This homemade Paleo vanilla cake is made with almond flour and covered in a dark chocolate frosting. It is grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free - perfect as a healthy Paleo birthday cake or celebratory dessert.
To say I'm proud of this Paleo vanilla cake is an understatement. This is literally the BEST Paleo vanilla cake recipe! And I'm so excited to be sharing it with you.
Not only is this cake healthy, but no one will guess that it's made with almond flour and completely grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free.
This is one of those recipes to surprise your non-healthy eating friends with. Pretty sure they'll be shocked to find that the cake you served them is Paleo friendly.
I made this healthy cake three times and they all turned out perfect (besides under-baking one of the batches). Served it up to my family (parents and brother included) and they all agreed it is an amazing vanilla cake recipe.
Here are some highlights...
- Paleo friendly: this will definitely be my go-to Paleo birthday cake recipe
- Grain free & gluten free: made with almond flour, tapioca flour & coconut flour
- Dairy free: contains avocado oil (no butter)
- Refined sugar free: sweetened with coconut sugar
- Easy to make: no tricky steps or odd ingredients (eggs don't even need to be room temp)
- Moist & fluffy: is extremely moist and has a nice crumb texture
I really have nothing bad to say about this gluten free cake - I'm a HUGE fan!
Ingredients in Homemade Paleo Vanilla Cake
The Paleo cake recipe is made from a few simple ingredients. Here's what you need for the cake:
- blanched almond flour
- arrowroot starch/flour (or substitute with tapioca flour)
- coconut flour (a little is needed for texture purposes)
- coconut sugar (or substitute your favorite granulated sugar)
- Paleo baking powder (I make my own)
- baking soda
- large eggs
- avocado oil (olive oil will probably work too, but I've only tested avocado)
- almond milk (or any plant based milk)
- vanilla extract
Ingredients in Paleo Chocolate Frosting
This almond flour cake is frosted with a homemade chocolate frosting. The frosting is thick and hardens at room temperature - kind of like fudge.
Here's what you need for the frosting:
- non-hydrogenated shortening: I use Nutiva shortening which is a mixture of palm oil and coconut oil and has a fairly neutral flavor.
- dark chocolate chips: I recommend 65-75% dark chocolate
- maple syrup: for added sweetener, flavor and texture
- vanilla extract: for flavor
If you prefer a softer, coconut cream based chocolate frosting then use the one for my chocolate tigernut flour cake.
Prefer Paleo vanilla frosting? Then take a look at my almond flour cupcakes and Paleo chocolate cupcakes, which are both topped with vanilla frosting.
Don't want to make your own frosting? Simple Mills has some great tasting chocolate and vanilla frosting. Now, they are not 100% Paleo because they contain organic powdered sugar, but they are my number one frosting choice when I'm in a pinch and don't want to make my own.
How to Make Paleo Vanilla Cake
This homemade vanilla cake is SO easy to make. It takes just two large mixing bowls, a whisk, measuring cups/spoons and the necessary ingredients to make the batter.
Here's how it's done:
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line three 6-inch pans with parchment paper. (Note: I have stainless steel cake pans. If you have aluminum pans the baking time may be slightly different. Also, I have not tried baking this cake in any other sized pans.)
Make the Cake Batter
First, combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. This includes the almond flour, arrowroot starch, coconut flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. I recommend sifting the almond flour to remove any clumps.
In an extra large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients. This includes the eggs, avocado oil, almond milk and vanilla.
Next, pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and whisk until smooth.
Then, pour the batter into the three parchment-lined cake pans.
Bake the Cake
Place the three cake pans on the middle rack of your oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
When the cakes are done, they should have slightly browned tops and should not jiggle in the middle.
Next, cool the cakes in their pans for 5-10 minutes. This lets them set a little more and will make removing them from the pan easier.
Lastly, remove the cakes from the pans and cool them on a wire cooling rack. They must be completely cooled before frosted.
How to Frost a Cake
Make the Frosting
First thing's first, you must make the frosting!
Place all of the ingredients for the frosting in a small sauce pan. Then, set it on the stove top and melt over low heat, stirring every so often. Once the chocolate chips are fully melted, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove top.
Chill the Frosting
Next, chill the frosting. This frosting recipe is thick, almost fudge-like, and will harden at room temperature. You can either wait a few hours for the frosting to set at room temperature, or place the frosting in the fridge to chill.
In the fridge, the frosting takes about an hour to reach the right consistency for frosting your cake. However, that time will vary depending on how warm the mixture got in the first place.
The frosting is ready when it has a thick, buttercream-like texture. (See photo below.) If the frosting has hardened, then place it back on the stove top and warm over low heat for a couple minutes. Stir until smooth.
Frost the Cake
Once the frosting is ready, frost the cake.
