TCM Classics | This chocolate cake recipe was originally published on the site in 2015, but we loved it so much we decided to bring it back!

First we shared Sweet Laurel’s two-ingredient ice cream and now this – the chocolate cake that changes everything.

We recently spent an afternoon drooling in Jenni Kayne’s kitchen along with a few of our favorite ladies. We passed around bowls of ganache and dipped into chocolate cake batter – everything grain, refined sugar, dairy, and fake-ingredient free. Head on over to the story to meet Laurel and Claire of the Sweet Laurel baking company, then come right back and begin your plans to make this cake immediately!

Once you gather a few of these healthy staples and have them on hand in your pantry, you’ll be surprised at how simple it is to reform your baking traditions! Keep the birthday cakes, lose the unhealthful ingredients! We can’t wait to hear about your adventures trying out this recipe. Please come on back and tell us how it goes…

Chocolate Cake Layer Cake with Chocolate Ganache
(grain-free, refined-sugar-free and dairy-free)


For the cake:
2 cups blanched almond flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp vanilla

For the vegan chocolate ganache:
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
4 Tbsp coconut oil
4 Tbsp maple syrup
½ cup almond butter
¼ cup almond milk or coconut milk


For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 6-inch round cake pans with coconut oil. Mix almond flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, water and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir to incorporate. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For the vegan chocolate ganache:
Melt chocolate and coconut oil in thick saucepan or double broiler. Stir and remove from heat when melted. Slowly add maple syrup and stir to incorporate. Allow to cool. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl and beat in almond butter until a thick, whippy frosting is formed. Add almond or coconut milk as needed for consistency.

To assemble the cake:
Allow cakes to cool. Place one cake layer on a plate. Place a dollop of chocolate ganache on top of cake and smooth over the cake. Layer the second cake over the caramel layer and repeat with a layer of ganache. Store the cake in refrigerator until serving time.

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  1. Sounds good, but the title’s misleading – a 2/3rds cup of maple syrup is quite a lot of sugar.

    Sonia | 05.04.2015 | Reply
    • It’s a CAKE :). Good luck trying to make it remotely palatable with less maple syrup than that. That’s less than most traditional cake recipes. Also, the cake probably serves at least 12-14. If you include the maple in the ganache, it’s approximately 14 tablespoons for the entire cake (appr. 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
      per person). Seems relatively healthy to me!

      Jenn | 05.04.2015 | Reply
      • Did you know that its not the actual sweetness aspect of sugar or even the sugar content that is an issue? Its actually the type of sugar it turns into when consumed… I would say Maple syrup if anything is certainly a much healthier option than bleached white sugar or even modified brown sugar!
        We have certainly tried and tested your recipe and we love it!! Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

    • Why is it misleading? Where in the title does it mention anything about being sugar-free?

      Jess | 06.02.2018 | Reply
  2. Not vegan if it has eggs.

    Claire | 05.04.2015 | Reply
    • Hi Claire! You’re right, the cake itself is not vegan, just dairy free – the frosting is vegan, however. Happy baking!

      The Chalkboard | 05.07.2015 | Reply
      • Do you think I could use egg replacer to make it vegan?

        Mary Isdahl | 04.12.2018 | Reply
  3. I am so dazzled by this cake and would love to attempt – how many days in advance can I make the cake and frosting(s), etc. in advance – and will they store in the fridge until I am ready to assemble? Thank you so much.

    Louise | 05.05.2015 | Reply
    • Hi Louise! You can make the cake up to two days in advance. Once the cake is frosted it can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days! If you make the frosting in advance and then refrigerate it, I would advise letting it sit at room temperature for a few hours, then whipping it so it gets nice a fluffy and easy to spead. Enjoy!

  4. I’m dying over this chocolate cake, and the fact that there’s less sugar is really great. thanks for the recipe, I got to try and make one by myself 🙂 x x x x

    Ginie Hannah

    Ginie Hannah | 05.06.2015 | Reply
  5. Hi , just was wondering if the ganache is vegan can you omit the eggs from the cake to make that vegan also…..and the maple syrup substitution is sooooo much better than refined sugars…basically honey and maple syrup are natural sugars …accept maple syrup is cooked down from maple water collected from the trees…even stevia the new sugar substitute is bad unless you use the leaves from the plant….

    Dawn | 05.08.2015 | Reply
  6. can I use flax eggs?

    Kristel | 05.14.2015 | Reply
    • Flax eggs work great! The cake will need to bake longer if you use flax eggs. Enjoy!

  7. Has anyone tried this with no eggs? Alergies at our house. I may try it with egg substitute. Any other ideas?

  8. To assemble the cake:
    Layer the second cake over the caramel layer and repeat with a layer of ganache.
    Did I miss something? I do not see the recipe for the caramel layer?

    Tracey | 05.14.2015 | Reply
    • I have the same query as Tracey re: caramel layer. I love the sound of it so if there was a recipe for a relatively “healthy” caramel then I would love to get it. Can’t wait to make this cake. It looks sooooo good.

