Classic Chocolate Cake {Grain/Dairy/Soy/Nut/Refined Sugar Free}

This Classic Nut Free & Paleo Chocolate Cake is soft, tender, and rich with a either a chocolate buttercream or ganche frosting.

Classic Paleo & Nut Free Chocolate Cake

I know I haven’t posted any new recipes in awhile, we have been super busy and dealing with a lot of sickness. But if you want to keep up with me even when I’m not posting new recipes, you should check out my pinterest board. I’ve been making and pinning lots of older recipes from my site along with posting a lot of really yummy looking recipes to try. We have especially been enjoying these blueberry muffins 🙂

Now, let’s get down to business – cake!!!

Chocolate Cake:

Somehow I got started looking at chocolate cake recipes on Pinterest and decided I REALLY WANTED CHOCOLATE CAKE!!! I was going to make my original recipe, but you can always improve right? I decided I wanted my cake to be sweeter and have a lighter, more tender crumb so it would be more like a traditional chocolate cake. To do this I simply doubled the honey and added some grain free baking powder and a homemade dairy free buttermilk .

Those small changes made it taste just like an old fashioned classic chocolate cake that your grandmother would make! WE LOVED IT!!! Am I yelling too much? Sorry, I’m just really excited 🙂


You can’t have the most awesome cake without the perfect frosting. So for the frosting I used a combination of cocoa powder and dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chips for an intensely chocolate taste. I used Earth Balance butter to make it really rich and creamy but I’d imagine it would work with non-hydrogenated shortening as well. It’s rich, sweet, and slightly hardens when it comes to room temperature, similar to a ganache – SO YUMMY 🙂 If you’d rather have a creamy chocolate buttercream frosting though, I have an option for that too!

And if that wasn’t enough, I have yet another reason why this recipe is so awesome – the whole thing can be made the day before!!!! Yeah, you heard me! Just bake the cake as directed and when it has cooled completely wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperate. I told you this cake was special 🙂

I’m thinking this will be my new go-to dessert that I bake for friends, family, and special occasions 🙂

Here are the directions:


Start by preheating the oven and preparing the pans. I didn’t line my pans with parchment but next time I will, as the cake stuck just a tiny bit. I used smaller 8 inch round pans, I’m not sure if there’s enough batter to use larger pans. If you do, I would make a single-layer cake and adjust he baking time 🙂

[I could have sworn that I took a picture of this, just pretend I have one!!! 🙂 ]

Then, whisk together the flours, salt, soda, powder, and cinnamon. The cinnamon isn’t required, but it gives it something special!


Then heat the water in a saucepan until it boils. When it boils, remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder and coconut oil until melted and smooth. Set it aside to cool.


Mix together the dairy free milk with the vinegar to make a homemade buttermilk, then add the eggs, honey, and vanilla.


Stir the cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients so it cools then add the egg mixture. Mix until smooth. Divide batter between pans and bake about 30 minutes. Please ignore how terrible this picture is!


For the frosting, just melt some cocoa powder in boiling water and melt a 10 oz. bag of Enjoy Life chocolate chips. Then, beat 1 C of Earth Balance butter with 2 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled cocoa mixture and melted chocolate. Place the frosting in the fridge just until firm enough to spread. If you leave it in too long, don’t fret! Just place it in the microwave on Defrost until it’s soft enough to stir. Beat with hand-held beaters and frost as desired. I’ve made it both ways and the frosting seems to harden more when you skip the defrost step, but both ways are super yummy 🙂 And there you have it, a totally awesome grain free classic chocolate cake!!!

*CLICK HERE for a Paleo Buttercream Chocolate Frosting that does not harden.

pin for later:

Classic Chocolate Cake {Grain/Dairy/Soy/Nut/Refined Sugar Free}

*The frosting I used below is similar to a ganache and slightly hardens. However, I have a link to a Paleo Buttercream Chocolate Frosting above that is soft and creamy if you prefer to use that frosting instead.**For grain free baking powder combine 1 part baking soda to 2 parts cream of tartar and 2 parts arrowroot, tapioca, or potato flour.
4.58 from 7 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free and nut free chocolate cake, gluten free and nut free chocolate cake recipe, gluten free chocolate cake recipe, paleo and nut free chocolate cake, paleo and nut freee chocolate cake recipe, paleo chocolate cake recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 760kcal

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  • 1/2 C Coconut Flour
  • 1/3 C + 1 Tbsp Arrowroot Flour Tapioca MAY work
  • 5 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder heaping
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 3/4 Tsp. Baking Powder grain free
  • 1/4 Tsp. Sea Salt
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 1 C Honey coat or spray measuring cup with oil for easy measuring
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 1/2 C Dairy Free Milk
  • 1 Tsp. Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp. Pure Vanilla
  • 1/3 C Coconut Oil refined



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line 2 8 inch pie pans (if using a large pie pan, only use 1) with parchment paper, spray with cooking oil or grease with coconut oil, and dust with cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the dairy free milk and vinegar, this is our "buttermilk". Place in fridge.
  • In a very large bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, arrowroot flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • Bring the 1/2 C of water to a boil in a small saucepan. When it reaches a boil remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder and coconut oil until smooth and melted.
  • Get the buttermilk out of the fridge and stir in the eggs, honey, and vanilla.
  • Stir the cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients first to cool, then the egg mixture. Beat until smooth and there are no more lumps.. Batter will be thin.
  • Pour the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans. Bake 28 - 35 minutes or until center of cake springs back to the touch.
  • Cool Completely.


