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

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 and has quickly become a reader favorite.

(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 this video of my Paleo Chocolate Cake recipe:

 And subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly cooking videos!

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!

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

5
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Did you make this recipe?

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

This paleo chocolate cake recipe is fluffy, light and airy. It’s also unbelievably decadent, rich and moist. Once you make it, you’ll see why it quickly became a reader favorite!

Ingredients

cake dry ingredients

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 cups coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups raw cacao powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp salt

cake wet ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

chocolate frosting

Directions

  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.

Lisa's Tips

My baking time of 28-30 minutes is based on a standard oven. I’d recommend checking the cakes earlier, at 23-24 minutes if your oven tends to cook fast or if you’re using a convection oven.

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

Remember to make sure your cake is 100% cool before frosting. Even the slightest amount of internal heat in the layers will cause the frosting to melt.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 1 chocolate cake with frosting, Serving Size: 1 slice (16 slices in cake)

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 749.9
  • Total Fat: 36.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 16.5g
  • Cholesterol: 46.5mg
  • Sodium: 335.2mg
  • Carbohydrates: 103g
  • Fiber: 5.2g
  • Sugar: 83.9g
  • Protein: 8.8g
All images and text ©

Did you make this recipe? I'd love to see!

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178 comments on “Amazing Paleo Chocolate Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free)”

  1. Best chocolate cake yet! 

    Rating: 5
  2. Can you replace the coconut sugar with monk fruit or Swerve?

  3. This recipe looks amazing but I think the nutritional information is off.  It looks like the numbers are for the full cake, not per serving.  Can you please confirm?

    Carb count is importa for our family w type 1 diabetes.

    Also, you are right on w the flower blend—makes all the difference.  I like your tested & scientific approach :)

    • Hi Kate – I wish it were wrong, but it’s not. There’s 3 cups of almond flour, 1 cup of tapioca flour and 2 full cups of coconut sugar. That’s all carbs and sugar. The nutritional info also includes the frosting, which has 8 cups of powdered sugar as well. The cake is gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free, but it’s most definitely not sugar free. A splurge for sure! :) x

  4. I absolutely LOVE this recipe. I made it for my daughter’s 1 year birthday and she really enjoyed it. I also have a nephew who doesn’t eat sugar and they stay away from grains often as well. I told my sister-in-law about it and that this was a cupcake he could have. Once she bit into it, she was convinced it was a regular cupcake and wanted to double check. All of the people who were also at the party to eat a SAD loved it as well. I made 48 cupcakes (can’t remembered if I doubled or not) and stuck half in the freezer for later. Pulled them out for guests later and 12 of them were gone almost instantaneously. THANK YOU for making this recipe so that I can feel much better about eating a treat now and then that actually tastes good!

    • Glad you enjoyed the recipe Natalie! I’m actually going to convert this cake recipe into a cupcake recipe (a 12-cupcake recipe) on the website here shortly. I do want to clarify though that while this cake is gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free, it does still have quite a bit of sugar (in regards to your nephew). It’s definitely a sweet treat. :)

  5. Hi Lisa,
    I am going to bake this cake for my triplets birthday this weekend. I know it’s cake and its ok to indulge every once in a while. Just looking at the nutritional info, are there really 749.9 calories in one slice? I’m hoping maybe its the whole cake but reading the reviews I will still be making and eating it :-)

    • Hi Kristi – I wish I could say different, but there are 750 calories in one slice. Which is similar to most restaurant chocolate cakes that average 800-1000 calories a slice. Because it’s a triple layer cake there’s quite a bit of sugar, so it’s definitely a splurge. But I’d say it’s a splurge worth having for special occasions! ;) x

  6. I don’t usually post anything but I needed to tell you that this is by far the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tried. Super moist and so balanced. Thank you so much for your video and recipe. 

    Rating: 5
  7. Hands down the best cake I’ve ever had. Paleo or not!!