  9. maple syrup is 2/3 sucrose (table sugar) …

  10. Love thinking about making the cake but what’s the caramel layer?

    Valere | 05.14.2015 | Reply
  11. I always adjust any suggested sweetener in recipes. Especially chocolate, they end up tasting more like dark chocolate. If you were concerned about glycemic index you could use coconut nectar and it’s vegan.
    I would love to know if the recipe works well with flax egg. My vegan friends would be thrilled!
    Also the ingredients for the Carmel sauce, probably made with dates but would love to hear what Sweet Laurel uses.
    The Chalkboard can you find out for us?

    Connie | 05.14.2015 | Reply
  12. Just made this tonight and it was delicious!! Seriously so good. Can’t wait for more recipes from Sweet Laurel! And I’d love to know what the caramel layer is for this cake…

    Allison | 05.14.2015 | Reply
  13. Can I substitute coconut flour for the almond flour?

    Mandi | 05.15.2015 | Reply
  14. Mandi, i have tried the coconut flour but it’s very dense and absorbent of all the moisture. I subbed 1 cup of the almond flour for 1 cup of sorghum flour. This is my base staple for cakes such as banana bread. Turns out light and fluffy and moist. As for the maple syrup, its still a high index sugar- natural or not, its not the healthiest. I used fermented coconut sap, has maple like flavour, completely diabetic friendly as its low glycemic index. As for the aparent caramel layer… I rehydrated chopped figs and dates in hot water then blended in blender to a runnier paste, it really worked well and enhanced the chocolate flavour. The eggs, i used 3 egg whites, blended til frothy or; If avoiding corn (Ener-G Egg Replacer may use a corn source according to several corn sensitive readers), substitute 1 tablespoon tapioca or potato starch plus 3 tablespoons water for each egg called for in recipe to help binding. You will need to increase leavening a bit to compensate- add an extra 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.

    Flax seed meal is a choice for those not allergic to flax seeds. Use two tablespoons ground flax meal plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder blended with 3 tablespoons of water for each egg called for in recipe.

    Chia seeds can also be used as a gel for gluten-free baking. From the genus Salvia hispanica, chia is a plant in the Mint family- an excellent alternative for those of us allergic to flax seed.

    Note on using seed based gels: They often make gluten-free baked goods a tad gummy in the center- especially those based on rice flour. And they lack the leavening factor. Additional compensation in a recipe is needed to make the gels work. I would add 1/2 teaspoon more baking powder.

    Banana: Try a half mashed ripe banana plus 1/4 teaspoon baking powder for each egg. Think about flavors- banana is not always simpatico.
    Anyway, i did change the recipe but it inspired a new version that i will now add to my GO -TO recipe box.

    Cecy | 05.15.2015 | Reply
  15. Can use strong coffee instead of water for a much richer chocolate taste – won’t taste the coffee at all. Wonderfull recipe! Almond flour is so much better than wheat with chocolate.

    Carolyn | 05.16.2015 | Reply
  16. I made this cake yesterday and today its in the trash! It was a complete waste of money to make,the bakers chocolate was so bitter it was not edible and the cake its self was so dry it broke apart just taking it out of the pan.I could not see a recipe for Carmen sauce.aaaagggg,me getting sick.

  17. Really disappointed with this recipe! The quantities specified created a dry cake that in a 6 inch tin looked like a biscuit. The ganache just a runny liquid. The image is certainly not representative of the final outcome.

    Having followed the recipe exactly I’m surprised that some of the comments above are so positive.

    clare shepherd | 05.18.2015 | Reply
  18. Cake is a disaster, sticky mess. And I was sickening how much maple sugar is in it and how many carbs.
    Please stop posting junk cakes. There are healthy grain free desserts out there that taste good. So if people stop posting nonsense we will be able to find them
    Seriously zero stars

    Bridget | 05.21.2015 | Reply
  19. I made this recipe for my family (I normally use the Hershey recipe so I already had really high standards)…. Result: my kids and husband couldn’t tell the difference between this Paleo recipe and the sugar loaded Hershey recipe I normally use. This is a fantastic recipe!

    Tracy Kemmer | 06.28.2015 | Reply
  20. Hi! Ironically I don’t bake much and I am Laurel’s mom. However I baked this recipe for a good friend whose husband just got out of the hospital and it was a stellar success. It is so delicious and when you eat it you don’t feel guilty because the ingredients are actually good for your body. Also, it is extremely easy to make. Once again, I bake once in a blue moon and I must say this is a very easy, fun recipe to make. Laurel created it and it is simple and lovely, just like she is. It’s a super, chocolate surprise!

    Kari Czer | 08.05.2015 | Reply
  21. I made this in an 8″ square pan. Baked right at 25 minutes and it is moist and delicious. Even my husband was surpassed it was paleo. Great texture!

    Katrina | 11.06.2015 | Reply
    • *surprised… And it made one 8″ square. I’m doubling the recipe to make two 8″ layers.

      Katrina | 11.06.2015 | Reply
  22. I made this today and it was FANTASTIC – I had 2 slices and had to put it away before I had more! It tastes like the cake-mix ones one can buy at the store but I KNOW what is in it, and it has no flour and so on… I am over the moon. The maple syrup is not as sweet as honey (if one used the same quantity) but is sweet enough to be very tasty. My frosting did not whip up as in your picture (perhaps because I used cashew-nut butter, as I had no almond butter) and is shiny, but not too hard… altogether a great hit! Thank you so much!

