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Grain-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe (Yum!)

OK, so I have a big sweet tooth… alright, a ginormous sweet tooth. I LOVE cakes, brownies, frosting… you name it! If it calls for sugar, I’m there! So, with that being said, I’ve been trying to create healthier versions of these items… and well, they have not been turning out too great. Actually, to be honest, my creations have tasted like things that shouldn’t even be edible. Just ask my kiddos and hubby! 😉

However, this is no longer the case… I am happy to report that I’ve finally found a wonderful recipe to satisfy that sweet tooth of mine. And guess what? My super picky 10 year old approves…

Grain-Free Chocolate Cake


1 cup almond flour
1 cup unsweetened cacao powder or cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (+ additional coconut oil for greasing pan)
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup honey (or another sweetener of your choice)

Melted Dark Chocolate (at least 70% or more Cocoa – the higher the percentage, the better for ya!)

Optional Ingredients:
Chocolate Chips
Walnuts or pecans
Flavoring extracts

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9×9 pan with coconut oil. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk together until incorporated. Now dump wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until combined. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until fork or toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Melt dark chocolate in saucepan or microwave and pour over cake! Enjoy! 😀

* Recipe Adapted from Eat Clean. In a Zoo. Of Kids.

Join The Discussion

Comments 71

  1. cindy

    Looks yummy……I love chocolate anything too!

  2. Laura

    You said you could use a substitute for the honey (which I don’t like), what do you suggest?

    • Cortney

      Brown Rice Syrup should substitute equally, coconut sugar, agave nectar or possibly a few drops of stevia or maple syrup but the amounts might be a bit different. Might take some experimenting.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      I agree with Cortney…. agave nectar, maple syrup or even stevia would be great substitutes for the honey.

  3. Tanya

    why oh why does it have to have 4 eggs? 🙁 maybe it’ll work to swap out regular flour for the almond flour, I hadn’t even heard of almond flour. though I do use almond butter instead of peanut butter, just need to adjust the “fat” portion.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Eggs make for a moist cake and help hold the cake together so that it doesn’t crumble. You could probably use less eggs and the cake would still be fine. I am not the best baker, though, so you may not want to listen to me. 😉

      • IA Runnin Momma

        You can sub chia “eggs” or flax seed meal “eggs” for eggs in most baking. If you google it you can see how much water to add to how much of each of the previous to equal eggs. I’ve used both in baking before when out of eggs- works great! And great nutritional benefits, too!

    • Jenna

      Eggs can be replaced with applesauce! I *believe* it’s about a half cup. I use the single serving applesauce meant for lunches. I have never used it to replace eggs in a cake, but I use it in pancakes and it is delish!

    • Simone

      It’s typical with gluten free baking to use more eggs. It helps hold everything together. Almond flour is much healthier than wheat flour; but also has a higher fat content. (fat really isn’t the enemy, but that’s a different conversation) Based on my experience, almond flour recipes are quite different than wheat flour (or other grain flour) recipes, so it may take some experimentation to get the ratio right.

    • Kat

      To swap out almond flour for regular flour wouldn’t be an equal swap because the gluten in the wheat flour will make it harder since it’s lighter flour then almond flour. When working with anything that is gluten free unless you are egg free as well (which makes baking gluten free really hard) you need more eggs for binding as well as the fact that you need more of a binder for gluten free flours since the gluten is also a binder in the wheat flours.

      • mommyspendsless

        I’ve done a small amount of gluten and casein free baking (although I usually used potato and rice based flours, not almond) and I’ve found adding a little extra liquid, sometimes an extra egg, as well as a smidge of Xanthan gum allowed me to convert standard recipes to GF/CF with pretty good results, although some baked goods seemed a bit dry and less puffy compared to their regular counterparts. As others have mentioned, gluten (the protein found in wheat and wheat products) binds baked goods together and gives bread and pizza dough its elasticity.

  4. Rose

    Your adorable son looks like he’s being forced eating it. Lol 😉

    • Stephanie

      My son (7 yr old) looks like that in ALL his pictures because he hates to have his picture taken. I just let him so when he gets a girlfriend I don’t like, I will show her all his pictures and scare her away!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Not good 🙁 or maybe I should say I personally didn’t like it. Mine turned out a bit too grainy and the flavor wasn’t quite what I expected.

      On a positive note, though, I did make homemade almond butter – which turned out delicious and is definitely a lot less expensive than buying almond butter at the store. Recipe to come…

      • Melody

        Don’t feel bad. I made macadamia butter and it was similar to what you described with the cashew butter. That, and I don’t have a powerful enough processor I think as it took like an HOUR to try and get it to a buttery state and by then it was a little disappointing. You can, however, make a pretty tasty chocolate hazelnut spread (tastes like that Justin’s brand you can buy at target) with roasted hazelnuts, cocoa, and a good bit of sugar plus almond milk added as needed.

