Our Paleo Family

No one Will Know it’s Paleo Chocolate Cake

That’s a crazy long name, I realize, but it is so fitting for this cake. It’s funny to watch people’s faces change when they find out what you’re serving to them – or just served – is gluten free or paleo. If you don’t eat this way regularly, you just assume that if you take out the grains, oils and refined sugars, what you end up with is something that tastes like particle board.

Those assumptions usually aren’t true and most definitely are not true in the case of this cake. Just look at the texture. This cake is light and moist and super chocolatey. DSC_2129

This cake would be so delicious just like it is, but this being Valentine’s Day and all, I decided to gild the lily just a bit. I whipped up a cherry studded whipped cream frosting for the center and then drenched the whole thing in a chocolate ganache.

The cherry flavor is subtle, so I decorated the top with a few cherries just so the eaters would know what treat they were in for.

To make the cake heart shaped, ideally you need a square pan and a circular pan both of the same dimensions. Mine were a little off so I had to trim them a bit. You can see from this picture how to put it together into a heart shape.


One recipe of this cake will make two eight inch layers if you want a plain, round layer cake. I cut mine up a bit to make the heart shape and had some scraps leftover, which I have frozen and will pull out at a later date for a chocolate cake emergency.

I have two layers here because I experimented with two different formulations of the cake.

If you don’t go to all the trouble of shaping the cake, making the frosting and ganache, at it’s heart (get it?) this is a very simple cake to put together and can be done from start to finish in less than an hour and with typical paleo pantry ingredients.

Make this cake a heart shape for your beloved, make it a regular layer cake for someone’s birthday or make it into cupcakes for your child’s class. No matter how you slice it, this one is a winner!

No One will Know it's Paleo Chocolate Cake
Print Recipe
An amazingly delicious chocolate cake, totally paleo approved!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
No One will Know it's Paleo Chocolate Cake
Print Recipe
An amazingly delicious chocolate cake, totally paleo approved!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Chocolate Cherry Frosting
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
Optional Additional Ingredients
Servings: servings
To Make the Cake
  1. In a large mixing bowl with fine mesh strainer fitted over top, add all dry ingredients to the strainer: almond flour, cassava flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl.
  2. You will likely end up with some little "pebbles." Use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to press these through the mesh screen.
  3. In another bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients: maple syrup, palm shortening (microwave for a few seconds to slightly melt), eggs, vanilla and almond flavoring. Whisk together well.
  4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients together and whisk well. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl so that all ingredients are incorporated well. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Grease and flour your baking pans. You could use two eight inch round pans, two six inch round pans (increase baking time) or one 9x13 baking pan. My favorite way to grease baking pans is to spray with Spectrum Brand Coconut Oil Spray. Then fit a piece of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan. Spray the parchment and sprinkle with cassava or arrowroot flour. Tap out any excess flour.
  7. Fill cake pans evenly with batter and smooth with a rubber spatula. I like to use a kitchen scale* to weigh my batter to make sure I end up with even layers. You could just eye ball it if you don't have a scale, but this is a good piece of equipment to invest in.
  8. Pay attention to these baking times: when I used arrowroot and honey in the recipe, the cake baked in 18-20 minutes. When I used cassava and maple syrup, it took 30 minutes. The moral of the story is set your timer for 18 minutes and start checking for doneness with a toothpick. When the toothpick comes out clean, the cakes are done.
  9. Place on a wire cooling rack to cool for ten minutes, then carefully run a knife around the perimeter of the baking pan and remove the cakes from the pans. Allow to cool completely on the rack.
  10. Once cooled, top with frosting, ganache, powdered sugar, or enjoy as is!
To make Chocolate Cherry Frosting
  1. Place cherries in a small pan over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes to soften. Add to a food processor or blender and blend until fairly smooth.
  2. Add cherries back to pan, add chocolate chips, palm shortening and stir frequently until melted. Remove from heat and add extract. Allow to cool completely at room temperature.
  3. Place frosting mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip. I have found that with some brands of palm shortening, this mixture alone will whip into a light, airy frosting. This Tropical Traditions palm shortening did not. I had to add the cream from a can of full fat coconut milk and whip that in.
  4. This recipe makes enough to frost an entire cake all over and in between layers. Here, I just used it in between the layers and froze the rest.
To make Chocolate Ganache Glaze
  1. Place chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside. Heat cream in a small sauce pan over low heat until just beginning to simmer.
  2. Pour cream over chocolate chips and allow to sit for two minutes.
  3. Whisk chocolate and cream together into a smooth glaze.
  4. Spoon over cake and allow to cool Spoon over a second layer, if desired.
Recipe Notes

*The kitchen scale I use: Taylor Biggest Loser Kitchen Scale

* For the coconut cream, place a can of full fat coconut milk in the refrigerator at least over night. The cream will rise to the top and you can scoop it out with a spoon.

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4 thoughts on “No one Will Know it’s Paleo Chocolate Cake

  1. Lee-Ann

    Oh no I really want to make thus but I can not find palm shortening in my town. I live in a small town in Australia!

    Is there a substitute?

    1. Elizabeth Post author

      You probably have some amazing grass-fed butter in Australia so if you can tolerate some dairy, definitely use that. If you can’t tolerate any dairy, lard would be a good option. Coconut oil is another choice, but would likely change the texture pretty significantly. A neutral flavored oil could also work, like very light olive oil or avocado oil. I’m just guessing here though. I’ve made the recipe with palm shortening and butter, but not any of the other options. Please let me know what you try and how it turns out.

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