Grab the bottom cake layer and set it on top of a cake plate or whatever platter you want to serve the cake on. Scoop the frosting onto the cake and spread it out in a nice, even layer starting at the center of the cake and working it out towards the edges.
Then, grab the second layer of cake and place it on top of the frosted bottom layer. Again, scoop the frosting onto the middle of the cake layer and spread it out in a nice, even layer from the center towards the edges of the cake. Repeat this for the third layer.
Use the spatula to place frosting on the sides of the cake. Run the spatula along the edges of the cake, adding more frosting as needed.
Add decorations (sprinkles, chopped nuts, bee pollen, dried fruit, etc.) before the frosting has a chance to harden.
Best way to Store Cake
This cake is preservative free and moist. Which, makes for a fresh, fantastic cake, but not one that lasts long at room temperature.
I recommend keeping this cake in the fridge after 24 hours. Keep it in a sealed, air-tight contain in the fridge up to one week. Or, slice the cake and keep it in the freezer up to one month.
More Paleo Cake Recipes
I'm working on building my collection of cake recipes. In the meantime, here are some Paleo cakes and cupcakes already on the blog:
- Tigernut Flour Chocolate Cake
- Almond Flour Vanilla Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cassava Flour
- Tigernut Flour Cupcakes
Homemade Paleo Vanilla Cake (with Almond Flour)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 3 layer 6" cake 1x
Healthy, homemade Paleo vanilla cake that's made with almond flour and covered in a dark chocolate frosting. Grain free, gluten free, dairy free, fluffy and moist!
- 3 cups blanched almond flour (240g) sifted, spooned & leveled
- ½ cup arrowroot starch/flour (58g)
- 2 Tbsp coconut flour (15g)
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 2 tsp Paleo baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs (refrigerated)
- 1 cup almond milk
- ⅓ cup avocado oil
- ½ Tbsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup non-hydrogenated shortening (126g)
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips (about 3 oz)
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line three 6-inch round pans with parchment paper, set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry cake ingredients. This includes the almond flour, arrowroot starch, coconut flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. This includes the eggs, almond milk, avocado oil and vanilla extract.
- Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the lined baking pans.
- Place pans in the oven (middle rack) and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes*
- Cool cake in pans for 5-10 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire cooling rack.
For the Frosting
- Combine all frosting ingredients in a small sauce pan. Melt over the stove top on low heat, stirring every so often.
- Once the chocolate has fully melted, remove frosting from stove top and cool in fridge for about an hour to thicken**
- Frost cooled cake and decorate as desired.
For best results, measure ingredients by weight (when given).
*I have stainless steel baking pans. If using pans made from a different material, the baking time may slightly differ.
**It takes about an hour for the frosting to thicken in the fridge. If the frosting gets too solid, then slightly warm it over the stove top.
Keywords: paleo vanilla cake, paleo birthday cake, paleo cake recipe, gluten free vanilla cake, almond flour cake, chocolate frosting, paleo frosting, six inch cake, healthy dessert recipe
The BEST vanilla cake you'll ever eat! Hope you all love it as much as my family does.
Bonnie Wiley says
This was delicious! It was a birthday cake; looked beautiful, was moist and tasty!
I'm so glad you liked the cake. It's definitely one of my favorites 🙂
I love this cake. Moist and the frosting is wonderful
It is super moist - the best cake texture! Thank you for the review 🙂
How many people does this serve?
Hi! It will serve 8-12 people.
When I made this cake the batter was very liquid… is it meant to be like that? I used 240g of almond flour as instructed however 3 cups is usually 270g. I’m just wondering if everyone else used the metric measurements or the cups?
I ended up adding quite a bit more flour.
Hi! The almond flour should have been sifted, spooned and leveled, equating to 240g. The measurement in grams is much more accurate. One thing to note, the coconut flour will thicken the batter after a few minutes. So it might have been slightly more runny than expected at first, but should have thickened.
Stephanie cameron says
Thanks for the quick reply,
I’m in the UK so always use metric rather than cups anyways… made it again today and still runny. I’m thinking it might be my ingredients - still a fantastic recipe though even if I need to add more flour!
Thank you 🙂
Delicious! Anyway to sub the almond flour for tigernut flour?
Thank you! I haven't tried this cake with tigernut flour, but it should work as a 1:1 substitute by weight for the almond flour. I do have a chocolate tigernut flour cake if you are interested: https://bakeitpaleo.com/tigernut-flour-chocolate-cake/
Can I leave the coconut sugar out? And use maple syrup? Or just use none?
The only option would be to swap the coconut sugar for another granulated sugar.
How does the use of coconut sugar affect a cake versus one that uses just a liquid sweetener such as honey or maple syrup? Thank you!
Linda Hernandez says
Can I use in a Bundt cake pan
I'm not sure if using a bundt cake pan would work.