    Olivia Nilsson | 01.30.2016 | Reply
  23. Olivia, I am so happy you enjoyed our cake! We love sharing our recipes. For the frosting, if you refrigerate the frosting for about an hour after you prepare it, then re-whip the frosting with a hand mixer or Kitchen Aid, the frosting will whip up as pictured above. Enjoy! 😉

    Laurel | 01.30.2016 | Reply
  24. I was so excited to make this cake. The picture is lovely but my cake didn’t turn out. The flavor is good but with the amounts of ingredients I could not poor it into pans. It was very thick and hard after baking very dry! What did I do wrong? Expensive to make than it didn’t turn out! The ganache is delicious.

    Vickie | 04.17.2016 | Reply
  25. I didn’t notice that this cake asks for a 6″ pan until I was about to mix the wet and dry ingredients together – who has 6″ pans? Anyway, after a bit of algebra to get the volume of a cylinder (cake pan) that is 6″ and compare it to my 9″ rounds, I found it was nearly exactly double and off to the grocery I went for more supplies. The cake has turned out great, and from the crumbs and sampling of the ganache, I think it will be a hit. I’m also cutting out a small circle in the top layer and inserting a shot glass to hold my spray of flowers in some H20 to stay fresh and so they won’t take over the entire top of the cake – I think my family is going to want to eat that frosting!
    I’m new to using almond/nut flours in lieu of other gluten free options, but think that this is a much healthier way to go! Try scones – they work great as well.

    Julia | 05.24.2016 | Reply
  26. Just made this and it far exceeded my expectations!!! I’ll be making another one for my daughter who thinks she can’t have a birthday cake this year due to new dietary restrictions. 🙂

    Patti | 06.02.2016 | Reply
  27. Omgosh! I just made this for my husbands birthday cake and it was A-mazing! Next time I need to bake it for another minute or two and not be so impatient with letting the icing cool so it whips up nice but other than that a serious winner! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    Heather Himmelberger | 06.09.2016 | Reply
  28. Anyone replace honey for the maple syrup? Wondering how that would turn out. Also wanting to sub cocoa powder for balers chocolate! Any thoughts? Cant wait to try!

    • Jen,
      These were my exact thoughts/questions! Did you try the cake with these subs? How did it go for you? Paleo baking doesn’t usually go well for me so I’m kind of nervous- especially when messing with the recipe!

      Kara | 03.30.2018 | Reply
    • Jen, I know your comment is a couple years old, but if you or anyone else is interested – I used honey instead of maple syrup and carob powder instead of cocoa since we have someone on the autoimmune protocol in our family. Both substitutions were a success – I didn’t change anything else and I was really pleased with the result. I’m planning on stacking the cakes and putting a coconut milk-based caramel in the center and do some sort of carob-based “chocolate” frosting on the top layer. 🙂 Hope this helps.

      Heather | 07.20.2018 | Reply
  29. My daughter made this yesterday. It is truly amazing! I have to pass on most gluten-free recipes, as they usually call for a fair amount of some starchy flour like tapioca or cassava, or sweet potato, which add too many carbs, and then my gut is a wreck for the next few days, and rosacea flares up. Whoever created this recipe deserves an award!

    Delighted | 06.13.2016 | Reply
  30. OMG A-M-A-Z-I-N-G my friend made this cake for her daughters bday & I couldn’t believe how delicious it was. I had to grab the recipe from her. Can’t wait to make it!!
    Thank you!!

    Maralina | 06.21.2016 | Reply
  31. If you don’t like it, stop whining, and post your own. Or, you know what, you can just ignore it and move on. Bloggers have the RIGHT to post what they want. Sorry, not your business telling others what they can or cannot post.
    And 2/3 cup maple syrup for an entire cake is not a lot of sugar..do that math. Not all of us watch carbs…low carb does not equal healthy.

    Carrie | 06.22.2016 | Reply
  32. I made this cake last night. It was fabulous until I put it in the fridge. The cake remained delicious, but the icing was very hardened. It lost its smooth texture. I would put another icing on it unless there is a solution. Also, even though I prepared the pans, the cake ripped out of the pans. I would use parchment paper on the bottom next time.

    Sara | 06.22.2016 | Reply
  33. Exactly! Makes me so upset when people do this. Free to say what you feel but not free to post what you want on your Blog??? Many other blogs will have you. This a fantastic Blog and wonderful recipes and other info 🙂 Healthy does not mean low carb….low sugar!!! Whoever wanted to make a cake because it was “good” for you? EAT MORE CAKE! Thank you Laurel for this AMAZING recipe :):)

    Sammilamb | 06.23.2016 | Reply
  34. I was a little concerned by some of the comments, but I made this cake for my ex-husband Father’s Day and it was AMAZING!!! Everyone loved it (even our 5, 11, & 15 year old boys who aren’t always fans of our ‘special’ food). It had a great texture, tasted great, was even good the next day out of the fridge. It was super quick & easy to make. The only thing I would say is that I didn’t have 6″ pans, so it only made one 8″ round, which was no big deal. I’ve already been asked when I’m going to make it again! Great recipe! We loved it!!

