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

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

Paleo Chocolate Cake

5 / 8 votes
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.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories395 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • 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.
My Paleo Patisserie Cookbook

Adapted From

My Paleo Patisserie

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 395 kcalCarbohydrates: 28 gProtein: 11 gFat: 29 gSaturated Fat: 9 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 119 mgSodium: 227 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 18 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Jenni Hulet. Photo © 2015 Jenni Hulet. All rights reserved.

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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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    1. Lisa, we haven’t tested doubling this recipe. You will want to watch it closely to adjust the timing, and it may take 10 to 20 minutes longer. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out.