    Rating: 5
  8. Made this cake for dessert last night. Our guests were so impressed with this cake that when I told them it was gluten and dairy free they said I must have baked with magic if I baked something that good without gluten or dairy! Ha!! This one is a keeper for sure! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    Rating: 5
  9. I have a daughter who needs gluten free and a son who is allergic to almonds and coconut. What can I substitute for the coconut products – flour, sugar and milk? Also an almond flour substitute? Thanks

    • Hi Susan – unfortunately, it sounds like this may not be the recipe for you. Replacing all of those ingredients would result in an entirely different recipe. And as I’m sure you read on the post, they are all critical to the success of this chocolate cake recipe. But I have lots more dessert recipes on my website, so give those a look! :)

  10. Hello! This could be a silly question, but wondering if the coconut oil is melted??

    I would assume yet but not sure.

    Thanks so much!

  11. Hi, can I use cassava flour instead of the tapioca starch in this recipe?  I know that the two are same but different.  I’m looking forward to trying this recipe.  It looks amazing!

    • Cassava flour and tapioca starch behave differently in baking, so they’re not an exact replacement. As I haven’t tried this recipe with cassava flour, I’m not sure how the results would be. But if you try it, make sure to let us all know how it turns out! :)

  12. Hi – sorecently learned I’m allergic to tree nuts – anything u can suggest to replace the almond flour – my s1 son is gluten and fairy sensitive and I am a chocoholic and dairy sensitive – this cake sounds great I hope I do it justice as I am an baker myself – thank u – jen 

    • Hi Jennifer, unfortunately I haven’t tried this recipe with any other flours. If it’s just almond flour you’re sensitive to, I’d recommend hazelnut flour. But if it’s all tree nuts, you’ll likely have to use a GF flour blend and play around with some of the ratios. Hope you can find success with it! :) x

  13. We have an almond allergy in my home. What can I substitute the almond flour with?  In some baked goods I use strictly coconut flour and add more liquid as it is quick absorbent. Can I do the same with your recipe. Fingers crossed it looks absolutely delicious and my 9 year old would be over the moon. Thank you in advance! 

    • Hi Diana – could you use hazelnut flour? That would likely give it a similar texture to the almond flour. Using only coconut flour would definitely change the density/texture of the cake. As a second alternative, I’d suggest a GF flour blend that’s almond free. :)

  14. THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE I HAVE HAD IN MY LIFE. I ate six pieces in one day because it was so good. 168/10 would reccomend. 

    Rating: 5
  15. Just made this and it’s cooling now. It looks and smells just like normal chocolate cake, and the batter was delicious! Instead of coconut sugar I subbed Erythritol, and I didn’t have tapioca starch so used buckwheat flour. Can’t wait to eat the finished product!

  16. You are a culinary genius! This was absolutely decadent and I am a picky one! My four children even loved it and said it is the best cake they have ever had. Thank you! I had resigned myself to not ever eating cake again for nutritional reasons, because all of the other Paleo type cakes I have had were awful! I’m sharing your website and recipe with friends now. Again, thank you Lisa:)

    • I’m thrilled to hear you and your kids loved the cake Wendy! Yay! And I hear you on most paleo cakes. I always found them to be super dense and not at all fluffy. So of course, I had to change that. ;) And thanks so much for sharing my website. I greatly appreciate that! :) x

  17. I know making substitutions may drastically change a recipe, but using what I had in the house I substituted potato starch for the tapioca starch and avocado oil for the coconut oil using the same measurements. I also baked these as cupcakes for 18 minutes. Seriously beautiful. Thank you for the inspiration. This is my new go-to recipe for a gluten free cake. I love that it uses no xantham or guar gum, and is totally grain free. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  18. I’m allergic to nuts. Is there any other flour I can substitute that will give the same results?

  19. Oh my, oh my. Ive been making birthday cakes for 15 years, many birthday cakes a year. This beats every single cake ive made. Even the normal cakes. This cake is better than the ones at the allergy free bakers as well. Im in love!!! The buttercream frosting was a little to sweet for me, but the sponge is so good, you dont need frosting. I am making these into cupcakes for my sons Valentine party at school. I would love to know how many cupcakes this makes.