  • Place cocoa powder in a small bowl.
  • Bring the water to a boil and pour over the cocoa powder, stirring until smooth. Set aside.
  • Place the chocolate chips in a large microwaveable bowl.
  • Heat for 25 seconds, stir, and repeat until chocolate is smooth and melted. DO NOT heat for longer (trust me!) or your chocolate will turn hard and be ruined! Set aside.
  • Beat the butter and maple syrup until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the cooled cocoa mixture (which is VERY thick), melted chocolate, and vanilla. Mix well.
  • If batter is too thin, transfer to the microwaveable bowl used to melt the chocolate chips and place in fridge until just stiff enough to spread as it thickens. Frosting thickens and hardens after frosting, 10 - 20 minutes

**If you put it in the fridge too long and it hardens, place it in the microwave on DEFROST until just soft enough to mix and beat with a hand held mixer, this method still hardens but not quite as much.**

    Tried this recipe?Mention @CassidysCraveableCreations or tag #CassidysCraveableCreations!
    Nutrition Facts
    Classic Chocolate Cake {Grain/Dairy/Soy/Nut/Refined Sugar Free}
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 760 Calories from Fat 441
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 49g 75%
    Saturated Fat 32g 160%
    Cholesterol 180mg 60%
    Sodium 298mg 12%
    Potassium 317mg 9%
    Total Carbohydrates 81g 27%
    Dietary Fiber 10g 40%
    Sugars 38g
    Protein 10g 20%
    Vitamin A 3.6%
    Vitamin C 0.3%
    Calcium 7.2%
    Iron 29.6%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

    Nutritional information is approximate and may vary.

    this post is part of Whole Food Fridays, Healing With Food, Fat Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, and Gluten Free Fridays

    Posted January 9, 2014 by Cassidy in Cupcakes & Frostings, Desserts, Nut Free, Paleo / 60 Comments


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    60 responses to “Classic Chocolate Cake {Grain/Dairy/Soy/Nut/Refined Sugar Free}

    1. Hima

      Hi Cassidy! Would I be able to turn this recipe into cupcakes? How long should I bake them if so?
      Thank you!

    2. Jill

      Hi, Cassidy.
      This cake looks so delicious! I’m new to the Paleo lifestyle and I’m avoiding all sugar. Is there a substitute for the chocolate chips?

      • Hi Jill!

        While I have not tried it and don’t know if it would work in this recipe, I’ve read that some people use carob pieces/chips in place of chocolate chips and carob powder in place cocoa powder, but you would have to buy the unsweetened carob chips so it would be considerably less sweet even though carob does have some natural sweetness, unlike chocolate. If you try it let me know how it turns out!!! Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!


    3. Christi

      This recipe is amazing!! I made it for the second time today for my husband’s birthday. We are newly dairy and gluten free and this is truly so decadent that we don’t feel like we are having to compromise on flavor to meet our dietary needs!!

    4. Joy

      This cake looks amazing!! I’m gonna make it for Valentine’s Day! 🙂
      I have a question about coconut oil! When a recipe asks for coconut oil, I’m never sure if they mean the liquid one or the hard one! Which one should I use? Somehow I have this idea in my mind that there’s something bad in the liquid coconut oil they put in there to keep it liquid. I think I read something somewhere but can’t remember what it was… 😉 do you know anything about that? Maybe it’s just because “refined” sounds processed to me.

      • Hi Joy! I use the hard coconut oil. I only say to use refined so it won’t have a coconut taste but you can use virgin coconut oil if you prefer. Hope this helps and you love the cake as much as we do 🙂 …I’ve never used the liquid coconut oil and don’t know much about it, sorry!


    5. Roxy

      Hi! I made this cake for my mom, but I accidentally put 1 C of water instead of 1/2 C of water. I didn’t catch it till I was string it and the hole thing came out like soup! But even then 1/2 C of water shouldn’t make it that watery. Can it?

      • Hi Roxy, I’m sorry the extra water made it like soup 🙁 This cake is extremely moist and the extra water could have put it over the edge to make it come out like soup, so sorry. Hope it turns out better next time!

