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Perfect Chocolate Cake (Grain Free)


My favorite real food blogger, Rose from The Clean Dish is back and I couldn’t be happier! I love when Rose comes to visit because she makes, hands down, the BEST clean desserts. It’s no secret that I just adore everything she makes. In fact, her Raspberry “Better Than Cheesy” Cheesecake recipe ranks as my top fav dessert. Talk about divine!  And go check out her recipe for Coconut Surprise Bars and then thank me later 🙂  I love her creativity, her food photography and her passion for real food. She has wonderful recipes so make sure to check out her blog and follow along with her on facebook, too!  ~Kelly


It’s me again, Rose from The Clean Dish – I am thrilled to be back with another guest post for Primally Inspired and I’ll cut right to the chase: I made a vegan and grain free/processed sugar free chocolate cake which is everything I had hoped for: chocolaty, moist, fluffy and just SO addictive!

Also, I have finally mastered the art of baking with baking soda. I much prefer baking soda to baking powder but it is a little trickier to use. However, I’ll gladly share with you what, in my experience, makes or breaks baked goods that have baking soda as a leaving agent. 
Two aspects need to be considered: 1) Ingredients: you need an acidic ingredient that baking soda reacts with (in this case apple cider vinegar). 2) Timing: As soon as you mix baking soda with your acidic ingredient, you basically have to be ready to put it straight into the oven. If you leave your batter on the counter for too long, it’s not going to rise while baking and you might end up with a dense, flat cake. That’s all it is! Pretty straight forward. I’m no longer intimidated by baking soda and I hope you won’t be either!
A note on the chocolate cream: I used my recipe for Chocolate Mousse. (http://www.thecleandish.com/chocolate-mousse-dairy-free/)
I only changed one step in this recipe: instead of using just half of the coconut cream to make the chocolate mousse (in my recipe, I suggest you use the other half to serve the mousse with), I folded in the entire coconut cream; hence the lighter color. I wanted to achieve a contrast to the dark cake.
Perfect Chocolate Cake (Grain Free)
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line the bottom of an 8½ inch spring form pan with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil over low heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Use a sieve for the baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and apple sauce (do not mix in apple cider vinegar just yet).
  4. Add wet ingredients (except apple cider vinegar) to dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Once your batter is well incorporated (it will be a little thicker and pastier than regular batter), add the apple cider vinegar. Mix well and pour into your spring form and bake immediately for approximately 30 - 35 minutes. Do the toothpick test; stick a toothpick into the middle of your cake. If batter sticks to it, continue baking.
  6. Let cool down fully before transferring to a cake plate (your cake will crumble if you don't wait so be patient 🙂 ).
  7. Enjoy as is or make Chocolate Cream to spread on top:
A note on the chocolate cream: I used my recipe for Chocolate Mousse. http://www.thecleandish.com/chocolate-mousse-dairy-free/ I only changed one step in this recipe: instead of using just half of the coconut cream to make the chocolate mousse (in my recipe, I suggest you use the other half to serve the mousse with), I folded in the entire coconut cream; hence the lighter color. I wanted to achieve a contrast to the dark cake.

Meet Rose from The Clean Dish


Hi – My name is Rose! I am a German citizen, real food advocate, military wife and since February 2013, author of the recipe blog The Clean Dish. We currently live in North Florida – but home is where the Army sends us!

I enjoy developing recipes and just started getting into food photography. All of my recipes are grain free, processed sugar free and some are vegan. If I’m not busy in the kitchen, I like to go on long walks with my feisty little Eskimo dog Biscuit. I try to stay active as I believe physical fitness is the key to a balanced life style – I love trail running, rock climb, snorkeling and cross country skiing – if I ever get the chance.

I dream about traveling the world to write about food and artisan wine but for now, I am perfectly happy with a simple life of home cooked meals, dinner with friends and weekend trips to the beach. Come on over and visit me at The Clean Dish to check out my latest creations!

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    Hi Rose – and welcome to my world. As noted by the email address above I started baking and decorating cakes when I retired some time back. However for now and the near future I can not longer bake, taste or eat regular sweets due to health issues I must be completely dairy free, milk ingredient free and gluten free, which by all standards lives little to eat or enjoy. My sister discovered you glog info and sent it to me. I look forward to getting recipes that meet my new eating requirements. Thank you for your help. Shar

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    So good to have these recipes,thank you so much,greetings from Brazil,Eliana.

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    This looks amazing. I am so excited to make this and have been thinking about it all week and have shared it with friends at work. I do not eat many cakes at all, and to be honest, have never really baked a cake, because otherwise I would have to eat it! Now that I have found your amazing healthy recipes, I can’t wait. Would this cake freeze at all?