    Tara | 06.24.2016 | Reply
  35. I also do not see the caramel recipe posted… would love to try this cake.

    kathy | 07.31.2016 | Reply
    • Kathy look above at comments on 5/15/16 made by Amy! She has 2 links for dairy free caramel. I tried a salted caramel and it really was pretty amazing!! I am used to making caramel with whipping cream and butter so it was a learning experience for me! It tasted a little different than regular caramel a little more molasses like flavor??
      Anyway, try one of those recipes for the caramel, I think you will be pleasantly surprised!! Good luck!! Terri

      Terri | 08.01.2016 | Reply
  36. I made this cake for a friends wedding…I practiced alot, as I needed it to be photo worthy!! 🙂 I ended up baking the 6″ layers much longer than what the directions said, and it was amazing!! (I have a thermometer in my oven) I also made the frosting, and let it sit in the Kitchenaid bowl in the fridge and then re-whipped it before frosting the cake,

    The frosting hardens on the cake but, when set out for @ 1/2 hour- an hour depending on the heat in the room (it was 100 degrees that day) all was fine! Lots of fresh fruit on top and around some of the bottom, and fruit sliced between the layers! Oh my goodness!! Cake is to die for, spot on texture, and flavor amazing!! Will definitely make this again and again!! <3 Love this Laurel!! Thanks for everyone's comments here that gave me ideas on how to make things work better, when I wasn't baking the layers quite long enough, and Laurels comments about cooling it and rewhipping the frosting to make it just perfect!! I wish I knew how to post a pic on here!! 🙁
    Turned out wonderful!!

    Terri | 08.01.2016 | Reply
  37. Has anyone made this as cupcakes? I have my daughters birthday coming up and would like to try.

    Summer | 08.18.2016 | Reply
  38. I had trouble getting this out of the pan. Are you supposed to take them out of the pans right away or let them cook completely in the pan. I took one layer out at 5 min and it stuck in the pan. Let the other layer cool a little longer and that was worse. Thanks for any help you can give.

    • Pam, you may need to either use more coconut oil to grease your pan or line your pans with parchment paper to ensure quick removal. Definitely let the cakes cool for at least 30 minutes.

  39. This sounds amazing. Do you know if I could use a stevia type sweetener for the maple syrup. My husband is diabetic.


    Jean | 09.03.2016 | Reply
    • Probably not Jean – the recipe calls for so much maple syrup and the consistency is very different.

      The Chalkboard | 11.06.2016 | Reply
  40. Just made this and it’s SO GOOD. SO MOIST! just like traditional chocolate cake! Hallelujah!! I subbed agave for the maple syrup and ener-g egg replacer for the eggs and it was STILL delish. Thank you for this fab recipe!!!!

    Andrea | 09.03.2016 | Reply
  41. I made this today and was really disappointed the cake didn’t come out of the pan in one piece and was a bit crumbly. I greased the pan with coconut oil and they were in non-stick pans (9″ because I couldn’t find 6″), I let them cool for 30 min or so. Any ideas why it didn’t hold together enough to pull out of the pan? Could altitude make a difference? I’m in Denver.. I’d love to try this another time but am discouraged I had to throw it out. It wasn’t presentable.

    Nicki | 09.09.2016 | Reply
    • Nicki, I’ve made this cake at high altitude before and did not have an issue. I hope you get a chance to try it again soon! I would advise using either two 6 inch pans or one 8-9 inch pan for this recipe. Sometimes I line the pan(s) with parchment to ensure easy removal from the pan.

  42. HELP PLEASE!? I’m baking this the first time for my son’s party. I’m using a conventional oven, not fan forced one. It seems to be taking a bit longer. which I expected, but I’m still a bit worried. It is also just in one reg sized round pan cos that’s all I had. How long would you expect it to take approx in these conditions? Thank you 🙂

  43. Ps. The party is in a couple of hours! I’m not very good at theses party things! Yikes!!

  44. You can make it vegan by subbing the eggs with flax eggs (1T of ground flax seed and 3T of water = 1 egg).

  45. Followed the recipe exactly as it said. The batter was super thick and no matter what I tried it didn’t have the consistency of a cake mix. I have made many recipes that are paleo/gluten free and have worked with this type of flour often but this was one of the worst recipes I have ever tried!

    Liza | 11.06.2016 | Reply
    • Hi Liza, it’s not our recipe so we’re not able to help in depth, but we encourage you to try again – we’ve made and eaten it many times and it’s fantastic!

      The Chalkboard | 11.06.2016 | Reply
    • Liza, I’m sorry to hear that! This is my favorite tried and true recipe. Hope you get a chance to try it again!

  46. Is it possible to use almond meal? I can get that where I live (overseas).

  47. I am unfortunately highly allergic to almonds. Any suggestions for a substitute flour?

    Lynee Metheny | 11.20.2016 | Reply
    • Lynee, try using hazelnut or cashew flour. I’ve made this cake several times with hazelnut flour and it is just as delicious! Enjoy!!!