    6. Crystal

      When I cooked all the batter in a 9″ circular pan I had to DOUBLE the cooking time… but it was well worth the wait, this cake is amazing! So moist and delicious, I can’t believe it’s paleo!

      • Hi Tanis, sorry it’s taken me so long to get back with you!!! …I used almond milk, but I’m sure coconut milk would work just as well 🙂


    7. Angela

      Hi Cassidy!
      I made this cake w/the buttercream frosting for my husbands b-day last week. He doesn’t have to be dairy free – but I do, and being the wonderful guy he is, he was on board for a dairy free cake so I could indulge as well. 🙂 We both LOVED LOVED LOVED this cake!!! The frosting makes it very rich. But so delicious! Next time I’m going to try the other frosting you have – that hardens a little. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! And my husband thanks you too! 🙂 Blessings! 🙂

    8. Phil S.

      Great recipe. Made it for my birthday today. My only suggestion because there are 6 in our family ( and big eaters), is to add to the cake batter by 1/3 and make it a 3 layer cake ( probably would need a little more frosting in that case, but could probably get away without more).

        • Phil S.

          My mother-in-law and other family/friends have heard about the cake and saw the pics on facebook. They are hunkering to get the recipe, so I posted it to facebook. Hopefully you get a lot more website traffic. Great recipe on the chocolate cake and I plan on trying som of your other recipes. Thanks again.

    9. Jessica

      I am wondering why the recipe calls for refined coconut oil? Is it to not have a coconut flavor? Can I use unrefined?

      • Hi Jessica!

        Yes, I use refined coconut oil because it doesn’t have as strong of a coconut flavor as the unrefined. But you can certainly use the unrefined if the coconut flavor doesn’t bother you 🙂


    10. Aimee

      Hi, this recipe looks awesome! I was wondering if I could substitute maple syrup for the honey to be used in the batter?


      • Hi Aimee!

        While I can’t say for sure because I haven’t tried it, it would probably work – the only problem I could for see is that maple syrup is runnier than honey so it might result in a slightly moister or wetter cake. Let me know what you think, I hope you like it!!!


      • Hi Melissa, sorry it’s taken me so long to get back with you!

        This cake stays good for about a day at room temperature, then I recommend keeping it in the fridge. However, the frosting will harden after it’s refrigerated. I hope you enjoy it 🙂


    11. Hannah

      This cake is amazing! Converting regular cake eaters that free from cakes are just as good if not better! Used some left over frosting and melted it into warmed almond milk….. Sooooo good!

      Can you freeze the cake?

      • Cassidy

        Hi Hannah, I’m so happy you liked it!!!!

        I haven’t tried freezing it, but I’d imagine you could 🙂 If I try it I’ll let you know!


    12. Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

      Hope your week is great! Can’t wait to see what you link up this week!

      Cindy from

    13. natalie

      Hello, this looks awesome! However I am on the SCD diet and wondered if the tapioca flour can be substituted with almond flour?

      • Cassidy

        Hi Natalie!

        Almond flour generally cannot substituted for tapioca flour because they are very different. That being said, this is a very forgiving recipe if you feel like experimenting!


      • Cassidy

        Yikes! I just don’t know if an egg substitute would work for 6 eggs? I don’t think “flax eggs” would work for 6 eggs, maybe a store-bought powdered egg replacement??? Sorry, I just don’t know.


    14. Alene Ward

      Will apple cider vinegar also turn rice milk into buttermilk?? I’m gluten, yeast, dairy intolerant so I cant have white distilled vinegar.

      • Cassidy

        Hi Alene!

        I’ve successfully used lemon juice instead of white distilled vinegar and while I haven’t used apple cider vinegar, I’d imagine it would work too 🙂

        Happy Baking!

    15. This looks incredibly luscious! Consider yourself pinned. Going to explore your “treating autism” page as I have an Aspie at home. Continued blessings…

    16. Karla

      Hi! Is this nut free with the addition of coconut flour? Is there a good alternative to the coconut flour in the recipe?


      • Cassidy

        Hi Karla!

        I thought coconuts were considered nuts also, but after seeing numerous recipes with coconut flour labeled as “nut free” I finally looked it up and according to Wikipedia, a coconut is considered a drupe, which is a type of fruit and not a nut.

        Coconut flour is super absorbent and very unique so I’m sorry to tell you that there aren’t any substitutes for coconut flour 🙁


      • Cassidy

        Awe, thanks Laura!!!

        I really hope you and your family like it as much as we did! I made it on Wednesday and there’s only 1 piece left!

        Hope ya’ll are doing well!


    17. Jen

      Wow Cass! This looks great! I’m actually posting a grain free chocolate cake soon too! I love your photos!

      Hope you all are doing well!

      • Cassidy

        Thanks Jen! I can’t wait to see your grain free chocolate cake, you can’t have enough chocolate recipes 🙂

        I hope you are doing well!


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