Paleo Chocolate Cake

Paleo Chocolate Cake. Gluten-Free!

So there’s this gene that men don’t have, called The Chocolate Cake Gene. I mean, I’m sure some men occasionally enjoy a piece of chocolate cake, but they don’t need it, do they? Some men (like my husband) don’t even care if they never have a piece of chocolate cake again. Which is crazy to me. Crazy. Because sometimes I’m just going along, and then WHAM! All of the sudden it hits me: Eat a piece of chocolate cake! Right? Like usually at night. Why is that?

In the old days when I lived on WD&S (wheat, dairy, and refined sugar), I would have a box of Duncan Hines cake mix just sitting in the cabinet for chocolate cake meltdowns moments like these. However, since it’s been over 9 years now that I’ve been a recovered WD&S addict (funny, but true), I usually turn to a piece of 80% dark chocolate or yes, sometimes I whip up my most popular chocolate cake recipe (that would be this one :-) ) at 8PM. Then I eat some of the batter while I wait impatiently for it to bake so I can have a nice warm slice the second it’s cool enough to touch.

This cake is basically my chocolate cupcake recipe from Paleo Chocolate Lovers’. I just used a bundt pan, and arrowroot in place of chia meal. If you like healthier chocolate recipes, check out my book! What I love about this recipe is that I never feel guilty eating it :-) I mean seriously, look at these ingredients—have you ever seen a healthier chocolate cake?!

Paleo Chocolate Cake

nut-free | gluten-free | dairy-free
from my Paleo Chocolate Lovers Cookbook

Dry Ingredients
3/4 cups cocoa powder (sift if it’s lumpy)
NOTE: the cake above is very dark because I used this organic black cocoa powder
1/3 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/3 cup tapioca or arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients
5 eggs
1 cup applesauce with no added sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon liquid vanilla stevia
1/4 cup melted coconut oil

OPTIONAL: You know how we love stevia, but it is possible to omit the stevia from this recipe. If you omit the stevia then increase the honey to 3/4 cup, and decrease the applesauce to 1/2 cup :-)

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the wet ingredients, adding the melted coconut oil last.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and combine them with the electric mixer.
  5. Grease a Bundt pan. Note: I use a ceramic Bundt pan that I bought on eBay because I avoid nonstick coatings whenever possible. If your Bundt pan isn’t ceramic, your baking time may differ.
  6. Sift 2 tablespoons cocoa powder into the greased Bundt pan. Tap the pan to coat evenly, and shake out the excess.
  7. Pour the batter evenly into the pan and bake for about 40 minutes.
  8. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, and go around all the edges (especially the center) with a butter knife to make sure that they are loose.
  9. Place a small wire cooling rack over the top of the pan, and carefully flip the cake over onto the rack. Remove the pan, and put the cake in the freezer for about 30 minutes. (The cool surface will help the white chocolate stick as it runs down the sides.)

Dairy-free White Chocolate Drizzle

1/2 cup cacao butter
1 teaspoon honey

1. In a double boiler, melt the cacao butter and honey.
2. When the white chocolate is just melted, remove it from the heat.
3. Let the white chocolate cool to room temperature for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.
4. Remove the cake from the freezer, and slowly pour about 1/3 of the white chocolate over top.
5. Put the cake back in the freezer for a few minutes, or until the white chocolate is white.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 two more times.
7. Serve right away.

NOTE: If the cake becomes warm, and the white chocolate starts to melt, just put it in the freezer again for a few minutes, and the white chocolate will become white again.

Store the cake covered at room temperature.

♥, Kelly coupon


  1. Lisa says

    Can I substitute anything for the eggs and honey? I know that’s a crazy request but my dad is on a dairy free – no eggs and no sugar diet. Only Stevia or Xylitol. Thanks!

  2. Sara says

    I was wondering if this would taste good with mint in it…would you say it lends itself to the idea of adding some pure mint extract?

  3. Jen says

    This looks delicious! Would I be able to substitute flax “eggs” for the eggs? I need a birthday cake recipe for my kids that is GF, DF, nut free, and egg free…hard to come by!

  4. Joy says

    The cake is absolutely beautiful! I’m going to try it this afternoon! We have just recently in last year went completely paleo due to our youngest daughters food allergies and health issues. The only thing that is hard for me is two of my children do not like coconut! Do all of your baked things taste like coconut?
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! Can’t wait to see how my family likes it!

    • says

      The interesting thing about coconut is: the more you eat it, the less you taste it. We seriously don’t notice the flavor of coconut anymore.

