Incredibly moist and intensely chocolatey, this is the ultimate paleo and keto chocolate cake. Whether you layer it up with our sugar-free buttercream frosting or simply do it sheet pan style with ganache, its bound to please the entire crowd!
Note: this recipe post was first published on June 24th 2018, and has since been updated (slightly!) to yield a muuuch more moist crumb!
The Ultimate Paleo & Keto Chocolate Cake
Intensely Chocolatey ‘N Ultra Moist!
Think of this chocolate cake as first cousin to our suuuper fudgy keto brownies (easily the most popular recipe on the site). They both bloom the cocoa with melted butter, leading to that beautifully intense chocolate kick.
Did you also know that chocolate cakes around the world are often made with an almond flour base? Yup! Think luxurious Italian chocolate cakes, where the almond meal is considered a prime pantry ingredient. So don’t think of this keto chocolate cake as second-best to the traditional wheat versions, but as a beautiful cake in it’s own right.
It’s incredibly moist and with a tender crumb. And while the cake is ideal for layering, you can always whip up just one layer (or even as muffins!).
p.s. this is also my chosen birthday cake year after year. It’s just so good and a true crowd pleaser!
Oh! And yes, you can totally whip up some keto chocolate cupcakes with this recipe too!
You guys will essentially be following our super easy brownie methodology (see video for reference). The ratios are a little different though, and there is some added flaxseed and coconut flour for a more crumb-like texture.
The most important thing though? The baking time! You’ll want to bake it until just set and a toothpick inserted comes out barely clean (roughly 15-18 mins). As any chocolate cake, baking too long will dry out the crumb.
You’ve got plenty of options for this stellar chocolate cake, but do know that they’ll affect the texture quite a bit. Think xylitol and allulose (no aftertaste, softer and fluffier texture), Lakanto (barely any aftertaste, denser texture).
And do note that xylitol and allulose take (much) longer to dry out though so your cake will be extra delicate right after baking. So allow it to cool in the pan for about 30 mins.
Fun fact: it might also be my taste buds here, but I’ve noticed that stevia-based sweeteners (such as Pyure) don’t work so great when chocolate is involved as the aftertaste is accentuated. So I cannot recommend enough that you don’t use stevia-based sweeteners here.
Oh, and if just paleo or gluten free (or not restricted by sugars), simply sub 1-to-1 with coconut or regular sugar.
And if using xylitol, make sure to be careful if you have a pup or little animal around the house, as it’s highly toxic to the little guys! 🐕
To turn chocolate cupcakes keto you’ll need some super fine almond flour (Anthony’s is my favorite!),golden flaxseed meal (make sure it’s golden!)*, coconut flour (again Anthony’s by a mile!),and a touch of xanthan gum.
*Just keep in mind that for best texture and rise, you’ll always want to regrind your flaxseed meal in a dry blender or bullet.
You’ll want to use a Dutch-processed alkaline cocoa here. As there’s baking powder involved, using cacao won’t give the same results (at all!).
In terms of brands, my favorite will forever be Valrhona, known to be one of (if not the) best cocoas in the world. That said, as long as it reads cocoa and not cacao you’ll be good to go!
(The Ultimate!) Paleo & Keto Chocolate Cake
- 48 g almond flour
- 18 g golden flaxseed meal finely ground
- 8 g coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum or 2 tsp more golden flaxseed meal
- 56 g unsalted grass-fed butter or 4 TBS coconut oil + 1 TBS coconut cream
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or coconut cream
- 40 g cocoa powder **
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee (optional)
- 1/3-1/2 cup xylitol *or coconut sugar if paleo (we use 1/3 cup)
- 2 eggs at room temperature***
For the frosting (not paleo)
For the chocolate cake
- Each batch of cake is good for one 8-inch layer of cake (or 6 cupcakes). If you're building a two-layer cake adjust serving size to 12 and for three layers to 18. You guys will essentially be following our super easy brownie methodology (see video for reference). The ratios are a little different though, and there is some added flaxseed and coconut flour for a solid crumb.
- Position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C. Grease, dust with cocoa powder, and line an 8-inch cake pan, set aside.
- Add almond flour, flaxseed meal, coconut flour, baking powder and xanthan gum to a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined, set aside.
