Paleo Vanilla Cake

Paleo vanilla cake. Most are dense and crumbly and disappointing. Not this lovely incarnation that relies on almond flour, beaten egg whites, and baking soda for its towering stature, lovely texture, and birthday cake-worthy magnificence.

A paleo vanilla cake stacked between two chocolate cakes on a wire rack.

Say “paleo cake” and most of us think of dense, crumbly, disappointing approximations of what we know to be cake. Not this lovely paleo vanilla cake from My Paleo Patisserie by Jenni Hulet. The recipe relies on almond flour rather than coconut or grain flour and includes the notable addition of baking soda and whipped egg whites, which contribute to the cake’s lofty stature and astoundingly light texture. So much so that we’ve been hearing that folks who swore they’d never do anything paleo swear by this cake and find themselves making it again and again and again. It’s so good, it’ll even stand in admirably for any birthday cake. And if you’re also craving a paleo chocolate cake recipe, we can help you out there, too.–Jenni Hulet

Paleo Vanilla Cake

A paleo vanilla cake stacked between two chocolate cakes on a wire rack.
Paleo vanilla cake. Most are dense and crumbly and disappointing. Not this lovely incarnation that relies on almond flour, beaten egg whites, and baking soda for its towering stature, lovely texture, and birthday cake-worthy magnificence.
Jenni Hulet

Prep 25 mins
Cook 35 mins
Total 1 hr
Dessert
American
6 servings
403 kcal
5 / 35 votes
Print RecipeBuy the My Paleo Patisserie cookbook

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Ingredients 

  • 1/3 cup ghee or palm shortening plus more for the pan
  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour*
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Coat a 6-inch round cake pan with palm shortening or ghee and line it with a parchment paper circle cut to fit the pan.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the ghee or palm shortening and then set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour, and salt until blended.
  • Separate the eggs and place the whites in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and place the yolks in another bowl along with the melted shortening, maple syrup, vanilla, and lemon juice and whisk to combine.
  • Add the egg yolk mixture to the large bowl with the flour mixture and whisk till the batter is smooth and no lumps remain.
  • Using a hand mixer or the whisk attachment of your stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they look like softly whipped cream and hold soft peaks when you pull out the beaters, about 2 minutes. Set the egg whites aside for a moment.
  • Stir the baking soda into the batter and then, using a rubber spatula, immediately beat 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the batter, mixing just until barely combined and some streaks remain. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites into the batter, mixing until only a few streaks are left. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake and turn it onto the rack. Let cool completely.
Print RecipeBuy the My Paleo Patisserie cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Notes

*What's the difference between almond flour and almond meal?

Both are made from ground almonds and can sometimes be interchanged in recipes, so how much difference is there? Almond flour is made from blanched almonds, with skins removed, and has been quite finely ground. On the other hand, almond meal is (typically) ground with the skins still on and has a coarser grind. They both work well in baking but almond flour is preferred for cakes because it's lighter in texture and gives you a loftier rise.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1serving/sliceCalories: 403kcal (20%)Carbohydrates: 30g (10%)Protein: 10g (20%)Fat: 29g (45%)Saturated Fat: 8g (50%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 119mg (40%)Sodium: 226mg (10%)Potassium: 98mg (3%)Fiber: 4g (17%)Sugar: 18g (20%)Vitamin A: 135IU (3%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 114mg (11%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This paleo vanilla cake was delicious. It was fragrant, nutty, and amazingly moist. Whereas normally cakes made without wheat flour are very heavy, the almond flour and arrowroot flour produce a slightly dense but very moist cake. The beaten egg whites definitely contributed to the lighter texture of the cake.

I used palm shortening and honey. I think the cake would lend itself to lemon curd, chocolate glaze, or any sweetened fruit. I served it with sliced strawberries and softly whipped cream. [Editor's Note: Of course, some of these toppings aren't paleo, but those of you who do keep paleo know who are you and what to do.]

This paleo vanilla cake is fantastic. It was actually easy to make. The last-minute addition of baking soda really does create a lighter texture.

Would I make this cake again? Yes. As a personal preference, I avoid things that are labeled paleo unless I need to make something for work. But I would definitely make this again. I might try using baking powder instead of baking soda because it tends to give baked goods a more gentle rise. I'm a little unhappy about the arrowroot flour as itʻs expensive.


Originally published January 18, 2017

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Comments

  1. This looks amazing! I’m curious, could I use regular butter for this recipe and it turn out alright? And can this be baked in a 8 or 9 inch pan?

    1. Kirsten, it should be fine to use regular butter here. Some of our readers have had success baking this in a larger pan; just be aware that your cake won’t be as tall and the cooking time may be shorter.

  2. Hi! Just have a clarifying question. This recipe is only for ONE 6” round cake pan right? If I wanted a triple decker vanilla cake I would multiply this recipe by three?

    1. Amanda, yes, in theory. But I’ve noticed when I increase a baking recipe by more than two, there re always some fidgety adjustments that need to be made. My suggestion for the best results would be to double the recipe and then make a single recipe. Hope this helps!

  3. Two questions – can I sub cassava flour for almond flour? And, if I want to add champagne, any suggestions? (I know that makes it not-paleo anymore, but I’m trying to make a fluffy wedding cake for someone who “cheats” on paleo with alcohol on occasion, and this is the first tall and fluffy paleo cake recipe I have found – the rest are so dense and short!)

    1. M, we’ve never tried using cassava flour or champagne here. Typically, cassava works well in place of almond flour, so I suspect that would be fine, however, I can’t speak to how the addition of champagne would change the texture of the cake, or when or how much to add. If any of our readers has a suggestion, we’d love to hear from you!

  4. 5 stars
    I am in the same ballpark as Chloe Holt. This is our go to cake for birthdays! No one can believe it is made with almond flour.
    Our grandson has asked for strawberry cake the last 2 years. There is always a crowd and this recipe is a hit with everyone!
    I am trying a lemony version today. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

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