolate cake recipe is unbelievably rich, decadent and moist. It's the perfect chocolate birthday cake.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the chocolate buttercream frosting is equally impressive. Like lick the bowl impressive. It’s also vegan, dairy-free and paleo, depending on how you make it.

I’ve separated that recipe into it’s own post, so that you can easily search for it and use on other cake or cupcake recipes in the future.

But together, I’m not kidding when I say that this is by far the best paleo chocolate cake recipe out there. It may even be the best chocolate cake recipe. Period. Serve it up with a cold glass of my Homemade Cashew Milk and you’ll be in heaven. Or serve leftovers up for breakfast (umm, I did) along with a glass of Chemex Coffee or Cold Brew Coffee.

Other gluten-free and paleo chocolate recipes you might like are my Chocolate Mug Cake, Paleo Chocolate Waffles, Chocolate Truffle Tart, Chocolate Avocado Pudding, Molten Chocolate Cake and The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. And if you’re looking for a non-chocolate cake recipe, I highly recommend my Gluten-Free Carrot Cake (that’s also paleo-ish).

Enjoy!

Pin for later:

Paleo Chocolate Cake

(gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free) This paleo chocolate cake recipe is unbelievably rich, decadent and moist. It's the perfect chocolate birthday cake.

(gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free) This paleo chocolate cake recipe is unbelievably rich, decadent and moist. It's the perfect chocolate birthday cake.

Amazing Paleo Chocolate Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10 servings
This paleo chocolate cake recipe is fluffy, light and airy. It's also unbelievably decadent, rich and moist. It's the perfect dessert or birthday cake. 
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Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

Wet Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. 

  2. Grease three 8-inch cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. I prefer to grease my pans with ghee or organic palm shortening as coconut oil can leave a slight coconut taste. Set these aside. 

  3. Add all of the dry ingredients to a very large mixing bowl and whisk together. 

  4. Add all of the wet ingredients to a separate medium mixing bowl and whisk together. Then, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together for 1-2 minutes to create your cake batter. 

  5. Evenly divide the batter between the three baking pans and cook for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

  6. Once the cake has completely cooled, assemble the cake by adding the chocolate buttercream frosting between each layer and frosting the outside. 

Recipe Notes

You can also use two 9-inch cake pans for a two-layer cake (the layers will be thicker). Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

 

  • Sharon

    So I am still working through my auto immune protocol diet which excludes eggs for another 6 months… have you tried this recipe with an egg replacement? I KNOW this cake will be delicious b/c your pancakes were out of this word!

    • Hi Sharon – I haven’t tried it yet with an egg replacer. But if you do, please let me know how it turns out! And thanks so much for your kind words. Those pancakes are one of my favorite recipes as well. :) x

  • tms266

    This not only looks delicious but there is a lot of really good info here. I didn’t know there was such a thing as coconut flour. I love adding coffee to chocolate recipes too. Definitely on my short list, thanks so much!

    • It’s amazing what a little coffee or espresso does to chocolate, isn’t it? Glad you liked the recipe!

  • This cake looks amazing! I love baking with coconut flour. Can’t wait to make this!

  • Gina Hoskins

    this is absolutely beautiful breathtaking and that is a trick I also use baking…the vinegar! Shhhh lol I would love to give this a shot with an egg replacer to see how it goes 😊

    • Thanks so much Gina! And yes, I’m curious to know about an egg replacer as well. Maybe I’ll have to try this cake again soon with that variation. :)

  • Stephanie Sain

    This chocolate cake looks sooo good. And it’s gluten free so I definitely need to add this to my to do list.

  • Im not a baker but I will pass this onto my friend who bakes for us! It looks decadent. – Laurel

  • Laura McDavid

    This cake is soo good!!! I highly recommend it.

  • Lillie Smith

    Hi, I have just made this and its delicious!! However, I find it didn’t rise as much as had hoped, it rose however I need a touch more lift for a celebration cake I am making, do you have any ideas as to get a little bit of extra lift?? :) I xxx

    • Hi Lillie – so glad you loved the cake! Unfortunately, gluten-free/paleo cakes don’t tend to rise as much as those made with wheat flour (because they don’t contain gluten). You could try adding 1-2 tsp of baking powder (just opt for gluten, corn and aluminum free, if possible). And I’m not sure if you made a 2-layer or 3-layer version, but I usually opt for a 3-layer cake when I’m going for something more “showy,” as it’s a little more dramatic and gives that extra height. ;) x

      • Lillie Smith

        Its gorgeous!!! Yes, i was going to try the baking powder. If not then ill go for the 3 tear as you say ;) Thank you!!! Keep making delicious recipes :) xxx

  • What brand cacao powder do you use?

  • Shey Mcoy

    Hi, just a question. The recipe calls for full fat coconut milk, is it the one in the can or the one in a carton? This looks divine and trying it for a good friend of mine. Many thanks for sharing your recipe. Oh also, we don’t have almond flour here that i can find in the shops is it the same as ground almonds?

    • Yes, the full fat coconut milk is the one in the can. The one I used is linked above in the recipe. For the almond flour, I used blanched almond flour which is finer than ground almonds (or almond meal), but if you can grind it fine enough, that should work. It may just be a slighter denser texture. You could also use hazelnut flour, if you can find that in the stores. Hope that helps! :)

      • Marley

        I just baked this cake and like what you said it is a bit dense. I don’t know if it is because i undercooked it or because of my oven temperature. I baked it at 160c bec. my oven only have 160c then 180c, can you believe it? i baked it for 35minutes but looks dense and seems like it is under cook. why do you think this happened?

        • I’d say it sounds a bit undercooked. I would definitely bake it at 180 degrees celsius. And the cooking time would also have to be adjusted if you only used two pans instead of three. Everyone’s ovens are slightly different, so it may take another try to get it perfect on your end. :)

  • Teresa Treiger

    Lisa – my husband is diabetic. Do you think the recipe would still work if only 1c of coconut sugar is used?

    • Hi Teresa – I’m sure it would. You may just want to add a smidge less liquid/milk to balance it as well.

      • Teresa Treiger

        Thank you! Will prob give this a try because he LOVED the chocolate avocado pudding recipe and I tweaked the maple syrup a smudge with no prob!

  • Elisha Wright

    Hi, I am allergic to almonds and some other nuts. is it possible to use another type of nut flour, such as hazelnut?

  • Nikole MacArthur

    This weekend, I was tasked with making a 50th birthday cake for my chocoholic aunt who has an allergy to gluten, dairy and eggs!! I used an egg replacer and…IT TASTED FABULOUS!! Everyone swore it tasted better than “reg” chocolate cake!!I wish I knew how to post a picture! Thank you for your post!!

  • Anon

    How is this Paleo? Or Vegan? Or even remotely healthy? Vinegar, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, baking soda, salt (eggs for vegans?)? These are all highly processed and human killer ingredients.

    Try this four ingredient cake:

    Food process to a dough dates, black beans, cacao beans.

    Layer dough, sliced bananas, dough, sliced bananas, dough, whipped bananas on top, no need to bake.

  • Cathy Kohl

    I made this cake for my hubby and 2 friends !! 4 thumbs up! It’s incredibly delicious and looks wonderful!!! Thanks, Lisa, for another outstanding recipe!

  • Alyssa Russell

    I usually freeze my layers and do a dirty icing layer. Would this cake sustain the freezing and dirty ice?

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