This chocolate cake with almond flour is gluten-free and topped with a delicious chocolate frosting. This cake is naturally sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar which also makes it refined sugar-free. It has such a rich and fudgy chocolate flavor from the cacao powder. It's so good!!
There's never a bad time for cake, especially ones that are this easy to make. If you're intimidated by making cakes (or frosting them), you don't have to worry with this chocolate cake recipe. It's only one layer and doesn't require any fancy frosting skills!
You only need 8 ingredients to make this chocolate cake with almond flour! If you bake gluten-free a lot, you probably already have the almond flour at home and most of the others too. As I said, this is a very simple and easy chocolate cake recipe!
- almond flour - almond flour is a gluten-free flour made from ground almonds. It's different than almond meal, so be sure you're using almond flour.
- coconut sugar - this is an unrefined sugar that has a rich, caramel taste. It pairs well with the chocolate in the recipe!
- unsweetened cacao powder - this is what makes the cake chocolate! Cacao powder (not cocoa powder) is packed with antioxidants and flavonoids while also providing such a delicous chocolate taste to the cake
- baking soda - this helps the cake rise properly as it bakes.
- salt - a bit of salt balances the flavors and enhances the chocolate taste even more!
- eggs - eggs are crucial to getting a fluffy texture because they help bind the cake together and give it structure.
- pure maple syrup - this is the second natural sweetener in the recipe which also gives the cake batter the right consistency.
- pure vanilla extract - vanilla adds extra flavor and dimension to the chocolate cake!
Super simple, easy ingredients, right? I'm sure you appreciate that (I definitely do!) given that we're always busy doing a million things and don't always have time to create complex and intricate cakes.
Making the Cake
Okay, I know I already said this cake was easy. But seriously, look how quickly you can mix the batter and get it in the oven! It only takes 5 minutes.
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of a 9" cake pan with parchment paper. You can spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray if you want to be extra safe.
TIP: You can make your own parchment paper "round" by placing your cake pan on a sheet of parchment paper and tracing around the edge. Then use scissors to cut on the line so it fits perfectly in your pan. This way you won't lose any parts of your cake sticking to the bottom.
STEP 2: Mix dry ingredients. Add the flour, sugar, cacao powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and stir until well combined. The ingredients should be distributed evenly.
STEP 3: Whisk wet ingredients. In a different bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth.
STEP 4: Add wet to dry. Pour the bowl of wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir thoroughly until no dry clumps remain.
STEP 5: Add batter to pan. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan lined with parchment paper. It will take the shape of the pan nicely. No need to smooth it out.
STEP 6: Bake. Place the cake in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before gently turning it over and sliding it onto a cooling rack.
TIP: Be sure to let the cake cool completely before frosting, so it doesn't melt!
This cake has a delicious chocolate frosting which is also very easy to make. You only need 6 ingredients and an electric mixer or (stand mixer) to whip it up.
- powdered sugar - be sure to use a powdered sugar manufactured in a gluten-free facility if you are celiac or have a gluten allergy.
- butter - the butter is what gives the frosting the proper texture and structure.
- cacao powder - use an unsweetened cacao powder for the richest chocolate flavor.
- unsweetened almond milk - this thins out the frosting so it can be piped or spread onto the cake.
- pure vanilla extract - adds some extra flavor to the frosting.
- salt - this is helpful to knock down the sweetness a bit.
I used to hate making frosting for cakes because I thought it took forever and was a pain to get right. But it's not hard at all to make this chocolate frosting!
Making the Frosting
Making the frosting only takes a few minutes with an electric mixer or stand mixer.
STEP 1: Cream butter and sugar. Add your butter and coconut sugar to a large bowl and use an electric mixer to cream it together on medium-high speed. The mixture will seem very dry, but that's normal for this recipe. The goal is to distribute the butter throughout the cacao powder.
STEP 2: Add milk, vanilla, and salt. Blend on medium speed until you have a creamy mixture. It may be grainy from the sugar but should be well-combined.
STEP 3: Slowly add powdered sugar. In small increments at a time, add the powdered sugar to the bowl and blend on medium-high speed to incorporate it into the mixture. Repeat this until all of your powdered sugar has been used.
TIP: Adding the powdered sugar in small increments makes it easier to mix and prevents any sugar explosions on your kitchen counter. We've all been there!
STEP 4: Adjust with milk/sugar as necessary. If your frosting is too thick for your preference after mixing, add in almond milk one teaspoon at a time and blend until the desired consistency is reached. If your frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar in small amounts until it is thick enough for your needs.
