This Almond Flour Chocolate Cake is gluten-free and dairy-free with a rich chocolatey flavour and moist and tender crumb. It’s made with blanched almond flour and topped with a dairy-free chocolate whipped cream. Easy to make and definitely a crowd pleaser!
Just like this popular lemon almond flour cake and these vanilla almond flour cupcakes, this chocolate almond flour cake has been through multiple rounds of testing!
Almond flour can sometimes be finicky to bake with, and I wanted to make sure this cake had the perfect texture, with just the right amount of sweetness and chocolate flavour. And I’m so pleased with the result!
For more thoroughly tested almond flour cakes, you’ll want to check out the recipes for this almond flour carrot cake and this almond flour orange cake!
Why you’ll love this almond flour chocolate cake
- While this cake tastes rich and decadent, it’s not dense or heavy (like some almond flour cakes can be).
- The eggs and sugar are beaten together using an electric mixer so they get frothy quickly. This helps produce a lighter and more airy cake.
- This cake is so moist that after 5 days in the fridge, it still has a soft and tender texture.
- While the cake includes both coconut sugar and maple sugar as sweeteners, the cake is not sickly sweet, which allows the rich cocoa flavour to shine through.
- It’s naturally gluten-free and dairy-free!
Details on the ingredients
Full details on the quantity of ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Almond flour – The main ingredient for this cake is fine blanched almond flour. If you use almond meal or ground almonds, the cake may end up a little crumbly as they have a coarser texture.
Cocoa – For a rich and more intense chocolate flavour, I decided to use Dutch-processed cocoa for the cake and frosting. Natural cocoa has a lighter colour and a milder flavour. I tested this recipe with natural cocoa and did not like the flavour or texture.
Sugar – I used coconut sugar to sweeten this cake as I love how the caramel flavour complements the cocoa powder. You may be able to substitute with brown sugar, but I haven’t tested it. Brown sugar typically adds more moisture to baked goods compared to coconut sugar.
Maple syrup – I opted to use a little maple syrup for additional sweetening but also to add more moisture to the cake.
Oil – A little oil also helps create a moist crumb in this cake. I used extra virgin olive oil, but you can use olive oil, canola oil or vegetable oil. Avocado oil and liquid coconut oil may also work.
Eggs – Eggs are an essential ingredient to help this gluten-free cake rise. (You’ll need four eggs!) They also add moisture and a fluffy texture. Make sure you bring them to room temperature before beating them together with the sugar.
Baking soda – While the eggs definitely help this cake rise, a little baking soda is also required to help with leavening.
Vanilla – Use real vanilla extract to enhance the flavours of the cake and frosting.
Salt – Just a little for added flavour. I used fine sea salt, but you can also use table salt.
Whipping cream – To keep this cake dairy-free, the frosting is made using dairy-free whipping cream. I like Silk brand (not sponsored, just my preference), but other brands will work too. If you don’t need this cake to be dairy-free, you can also just use heavy whipping cream.
Powdered sugar – Also called confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar. You’ll need this to sweeten the frosting a little and thicken it up.
What is the difference between almond flour and almond meal?
Both almond flour and almond meal are made from raw ground almonds. For baking, I normally use almond flour as it is made with blanched almonds (the skins removed) and is finely ground. Almond meal is made from almonds with the skins on and therefore has a coarser texture.
For the best results, I recommend using blanched almond flour for this cake. The coarser texture of almond meal may result in a slightly crumbly cake.
What is the difference between Dutch-processed cocoa and natural cocoa?
Natural cocoa is naturally acidic, whereas Dutch-processed is cocoa that has been treated with an alkalizing agent so the acid is neutralized.
Recipes that call for natural cocoa usually include baking soda as the baking soda will react with the acid in natural cocoa to leaven the recipe.
I normally use Dutch-processed in my recipes as it adds a more intense chocolate flavour and darker colour to baked goods. So, I tested this recipe with both types of cocoa and tried baking powder and baking soda as leavening agents.
Believer it or not, the winning combination was Dutch-processed cocoa paired with baking soda. While this is an unconventional pairing, it totally works in this recipe. It resulted in a chocolate almond flour cake that had the best flavour, colour, texture and rise.
How to make chocolate cake with almond flour
The full process is outlined in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Whisk together the almond flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer set to medium-high speed, beat together the eggs and sugar for 20-30 seconds until the mixture is frothy with bubbles on top.
Add the oil, maple syrup and vanilla and beat for another 15 seconds until just combined.
Add the almond flour mixture to the wet mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined. Don’t over mix.
Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch round cake pan. Tap the bottom of the pan on the counter a few times to help remove any air bubbles.
Bake at 350F for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with just a few crumbs on it.
Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
How to make dairy-free chocolate whipped cream frosting
Place your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Add the whipping cream, cocoa, powdered sugar and vanilla to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed for 30 seconds or so until the cocoa and powdered sugar are mixed in a little. (If you turn the mixer on medium-high right away, the cocoa and powdered sugar will go everywhere).
Increase the speed to medium-high and beat the ingredients together until stiff peaks form, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
Frost the cooled cake and serve or refrigerate for a few hours to let the whipped cream topping firm up before slicing.
If you can’t find dairy-free whipping cream to make this frosting, this chocolate avocado frosting is a delicious dairy-free alternative.
Why did my chocolate almond flour cake not rise/sink in the middle?
- Your cake pan is too small. Using a smaller cake pan than the recipe calls for will result in too much batter for the pan and the cake could collapse in the middle. I recommend an 8×2 inch round pan for this recipe. The batter will fill the pan about half full.
- The oven door was opened too soon. If you open the oven door too early to check on the cake, the cake may not be fully set and could deflate in the middle.
- The batter was over mixed. This may incorporate too much air into the batter and cause a sunken cake.