      • Joy says

        I made this tonight and it was a huge hit!! No coconut flavor at all! Even my child who can’t stand coconut loves it! I just ordered yur book today! Thank you so much for sharing! Your blog is a blessing to me!

  5. says

    I know, what is it with men missing that gene? Every time I make chocolate anything (apart from chocolate chip cookies), it seems my fiance would rather pass. Sugar cookies, on the other hand, he’s obsessed with. I do not understand it.

    Thanks for sharing this healthy recipe! And you’re right, totally guilt-free.

  6. Shari says

    I am so bummed. This looks wonderful. I don’t tolerate coconut flour. I have no problems
    with coconut. Every time I make something with coconut flour, I have serious stomach issues, so does my daughter.
    Anyone else?

  7. Katiria says

    WHOA!!!!! Hold the presses!!! Did I just read this correctly in the comments?!?!?! Chia Meal to replace starch in the recipe (arrowroot/tapioca)???? Please, pretty please explain this to me. We moved to a part of the US due to my husbands job that doesn’t sell much anything healthy and shipping is a B price wise (USPS is nightmare here!) I CAN get chia seeds relatively easier… would I do the substituting this is the 1st time I’ve seen it mentioned anywhere! I like Paleo lifestyle recipes but I need low carb too. Thank you so very much!!!

  8. Lydia says

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you for making something so fabulous WITHOUT nuts!! Almonds don’t sit well with me (even when I soak and dehydrate) – THANK YOU.

  9. Marisa says

    Made this for my family and it was delicious! My husband was actually impressed and the kids thought it was such an indulgence. Instead of the drizzle I sprinkled a handful of chocolate chips in the batter. Thank you so much for a great recipe!!

  10. Leslie says

    Kelly, I can’t wait to try this, but really can’t have honey. You mentioned using more applesauce. How much would you use if you don’t use the honey?

  11. Agnes says

    Hi Kelly,
    I would like to make this cake, but without the applesauce. What do you think I could use instead of that? I don’t need its sweetness. Maybe coconut cream?

  12. says

    Wow, I just made this cake and replaced the applesauce and stevia with 1 cup of pureed banana. It still came out absolutely delicious, moist, spongy and perfect. Not too sweet, but like a decent bar of extra dark chocolate. Yum! Thanks for sharing, Kelly!!

  13. Ali says

    Just made this. Smells amazing!! Unfortunately I have to wait until tomorrow to taste it as it is a birthday surprise. I’ll probably put a peanut butter frosting on it.

  14. Joyce says

    All those questions on substitutions!! And you are so patient about it. I wonder if there is some resource you could refer people to for those kinds of things rather than have to respond to each one. And I know from other blogs as well that you and others spend many hours to refine your recipe so that it looks and tastes as you want it–using the ingredients you have given. You of course can’t try all those alternatives! My best wishes to you– Ms. Patience!

    • says

      Marilyn, You could do a control “P” to print the page, or select it, control “c” and paste in a word document, then print it.
      Good luck! Kelly

  15. Stacey K. says

    Oh, wow. This is amazing. I departed from it a little–no Stevia for me, and didn’t have the stuff to make the glaze–but it’s decadent. The mouthfeel is perfect.

  16. Marlene says

    I Love your new book The Paleo Chocolate Lovers Cookbook I have made a few of the recipes they are all really good . Today I made the abundant Cake with Ganache and discovered as I reading through the recipe and putting together the ingredients that Cocoa powder is not listed in the recipe I took a guess and put in 1/2 cup it looks great but have not cut into it yet . Just wanted to let you know if you aren’t already aware of it.

    Thank You for all your great recipes

  17. Dianna says

    I made this cake on Sunday and OMG it is super yummy! I’ve been eating paleo for a little over 2 years and this is the very first chocolate cake/baked product that I can actually eat! Yay! I made a xylitol glaze that didn’t quite come out perfect, but it was still very yummy. I’ll have to order cocoa butter to try the frosting recipe, because it isn’t available in my area. I love your recipes, and your photos are lovely too! Thanks for making paleo recipes that taste yummy.

  18. Ka says

    This cake… OMG! I made it one night after work, and we started eating it, still warm from the oven, while we were cooking dinner. Dessert before dinner! This cake makes you want to break all the rules. It is probably the most perfect Paleo cake of any kind that I have ever made. I brought some to work and my non-Paleo coworkers were blown away by how good a “healthy” cake could be. I’ve loved your site for a while now, but this cake made me finally take the plunge and purchase your cookbook. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful, delicious, inspired recipes!

  19. mel says

    Looks fantastic. Could I please have clarification on whether it is 1/4 cup of coconut oil before melting or after?