    Rating: 5
    • Woot! I’m so happy to hear you love the recipe Samantha! The buttercream frosting is definitely sweet, though I find it’s a little less sweet if you use powdered coconut sugar. But you’re right, the cake itself is delicious enough on it’s own. As luck would have it, I actually tested this as a cupcake recipe this weekend and it made 28! Haha. I’ll have to repost it as a proper cupcake recipe that makes 12 in the future. ;) x

  20. I’d love to make this but around our house and my sons home we can’t have anything nutty. Nothing. So I would love to know if the Bobs Red Mill gluten free All Purpose flour might work in place of your flour mixture. https://www.bobsredmill.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/thumbnail/670×630/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/1/6/1600c224_glutenfree_allpurposeflour_f_1800_1.jpg

    Rating: 5
    • Hi Kary – Unfortunately, all flour blends behave a bit differently (ie – some absorb liquid more than others). So I’m not quite sure how it would turn out with this blend. You could give it a try, but you may have to tweak some of the liquids as well. :)

  21. Ive just tried this receipt, Im vegan so i made it with Egg replacer and it turn out amazing! fluffy, tall and super rich in flavor. 
    I also use rice vinegar, it doesn’t matter which vinegar u use. 
    Thanks Lisa for answer me and sharing all this recipes!! I wanna try every recipe now as this one turned out soon goooooood haha

    Aloha

    @galagreca_

  22. Loved this recipe!!!! My husband says it is the best chocolate cake he has ever had and that includes non- paleo!!!!! Sooo good, thanks for sharing

    Rating: 5
  23. Hi what expresso powder do you use and what coconut sugar do you use. I’ve been looking for a good cocoa powder also. Have any suggestions?

  24. Hello Lisa,

    I made this chocolate cake two days ago and OMG!!!! THIS IS THE VERY BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD! This is NOT an exaggeration. I have tried many recipes and nothing beats this one. It’s moist, tender, and soooo DELICIOUS. It barely lasted 2 days with three people. My husband and son couldn’t stop raving about it. My son actually had a dream about it!! He told me to print a few copies of this recipe and keep one copy in safe keeping in the event I ever lose it! LOL! I omitted the frosting because it was just for us, but will make the frosting when friends and family come over. You are a genius. Thank you very much and I am glad I discovered your blog.

    Rating: 5
  25. Huge success! My sister is gluten- and dairy-intolerant and I’m always skeptical about recipes described as such. Thankfully, this recipe kicked butt. The cake was so moist, the buttercream sweet and tasty. My cakes were ready to be removed at the 24-25 minute mark, so do be mindful of that.

    Pinning this cake for the future. Thanks!

    Rating: 5
  26. This sounds so good! Can’t wait to try!

  27. Hi Lisa food sensitive are a nightmare I really like the sound of your chocolate cake but I don’t like coconut oil it make me feel sick so could you advise a alternatives ideally not granulated sugar as it’s not good for you?  I’ve heard of stevia? Do you recommend any other more natural sugars? Many thanks kirsty 

    • Hi Kirsty – you could try using avocado oil. For the granulated sugar, there’s really no alternatives that will give it the same light and fluffy texture. Honey and maple syrup would make it a very dense cake. And as I haven’t baked much with stevia, I’m not sure how that would turn out. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  28. I really want to make this but I can’t seem to find your frosting recipe? Was is accidentally taken down perhaps?

  29. Hi! I would love to make this cake but im vegan
    And i dont eat eggs! Is there any other ingredient that can replace them? Thanks looks amazingggggg

    Rating: 5
  30. Lisa, thanks for this BRILLIANT recipe. I played with the ingredient proportions a little and baked this in a loaf pan with some bananas slices topped on, and it turned out beautifully!

    On another note, I’d really love to see some tea cake recipes from you – currently obsessed with earl grey, but I can’t seem to find a good paleo recipe for it.. 

