The Chocolate Cake That Changed Everything

April 19, 2018
13 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 9 hours
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes Two 6-inch layers or one 8-inch cake
Author Notes

From Sweet Laurel Bakery’s cookbook: “This was the cake that changed everything. Our whole company, and point of view, is founded on this cake. Decadent, rich, beautiful, and intensely chocolaty, it flies in the face of people who don’t think you can have your cake and be grain-free, too. This cake is a showstopper, so get ready—people will freak out over it.”

Featured in: The Insane (Grain-Free!) Chocolate Cake That Literally Changed Everything
Laurel Gallucci

What You'll Need
  • For the Chocolate Cake:
  • Coconut oil, for greasing the pans
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup 100% unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting (see below)
  • 1 cup Vegan Caramel (see below)
  • For the Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
  • Makes 1 cup:
  • 4 ounces 100% cacao unsweetened baking chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, solid
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond butter, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/4 cup almond milk or full-fat coconut milk, or as needed
  • For the Vegan Caramel:
  • Makes 1/2 cup:
  • 1/4 cup almond or cashew butter or puree, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 or 2 fresh dates, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch Himalayan pink salt
  1. Make the Chocolate Cake: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two 6-inch cake pans or one 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper rounds, then grease the sides of the pans with coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until a batter forms.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert the cakes onto racks and allow to cool completely.
  4. Place one layer on a cake plate and top with 1⁄2 cup of the fudge frosting, smoothing it evenly over the entire surface. Drizzle 1⁄2 cup of the caramel on top, if using. Add the second cake layer and top with the remaining 1⁄2 cup frosting, then drizzle the remaining caramel over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
  5. Make the Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting: In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate and coconut oil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat. Slowly add the maple syrup and stir to incorporate. Allow to cool completely.
  6. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a medium bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat in the almond butter until a thick frosting forms. Add the almond milk and stir with a spatula until smooth.
  7. For a creamy, almost pourable frosting, use immediately; for a fluffy frosting, refrigerate for at least 8 hours, then bring to room temperature and beat with an electric mixer until spreadable. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
  8. Make the Vegan Caramel: Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  9. Transfer the caramel to a glass jar and place in the refrigerator to chill. The caramel will stiffen up in the refrigerator, so if your recipe calls for it to be spreadable, let the caramel sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, and give it a good stir before using. The caramel will keep for about 1 month, refrigerated.
  10. Notes: If you want a thinner sauce to drizzle on top of a dessert, just add another 2 tablespoons maple syrup. For a denser, caramel candy texture, add 2 more dates. For spreading on cake layers, add 2 tablespoons almond or cashew butter. Because this recipe contains fresh dates—which will ferment over time—it’s important to keep the caramel refrigerated.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mary Carlson
    Mary Carlson
  • Olivia Rose
    Olivia Rose
  • VFell
  • Sipa
  • Erin Friedman
    Erin Friedman