- Add butter, heavy cream (or coconut oil and cream), cocoa powder, salt and espresso powder (optional) to a large heatproof bowl. Melt over a water bath whisking constantly (or use the microwave in small bursts). Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
- Add in the sweetener and one egg at a time, whisking well after each one until completely incorporated. The texture should appear smooth and thick, with all the sweetener dissolving into the mixture (if using erythritol, some granules may remain). Add the flour mixture, whisking vigorously until fully blended (about a minute). Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake for 15-19 minutes, or until set and a toothpick inserted comes out just clean. Check often after minute 15 to ensure your cake doesn't dry out, and always keep in mind, however, that your cake will continue to cook while cooling!
- Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes in the cake pan, before transferring to a rack. It'll be particularly fragile right out of the oven if you made it with xylitol or allulose, so you need to let it set.
- If you're building a layer cake, you'll want to chill the layers (well wrapped) once they've come to room temp. Because of this, I always bake the layers the day before, chill overnight, and make the frosting and layer up the cake the-day-of.
For the cream cheese buttercream frosting (not paleo)
- One batch of frosting is enough for roughly two layers (or 12 cupcakes!).
- Piping the frosting between the layers (no tip needed), ensures the most even distribution of frosting. And you could even do it with a ziplock bag!
- The cake keeps well, stored in an airtight container in the fridge, for about 3 days. And it also freezes beautifully, just thaw it out in the fridge overnight.
I did a trial run of this cake for a birthday cake at the end of the month and O.M. DELICIOUSNESS it is so yummy and moist! My question is, an I freeze these cake layers and if so, how long can I freeze them for? I’m planning on making a layer cake and would like to bake the cake layers ahead of time.
Great to hear you enjoyed (I make this cake yearly for my birthday!!). Yes, freeze away, up to three months.
IMO (and also according to everyone who I’ve fed it to over the years), this cake is better the day after. So I like to bake the layers, frost it and then refrigerate it overnight. It becomes even more moist and flavorful, and it’s also a good hack in case you over baked it (been there, some that!). Xo and happy bday!
I’ve been trying to find a good lower carb chocolate cake for awhile. I am not on any diet, just trying to find healthier options to help with cravings. I made this but used a little regular sugar to offset the sweetener taste and extra flaxseed for coconut flour because I hate the taste no matter how little is in a recipe. I forgot I don’t like chocolate with cream cheese for the frosting so I tweaked it a bit after I made it. Not only where these delicious, but as an avid baker it’s one of the better chocolate cake recipes I have ever made.
Do you think it would work if I doubled the recipe and made it in a bundt pan?? I tested the recipe out as cupcakes tonight and it is delicious! Wanting to make it as a cake for my brother’s birthday next month but I don’t haven any small cake pans to make a layer cake..
Shouldn’t be a problem Kyla (and glad you enjoyed the cupcakes!)! You’ll definitely want to bake it a little longer tough, depends on your pan (but at least 7 mins more) xo!
Thanks so much! I’ll let you know how it turns out! 🙂
Really delicious! Made the dairy version with nearly a cup of allulose and the optional instant coffee, which really added a lot of flavor. Doubled the recipe to make 12 cupcakes. Baked for 17 minutes, but should’ve just done 15 for extra moist cupcakes. My husband said they reminded him of Hostess chocolate cupcakes. Frosted with the buttercream frosting, to which I also added about 1/2 tsp of instant coffee, and these were just scrumptious. I had probably half of the frosting left over, so next time I’d make half a batch unless I was frosting a cake instead of cupcakes. No one would ever know this was a keto recipe; it tastes like the chocolate cake of your dreams.
Novice keto cake baker – made this for my daughter’s birthday and it was amazing ! Even my fussy 11 year old enjoyed it. 3 tiered with frosting, thank you for sharing!
Yummy!!! I made cupcakes for my birthday today. Had one before the frosting and it was delicious as is. Just made the frosting and it is just as good if not better than regular sugar recipes. I used powdered Lakanto monk fruit and some allulose along with some espresso powder. Thank you for the recommendation of Valrhona cocoa powder. I love chocolate, but since going Keto haven’t found a chocolate recipe that tastes right. This definitely made the difference.
Outstanding. My keto-husband said, “Don’t bother” when I asked him if he wanted a keto birthday cake this year. But he couldn’t believe it when I made it. And our kids, who are not at all keto, also ate it with gusto! The frosting was delicious, although I definitely felt that it needed more sweetener than originally called for, and I was glad that I piped it rather than trying to apply with an offset spatula. Tender crumb, outstanding flavor, a true winner. Thank you, thank you, Paola, for developing these magical recipes.