  48. This cake is amazing. Love the frosting and the cake batter. 🙂 It’ll definitely be my ‘go-to’ chocolate cake. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    valentina | 11.28.2016 | Reply
  49. This cake is AMAZING!! Thank you for sharing! I was a little sceptical after reading the comments about how the cake wasn’t turning out for some people but it turned out great to me!!! Very moist and great flavor! Also very easy to make. The frosting was easy to make too, I did add a little extra maple syrup for more sweetener. Overall, this cake is great! Highly recommended!

    maria | 12.16.2016 | Reply
    • Also – I only had 9in round cake pans at home so I made a recipe and a half. It was the perfect amount of cake batter.

      maria | 12.16.2016 | Reply
      • Hi Maria, so glad you tried are recipe out! Thanks for sharing your tip about the 9 inch pan!

  50. This cake looks amazing. What can I use instead of almond butter as my kids are allergic to nuts? A tub of Soya spread? Or is almond butter the kind you get in a jar (like peanut butter – we can get a “peanut” butter made from sunflower seeds)? What can I use instead of almond flour?

    Margaret | 01.02.2017 | Reply
    • Margaret, instead of almond butter you can you cashew butter. I’ve also used sunbutter, although the sunflower taste does come through a bit. Instead of almond flour you can sub hazelnut flour or cashew flour. Enjoy!

  51. OMG, what a hit recipe. Rarely do I test recipes I find on Pinterest and go back to thank the creator. OMG. This cake was sooooo good. My family loved it and am making it again! I would love to post about it on my blog at emilysomple.com with credit to you of course. I almost never get praised for my vegan, GF desserts by my gluten-loving, dairy-freak family so kudos!

    Emily Somple | 01.30.2017 | Reply
    • Hey Emily! So happy to hear you enjoyed our cake recipe! You can definitely share our recipe on your blog ;).

  52. Absolutely without a doubt the best chocolate cake ever. Very moist and frosting so good. Thanks a lot for sharing this amazing recipe.

    Marilyn Galea | 01.31.2017 | Reply
  53. I absolutely love this recipe! I’ve made it a few times and everyone has loved it as much as me. My only problem has been it’s not falling out of the pans easily? Any tips for me on making sure it’s not sticking to the pan. Does it need cooling time etc…?
    Well done!! I am thrilled to have this in my favorite recipes! Also if I try as cupcakes any changes for those or tips on making them?

    Lydia | 02.14.2017 | Reply
  54. We can’t use any kinds of nuts in our house and we avoid gluten. Is there a nut free substitute for the almond flour?

    Porsche | 02.14.2017 | Reply
  55. Made this cake for Valentine’s dinner tonight. Couldn’t find 6″ pans, but had some older pans that were 7 1/2″. Cake was super moist and delicious, but obviously thinner than in the photo. We had a little trouble the icing – found in the comments that if put it in the refrigerator for an hour and then whip again, it would turn out. It did whip up better after it was cold, but still not quite the consistency I would have liked. All in all we loved the recipe and are going to experiment with doubling the recipe to make two 9″ rounds, and also making cupcakes. Thanks for sharing!!

    Marietta | 02.14.2017 | Reply
  56. Looks delicious. Unfortunately has the label ‘vegan’ which is misleading as it contains eggs, which are an animal product.

    Sarani | 03.09.2017 | Reply
  57. This turned out absolutely awful. I cooked an extra 10 min it still was raw o. The inner edges. The middle was cooked the edges were cooked but the ring between was raw looking and bubbling! I have an image but cant post. Thankfully I have the rest of today to try other recipes so I can make a cake my whole family can enjoy tomorrow….

    Rebecca | 03.14.2017 | Reply
  58. Made this cake tonight!!! I loved it! Thank you so much for taking the time to create this amazing cake and post it for everyone to give it a go. Thank you

    Courtney | 03.19.2017 | Reply
  59. We LOVED this recipe!! As for the 6″ pan – go look in your glass food storage containers, I had two 6″ rounds (one pyrex and one anchor, both 6″) that worked fantastic to bake in. I also had slight troubles getting the cakes out “perfectly,” so I plan to add parchment/wax paper to the bottom of my pans next time. I can’t brag up this recipe enough!! Coming from a husband who is gluten-light by choice and a daughter who has a dairy allergy, this recipe met all our family’s needs and tasted great too! I tweaked the ganache recipe so that it was runny and it had good coverage and beautiful drips coming down the sides of the cake, and was perfect for holding birthday sprinkles on top. I subbed out coconut oil for the water in the cake (I’m assuming it made the cake a bit more moist, but I don’t really know). Thank you for an amazing GF/DF/Lower Sugar Cake that worked fantastically for my daughter’s 2 year old birthday – she felt spoiled (but our stomachs weren’t)!!

    Sarah | 03.21.2017 | Reply
  60. Absolutely LOVE the cake recipe however when I was making the ganache, I began adding some almond milk and the gorgeous icing to be seized and the coconut oil split and it was a gooey mess.. any ideas about why this happened? I made my own almond butter, could this effect it? Love to hear thoughts!

