paleo chocolate cake recipe

The Best Paleo Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe

This paleo dark chocolate cake is just the right amount of sweet, and loaded with cacao for a rich, dark chocolatey flavor. I’ve made this cake for birthdays, Mother’s Days, Holidays – it’s a favorite no matter the day!

It is paleo (gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free) but you would never guess it. This means happy tastebuds without the sugar crash or upset stomach afterwards.

What makes this cake healthier than most:

  • Sweetened with coconut sugar, which has a lower glycemic index than the regular sugar used in most cake recipes.
  • Contains cacao, which is loaded with antioxidants.
  • Contains almond and coconut flour which are lower in carbohydrates and higher in healthy fats, unlike regular flour. This means your blood sugars will not spike as drastically as with regular cake.
  • Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and refined-sugar free – so all your friends with food intolerances can enjoy!
  • Contains coconut oil unlike most cakes that contain inflammatory oils like canola, soybean, and other vegetable oils.

Cake Inspiration

This cake recipe was adapted from Downshiftology (shoutout to Lisa for being an amazing recipe developer), and I made tweaks to make it my own.

First I reduced the recipe in order to make this a single-layer cake to keep it easy and simple.

Next I added more cacao, vanilla and espresso, making it super rich and chocolatey.

Last I slightly reduced the amount of coconut sugar, and made up for it with a rich, fluffy chocolate icing.

Three-Ingredient Chocolate Icing

I LOVE this three-ingredient chocolate icing recipe, and there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure it turns out perfect every time.

  1. Don’t overcook the chocolate chips if you choose to melt them in the microwave – it’s better to go slow and stir plenty in between microwave sessions than overcook and burn them.
  2. Make sure the icing has completely cooled before whipping. I put the icing in the freezer for about 45 minutes to achieve the perfect chilled temperature, but everyone’s freezer is different. Make sure you don’t forget about it! Set a timer if you think it will be a while before you finish baking the cake, so that you don’t forget.
  3. If you accidentally freeze the icing, just let it sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes until you’re able to whip it with the handheld mixer.

The Best Paleo Dark Chocolate Cake

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cake, Chocolate, dessert
Servings: 16


  • cake pan (I use a 9 inch round cake pan with removable bottom)
  • oven
  • hand mixer


Dry cake ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet cake ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Icing ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4-1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (my favorites are Trader Joes 72% cacao, Guittard extra dark, and EnjoyLife)


Icing Prep

  • Combine chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 25-30 seconds at a time (stir for about 30 seconds in between) until melted. You can also use a double-boiler if you prefer!
  • Cool in the freezer for 45-60 minutes while making the cake – this is the key to a whipped frosting rather than a liquid glaze.


  • Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  • Grease the bottom of one round 10″ cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper with coconut oil.
  • Add all of the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
  • Add all of the wet ingredients to a separate medium mixing bowl and whisk together. Then, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together for 3-4 minutes to create your cake batter.
  • Pour batter into cake pan and cook for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Whisk chocolate chips with remainder of the can of coconut milk and cacao powder. Place in refrigerator (or freezer to speed things up!) until icing is completely cooled.
  • Add almond milk a little bit of a time and blend on high with blender – the icing should have a smooth, somewhat whipped consistency.

Whip Icing

  • Once the icing has cooled to a chilled temperature, whip with a hand mixer until you get a whipped consistency.

The Grand Finale

  • Once the cake has completely cooled, frost the outside and cover with berries, chocolate chips, and anything else your heart desires!
  • I sometimes dust the cake with a little extra cacao powder or espresso powder.
paleo chocolate cake recipe


This cake can be stored in the fridge for about one week. Bravo to you if you can make it last that long!

You can freeze leftover cake too – just put the cake back in the fridge overnight or on the countertop for a few hours before enjoying.

Be sure to be sure to follow me on Instagram @plateandcanvas for more recipes and nutrition tips!

– Taylor