  5. Cortney

    This look SO delicious, thanks for sharing Collin!

    My husband was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago, at 30 years old, & we have had to make big changes to our diet to accommodate his healing & recovery. No processed foods, sugar, white grains & the list goes on….So happy to have a recipe we can enjoy! I LOVE chocolate & have such a hard time finding sweets we can eat. Thanks for all the healthy deals you have been posting, SO helpful!

    Quick question: All of the dark chocolate bars I find has pure cane sugar, cane juice….SUGAR! Anyone know of a chocolate bar that has an alternative sweetener like honey, agave, maple, etc? At this time my only option is making it & well I love chocolate but that’s a bit too much with little ones underfoot.

    • elizabeth

      Look somewhere like trader joe’s or whole foods maybe? If you have an alternative health foods store where you live the people who work there would be able to point you in the right direction. Additionally, if your husband goes to any type of alternative health care providor they would be able to help too. (Think massage therapist, alternative chiropractor, micro current therapy etc)

    • laura

      praying for a quick and healthy recovery for your husband!!!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Hi Cortney,

      I love the Endangered Species brand of chocolate… so good and good for ya.

    • whitney

      Hot Chocolate Bars


      Or you can make chocolate chips!

      1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
      4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (melted)
      1/4 cup agave or use NuNatural vanilla stevia drops (I use 10 drops. Triple or quadruple that amount if you don’t like extra-bitter chocolate.)
      optional: extracts, cocoa nibs, or other add-ins

      Combine coconut oil with agave or stevia drops. Stir, then add cocoa powder (and add 3-4 T water or nondairy milk if using stevia.). Stir stir stir! Stir until it gets thick. Pour into any flat container (or candy molds or smush between layers of wax paper or in ziploc bags). Fridge or freeze until solid.

      See the following post for the Calorie Information.

      Once hardened, you can also opt to melt the bars again for chocolate sauce. Or chop them up for healthy 100% sugar-free chocolate chips!

      • Jenny

        Thanks for the recipe–I am SO trying this!!

        Have you tried baking them in anything? How well did they hold up? (Wondering how “melty” they get.) Thanks!

        • whitney

          I havent tried this yet, but sounds good. Worth trying 🙂

      • cara

        thank u girl! I’m on dairy free restrictions and it’s hard to eat Choco free since most premade bars have milk in them. Can’t wait to try, thank u so much!!!!!!!

  6. Lynn

    i am officially drooooling!!! looks amazing!!

  7. maflies1

    You just may convince me to start eating healthfully again, Collin! 🙂 This one really takes the cake!

  8. MandM

    I have everything but the coconut oil…Can anyone recommend a substitute for the coconut oil? Thanks!

    • Jenny

      Butter should work (I have subbed coconut oil for butter in many recipes, and it has always worked, so I assume it should also work the other way around.)

      Hope that helps!

  9. Mo

    I don’t get it. What part of this is healthy? I’m not trying to be rude, but this is still high calorie. Enlighten me?

    • Heather

      Nothing processed or refined – no flour for people that eat grain free – the fat is healthy from the coconut oil. The dark chocolate is better that milk. Still a dessert but a much healthier version!

    • Barbara Yudell

      Yes you are right. It is still VERY high calorie! Must eat in moderation, just like any type of cake!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Everyone has different views on what is “healthy”… I personally think this is a much healthier version than the typical chocolate cake. It is a lot lower in sugar and packed with lots of healthy fat AND lots of fiber.

      The cup of Cacao Powder called for in this recipe has about 25 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein! And absolutely NO sugar! 🙂

      Also, the almond flour contains healthy fats, protein and fiber.

      • Mo

        I agree, fiber and protein is very important. The fact that the ingredients can boast high levels of those over others is incredibly beneficial with a good diet. With that being said, I’d be careful to label something as a “healthy version”. You may want to be specific as to what part makes it “healthier” so that people aren’t disappointed later.

        Just my two cents 🙂

        • Blue

          IMHO I think Colin got it right. This is definitely a healthy version. Almonds, coconut oil and honey have proven health benefits as does cacao. Same can be said for avocados but one would never suggest eating 20 in one sitting. Still super healthy 🙂

          • Melody

            I agree with Blue. I think to each their own, but if you’re going to have a decadent chocolate cake, why not make one fresh that you trust the ingredients you put into it? I mean, I may not be as strict as some people but every now and again I want a little dessert. As long as I’m healthy with exercise and eating right all week, this isn’t a bad little treat! Most people who would make this probably aren’t eating out (like my family) much because they have gluten intolerance/Celiac or are trying to live a less processed life anyways…I’d rather get the calories from foods that I can see and understand too.