  20. says

    This looks lovely and I’m going to make it the very next chocolate cake I make! Thanks for sharing with those of us who have tried in vain to find a really GOOD low-carb chocolate cake.

  21. says

    Chia in place of what starch? I don’t see what it could sub for. Also, to make this low carb, I wanted to use Swerve in place of the honey, but what could I use in place of the applesauce? I was wondering about zuchinni? Thanks!

    • Kim says

      I think that would be the tapioca/arrowroot. I would think you could use peeled/seeded zucchini puree in place of the applesauce; I was thinking of trying that myself, as well as the chia meal. And for the honey you could sub vegetable glycerin (food grade).

  22. Kathleen says

    I’m not a fan of stevia — would it hurt to leave it out of the cake recipe and maybe just sub in some honey or maple syrup?

  23. says

    My son follows the SCD but I have started adding some Paleo items and he’s still doing great. I do not want to use the arrowroot ingredient. Can you tell me what I could replace this with that is SCD legal? Thanks.

  24. Sharon says

    Sorry to be the one to ask (as I am sure you have been asked before), but, does Stevia taste bitter in baking? My only experience of it was in coffee and I couldn’t get past that bitter flavor. Even the stuff that was labeled non-bitter. Thanks!

  25. Sharon says

    Thanks Kelly! I made this into cupcakes tonight with your date and cashew chocolate frosting. They are sooo decadent! I am excited. My daughter has a lot of intolerances as does my nursing little son. With birthdays coming I wanted to try out some options. She can’t handle egg yolks and can’t take dairy except for yogurt so I just subbed in some yogurt in place of the yolks. And you’re right, the stevia isn’t noticeable. Thanks again, I know a lot of hard work goes in to creating these recipes!

  26. Renee says

    I just made the cake. Mine turned out about half the height that it looks in the picture. What did I do wrong? It smells divine!

  27. Jami says

    This looks wonderful! Just like a favorite cake my aunt makes, but her ingredients aren’t nearly as healthful! I do appreciate you taking the time to put such awesome recipes together for us! Of course, I have a question. DO you happen to know if this cake can be made with just egg yolks, no whites? Do you have any experience baking with only the yolks? I’d just sub flax meal but, ugh, I have sensitivity to egg whites, flax and dairy, not yolks (pull my hair out). If not, I’ll just have to do some experimenting:) Thanks!!!

  28. Kerry says

    Made this today. I used your tip of more honey and less applesauce instead of Stevia. I also used my favorite silicone bunt pan, worked great. It was a big hit with my family. Thank you for a great recipe!!

  29. Alina Novak says

    Hi Kelly,
    I am going to make it as a B day cake for my husband tomorrow. Therefore I am going to use a round 8 inches form. Would the baking time be the same?
    I love your book BTW!
    Thank you.

  30. Amanda O says

    Love love love this cake! I’ve now made it three times, it’s a fail safe recipe that doesn’t disappoint. I used my chocolate raspberry liquid stevia instead of vanilla and is still great. Hope you ship to Australia because I NEED to buy this book! Thank you Kelly :-)

  31. Christina Sciarrillo says

    Can I use raw cacao powder in place of cocoa powder? Would I need more sweetener?

    • says

      They’re interchangeable. Cacao powder and cocoa powder are the same stuff. They’re just prepared differently. They do differ in terms of pH, but that doesn’t affect my recipes.

  32. Jennifer says

    Has anyone tried to make this in regular cake pans? I’d like to try making it in 9″ rounds as a layer cake. I imagine I will need to double (or perhaps 1.5 times) the ingredients. If anyone has tried this, let me know. Thank you! :)

    • says

      I used this recipe to make a birthday cake the other day in 9-inch round pans.

      I doubled the recipe, used arrowroot powder instead of tapioca, and didn’t make the drizzle. Other than that, I didn’t substitute any of the ingredients.

      I greased and put cocoa in two 9-inch round cake pans and divided the batter evenly between the two. I ended up baking them a bit shorter, maybe 25-30 minutes at 325 F.

      They baked up tall enough that I think you could slice each layer into two, but I left them to just make a 2-layer cake. I frosted with buttercream since I don’t have dairy issues.

      Hope this helps someone! It’s fairly dense, but that’s kind of expected with a coconut flour cake, and the layers are pretty sturdy to work with.

      I’ll definitely use this recipe again!!!

  33. says

    I made this recipe last week (as cupcakes) and it was really delicious. Texture was great, too. I skipped the glaze and used coconut butter as “frosting.” Will definitely make again — yum.