    Rating: 5
  31. That looks amazing!
    I wonder if you have any recipes/suggestions for a fruity cream filling. I can’t seem to find anything online in a paleo version. I was thinking something like boiling strawberries in water with coconut sugar and combining it with whipped coconut cream. Any ideas or tips would be much appreciated :)

    • Glad you like it Ana! I don’t have anything yet with a fruity cream filling, but I think your idea sounds perfect. I do have a recipe/video for the coconut whipped cream though: https://downshiftology.com/how-to-make-coconut-whipped-cream/ I think your idea plus this chocolate cake would be a definite winner! :) x

    • You could try some paleo cobbler filling or pancake toppers. Just switch out the fruit maybe. I’ve tried these before.
      Cobbler Ingredients
      1½ cups fresh blueberries
      1½ cups fresh blackberries
      3 tablespoons maple syrup
      1 teaspoon tapioca flour
      1 teaspoon cinnamon

      Topping INGREDIENTS
      2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no need to thaw before use if frozen)
      ¼ cup water OR apple juice/orange juice, if you want a sweeter sauce
      2 tsp. arrowroot powder
      1 Tbs. water

  32. Can the cake and frosting be done one day in advance? And put together the next day?

  33. Hi there,

    I’m in the UK and I can’t get tapioca flour for love nor money in time for this weekend but I have found Cassava flour which is the whole root flour. Would this work as an alternative? I see that arrowroot is also an alternative if not.

    Thanks in advance

    Mandy

  34. Do you know how many cupcakes this would make? Or what the difference in the cook time might be? My son has a birthday coming up and he recently has had to go gluten free (on top of him already being dairy free) and this sounds and looks amazing and I think he will love.

    • Hi Nikki – unfortunately I don’t. But as this recipe has been so popular I do plan to convert it into a cupcake recipe early next year. :) Until then, I think you’ll have to take your best guess on the number of cupcakes and cook time. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  35. I made this cake per instructions and it was so amazing. It fooled everyone at the party that it was a Paleo cake. I’m making it again today and can’t wait to have the leftover pieces for breakfast with a runny egg on top.

    Rating: 5
    • Awesome! Gotta love fooling people with a gluten-free, dairy-free cake. ;) I’m so happy you love the recipe and btw, those leftover pieces with a runny egg – yes!

  36. This is the absolute BEST chocolate cake I have ever eaten. I’ve now made it 4 times for my family and they devour it. You helped me make a young man who has to be gluten and dairy free VERY happy!!!
    Thanks so much!!

    Rating: 5
    • Oh, that makes me SO happy to hear Jennifer! I’m thrilled you and your family love the cake. It’s definitely been one of my most popular recipes this year. And I think I’m gonna make a white/yellow cake version next year. :) x

  37. Can i make these into cupcakes?

    Rating: 5
    • Yes, absolutely! I’ll actually have a revised recipe for 12 cupcakes early next year. As this currently recipe will make a ton of cupcakes. Haha. :)

  38. How coconutty will this cake be? I noticed there are quite a few coconut ingrediants which is understandable but my girlfriend and her family aren’t big on coconut. They made dairy free brownies recently using coconut and only ate one between them! I had a go myself and they all liked them though so maybe they just did something wrong. 
    Thanks!!

  39. This is by far the best cake I have ever had! Thank you for a great recipe. Do you have a gluten free recipe for a yellow or white cake ????? 

    Rating: 5
    • Woot! So happy to hear that! I’ve actually had several requests for a yellow or white cake after this recipe, so that’s now in the works. I’m hoping it’ll go live in February. Keep your eyes peeled! :)

  40. Made this cake with your chocolate frosting for a friend and it turned out amazing! Baked and frosted it the night before – tastes even better the day after! I used two 6 inch by 3 inch pans, took almost an hour to bake but was so worth it! Definitely a keeper!

    Thanks so much :-)

    Rating: 5
    • Awesome! So happy you and your friend enjoyed the recipe! And thanks for letting us know the cooking time on two 6-inch pans. Thanks Mahlah! :) x

  41. Do you think if I leave out the cocoa powder & espresso powder it would work as a vanilla cake?
    Do you have a good vanilla cake recipe?
    Thanks!

    • Yes, I think it would (with maybe a few tweaks on the liquid side). I’ve had several readers ask me that same question so I’ve got a vanilla cake on the “to do” list for early next year! :)

  42. Hi there,
    I’ll be making this for a dinner party (so excited!), but want to make it the day before. Will it keep fine in the fridge?

  43. Hey Lisa, 

    I was wondering if it’s okay to use a bundform cake pan to bake a single, larger version of this cake instead of doing a three tier. Can you suggest a baking time / temperature for me? 

    Best, 
    Sara. 