I’m new to this low-carb keto thing and I’m curious about the carbs per serving math. It seems like that should be much higher. I’m doing this for weight loss, not blood sugar, so should I not be counting every carb regardless of whether or not it is a sugar alcohol? I’m still in the beginning stages and keeping my carbs under 20 grams. Also, I take it the nutritional info doesn’t count the icing?
To keep losing weight, you prolly shouldn’t incorporate this into your diet quite yet. It’s more for when you’re in maintenance.
I just made this cake and all I can say is “wow.” I have made lots of keto-friendly cakes hoping to find one that actually tastes like a regular sugar/white flour cake and I have always been disappointed. I finally found the recipe. Thank you! I did use a 1/4 cup xylitol and a 1/4 cup allulose for the sweetener and it was perfect. I have never left a comment for any recipe, but I felt I had to encourage other people who are debating about buying the specific ingredients to make this cake. Also, using a food scale to weigh your ingredients is critical to a perfect result.
My wife flipped over this recipe! Celebrating her birthday while limited by gestational diabetes had her all kinds of sad until we found this dessert and she sank her teeth into the first bite. Highly recommend!
This has become a new family favourite. My grandkids love this made into bite size cupcakes with a dallop of chocolate icing on them. Thanks, you’re recipes are great.
Hi! Hope you are doing well! How can I replace the eggs to make it vegan? Thank you!
Very good recipe an instructions. Made 2 layer cake with xylitol and everything came perfectly. I didn’t have xanthan gum so I added 2 additional tbs flaxseed meal which I grinded by myself. The chocolate buttercream frosting was also fabulous.
Thanks for sharing!
Would like to make a 9”x13” cake not layers. How much batter would I need?
I would double. One recipe makes 6 cup cakes
Amazing recipe, it was delish.
Question… In order to make a layer cake do I have to double the recipe?
Made it in small 6″ and it turned out cute without frosting the middle. Now I want to try a double layer and see😁
Is it possible to substitute the golden flaxseed meal with flaxseed floar?
OMG! Made this cake to celebrate mom’s 90th birthday. It was a big hit – everyone loved it, especially using keto/paleo ingredients. Taste better than regular cake mix recipes. And I’m not much of a baker to start with, and yet it came out perfect in taste & texture (except my piping needs a lot of work). Thank you for sharing!
I made this cake yesterday for my son and his girlfriend. – their birthdays are about a week apart. Anyway, I have a quick question: is the nutritional info for just the layers or does it include the icing as well? Thanks!
Just made this recipe for a three layer cake and after the first two had to be cut out of the pan to get them out I used parchment paper on the bottom for the third and it worked like a charm!
The cake is delicious, though, and I’m gonna use them even though they’re partially cut – no one will see it anyways! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!
Will get ingredients and make it! 😊
Your icing decorations are beautiful what icing tips did you use?
What can I use I place of flaxseed?
Just made a double batch of cupcakes with the buttercream. Followed recipe exact and it turned out DELICIOUS. I can’t wait until tomorrow as anything with almond flour is better the next day. I used So Nourished brand powdered erythritol/monkfruit blend.
Im confused by the weird amounts. Do you have weigh the ingredients on a scale or would 48g of almond flour just be 1/3c (43g) plus 1tsp (5g). Seems like a really small amount.
I was thinking the same thing about the almond flour. Is it really only 1/3 cup? The recipe sounds delish though.
Also does the owner of this site ever answer the questions?
Hi! I really want to try this recipe but I have a coconut allergy. Could I just add more almond flour? Or something else?
My daughter also has coconut allergy and her husband is diabetic and allergic to some nuts so when I made a carrot cake just subbed coconut for cake flour was only 2 tbsp. The cake was delish and added cashews for a crunch.
Happy Birthday to meeee. I was sad bc I thought I wouldn’t be able to have cake on my bday. But then I found this lovely recipe. Delicious. When she says take it out of the oven to cool and set before you take the cupcakes out of the pan, make sure you don’t leave it on top of the oven to cool! It continues to bake!
Tastes amazing !
It looked really stiff before adding it to the pans to bake so I added (read:eyeballed) a bit more heavy cream to loosen it for my two round 9 inch Calphalon pans. Big mistake! It essentially crumbled right out of them (30 minutes definitely wasn’t enough time to solidify!)….. Delicious crumbles nonetheless but trying to salvage into an intelligible shape for a two layer cake with the buttercream in the morning. Otherwise I have just been eating all the unusable bits and it’s utterly decadent!
I made this chocolate layer cake for my own birthday last week……….it was absolutely fabulous!!
Can I use lakanto golden instead xylitol? Thank you!
Can I identify eryrithritol in place of xylitol?