The Accidental Chocolate Cake (grain-free, dairy-free)

Ali Segersten Mar 09, 2012 54 comments
Grain-Free Paleo Chocolate Almond Butter Cake

A few weeks ago, the night before Valentine's Day, my daughters asked me to make cupcakes and frosting to give out to their friends at school. I had an idea to make a healthy frosting using almond butter and coconut oil. Thinking that I needed to chill the frosting for a while before spreading it onto the cupcakes, I made it first. A few hours later I took it out of the refrigerator to whip up into what I thought would be this beautiful, light, and fluffy frosting. For a second it did look like that, and then the oil began separating. My girls tried it and said it tasted good, like brownies, and that I should bake it!

I was so busy that night that I didn't have time so I got to it the next morning, on Valentine's Day. I decided to add two eggs and put it in the oven....and voila....a beautiful, moist, tender chocolate cake emerged! I took photos of it that day (what you see here) and planned on testing it one more time before posting it. We then took a trip to visit family for nearly two weeks. I tested it there and everyone loved it. My dad said I should call it "the accidental chocolate cake!"

I've been so busy finishing the new cookbook that I have not had much time to post to my blog. Over the next month I have a few guest posts scheduled. After the book is done, I'll be back. In the meantime, enjoy this yummy cake!


About the Author

Ali Segersten

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. She is a Functional Nutritionist, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Alissa is the founder and owner of Nourishing Meals®.

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I've made them into cupcakes and they work great....just reduce the baking time. :)

Yes! I have doubled the recipe often...great for a layer cake (frosted with my Chocolate Avocado Frosting from my Nourishing Meals cookbook). :)

Thanks so much for your feedback Rebecca! The cake is amazing isn't it! :)

Just made this. Delicious!!! I can't believe how much it's like regular chocolate cake!!

I think someone is using your recipe at this link (possibly without attribution):

Can you double this recipe?

Has anyone made this recipe into cupcakes? does it rise at all?

Haha. I also made it for my boyfriend's birthday in February :) The best chocolate cake ever!

I just made this cake for my boyfriend's birthday and I have to say it's amazing! Very moist with a texture so similar to a wheat flour cake! Thank you for a truly happy accident :)

OMG, that was one of the best things I've ever had. It can't be that high in calories, right? This is my new healthy go to sweet snack. Thank you!

I made this and it is wonderful! I'm so happy. I only want to find GF recipes that taste fabulous! Even my husband who is not GF, doesn't hate it and that is saying a LOT! Thank you!

Hi Ali & Tom,

This recipe was amazing - truly! a keeper for sure. I was wondering if you can explain to me a bit of the "science" behind your grain-free (yet super moist & cake-like) recipe? I appreciate any insight.

Thank you SO much!

This may be the best accident EVER! I just made this and am still in shock at how simple, healthy and totally delicious it is. Before eating my baked goods, my husband usually asks me if it is "real" - meaning does it taste like a traditionally unhealthy cake from a boxed mix or something full of butter and white sugar instead of my version made with beans or other "secret ingredients." Well, he just ate this and LOVED it. He says it our new go-to chocolate cake. I mixed it an electric mixer and beaters and omitted the almond extract since I didn't have any. Delicious! Thank you!

Wow! Just discovered this little gem of a recipe on your site last week. Bought the roasted almond butter and whipped up the cake. I ate the WHOLE thing in 3 days! That has got to stop. Since this recipe is too expensive for my budget it will now be saved as a special treat for something like Christmas Eve. And, the next time I'll be sure to freeze most of it immediately so I can actually enjoy it for longer than 3 days.

You are amazing and so is this recipe. Thanks for sharing this with us!

You can actually buy whole almonds and grid them down into a butter yourself to make almond butter since your son has peanut allergies. Making it yourself is way cheaper and super easy. I add in Coconut oil to my almonds when grinding them myself to make it more creamy ;)

I wonder how this would work with ground whole almonds or unsweetened creamy soynut butter instead of almond butter. My son is allergic to peanuts and some treenuts which all almond butters I've ever seen may contain.

I'm just baking this now! Made a few tweaks using honey instead of maple and peanutbutter (Wizzed it up myself) instead of almond butter. So far so good, in fact it's suprisingly good. I'm not allergic to dairy or wheat but making for friends who are. Can't wait to eat it with them <3 x

Macadamia oil tastes great in sweets (and would work with the almond butter flavor) or try a more tasteless oil like grapeseed

Hi meg I am going to try making it with rice malt syrup instead as it is fructose free. It is available at Coles in the health food isle. Or online health food stores. Use the same amount as maple syrup or a little bit more if you like it sweet (I usually just substitute the same amount)

Thanks for this great recipe! I made it with carob powder instead of cocoa and it turned out great!

