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How to make a showstopping gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cake

You certainly don’t need a celebration to bake this cake, but following an alternative diet definitely complicates things when it comes time to blow out your candles. Grain-free baking uses calorie-dense ingredients, so smaller slices are all that’s needed.

Celebration Chocolate Cake

This cake is smaller in size: I use three 15cm-wide cake tins, which is not uncommon for artisan-style cakes and it looks beautiful. Feel free to use whatever tins you have available, anything from a single bundt tin, two sandwich tins or three smaller artisan-style tins work well.

Heads up: make the icing a day before to allow it to set; it will save you a lot of stress making it in advance.


4 free-range eggs, separated

125ml nut milk

250ml black coffee, cooled

125ml avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil

100g coconut sugar

50g cocoa

200g almond flour

100g cassava flour

2 tsp gluten-free baking powder

½ tsp pink salt

For the icing

480g coconut cream

2 tsp vanilla extract1 tsp powdered grass-fed gelatin or ½ tsp agar-agar

250g dairy-free, dark chocolate chips

a pinch of pink salt

100g chopped hazelnuts (optional)


  1. Make the icing a day ahead to allow it to set. Heat the coconut milk and vanilla extract in a saucepan over a medium heat until it starts to steam, then whisk through the gelatin, add the chocolate chips and salt, then leave it to stand for a few minutes. Stir well, making sure that all the chocolate is melted, then stir in chopped hazelnuts, if using. Transfer to a glass bowl and allow it to cool uncovered in the fridge until firm.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan oven) Gas 3 and prepare three 15cm cake tins (or two sandwich tins, or a single bundt tin) by either giving them a good wipe down with coconut oil or lining with baking paper. In a stand mixer or in a bowl using an electric or hand whisk, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then transfer to a smaller bowl and set aside.
  3. Put the egg yolks in the bowl and add the milk, coffee and oil, then beat well. Sift the sugar, cocoa, almond flour, cassava flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.
  4. Spoon the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, one heaped spoon at a time, and mix using the mixer on slow or using a wooden spoon.
  5. Stop the mixer and fold through the egg whites (stirring in a figure-of-eight movement).
  6. Transfer the batter to your prepared baking tins and follow the schedule below for baking times (it changes depending on how many tins you use):
  • 3 tins: 30 minutes
  • 2 tins: 30–35 minutes
  • bundt tin: 35–40 minutes
  1. The cake is cooked when a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean. It will also feel firm when pressed. Allow for extra time if not firm. Leave on a wire rack to cool entirely before removing the cake from the tin. When the cake is completely cold, cover with the icing and let the celebrations begin!



Top with extra hazelnuts, fresh berries and edible flowers to add that extra wow factor.


dairy-free • gluten-free • Paleo