- Using the wrong leavening agent and/or cocoa. As mentioned above, this cake has been specifically tested with baking soda and Dutch-processed cocoa. Other recipe tests using baking powder or natural cocoa resulted in a sunken cake and/or cakes with too many air bubbles.
No, coconut flour cannot be substituted for almond flour in this recipe. Coconut flour is considerably more absorbent and would result in a dry and crumbly cake.
This cake recipe has only been tested with almond flour. As almond flour is free of gluten and has a high fat and moisture content, a 1:1 substitution with all-purpose flour (or other types of flours) will not work without other adjustments to the recipe.
I haven’t tried baking this cake with homemade almond flour, but as long as you use blanched almonds and grind them to a fine consistency, it should be fine.
Unfortunately, this cake will not work without eggs and I have not tested it with a vegan egg replacement such as flax eggs. Since almond flour doesn’t contain gluten, the eggs are essential for leavening and structure in this cake.
This cake was made in an 8×2 inch round pan. I don’t recommend using a smaller pan as there will be too much batter for the pan and the cake will sink in the middle. You can use a 9-inch round pan for a cake that’s not as high, but you’ll need to reduce the baking time.
The frosted cake will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. (This cake is incredibly moist, so even at day 5, it doesn’t taste stale!)
If your cake is unfrosted, you can leave it at room temperature for 2-3 days.
If you’d like to freeze the cake, leave it unfrosted. Just wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer safe bag or container. It will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Thaw at room temperature then whip up the frosting, top the cake and serve.
Key recipe tips
- Measuring ingredients. Cup measurements are included in the recipe for convenience but, for greater accuracy, I recommend weighing your ingredients. If you’re using cup measurements, be sure to use the spoon and level method for the flour and cocoa.
- Room temperature ingredients. Ensure the eggs are at room temperature as they will incorporate with the sugar easily and start to froth quicker. If you store your almond flour in the fridge, you’ll also want to bring that to room temperature.
- Don’t over mix. While beating the eggs and sugar until frothy helps to aerate the eggs and create a fluffy cake, over beating them will create too much aeration and air bubbles in the batter. This will cause small air pockets or holes to form throughout the cake as it bakes.
- Grease the pan. To ensure the cake doesn’t stick to the pan, grease it well with non-stick cooking spray. You can even line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper for easy release.
- Cool cake. Before frosting the cake, let it cool completely. If it’s still warm, the whipped cream frosting may melt or slide off the cake.
More almond flour recipes
More chocolate cake recipes
- Air Fryer Chocolate Cake
- Easy Chocolate Sheet Cake
- Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Mini Chocolate Bundt Cakes
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!
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Almond Flour Chocolate Cake
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cooling Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
- Yield: 10 slices
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American, Canadian
- Diet: Gluten Free
Almond Flour Chocolate Cake is gluten-free with a rich chocolate flavour, moist and tender crumb, and a dairy-free chocolate whipped cream frosting!
For the cake:
- 2 cups (208g) blanched almond flour
- 1/2 cup (50g) Dutch-processed cocoa, sifted if lumpy
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or table salt)
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (90g) coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 1 small carton (473 ml) dairy-free whipping cream (almost 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup (70g) powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
- 1/4 cup (25g) Dutch-processed cocoa, sifted if lumpy
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8 x 2 inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Add the eggs and coconut sugar to a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer set to medium-high speed (not high) to beat together for just 20-30 seconds. The mixture should be frothy with bubbles on top.
- Add the oil, maple syrup and vanilla and beat for another 15 seconds until just combined.
- Add the almond flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Don’t over mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and gently tap the bottom of the pan off a hard surface to help remove any air bubbles.
- Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with just a few crumbs on it.
- Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, place a mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Add the whipping cream, cocoa, powdered sugar and vanilla to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed for 30 seconds or until the cocoa and powdered sugar start to mix in. (This will help prevent the cocoa and sugar from flying everywhere).
- Increase the speed to medium-high and beat the ingredients together until stiff peaks form, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
- Frost the cake and serve or place in the fridge for a few hours to allow the whipped cream to firm up before slicing.
- Make sure you’re using blanched almond flour and not almond meal, which has a coarser texture and will change the texture of the cake.
- Cup measurements are included in the recipe for convenience but, for greater accuracy, I recommend weighing your ingredients. If you’re using cup measurements, be sure to use the spoon and level method for the flour and cocoa.
- Ensure the eggs are at room temperature so they will incorporate with the sugar easily and froth quickly. If you store your almond flour in the fridge, you’ll also want to bring that to room temperature.
- Don’t over beat the wet mixture as too many air bubbles will form in the batter. Some bubbles are required for the light and fluffy texture, but too many will create small holes in the cake.
- If you don’t need this cake to be dairy-free or you can’t find dairy-free whipping cream, you can use heavy whipping cream.
- For the best flavour and texture, use Dutch-processed cocoa instead of natural cocoa.
- Be sure to check out the other sections above the recipe card for more detailed advice and suggestions for making this recipe.
Keywords: chocolate cake, almond flour, gluten-free, dairy-free
Lorraine DeMarco says
Any way you can make this into a keto chocolate cake?
Hi Lorraine. I’m sorry, but I haven’t tried to make this cake keto.
Ben | Havocinthekitchen says
This cake does indeed look so tasty – so rich and decadent but with a light, crumbly, and moist texture! Loving the use of coconut sugar and maple syrup for the added caramel notes.
i made your lemon almond flour cake and it was amazing. i will absolutely be trying this cake as well. i am really enjoying almond flour for cakes i make now. thanks for the recipe.
Thanks Terry! I’m so glad you enjoyed my lemon almond flour cake recipe. Let me know what you think when you give this chocolate version a try!