    Rachel Vanderzon | 03.24.2017 | Reply
  61. Would substituting the almond butter for natural peanut butter work??

    • Peanut butter will definitely add more of a peanut flavor, but I’m sure it will work. Cashew butter will work too!

  62. Does the lack of fat in the cake make it fall apart? Or do the eggs do the job? Cheers

  63. This was excellent. My 10yo birthday boy did most of the making. We used one 9×9 pan. The kids didn’t think they’d like the ganache, but it was fine combined with the cake. We added sliced strawberries on top. I reduced the maple syrup in the cake a bit. Plus, I used very little in the ganache because I used semi sweet chocolate chips instead. This will be made again!

    Marci | 04.20.2017 | Reply
    • Amazing! I love that your 10 year old did most of the baking. We love making kid friendly recipes. Glad your whole family could enjoy this cake!

  64. Try this. Grease your pan, parchment on bottom, then grease again, dust w/cocoa powder. Only cool in pan about 5 minutes. Run knife around edges before turning out. Good luck!

    Tina | 04.25.2017 | Reply
  65. Can I use flax eggs??

    Katie | 05.03.2017 | Reply
    • Flax eggs work great. Be sure to grind the flax seeds right before making the flax eggs. I like to freshly grind them, then add 1 tablespoon ground flax to 3 tablespoons of water, and let them sit for about 10 minutes before adding to the mixture. Using flax eggs will make the baking time longer. Enjoy!

  66. I did exactly as the recipe told me to. I didn’t have any problems. I did not, however, use the milk for the ganache. The cake tasted like a brownie and had a cake texture. I made my own almond butter as well. Just almonds. Nothing wrong came out of it for me. It was wonderful! I would definitely make it again. I’m also really picky about chocolate cakes and I was pleasantly surprised on how well this worked out.

    Erika | 05.17.2017 | Reply
  67. So i just made this cake. I was a little weary beacause some commenters said it was dry and a disaster as others said it was moist and amazing. Well, this cake is moist and amazing!!! And im so sorry if yours didnt turn out. The only thing i can think of is that maby coconut flour was substituted for the almond flour. BIG NO NO! This is the first time iv baked dairy free due to my 6 month old breast feeding baby. He breaks out every time i consume cow products! Im so glad i came across Sweet Laurel! I cant get enough of your blog! Thanks so much for the amazing recipe!!

    Kristal | 05.20.2017 | Reply
    • Kristal, thank you for sharing! I am breastfeeding too and have found staying dairy free, with the exception of grass fed butter, helps my baby and I as well.

      Laurel Gallucci | 07.09.2017 | Reply
  68. I’ve been scouring the interwebs for a refined sugar-free cake recipe for my daughter’s birthday. I wanted something that will have less of an impact. That being said, it’s cake! I read some very negative remarks in the comments section for this recipe. Maple sugar and honey are still sugar, but if you’re going to eat a sugar-based sweetener anyway, then replacing refined sugar in recipes with an identical amount of maple syrup will cut the total sugar content by a third. It also raises blood sugar level slower than regular refined sugar.

    I made this recipe as cupcakes and they were pretty yummy. I actually devoured one while writing this review and that was without frosting. It made 9 full sized cupcakes and took about 20 minutes to cook. I think this recipe is a keeper!

    Amanda | 06.04.2017 | Reply
  69. Would love to make this for my sons birthday party but he is highly allergic to multiple nuts including cashew almond and walnuts so we only really can use coconut or cassava flour. Would one of those work?

    Courtney | 06.29.2017 | Reply
  70. Hi Amanda! I happy to hear the cupcake version worked well for you!

    Laurel Gallucci | 07.09.2017 | Reply
  71. Wow! Love this cake. I’m seriously shocked at the poor reviews below! Baker error, I’m sure – because it’s FABULOUS!!!!! Thank you for the recipe. I will definitely make this again and again.

    Lori Thomas | 07.15.2017 | Reply
  72. How can the cake be vegan if the recipe calls for eggs? What can we sub for the eggs that would be truly vegan and allow the batter to rise?

    Donna | 07.17.2017 | Reply
    • Hi Donna! This cake can easily be made vegan by using 1 tablespoon of freshly ground chia or flax + 3 tablespoons of water per every egg. I like to do 1 tablespoon freshly ground chia + 1 tablespoon freshly ground flax plus 6 tablespoons of water in this recipe. You may need to bake the cake a bit longer. Let me know how you like it!

      Laurel | 07.23.2017 | Reply
  73. This recipe is amazing. It’s become my go-to cake recipe. Works well as cupcakes too. I use less maple syrup and add more water (1/2 cup of each) and think it’s plenty sweet.

    Ni ole | 08.19.2017 | Reply
    • Ni ole, love that! I too like too adjust Maple Syrup/ water ratio.

      Laurel | 08.28.2017 | Reply
  74. This cake is so so delicious! I can’t get over how easy it is to make and I feel so lucky to have found this recipe. Perfectly chocolate, moist, and not sweet. Love the ingredients in it too!! Just wondering how I would transform this into a vanilla cake. Any ideas?