            Thanks Collin! Keep the recipes coming. I’m bookmarking a ton of them and saving them for later “research.” : P

  10. shanel

    Thank you Colin! I’m going to try to make this for my twins’ 3rd bday party this Sat. But where can I find some almond flour? I don’t live in a very healthy town and can’t find it at the grocery store here in Shelbyville, TN 🙁 …..btw, thank you so much for introducing me to coconut oil! I’m hooked on the stuff and love your recipes for it!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Hi Shanel,

      I would tell you to check on Vitacost or Amazon… but it sounds like you need it a lot sooner than that. Do you have any local health food stores in your town? Or does the larger grocery store in your town have an organic/natural section?

    • Kiki

      I live not far from Shelbyville! Just order online most likely or go to Murfreesboro groceries, they have some.

      • shanel

        Ok, I did actually find some almond flour at walmart(had to really search hard) but I finally found it with the gluten free stuff on the bottom shelf in a little bag for nearly $10! Holy crap, there’s no way I’m payin’ that much, I don’t care how healthy it is. That is why eating healthy and saving money clash big time and I’m sick of it! why do I have to be fat and unhealthy to save on food and get things cheap. Not fair!

  11. jen

    This may be a dumb question, but does coconut oil taste like coconut when cooked/baked? I’ve never tried it before but I’m interested. However, my husband hates coconut.

    • Cortney

      In my experience, Spectrum brand is the only one I have found that has no odor or taste of coconut. My FIL thinks he’ll die if he eats coconut & has never noticed it once in my baking/cooking. Plus our Walmart carries it, so if I run out then its just an errand away : ) Nutiva brand has a hint of coconut when you smell it or rub it on your skin but I have never noticed a taste of coconut in my baked goods. Hope this helps!

  12. Summer

    I have to say…. I did this ‘diet’ and ended up in the hopital for 10 days. I literally blew out my colon. You need carbs & fiber. People are so concerned with being thin, they are literally dying… think twice. Please.

    • Kelly

      Summer, I am sorry that you had a bad experience with the paleo “diet.” I don’t like to call it a diet. It’s more of a lifestyle. Not knowing your unique situation and health history I would not make any judgments based on the information provided. The paleo lifestyle actually helps most digestive issues and as it is a anti-inflammatory diet, research studies have shown it to be helpful with even autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis! That is far from causing people to die, unlike the proinflammatory standard Amercian diet (SAD) that many follow now. Most people who adhere to a paleo lifestyle are concerned about their health. Being thin or skinny is definitely not the goal. Thin/skinny does not necessarily equal healthy. Carbohydrates are found readily in sources such as vegetables and some fruits, without the added health risks of processed carbohydrates, which you will find plentiful when eating paleo. I would definitely recommend that you check out Robb Wolf’s site (http://www.robbwolf.com/) or Dr. Loren Cordain’s site (http://thepaleodiet.com/) where you could familiarize yourself with the potential health benefits of this type of eating. Hope this helps!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Hi Summer,

      I have to agree with Kelly… eating this way is more of a lifestyle change. And actually for me, this “diet” has nothing at all to do with being thin or losing weight. I am actually doing this for lots of other reasons. Eating this way has helped me tremendously with my digestive issues. I also feel so much better when I’m not eating gluten.

      • Kat

        I have no choice but the eat gluten free since I have celiac disease. For me I have care if I lose weight on it, but rather that I can take care of my children, go to school and live my life. If I eat any gluten at all including just a crumb of bread I struggle to get out of the “fog” and I have a hard time just getting out of bed due to depression. Yes, I will agree it takes a great deal of time and research to adjust to it all. At the same time for me its more then worth ever min of it. I get the joy of enjoying my kids and being able to remember what they did that day instead of wondering if I dreamed it.

      • Melody

        And don’t forget you can still get carbs from rices and potatoes as well. We are not “paleo” but rather gluten free and dairy free, but they are almost the same thing in many respects.

        I think people who run into trouble (my hubby was one at first, when we had to go gluten free for allergic reaction reasons….) don’t realize they can still get the carbs they need from those sources as well. I make brown rice, baked potatoes, etc a few times a week and incorporate it into our meals and we are much better balanced.

  13. jess

    ground flax seeds with a specific ratio to water make “vegan eggs.” You could google the proportion.

  14. Kelly

    Collin, this cake sounds really similar to some cupcakes that a member of our gym made for us after this horrendous WOD called Fight Gone Bad. You can see the recipe here: http://crossfitlocal.com/recipes/2010/10/1/paleo-cupcakes.html I will definitely have to try out this cake – looks pretty simple. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  15. MIssy

    Just wanted to say almond flour is expensive, but luckily I have some in the freezer 😉 but you know I want to lose weight, and posting recipes like this AIN’T gonna help. I LOVE chocolate, and I really LOVE dark chocolate the best! I can’t wait to make this stuff. I also bought a turnip last night can’t wait to make that probably tomorrow 🙂

  16. laura

    How are you liking the nutiva coconut manna product? i ordered mine with the $10 off deal and can’t wait to try it out! thank you SO very much for inspiration to eat less grains and more whole foods. i have to say, i am super impressed and proud of you! its not an easy transition. you rock, woman! 🙂

    • Heather

      I haven’t gotten mine yet but looking forward to it – maybe Collin will post some recipes.