  34. Crystal says

    I’ve always been meaning to try your recipes and I’m glad this one was my first!! I didn’t make the glaze but the cake was already delicious enough, so moist and dense – tastes even better the next day :)

  35. Buffi says

    Thanks so much for this recipe! My friend has a lot of food allergies/issues but I was able to make it for her birthday today. I didn’t get to try it but she said it was amazing.

    Just wondering about the use of the electric mixer. I mixed by hand, but would the outcome have been different (ie lighter or airier) if I had used my Kitchen Aid?

  36. Grace says

    My husband want a “german chic cake” for his bd – so I added some maple syrup, roasted pecan bits and shredded coconut to the frosting. Pretty dang yummy!! Thank you.

  37. Beth says

    Thank you for creating and sharing such a delicious recipe!

    I made this last week (as written) for the cake part of a piecake. We saw a Thanksgiving episode of The Chew and they made a “chocolate pumpkin pecan piecake” and we decided we wanted one for our tday dinner. Of course it had to be Paleo-ized! And of course we had to do a trial run (hehe any excuse for chocolate)! So, I used your cake recipe for the outer cake and kind of wung it with the pumpkin pecan pie interior. Your cake was DELICIOUS. Moist, chocolaty and had great texture. I will definitely use this recipe again for other special occasions. Thank you!!

  38. Annie says

    I am making this for my paleo husband’s birthday and am unfamiliar with arrowroot or tapioca. Are they in the form of flour? Sorry, I am not a paleo cook and only know tapioca pudding!

  39. Lisa says

    Hi Kelly, this has to be the cake I make for hubby’s birthday! He is craving a chocolate coffee sponge cake layered with coffee buttercream.
    How could I best add a coffee flavour to this chocolate Paleo cake (I am thinking some coffee granules dissolved in water but I know you have to be careful with how much liquid you use versus coconut flour).

    Could I also add a coffee flavour to your chocolate date frosting?

    Thanks heaps!!


  40. susan says

    Is this cake supposed to rise? I made it in a bundt pan, just took it out of the oven and it doesn’t appeared to have risen much and I am wondering if it will be very dense. We have a lot of food allergies in my family and I made it for my diabetic/dairy allergic mother’s birthday – she is on a low-no carb diet. I subbed chia meal for the tapioca and increased applesauce and stevia to omit the honey. We’ll see how it came out :) thanks for the recipe, there are several of us with different food allergies and dietary restrictions and it is really hard to find a dessert for everyone.

  41. Valeska says

    OMG this cake was delicious!!! Made it without the stevia and followed the instructions for the substitutions. It was moist and very chocolatey!! My husband absolutely loved it and couldn’t believe it was Paleo. Made it with a dark chocolate glaze instead and it was gorgeous! Can’t wait to make it again :-)

  42. Terri says

    This will be my 1st time to bake with coconut flour. A friend has advised me to Follow the directions on the coconut flour for eggs, adding more eggs than what your recipe calls for. ( does this make sense?) she said for this recipe use a total of 7 eggs.

  43. Crystal says

    If I wanted to make this without stevia or honey, could I just add extra applesauce? I’m doing the 21 day sugar detox and want to try to make this compliant 😉

  44. Marlo says

    Hi, has anyone replaced the eggs with success? I saw one person was going to try the psyllium husk. I already am replacing the applesauce due to an allergy and my son can’t have eggs either. I thought I was doing pretty good with making paleo treats and now I feel like I’m drowning not being able to use eggs.

  45. Lisa says

    What type of white chocolate do you use and how much? Just saw it mentioned in the drizzle instructions. Not seeing an ingredient listing for it with the details. Thank you!

  46. Michelle says

    Instead of the cocao butter can i use white chocolate chips (not paleo) and honey… same measurements?

  47. Erin says

    Kelly –
    This cake is fantastic. Thank you so much for your hard work creating recipes – and offering some of them for free! I am buying your book now!

  48. Sharon says

    So excited to try this recipe! How do I adapt the cookie time and temp for regular-sized muffin tins? I’m going to order your book now but want to make these muffins sooner than I receive the book! Yummy!

  49. Eleni says

    This recipe sounds yum! I am definitely going to give it a whirl … I’ve gone thru all the feedback but can’t find answer I’m looking for … Can I freeze this cake (or cupcake variation) and if so, for how long?

  50. Dawn says

    I made this cake today for fathers day and it was one of the worst cakes I’ve ever made. I followed the recipe exactly but the cake came out dry and just not good. Not enough liquid in the recipe and it didn’t even rise. Such a disappointment :(

    • says

      Hi Dawn, I’m sorry that it didn’t turn out well. I hope you’ll give it another try. It’s one of my most popular recipes. :)

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