Three layers of absolute chocolate decadence with simply, The BEST Paleo Chocolate Cake!! Spongy and moist with a dairy-free chocolate ganache that fills in the gaps. This chocolate cake is worthy of a special celebration! Gluten-Free, Paleo, but no one will ever know!
This is officially my first cake recipe on the site (not counting a bundt cake), so let’s bless it. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to share a recipe on the blog. Of the 500+ recipes I have on my site, I am probably most thrilled and proud of this one!!!!
Why you ask? Let’s just say that Chocolate Cake is my absolute most favorite dessert on the planet. In my opinion, cake is not worth it whatsoever, unless it’s a decadent chocolate cake.
Every year in the month of December, I have wanted to post a decadent chocolate cake recipe. It is our family tradition to eat a chocolate cake on Christmas Day after our filet mignon dinner (only the best for Jesus). We call it Jesus’ birthday cake. We sing happy birthday to him, blow out the candles, the whole nine yards.
The chocolate cake I have made for years is delicious, but it’s not gluten-free, Paleo, or Dairy-free. So this month, I finally committed myself to making a variation that those who follow a special diet can love. And guess what? Those who don’t follow a special diet will still absolutely LOVE this chocolate cake.
Because, my friends, this cake is simply the BEST Chocolate Cake. It’s so perfectly sweetened, it’s spongy with the best moist texture, and has the most decadent chocolate ganache. Forget that it’s Paleo and Gluten-Free, no one has to know. My family sure didn’t and happily gobbled up this entire cake!
Let’s get started!
How to make the BEST Paleo Chocolate Cake:
Here are the ingredients we will need for this perfect cake:
- blanched almond flour
- tapioca flour
- coconut flour
- cocoa powder (or cacao powder)
- baking soda
- sea salt
- apple cider vinegar
- canned full fat coconut milk
- coconut oil
- unsweetened chocolate
- coconut sugar or palm sugar
- brewed coffee
- vanilla extract or peppermint extract
- dairy-free dark chocolate
- canned coconut milk (can use heavy whipping cream if not following a strict Paleo diet)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 3 8 inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. We start by stirring together our dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Now onto the wet ingredients! In a small bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar with the coconut milk (this resembles a buttermilk that makes a delicious cake). Brew 1 cup of coffee and pour into a small sized saucepan with coconut oil, unsweetened chocolate, and coconut sugar. Heat the small saucepan over medium heat and let the sugar “melt” with the coconut oil, coffee, and chocolate until pretty smooth. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Add in vanilla extract or peppermint extract. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in coconut milk mixture and whisk in the eggs.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Using a stand mixture or hand mixture, combine the two. Batter will not be thick, but pretty runny. Now evenly combine the batter into the 3 cake pans.
- Transfer the pans to the heated oven and bake for 22-26 minutes (depending on oven). The cake should feel slightly spongy and firm to the touch, and if lightly jiggled will be set in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Meanwhile, make the ganache! Chop up the chocolate (I used a large dark chocolate bar), into fine pieces. You can also use chocolate chips if easier (Lily or Enjoy Life are dairy-free). Set aside in a large bowl.
- Heat up the canned coconut milk to a light boil (I did this on the stovetop), but you can also do this in the microwave. Pour over the chocolate once hot, and whisk until smooth and perfect.
- Place in the fridge and let cool for about one hour. You want the mixture to be still smooth, but a lightly chilled and more firm. You can spread on the cake at this point, or you can whip with a mixer to get more of a “fluffy” texture. I go both ways on this! Sometimes I prefer a more hard and solid ganache. It’s soooooo dang good.
Assemble the cake!
- Here is how I assemble: the first layer of the cake, I will put the more rounded side (top side) of the first layer facing down on my cake stand. That way I have a more flat surface to start when adding the ganache. Spread about one cup of ganache on the first layer.
- The second layer will also be placed with the rounded side down, followed by the another cup of ganache.
- The final layer will be rounded side up. Spread the remaining ganache all over the cake using a spatula and filling in those gaps of the layers as much as possible.
- If the ganache becomes too thick and hard, you can add some hot water (a few tablespoons). I also continue to rinse my spatula with hot water to smooth it out as I get to the top.
- Keep as is, or sprinkle with some peppermint candy or chopped candy canes for a festive flair!
I just wanted to clarify any substitution questions you may have:
Flours: I have tested this recipe with different variations of the flours, and find it works best with this combo of all 3 (almond flour, tapioca, and coconut flour). The texture and taste were not right doing it any other way.
Coffee: You can omit the coffee completely! There is no coffee taste in this cake, nor should you be concerned about serving it to kids. It is simply there to enhance the chocolate flavor. In my onion, it’s a must for a chocolate cake! But you can use hot water in it’s place.
Peppermint extract: use vanilla extract for a standard chocolate cake
Eggs: The eggs are an essential binding agent. I have not tried with flax eggs or a Vegan variation.
Coconut milk: For the cake, you can replace the coconut milk with another dairy-free milk (or use buttermilk). I do like the extra layer of fat for the coconut milk. for the ganache, you can use heavy whipping cream.
Apple cider vinegar: This ingredient is to create a “buttermilk” flavor in the cake and helps to activate the baking soda. You do not have to use it, but I personally love the addition.
This cake will hold beautifully at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 4 days. If making ahead and you want to freeze, do the following:
- Make just the cake rounds and wrap each round individually. You can freeze for up to 3 months, or just keep at room temperature for a few days.
- For a frosted cake, chill the cake for a few hours, then wrap the entire cake to freeze. You can freeze this for up to 3 months! I froze this version to save for Christmas.
The BEST Paleo Chocolate Cake
- 3 cups blanched almond flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 3 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 cup cocoa powder or cacao powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 13.5oz can of full fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil*
- 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 1 cup brewed coffee
- 2 cups coconut sugar or palm sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or peppermint extract
- 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 lb dark chocolate**
- 2 13.5 oz cans of full fat coconut milk
- pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper, and lightly grease. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.
In a small bowl, combine 1 can of coconut milk with the apple cider vinegar. Let sit.
Heat a small saucepan to medium high heat. Add the coconut oil, sugar, chocolate, and brewed coffee. Whisk while the mixture heats and continue to stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add the vanilla or peppermint extract. Let the mixture cool completely in a medium sized bowl. Once at room temperature, whisk in the coconut milk/vinegar mixture, and eggs. Whisk until smooth.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, gently mix until smooth and well incorporated.
Pour into prepared pans evenly splitting between the 3 pans. Transfer to the oven and bake for 22-26 minutes (depending on oven). Cakes are ready when it is gently firm to the touch, and does not jiggle in the middle. Remove and let cool for 20 minutes in the pan. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the ganache. Prepare the chocolate by finely chopping the chocolate and placing into a large bowl. You can also use chocolate chips. Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan to a gentle boil, or heat in the microwave until very hot. Pour over the chocolate. Sit until smooth and the chocolate is melted. Place inside the fridge.
Let the frosting cool for about an hour until a bit firmed up. You can spread over the cake at this point, or use a stand mixer or hand mixer and beat until fluffy.
To assemble the cake, begin with the bottom layer placing the rounded side down. Spread about 1 cup of the ganache over the first layer. Repeat with the second layer, and finish off with placing the rounded side up on the third layer of the cake. Frost using a spatula spreading enough over the sides to fill in the gaps.
*You can use 1 stick of butter in place of the coconut oil
**You can use chocolate chips that measure out to approximately 4 cups of chocolate.