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    Hi Rose,

    This cake looks amazing, and I love the ingredient list, except for the fact that we have an almond allergy in our house. Can you recommend any other flour for this recipe? Thank you, and I am so excited to find your blog!

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    Looks amazing! I am wondering if you can suggest a substitute for the apple sauce as I have recently discovered I am fructose intolerant. Cheers!

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    Today was my son’s first birthday and due to to food allergies I had to find a grain, egg and dairy free cake. We used this recipe and it turned out so fantastic. Thank you for being the one to experiment and provide us with some great recipes!

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    Due to nut allergy please could you advise an alternative flour – doesn’t have to be gluten free but please could you advise any gluten and/or gluten free flour alternatives. Many thanks 🙂

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    I am on stage 2 of the candida diet and cannot have maple syrup or honey yet. Any ideas on sugar substitutes? I will make my own applesauce from granny smiths. Oh, I am in north Florida too!

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    Can this cake be left out on the counter?

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    Hi! I wanted to make this cake for my son’s birthday but only have a glass 8×8 pan or glass 9×13 pan that I could use to make it.

    Do you think these would work and if so, how would the cooking time and temperature be affected??

    Thank you so much!!

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    Would this recipe work for cupcakes, as well?

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    Looks fantastic! I was wondering if coconut flour would work?

    • Primally Inspired

      Hi Lindsay! Coconut flour will not work for this particular recipe without changing up a lot of the ingredients (adding much more liquid). I haven’t experimented with using coconut flour in this one, but I’d love to create a coconut flour chocolate cake in the future!

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    I made this cake for my sister (turning 29) and it was deeeeelicious. I’m GF, DF, egg free and SF and I have to say it is so difficult to find recipes that actually work. So thank you for the amazing recipe!

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    Thank you Rose! This is a delicious cake and frosting! My whole family loved it. I made them into cup cakes. It made 12. They were done in 27 minutes. I did have a problem with them crumbling. I think that was as a result of my not knowing how long to bake them for and started checking them after 17 minutes. Opening and closing the oven door a few times may have done it. They did firm up though once I refrigerated them. If you know of another reason they may have crumbled, please let me know.
    Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

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    My husband made this for me for my birthday. He topped it with your Bailey’s chocolate mousse. We don’t have a springform pan, so he just baked it in our small cast iron skillet. Amazing. Delicious. Perfect. Thank you!

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    I just made this cake for my son’s birthday party and all the kids even liked it! I doubled it and it still fit in my KitchenAid mixer, then I put it in 3 9in circular pans with parchment on the bottom. My only problem was when I took the cakes out of the pans they fell apart pretty easily even after they had been in the refrigerator. I would suggest freezing them before turning them out. The cake was really moist even after I thought I had baked them a little too long, thank you so much for this recipe!

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    What role does the applesauce play in the recipe. I have had to cut out several fruits I tested positive on in a food sensitivity test including apple, banana and plantain. If I understood what role the applesauce plays, I could, hopefully, figure out a reasonable substitute.

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    Thanks for the recipe! I was wondering if I could replace the cacao for carob powder. What do you think?

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    Hi, thanks for the recipe. I just wanted to say that not only is the cake really tasty, it’s also simple to make. I made it for the first time yesterday and it was actually the first time I’ve ever made a cake. The recipe is not at all intimidating. Thanks again! 🙂

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    Hi Kelly! Would olive oil or ghee work in place of coconut oil? Thanks!

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    Can you just leave the cocoa out to make a white cake?

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    This is wonderful! I need a cake or cupcake recipe that is grain and egg-free for a toddler with allergies.
    Could you advise on a way to make this a white cake without the cocoa powder, as we were hoping to find a recipe to make strawberry cake (‘white-ish’ cake with strawberry frosting or maybe bits of strawberry in the batter)?

    Thanks so much!

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    Can I use honey instead of maple syrup? Also can I omit the apple sauce & apple cider vinegar. I typically have to make my own applesauce or by it specially made and I haven’t introduce any vinegar into my diet yet. Thanks can’t wait to try out this recipe.

    • Kelly from Primally Inspired

      You can definitely sub out honey for maple syrup. I would not omit the applesauce – it may come out a bit dry if you do, but there are some substitutions you could use. Substitutions for the applesauce could be pureed pumpkin or mashed banana OR more coconut oil. I believe you could omit the apple cider vinegar just fine. Hope that helps!

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    I made this for my sons birthday and it was delicious! I’m doing a Spring Reset with the Nourish to Flourish Society (nourishtoflourishsociety.com) so I needed a cake without grains, dairy, or eggs. This one fit the bill and my husband declared it “the best dessert you’ve ever made.”

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    Hi, I know this an old post, but do you have a working link for the Chocolate Mousse topping? I tried the link in the recipe, but it isn’t working. Thank you.

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