This paleo chocolate cake is supremely moist, decadent, and chocolatey. It has the perfect light and fluffy texture, and is finished with a homemade paleo chocolate buttercream frosting that is out of this world. This recipe is simple, foolproof, and ideal for birthdays or special occasions.
If you’re looking for the best paleo chocolate cake on the planet—you’ve landed in the right place. This cake is everything you’d want from a chocolate cake and more. It’s rich and chocolatey, incredibly moist, and has the most amazing light and fluffy texture. And it’s finished with a paleo chocolate frosting that will have you wondering how you ever lived without it!
The truth is, everyone needs a good chocolate cake recipe in their life. There are so many special occasions that can be elevated with layer cake—birthdays, promotions, holidays, or even just because it’s Tuesday. This chocolate cake will become your go-to for family and friends, including those who aren’t paleo or gluten-free!
I haven’t been this excited about a recipe since my paleo chocolate donuts. So much went into perfecting this paleo chocolate layer cake—I can’t wait to share a slice with you!
The Best Paleo Birthday Cake
As you might have guessed, this paleo chocolate cake recipe is actually my personal birthday cake of choice. For my 35th birthday, I wanted to come up with the best cake recipe, and I’m so happy I did. We love a good layer cake around here, and as the kids get older, I’m excited to have a solid paleo birthday cake recipe for them for years to come.
While it took quite a bit of experimenting to nail this recipe (both with the cake and cake pan size), the best way to make this cake for birthdays or special occasions is with three 8-inch stainless steel cake pans. It’s a tall and impressive cake without being too big to manage and store. It’s also really simple and easy to assemble. I recommend baking the cake layers the day before your event, and then making the paleo chocolate frosting and assembling the cake the day you’ll be serving it.
How to Make Paleo Chocolate Cake
Making this cake couldn’t be easier! Start by greasing three 8-inch cake pans with coconut oil and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Sift your cocoa powder, and whisk the almond flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut sugar. Add the coconut milk, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and water, and stir to combine.
Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined. Don’t over-mix the batter! Evenly distribute the batter among the three cake pans. Spread the batter so it sits evenly in each pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Vegan Chocolate Frosting
In this world, there are two types of people. People who eat cake for the cake, and people who eat cake for the frosting. No surprises here—I’m the latter.
I’m not exaggerating when I say my vegan chocolate frosting recipe is just as good (if not better) than my chocolate cake recipe. It’s everything layer cake dreams are made of—supremely chocolatey and not too sweet. This recipe makes plenty of frosting so you can add enough to create thick and even layers, and lick some from the spatula. You’re welcome.
For the best results, whip the palm shortening in a large mixing bowl on high for 2-3 minutes until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla extract and continue to whip. Slow added the sifted cocoa powder and powdered sugar while whipping. Then, add the coconut milk.
When you’re mixing up the frosting, make sure the coconut milk is room temperature. The magic number for the milk is somewhere between 1/2 cup and 2/3 cup. Add 1/2 cup, then add a tablespoon at a time until the frosting is light and fluffy. The full amount I find is just a little too much. You want to add enough milk so that it is light and fluffy and no clumps remain, but it shouldn’t be soft or wet. If you see any remaining clumps after achieving the perfect consistency, just press them out with the spatula and continue to whip.
Can I Make Ingredient Substitutions?
I would love to tell you that it’s easy to make substitution with this recipe. But the truth is, it’s important to follow the recipe as listed below. Yes, you need all three flours—almond flour, tapioca flour, and coconut flour—for the best light and fluffy texture. If you vary from the original recipe, the flavor or texture will change, or your cake may not rise properly.
Because I know the questions will come up, if you’re allergic to coconut, try swapping out the coconut oil for avocado oil. And while coconut milk makes the cake dense and moist, you can swap it out for another plant-based milk if needed.
While I haven’t tried it personally yet with this recipe, I’ve had great success using flax eggs in my other dessert recipes. If you’re allergic to eggs or vegan, the flax egg substitution is a great option!
Storage and Serving Info
This cake fits on most cake stands and in most cake containers. You can store it frosted at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you store it in the refrigerator, it will last about a week.