    Katrina | 09.17.2017 | Reply
  75. Hi! Thank you for this recipe, I can’t wait to try it. I live in Belgium and am having a hard time finding almond butter, or cashew butter. What could I use instead? I’m hoping to find a solution so I can make this for an event next week 🙂

    Gabriela | 09.20.2017 | Reply
    • Hi Gabriela! One idea is to make your own almond or cashew butter in a food processor or blender. Just soak the nuts for a few hours in the fridge and then place in a blender and pulse until smooth. Another option is to substitute tahini for the almond\cashew butter. I’ve done this a few times and it is lovely! xo

      Laurel | 10.18.2017 | Reply
  76. Hi Laurel, any suggestion for a coconut oil substitute for the ganache? Thanks!

    Savitri | 10.06.2017 | Reply
    • Savitri, ghee or avocado oil work great as a sub for the coconut oil! Enjoy! xo

      Laurel | 10.18.2017 | Reply
  77. Hi Katrina! So happy to hear you found this recipe and that you love the ingredients! I shared my vanilla cake recipe with TCM last month. See link here: http://thechalkboardmag.com/sweet-laurel-bakery-grain-free-dairy-free-vanilla-cake-recipe xo

    Laurel | 10.18.2017 | Reply
  78. Thanks so mich for sharing this! My husband has become allergic to several foods (in just the last couple of years & has been a very difficult transition), and now needs to be dairy free, gluten free, and low fodmap. It makes cooking a nightmare. His birthday is coming up and I’ve been looking for a recipe that won’t hurt him. I’m so glad I found this recipe! Thank you!

    Savanna | 12.04.2017 | Reply
  79. I made this cake practising for a bday cake and it tastes amazing but I had two pancake sized cakes, did I do something wrong or do you make two batches? I used a slightly bigger pan as I couldn’t find one as small as 6 inch and wondering how you made it look so big and think in the photo?

    Andrea | 01.06.2018 | Reply
    • Andrea, the pan size is keep for this recipe. If you cannot find two 6 inch pans, try one 8 inch pan. It will be just as delicious!

  80. Has anyone tried this with Coconut Cream instead of coconut milk? Thought it might be creamier.

    melissa | 01.25.2018 | Reply
  81. So this cake was delicious! I made it for my mother in laws 67th birthday – I am Paleo. The whole family loved it!!! I only had 12 inch pans so mine was thinner and I baked the cakes about 15 minutes, but it turned out fabulous!! Thank you!!!

    Casie Woodfin | 01.28.2018 | Reply
  82. Has anyone made these as cupcakes? I tried (and LOVED) the cake version but I need cupcakes for an activity and want to try making this. I’m worried they’ll be too moist to come out of the paper?

    aimee car | 01.30.2018 | Reply
  83. I made this recipe into cupcakes and they are pretty darn good. I am not one for gluten free food/treats because they aren’t as good IMO HOWEVER they turned out good. The texture is different but I think I could improve it over test trials with different almond flours (I used Bobs). The cupcakes took 16 minutes. I am yet to make the topping but so far, they are to my liking and I hope my poor little dairy free and gluten free nephew can enjoy cake once again!!

    Christa flynn | 03.18.2018 | Reply
  84. Clearly no one will read this because there is a ridiculous amount of comments already here, but I need to post after baking this cake myself. I could only find 9″ cake pans so I decided to double the recipe, and the cake itself turned out wonderfully! My issue here was the frosting/ganache recipe: it was terrible. We followed the recipe, and even tried adapting it when all else was failing, but had to turn to using whipping cream and some chocolate sauce because I couldn’t even bear to put the horrible result of this recipe onto the cake and ruin it. Not sure what went awry, but it was not worth the waste of ingredients, time, or stress it caused me.

    Cara | 03.23.2018 | Reply
  85. Hi there,
    If i doubled the recipe, could i spread the mixture out between 3 x 7inch pasn?


    Rose | 03.28.2018 | Reply
  86. I have been gluten free for nearly 5 years, and my young son is newly gluten free so I’ve stepped up my game in baking. I used to just skip baked goods but my 5 yr old deserves replacements. This cake recipe is UNBELIEVABLE. So easy, made from things most GF, Paleo, dairy-free or allergen families have in their parties already. It tastes like CAKE. REAL CAKE. I haven’t tasted anything like REAL CAKE since going GF. We made cupcakes and they baked for 16-17 minutes. We did not use liners, just greased the pan. I really cannot get enough of this cake. And I’m not even a cake person. I feel like I’ve hit the lottery. Thank you SO much.

    CoolMamaof5 | 04.07.2018 | Reply
  87. Sounds like a great recipe and I’m hoping to make it this weekend. Can I sub honey for maple syrup?

    Carls | 06.08.2018 | Reply
  88. Quick question, can I use this recipe to make cupcakes?

    Michaele | 11.27.2018 | Reply
  89. THis was probably the most delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever had.. gluten or gluten-free! I made it for a dinner party last night and everyone raved about it! Taking it up to my gluten free in-laws tonight!