    • Hi Sara,

      As I haven’t made this recipe in a bundt pan I can’t guarantee the results, but I’d probably keep the temperature the same. Baking times will need to be increased, to probably 45-50 minutes, but I’d start checking it at 40 minutes just to make sure it doesn’t overcook and dry out. If you try it, let me know how it turns out! :)

  44. I recently made this cake and it was a huge hit! It’s already been requested for multiple occasions. I can’t wait to make it again, so I can indulge.

    Rating: 5
    • So happy to hear you loved it Alan! And I’m right there with you on indulging – I’ll be baking another cake in the next week as well! :)

  45. Hi Lisa,

    This looks amazing! I’m baking it for my son’s B-day.
    I have 3 questions:
    1. Could I use sparkling water instead of water to make it fluffier? I have a vegan friend and she gave me the tip but I’ve never done it and don’t want to ruin it ;/

    2. I’m in the UK and I have both: Bicarbonate of Soda and Baking Powder. Which one would I use and how much for a fluffier cake?

    3. How long does the cake keep? If I bake it tomorrow Friday, will it be fresh on Sunday?

    Thank you!
    Ellie

    • Hi Ellie – that’s actually an interesting tip on the sparkling water and one I’ve not tried! Baking Powder is essentially bicarbonate of soda plus an acid already mixed together. I use bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) in this recipe as certain baking powders contain gluten, corn or aluminum. And there’s enough acid in the recipe to cause that chemical reaction. But you could certainly use either. And I think the cake would stay fresh for a couple of days as long as it’s fully iced to prevent drying out. Alternatively, you could make the layers ahead of time, wrap in plastic wrap and foil, then freeze until Sunday as well. Hope you and your son enjoy it! Happy birthday to him! :) x

    • Hi, by iced you mean frosted?? I am baking the layers right now so if I frost it and refrigerate it till Saturday. Will the cake be good to serve? I’m having English high tea for my hubby and everything is gluten free. Thought would be perfect for his birthday!

      • Sorry didn’t mean to rate it yet, how can I change it?

      • Hi Mitchelle – unfortunately I don’t think you can change the rating afterwards. So I just didn’t approve your last comment. :) And yes, by iced I mean frosted. As long as it’s fully frosted (to prevent any air drying the cake), you should be fine in the fridge. But what I usually do if I’m baking the layers ahead of time (like 2-3 days) is wrap them in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze them. Then, I’ll thaw everything the day I need the cake and frost it. Hope your hubby enjoys his high tea birthday!

      • Oh, and I just learned that I can edit the ratings. Haha, still learning this new system. So if you’d like me to change yours, let me know.

      • Hi Lisa, Thank-you for your response. I wrapped the layers in plastic wraps put them in a tin before they went in the freezer. Will the cake be ok without the foil??
         I plan to remove it tomorrow (Friday) and frost it. And refrigerate it for Saturday is this ok or i canremove n thaw it only on Saturday?? I’m a bit short on time so trying to do most of everything tomorrow.

        Let me know. thank-you in advance

      • Yes, they should be as it’s only for a day or two. And that’s fine to remove on Friday and frost, then refrigerate until Saturday.

  46. You do realise that Ghee is clarified butter don’t you. Great recipe though. 

    • Glad you like it! And yes, ghee is considered dairy-free for most people as the lactose and casein proteins are removed. But you could also easily swap in palm shortening or coconut oil in this recipe.

  47. Hi there! Are you able to use an egg replacer for this recipe? Thanks so much!

  48. Fantastic recipe, but make sure that your layers are *fully* cooled and don’t add more than the minimum almond milk to the frosting. When I assembled my (still slightly warm) cake with extra milky frosting, the frosting oozed out of the cake layers and pooled in the dish.

  49. Hello, if I don’t have espresso powder, could I use brewed coffee in place of the water in the wet ingredients?

    • Update: I did end up using brewed coffee. I had an espresso roast and I made it slightly weak. I have to say this cake and frosting are absolutely amazing!! This will be my go to chocolate cake from now on. I wish I had found it sooner!! I made the frosting with maple sugar, and realized after I had added all the other ingredients, that I only had about 4 cups of maple sugar, but it still came out perfect.
      My whole family loved it!
      Thank you!

