Paleo Chocolate Cake

This paleo chocolate cake also happens to be gluten-free and, even more importantly, it tastes magnificent enough to rival any regular chocolate cake. Go ahead. Taste it and see. Better yet, have others taste it but don’t let them know the secret. Bet no one notices.

This paleo chocolate cake is your no-fail solution when you need cake—whether for a birthday or a random Saturday afternoon chocolate fix—that’s easy and flourless and grain free and so magnificent as to be darn near indistinguishable from any other rich and indulgent chocolate cake. (And if you’re ever in the mood for paleo vanilla cake, we can hook you up with that, too.)Renee Schettler Rossi

Paleo Chocolate Cake

A paleo vanilla cake stacked between two chocolate cakes on a wire rack.
This paleo chocolate cake also happens to be gluten-free and, even more importantly, it tastes magnificent enough to rival any regular chocolate cake. Go ahead. Taste it and see. Better yet, have others taste it but don’t let them know the secret. Bet no one notices.
Jenni Hulet

Prep 25 mins
Cook 35 mins
Total 1 hr
6 servings
395 kcal
5 / 4 votes
Print RecipeBuy the My Paleo Patisserie cookbook

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  • 6-inch cake pan


  • 1/3 cup ghee or palm shortening plus more for the pan
  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder sifted to remove any lumps
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


  • 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, cocoa powder, 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 apple cider vinegar 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

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 395kcal (20%)Carbohydrates: 28g (9%)Protein: 11g (22%)Fat: 29g (45%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 119mg (40%)Sodium: 227mg (10%)Potassium: 170mg (5%)Fiber: 5g (21%)Sugar: 18g (20%)Vitamin A: 135IU (3%)Calcium: 118mg (12%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

As somewhat of a baking purist, I’m skeptical of recipes that don’t use basic all-purpose flour, sugar, butter, and the like. I have to say, though, after making this paleo chocolate cake, I’m now a believer. This cake was moist with a smooth texture that wasn’t gritty. The outside formed a slight crust and the interior was perfectly soft. It reminded me of chocolate snack cake or pudding cake—in other words, moist enough to enjoy on its own. I served it with berries and a little whipped cream but happily ate leftovers plain.

If you are​n’​t interested in the paleo aspect of this ​chocolate ​cake, then you will be on board with how easy it is to throw together with simple ingredients. It takes 25 minutes and only sacrifices a couple dirty dishes (although after eating almost half the cake in one sitting, those dishes were worth it).The egg whites give this cake an airy texture and is full of protein and good fats due to the use of quality ghee. The baking powder and maple syrup give it the perfect blend of bitter and sweet. ​T​his chocolate cake recipe is almost as easy as a box​ed​ cake​ mix​ and is foolproof. This will be your new go-to chocolate cake recipe and is an easy base to add on to with a peanut butter frosting, a more traditional ​confectioner’s sugar icing, or​ stir-ins like ​chocolate chips​ or ​nuts. I would definitely make ​it ​again to mix in with ice cream or maybe even tweak the recipe itself to make the cake more brownie-like.

Originally published February 15, 2018


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  1. I cannot wait to try your recipe, however I have only an 8 inch(20cm) regular cake pan as well as a 20.5 cm springform cake pan to use.
    How would I need to adjust baking time or temperature ?
    Or would I need to adjust both ?
    Please let me know

    1. NIta, we haven’t tested it in an 8-inch pan, so we can’t give exact timing, but you’ll end up with a thinner cake and it will cook in less time. Other readers have found it takes around 20 minutes to bake in a larger pan, so watch it closely and check for a tester to come out clean to indicate that it’s done. Do let us know how it works out and what timing worked for you.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this cake for a cousin of mine for his birthday (although I doubled the recipe and cooked it longer) and iced it with a chocolate buttercream recipe I found. This cake recipe was easy but the result was really good too. They loved the cake, said it was a keeper.

    1. Terrific, Maria! We LOVE hearing this. Especially the part about folks wanting it again despite it being paleo. That’s what we aim for with all our special-needs recipes! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for a birthday cake. I used coconut oil as that’s what I had in the pantry and followed the rest of the directions as written…I thought. I had the cake in oven and was cleaning up and found the egg yolks. Seriously debated pulling out the cake but crossed my fingers and just let it continue baking. Well it turned out great and not crumbly at all. Whew!! Very tasty and will make again for sure.

    1. Magnificent, Heather! What a relief! You simply ended up with something a little more akin to an angel food cake. Thrilled to hear it worked anyways! We so appreciate you taking the time to let us know!

  4. I do not follow the paleo diet, but when I saw and read this recipe it sounded intriguing. I found the ingredient ghee at our local “EarthFare Market” along with the “King Arthur” brand of almond flour. I found the finished cake really just okay, it was a moist cake but the chocolate flavor was one dimensional and a little flat. It is strawberry season here and some sliced freshly picked strawberries helped the little cake. I will try again (leftover ghee and almond flour). I may try a different cocoa powder.

    1. Candy, thanks for taking the time to let us know. If you’re willing to try the cake again, please do try it with a different cocoa powder. That may make all the difference. We had no complaints in many different test kitchens, and cocoa powders do vary somewhat dramatically in terms of taste. Also, we do have other recipes that call for almond flour, and some of them can be found here

      1. 5 stars
        Having reviewed previous comments, I opted to add 1/2 tsp of LorAnn chocolate flavoring to the batter to compensate for any deficiencies of the powdered cocoa I had on hand. I also added 1/4 tsp of coconut oil. These additions resulted in a DELICIOUS, moist and lovely cake reminiscent of German Chocolate Cake. Excluding the addition of the flavorings, I followed the recipe precisely. Thanks for this malleable recipe which I anticipate being receptive to many creative manipulations!

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