Frosting The Cake
You don't have to know anything about cakes, frosting, or frosting cakes to get this right. You literally just need a butter knife. I know you have that, so don't worry about the rest.
STEP 1: Be sure the cake is cool. It can be tempting to frost the cake right when it comes out of the oven because let's be honest-- we all just want to eat the cake ASAP. However, it's important to wait until the cake is completely cool to prevent your frosting from melting and becoming a greasy mess.
STEP 2: Spread or pipe the frosting. Use a butter knife or cake spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake. Going in a consistent back-and-forth motion will help level the frosting evenly across the top. Feel free to get creative with a swirl pattern to make the frosting look pretty on top. You can also use a piping bag to create more intricate decoration if you prefer.
STEP 3: Add sprinkles or make it fun! I like simple cakes. Have I mentioned that? If you want to dress up your cake a little or make it more fun, you can add some sprinkles while the frosting is still wet. Don't wait too long or the sprinkles will just roll off the dried frosting. This is a great way to make the cake festive for Christmas, birthdays, and holidays!
This chocolate cake with almond flour is gluten-free and refined sugar free, but if you don't have these dietary restrictions or want to make substitutions in the recipe, I've provided some notes to guide you:
- Flour - I have only tested this cake with almond flour, so I can't guarantee results when using another flour. However, I would recommend using a gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flour instead.
- Sugar - Instead of using coconut sugar, you can use cane sugar or granulated sugar.
- Cacao - Instead of using an unsweetened cacao pwoder, you can use dutch-process cooca powder but the flavor will be a bit different and the cake will be darker in color.
- Eggs - I do not recommend substituting the eggs in the recipe! The eggs are critical to holding the cake together and helping it rise. If you are vegan, I recommend checking out this cake over at The Banana Diaries instead.
- Maple Syrup - You may use honey instead of the maple syrup, but the taste will be different.
- Butter - You may use vegan butter (Earth Balance is good) for a dairy-free frosting.
- Milk - You can use any unsweetened plant milk or dairy milk for the frosting with good results.
I urge you not to make more than one substitution in the recipe at a time. I can't test all the substitutions that are listed and I don't want you to end up with a "cake flop" because you tried to change the recipe too much!
You only need a few mixing bowls and a whisk to make the chocolate cake batter. You may use an electric hand mixer for the chocolate frosting (as shown in the photos), but a stand mixer also works well.
If you're using a stand mixer to make the frosting, use the paddle attachment. You do not need to use the whisk attachment. The paddle is great at creaming the butter with sugar and will do the hard work for you!
Storing and Freezing
Store the chocolate cake in an airtight container in the fridge, like in a cake-saver or cake carrier, for 5-7 days. Enjoy cold or let it thaw a few minutes on the counter before serving again.
If you need to freeze the cake, wrap each slice in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 30 days. Be sure to let the cake thaw on the counter for an hour or two before serving.
More Recipes to Enjoy
If you made this recipe, I would love to know your thoughts! Please consider leaving a rating and review. I love to see photos of your bakes too, so if you share it on Instagram be sure to tag me and I'll repost it on my stories! For more gluten-free recipes, check out these favorites:
Chocolate Cake With Almond Flour
- 9" Cake Pan
- Electric Hand Mixer (or stand mixer)
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cacao powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup unsweetened cacao powder
- ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
Making the Cake
- To make the cake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line one 9" cake pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, add the almond flour, coconut sugar, cacao powder, baking soda and salt and stir to combine. Set aside.1 ½ cups almond flour, ¼ cup coconut sugar, ½ cup unsweetened cacao powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until fully combined.4 eggs, ¾ cup pure maple syrup, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until no big flour clumps remain.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before gently turning it over onto a cooling rack.
- Be sure to let the cake cool completely before frosting.
Making the Frosting
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and cacao powder until well incorporated. It will seem dry, but that's okay. The goal is to evenly distribute the butter.¼ cup butter, ½ cup unsweetened cacao powder
- Add the almond milk, vanilla, and salt, and mix on medium-high speed until smooth and combined.⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon salt
- In small increments, add in the powdered sugar and mix on low-medium speed until all the powdered sugar has been added. The frosting will become thicker as you add more sugar.3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- If the frosting is too thick, add almond milk a teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thin, add powdered sugar in small amounts until it becomes thick enough for your needs.
Frosting the Cake
- Once the cake has cooled, use a knife or angled spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake. Serve and enjoy!