  17. Kat

    I think this would be great in a really nice mold and dusted with just a bit of powder sugar instead of the chocolate! still low on sugar since its a dusting and still great!

  18. Karen

    Hi Gals and Guys,

    I would love to know the carb content of the almond flour. I have chosen the Adkins lifestyle-works great for me. It has many of the same benefits as the gluten-free lifestyle. I’ve lost weight and feel so much better, but I miss chocolate and would love to be able to bake a cake that I can eat too instead of watching everyone else in the family and drooling.

    • Deb

      Karen-I just bought the Atkin’s Endulge Chocolate Coconut Bars 5 pk yesterday at Target. I’m doing South Beach-if you miss chocolate-RUN & GET THESE!
      Tastes soooo like a Mounds Bar!!! Only 3 net carbs per bar.

      • Dana

        Deb- Those are really great. The trouble I have is that I am trying to eat fewer carbs and at the same time know what it is when I eat it. Most of the ingredients in a “diet” food bar contains so many things that I would have to Google most of the ingredients just to find out what it was. This cake recipe sounds great and looks like most of the carbs would come from the honey. I would rather take my carbs in the form of something real rather than processed. 🙂

      • jalenna

        plus I hate to say this… but, for the south beach diet bars…I wouldn’t buy them even though they were a MM recently with a deal scenario and even though I had already taken the time of printing and cutting the coupons. Unfortunately, I looked at the ingredients… and gasped… “Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, High Oleic Sunflower Oil”. AKA: hydrogenated oils !!

        I thought, well… there goes the reputation for the south beach diet. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised as I later noticed they were produced by Kraft Foods.

        Speaking of which I just saw an ad for SBD bars that said “Healthy never looked so good”. So perhaps MO (above) could call those bars healthy. 🙂

  19. Melissa

    Collin, with the Paello diet are you able to find coupons for the gluten free items and for all the baking ingredients.

  20. nanny901

    HI This cake looks so good. I have a daughter that is allergic to gluten, but we also have nut allergies in our home. How can I swap out the almond flour for gluten free flour? This is a new allergy and I haven’t tried much baking for her that wasn’t a box mix. Any ideas? She loves dark chocolate too!

  21. MEG

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I have always been a good cook but I have Celiac Disease so cooking with subsitutes is all new and not the same. It is like learning how to cook all over again =). Always looking for new and good recipes and im a chocoaloic lol But thank you again Collin!!

  22. Mae :o)

    Thanks… this is awesome Collin !

  23. Amy D.

    This is a little late, but I just wanted to let you know that you really shouldn’t use raw honey in baking because it shouldn’t be heated. The reason that it is better than processed honey is because all of its nutrients are still in tact. When you heat it up, it loses all of it’s nutrients. That makes it just like processed honey. Agave nectar would be better. Light agave nectar tastes almost exactly like honey but has a lower glycemic index.

  24. STACY

    How do you think these would bake (without the topping) in cupcake form? Always looking to improve my all natural cupcakes because that is what we use for all birthday parties. Thanks!

  25. Melanie

    Really cool to try making this recipe. I am trying to make healthy versions of any comfort food for my hubby (the Heart patient). I under cooked it in the beginning and ultimately overcooked it. I will try it again. I love cacao. My hubby uses it in his homemade Mocha Coffee. cacao and honey. Yummy. It has a dark chocolate flare for sure.

  26. CO Mama

    Collin, OMG, YUMMM! I just made this & it is AH-mazing! Thanks for sharing!

    1/2c. Honey wasn’t quite sweet enough for me–guess I must have a real sweet tooth : ) So I added 4 drops vanilla cream stevia & it seemed to do the trick.

  27. Monique A

    This was absolutely amazing with some homemade icing the first time I made it. For some reason, I followed the method the exact same way the second time I made it, but I ended up with a jelly layer at the bottom of my cake. I threw out that cake and proceeded to make another and the same thing happened! Has anyone had this problem? Perhaps it has something to do with the coconut oil?

    • Mae :o)

      It could be something to do with the seasons changing. Some recipes are highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations. You threw out the last few cake(s)? Wow.. sounds like it would be good with some ice cream scooped on top on those fudged moments.. I would totally dig that. So back to your coconut oil suggestion.. did you use a different brand the first time you made it?

  28. Emma

    Is the chocolate cake more towards dry or is it pretty juicy/oozy chocolatey?

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