    Lindsay Andreasen | 01.06.2019 | Reply
  90. Title is misleading because it claims to be dairy-free which most would consider vegan yet I see you have eggs in your recipie. Also why make a vegan ganache if the cake isn’t vegan? Misleading and contradicting:(

    Shannon | 01.18.2019 | Reply
  91. I followed the recipe to a T and the cake is just soup. It looked as if it was trying to rise with a volcano in the middle and now it’s just a mess. The frosting recipe I also followed to a T and it’s liquid. Not whippy frosting whatsoever. Now I have to start a new cake for my husbands birthday all over again ‍♀️

    Payge | 01.19.2019 | Reply
  92. I made this recipe as cupcakes and they are incredible. This will be my go to recipe for chocolate cake from now on. The cupcakes have a wonderful flavor and I actually like them better without the frosting. The frosting is delicious too but I felt that the flavor was overpowering. I think anyone having trouble with the frosting probably under whipped it. I had mine whipping in my kitchen aid mixer for almost 10 minutes.

    Emily | 02.26.2019 | Reply
  93. There are many people, including myself, that do not eat dairy but aren’t vegan. This cake is perfect for my diet. Dairy free does not mean vegan but the cake can certainly be made vegan by using flax eggs.

    Emily | 02.26.2019 | Reply
  94. is this a misprint? it says only 2 cups of almond flour, but in the book it says 2 1/2 cups

    Jocelynn | 03.14.2019 | Reply
  95. Made this following the recipe exactly. Oh my word! I didn’t know it was possible to make a GF/DF/refined sugar-free cake that tasted like . . . CAKE!
    The only thing I adapted was the pan. I lined a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper and poured the whole recipe into it. Came out perfectly.
    And the ganache was amazing!
    I’m making 2 more this weekend and it will be my go-to cake recipe. Thanks for this!

    Maia | 03.22.2019 | Reply
  96. I realize this post is from years ago. But it’s new to me! I can’t remember the last time my husband and I were able to enjoy a dessert due to autoimmune issues. This cake recipe is HEAVEN SENT. Followed everything to a T including buying 6” pans at Hobby Lobby. Used parchment paper so we could just pull the cake out by the paper. The only substitution I made was using Lakanto syrup (monkfruit/erythtitol) because even when I use natural sweeteners like maple syrup, my husband gets painful inflammation. Worked PERFECTLY. This recipe was the BEST Father’s Day gift… thank you so much for sharing!

    Noelle | 06.16.2019 | Reply
  97. I don’t know what is more delicious…..this amazing cake or the whining from people who screwed it up and blame Laurel. Your cookbook, Laurel, is a treasure. But, you’re right. This cake is the crown jewel.

    Anna | 08.05.2019 | Reply
  98. I followed the directions for the actual cake (minus scant maple syrup), and it came out great.

    My frosting was also very runny like most people commented. So to fix it, I added all of the ingredients (minus the almond milk, and I used 60% chocolate, so I didn’t use any maple syrup either) to a high-speed blender with a small block of organic firm tofu (about 5-6 oz). Then I mixed in more melted chocolate until it tasted as chocolatey as I wanted and a splash of almond milk to lighten the consistency. It worked and tasted great! Tasted and felt like real chocolate frosting. Once refrigerated, the frosting firms up a bit, but it still maintains its body over time and tastes just as good as the first night I made it.

    Mimi | 03.26.2020 | Reply
  99. Making this cake again today after making it for my father’s birthday. Everyone loved it, and liked it more than a normal chocolate cake!! I understand it may not have worked out for everyone who tried this recipe, but so many things can go wrong with baking (why do you think there are so many t.v. shows where people use the same recipe and get drastically different results). Use quality ingredients (REAL maple syrup) and take your time. Thanks for this recipe!

    DairyFreeChef | 04.17.2020 | Reply
  100. I made this recipe into cupcakes so I could have a gluten-free treat for my birthday. They were delicious! Moist and Rich. I substituted coffee for the water. I also had to put my icing in the refrigerator for a while, but then it fluffed up nicely. I will definitely make this again!

    Karen | 07.15.2022 | Reply
  101. My cakes did not rise and baked up more like cookies. Perhaps it’s because I used chia eggs? The recipe tastes good. They just didn’t bake up well enough to look like a typical birthday cake.

    Amanda | 10.23.2022 | Reply
  102. I just finished baking the cake. I read all the comments first. I doubled the recipe and used clear glass baking/storage dishes like anchor brand. I greased them with coconut oil and placed parchment paper in the bottom. My layers were quite thick so after the initial 25 minutes of baking I just kept checking with a toothpick in the center. I probably had to bake mine about 15-20 more minutes. I let them cool for about 30 minutes and they came out perfectly. This cake was so easy it’s ridiculous! This will definitely be my go to cake or cupcakes to make for special occasions. I’m excited to make the ganache later today. I followed the directions and really just adjusted my baking time judging by if the toothpick came out clean or not. I can’t wait to serve this on Monday. It’s for a very dear friend and our office staff. Thank you, Laurel!

    Kelly | 03.25.2023 | Reply

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