If you have some extra cake and want to make it last longer, store it in the freezer! Simply cut the remaining cake into slices and wrap each slice in parchment paper. Then, put your slices in a freezer-friendly sealable bag and store them in the freezer for up to three months. To thaw, lay out a slice of cake at room temperature for a few hours.
For best results, I recommend making the frosting the same day you’ll be assembling the cake. If you want to make the frosting ahead time, store it in an airtight container in the fridge and lay it out at room temperature a few hours before you use it. You’ll likely need to rewhip the frosting before assembling your cake.
If you find yourself with a little frosting leftover, you can pipe some decorations on top of the cake, or just store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Leftover frosting is great with strawberries!
Making an Even Layer Cake
To get even stackable layers, use a food scale to weigh and evenly distribute your batter. This may seem like an unnecessary extra step, but it’s actually really easy! And, you won’t be frustrated with uneven layers when stacking your paleo chocolate cake!
First, weigh your mixing bowl in grams. Next, weigh your mixing bowl with the batter in it. Subtract the bowl weight from this number to get the weight of your batter. Then, divide your batter weight by three. This number is the amount (in grams) that you’ll need to pour into each cake pan.
To fill the pans, place each empty pan on the food scale and zero it out. Pour the batter into the pan until you reach the number in grams. As a tip, I usually pour the batter into the pan and stop just short of the number in grams (about 5-7 grams less than the number). This gives you some extra wiggle room because it’s actually hard to get every last drop out of the bowl.
Baking Tips + Tricks
- Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. Don’t skip this step—it will help your layers rise evenly.
- If you forgot to lay out your eggs to get them to room temperature, just place the eggs in a warm water bath for a few minutes.
- When making the cake, sift the cocoa powder. Then, whisk all dry ingredients together for a bit to get rid of all clumps.
- Do not over-mix the ingredients. When combining the wet and dry ingredients, fold them together until just combined.
- You can use either three 8-inch cake pans or two 9-inch cake pans for this recipe. Baking time is slightly longer when using two 9-inch pans.
- This recipe worked awesome in these stainless steel 8-inch pans. Just place a round sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, and grease the sides lightly with coconut oil. They’ll slide out easily!
- For the frosting, make sure to sift both the cocoa powder and powdered sugar for a smooth consistency.
- If you still have clumps after whipping the frosting, just press them out with a spatula. Then, whip the frosting for another minute on high.
Stocking the Pantry
I personally use Thrive Market for most of my pantry needs because it saves me some cash—especially when it comes to commonly used items like blanched almond flour, ghee, and coconut oil. For a complete list of my recommend pantry items and what I use in my home, check out my Baking and Cooking Resources Page.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Fudgy Paleo Brownies (Crackly Top, Gluten-Free)
- Paleo Chocolate Donuts (Baked, Gluten-Free)
- Paleo Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
- The Best Paleo Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Paleo Chocolate Banana Bread
- 2 ½ cups almond flour
- ¾ cup tapioca flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups coconut sugar
- 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk, room temperature
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup water, room temperature
- 1 recipe for Vegan Chocolate Frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans or two 9-inch cake pans with coconut oil and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Whisk the almond flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt together in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut sugar. Add the coconut milk, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and water, and stir to combine.
- Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined.
- Evenly distribute the batter among the cake pans. Spread the batter so it sits evenly in each pan.
- Place the cake pans on the same rack in the oven and bake for 28-30 minutes for three 8-inch pans, or 30-35 minutes for two 9-inch cake pans, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, mix the frosting together.
- Once the cake has completely cooled, assemble the cake by adding the chocolate frosting between each layer, then frost the outside. Decorate with sprinkles, chopped chocolate, or additional piping if desired.
- Make sure all of your ingredients for the cake are room temperature.
- This recipe makes plenty of frosting so that you have enough for thick layers in between each layer of cake.
- You can also make this recipe in two 9-inch cake pan. Baking time will be slightly longer, so watch for doneness at 30-35 minutes.
What did you think about this paleo chocolate cake? Please come back and let me know below! I’d love to hear from you!