32 Reviews

Gaga4 January 11, 2023
My wife just made this for my birthday. It's exactly how i wanted it - moist. She put chocolate grenache icing. Is there nutritional information on this recipe?
Charlie B. November 8, 2022
I LOVE ALL you're recipes!!!!!
mariasojai September 3, 2022
I love this recipe and have been making it for years! I want to make it into cupcakes for my son’s first birthday next week. Any tips on cook time for cupcakes? Thanks!
Charlie B. November 8, 2022
That would be a smart idea!
chiefkief September 23, 2020
Made this cake for my cousin’s birthday tonight because she’s paleo... and it was a hit! The chocolate frosting is quite temperature sensitive so I spread it on the cake when it was a tad about room temperature and then kept the cake in the fridge until we were ready to eat it, which allowed it to set nicely. Highly recommended!
Mary C. August 10, 2020
I made the cake for a friends birthday and cant wait to serve it tonight ! The frosting seemed to have an unusual consistency but the Carmel sauce really made it beautiful and shiny. I circled the middle layer of the cake and repeated the process using fresh Raspberries over the top. Thank. you for sharing, my friend suffers from Celiac but she still deserves a beautiful homemade cake for her birthday. I know she will like it !
Olivia R. May 24, 2020
Fantastic recipe. Thank you so much! It's my new go to. Do you think I could swap all purpose flour for the almond flour in times when I've run out? Thank you so much!
Laurel G. May 24, 2020
So happy you are enjoying our recipe!!! I haven’t tried that swap. Sorry I can’t help more here. Happy Bakinh!
Heather C. June 13, 2019
I made this and was so impressed! At first I thought this would be way too small. It’s rich and I didn’t need to eat a big portion to enjoy the incredible flavor. I really liked the pink salt in it. I actually feel good when I eat this. It was our dinner for tonight. My 1 year old loved it. I figure-it’s a lot healthier eating this for dinner than pizza. 😆 Thanks for the awesome recipe. I will be telling people on my blog and IG about it. @sugarnspicewithadvice
Laurel G. May 24, 2020
I love this! So happy you enjoy this cake as much as we do! Definitely ‘all family members’ approved!
Baker B. May 19, 2019
Laurel: Was introduced to your sweets and cookbook by a dear LA friend. I make a mean chocolate cake, and guests were bummed to hear that an all natural, wheat free dairy free cake was requested and on the menu for her birthday dinner. BUT I made your cake, and I am a believer ! The guests could NOT believe that it was a "clean" cake !! I frosted and decorated w/ fresh roses from her garden, fresh raspberries, and coconut milk ice cream was spectacular AND beyond delicious !! The left overs were supposed to go to her office, but that cake never made it out of the house !! PS: I am baking this cake right now for my son's birthday today..he is trying your egg swap tip..eekk so excited to see the finished product and blow him away ! XOXOX PPS: YOU are a genius !
Laurel G. May 24, 2020
Yay so happy to hear this! The vegan egg swap version is delicious as well! My top is that often you will need to increase the bake time if you add flax or chia eggs. Xoxox
VFell August 7, 2018
Just wanted to share my experience in case it is helpful— I made just the cake without any frosting and made 24 mini cupcakes. They were yummy but very sunken on top. They took 24 min to bake in a toaster oven (bc my regular oven is broken, oy). I was worried that there was no acid to react with the baking soda so actually added 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar to theoretically help with leavening. Also wonder if “blooming” the cocoa would help with richer chocolate flavor? Curious to hear other experiences!
MOLLY June 15, 2018
2 questions;
Can I double the recipe to make (2) 8" round cakes?
Will this cake be as delicious if I bake it on Sunday to take to work on Monday? Should I refrigerate it Monday night??
Laurel G. June 15, 2018
Yes and yes! This cake will keep refrigerated for at least a week, and taste very delicious.
MOLLY June 15, 2018
Laurel, you are the bomb, thank you so much!! I will report back with the concencious from my employee family (they will NOT know this is a "good for you" kind of recipe)! I hope they L-O-V-E it!!
Ash May 21, 2018
Is the batter supposed to be super thick and the cake a bit dense? I just want to ensure that I am getting the consistency right. Thank you!
Sipa May 2, 2018
What do you mean exactly by fresh dates?
Erin F. April 29, 2018
Great cake. (Suggestion: I found the caramel sauce to be nearly paste-like, but a little warm water got it to the right consistency.) We are new to gluten-free and dairy-free and I wanted to do something special for my husband's birthday. He's not much of a sweet-eater, but he had seconds tonight. Definitely a keeper - thanks so much.
Laurel G. May 1, 2018
Wonderful to hear, thank you!
Ann April 28, 2018
My daughter is t1 diabetic. Do you have the nutritional values and servings?
Laurel G. May 1, 2018
Hello Ann, I don't, however I suggest you plug the recipe into My Fitness Pal, they have nutrition calculators.
Wild C. April 25, 2018
Full fat coconut milk from a can? And if so, do you have a favorite brand that you use? Gathering my ingredients because this is definitely getting made this weekend.
Laurel G. April 25, 2018
Yes! I love the Lets Do Organic Coconut Cream or the Trader Joes Organic Coconut Cream! Happy Baking!!!
Wild C. April 26, 2018
Thank you so much for answering and so quickly! A friend introduced me to your cookbook, and I’ve fallen in love with your recipes. Thank you for sharing and nourishing my family with food we can all eat.
Laurel G. May 1, 2018
Thank you for sharing! So happy you are enjoying the book!
Allison W. April 24, 2018
Would this work with an egg replacement? Thank you!
Laurel G. April 25, 2018
Hello Allison! Yes, a vegan egg replacement will work. I recommend using a chia egg, flax egg, or mixture of both. For each egg, simply grind 1 tablespoon of chia or flax and mix it with 3 tablespoons water. Let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes, then add it to the batter. The key is freshly grinding the chia and flax to allow the mixture to bind properly in the batter. If using a flax or chia egg swap, the cake will need to bake for a bit longer then the recommended bake time above.
CoffeeAndBaconYum April 24, 2018
Can fine or coarse sea salt be substituted for the Himalayan pink salt?
Laurel G. April 24, 2018
Yes, fine sea salt will work perfectly!
Angelina J. April 23, 2018
Have you tried with honey? I'm in Asia, so no maple syrup available
Laurel G. April 24, 2018
Hi Angelina! Honey will work!