Could you let me know what I could substitute for the Maple Syrup? I'm trying to make this sugar free as well. Thanks!

This cake is amazing. Made two and layered with organic grassed chocolate buttercream frosting for a birthday cake. It was a huge hit. Lighter and fluffier than I thought it was going to be. This cake is brilliant!

I just made this using chia in place of the eggs, stevia and apple sauce in place of the maple syrup and carob powder in place of cocoa powder. It did turn out dense (more like a fudgy brownie) but it tastes amazing. Thanks for another great recipe!

I feel like I only have one comment for everything on your blog - You're Amazing!!!!

Sorry to keep repeating myself :)

Where is the chocolate?

Deeeelicious! I made this as soon as I saw it--easy peasy! I had roasted cashew butter on hand but not almond butter, so that was my only substitution. The batter seemed very thick so I was worried it wouldn't be very cake-like (and figured I could blame my cashew butter consistency) but it turned out wonderfully. We've been snacking on it all weekend! I wondered if it would be sweet enough as written and it really is! Thanks for a great recipe.

Every once in a while when I'm out of eggs, I substitute a banana and have great results when baking. Bananas would also sweeten this recipe which would be great for those looking to substitute sweeteners as well. I can't wait to try this recipe!

I'm newer to your site but I've tried a few things here and there. I'm so truly grateful for a site such as yours! I made this cake today and I must say it was AMAZING! It tastes so much lighter and cleaner :) I was worried about it not being quite sweet enough for my little ones so I made a few adjustments. I added 1 Tbsp of coconut sugar and 2 teaspoons of unsweetened applesauce. It turned out great!! Thank you so much for such a great, easy to follow recipe! Oh, btw, I used a hand mixer also and had no problem for those of you who may not have a food processor. Happy cooking everyone!

Laura - try melted butter or ghee in place of the coconut oil. :)

Oops! I read flour in place of oil. Do you recommend another oil? Olive oil just doesn't taste right in sweets.

Oh, accidental successes are my very favorite, Ali! :-) This cake looks fabulous ... right up my alley ... and I see you have one great review here from someone who has already made it! You can't have more proof of its goodness than that. ;-)

Thanks so much for linking it to our GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group and the mention on that!


Sounds like a delicious accident! :)

Sounds great, but I'm allergic to coconut. Which "flour" do you think would work best as a substitute? Thanks!

Made this cake today for visiting family. It's moist and delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Thanks for this interesting recipe... I can't wait to make it for my daughter who is GF & DF.

You could try this by replacing the syrup with well-mashed banana or applesauce and add in 25-30 drops stevia. Let me know how it works. :)

Almond flavoring is an organic non-alcoholic extract - not quite as strong as almond extract made with alcohol.

Not sure about making this egg-free. You might try 2 chia eggs - the cake might end up more like dense fudge brownies this way, let me know how it turns out if you try it. :)

This looks soooo delicious - I can't wait to try making this!

Quick question: is almond flavoring the same thing as almond extract?


Sarah :)

Oh, yummy! My poor daughter may be able to have chocolate cake again! But, the only sweetener she can tolerate is pure stevia. If I leave out the syrup, would I sub with the same amount of milk or other liquid?

Is there a way to make it fully sugar free? Like maybe using Stevia?

This sounds delicious! And so easy! My favorite combination :) Thanks for the great work.

I was hoping you could help me with an allergy question. I have been eating grain and dairy free (and sugar) for 41 days. I was planning on adding each back in one at a time. I ended up traveling and eating at someone else's house, so both got added back in. I woke up to acne on my chin, an upset tummy, and my husband said my breathing was bad last night. I also struggle with fatigue. Do these symptoms point to one allergy more than the other one?
Also, how do you deal with eating well when traveling?
I appreciate you taking the time to help me.

I'd love to see a substitute too!

I love happy accidents! This sounds great.

It's probably good, like virtually everything from your blog, but this one is just to rich in calories (using Almond Butter vs. flours). There are so many other recipes that are fastastic without this many calories --- unless you are using it as an energy bar or something.

Speaking of there anything to substitute for them if you want to make it vegan?

Thanks for finding my error! I did forget the eggs. My mind is too much on the new book right now to write a good post.....just updated the post. :)

The recipe doesn't have eggs but you said you added 2 eggs. I wanted to make this but didn't know which was correct. thanks and I love your recipes! says it has eggs in your description but none in the recipe...typo? As per usual, this looks delish!

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