  50. Wow. Thank you for the amazing recipe. This was by far the best chocolate cake ever, paleo or not. I was looking for a flourless chocolate cake that was fluffy and not dense for gluten-free and dairy-free guests for Thanksgiving, and I found your recipe that also worked for me (low carbs)! What a bonus. I also had all the ingredients on hand so it made it easy to make. It was absolutely delicious! Hard to believe it isn’t a regular wheat flour cake!! I did not use your frosting recipe because I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, but I will try it next time. I’ll be making this cake over and again many times in the future.

  51. Hello from across the pond. I baked this cake and it was simply amazing. I had to take a little artistic license with cup size to UK metric conversions and had to swap coconut sugar (can’t buy this anywhere in the UK) for icing sugar. However the taste and moisture was perfect, and the cake lasted for well over a week which must say something about the ingredients. Simply brilliant and will be baking again this weekend!! (I did a two layer cake with the chocolate icing and a single layer cake with a dark ganache).

    • So happy you loved it! Fresh ingredients are always best. I’ve even frozen this cake for a few months, thawed, and it was just like new! Also, you can grab coconut sugar on Amazon UK in the future as well: http://amzn.to/2jQbt98 :)

    • Hey Neil, 

      How long did you bake your version of a single layered cake, and at what temperature? I was planning to use a single layer bund-form cake pan, but I’m worried that it won’t come out properly since the recipe originally calls for a three tier. 

      Thanks in advance!

  52. This recipe looks amazing! I’ve been looking for a paleo recipe however want to make it a mango cake. Would I need to add more flour if it replacing the cacao for mango purée? Thanks :-)

  53. hi lisa! I do not have tapioca flour on hand but i do have arrowroot starch. would that work? if so, are the ratios the same?

  54. I made this cake a few weeks ago and it was amazing! My family loved it and couldn’t even tell it was paleo.

    I’m making a carrot cake for Thanksgiving. I have a family reciepe that I usually use and have even made gluten free. I’m considering using the base of this cake for it. Any thoughts on that? I know it will need to be altered some because of the dry vs wet ingridents.

    Do you have a carrot cake reciepe?

  55. Have you made cupcakes with this recipe? I’m tempted to try it!

  56. Hi there, if the only two flours I can use are coconut and arrowroot (sub for tapioca) due to food sensitivities, do you have a recommendation on how to divide the flour amounts between those two choices? I accept that it won’t exactly turn out the same, but if you have a suggestion that’d be great! thanks

    • Hi Rebekah, I’d definitely use more arrowroot than coconut, maybe a 3:1 ratio. Could you use hazelnut flour? If so, I’d sub that for the almond flour. But you’ll probably have to play with it a bit to get the right texture with those two flours. Good luck!

  57. Hi.. it looks so good and I’d like to make it but was wondering if I can or if anyone has substituted the coconut sugar for erythritol (swerve)?

  58. I made this cake a couple months ago and everyone loved it! I even bought a swanky new cake stand to present it on! I’d now like to make a yellow cake using components of this recipe. Could I substitute the coconut oil for melted butter or ghee to give that yellow look?

    • Yay – so happy everyone loved it! And a perfect excuse to buy a new cake stand. ;) You could definitely swap the coconut oil for butter or ghee. And you might need a little less if you’re leaving off the cacao powder. Let me know how it turns out. I may have to add that variation to Downshiftology as well! x

  59. Been eating GAPS/Paleo for 5+ years and have done a lot of baking over this time frame. I started checking on the cake around 30 minutes and it was still fairly wet. I checked back 5 minutes later and the cake was over done, dry as could be, to the point of being inedible. We wound up throwing it out.

  60. can I use cocoa powder instead of cacoa? Is there a big taste difference?

  61. Can i cut the recipe in half? I need a smaller cake

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

  63. 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!

  64. 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!!

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

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

  67. 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! :)

      • 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. :)

  68. What brand cacao powder do you use?

  69. 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

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

    Rating: 5
  71. Im not a baker but I will pass this onto my friend who bakes for us! It looks decadent. – Laurel

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

  73. 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 😊

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

  75. 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!

  76. 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!