14-Layer Chocolate Strawberry Cake {grain-free; dairy-free}

This grain-free, dairy-free 14-Layer Chocolate-Strawberry Cake will be the most impressive (and delicious) thing on your table this year. Perfect for Valentine’s Day or any special occasion.

Please share:

Paleo Cake Recipe

About 5 years ago, when my oldest nephew was turning 14, I had the ambitious idea to make him a 14-layer cake for the occasion. Surprisingly, the cake turned out great and didn’t fall over when I carried it from the kitchen to the table. We all ate it and enjoyed it and marveled at all the layers when we cut into it and that was that. As the years passed, the cake became a distance memory.

Paleo became our thing so the cake wasn’t even an option anyway. Well, you know I couldn’t just let it end like that. About 3-4 months ago, the idea of the 14-layer cake popped back into my head and I couldn’t get it out. Naturally, I would wait until the month of January, while everyone is on a Whole30 and when I’ve decided to do keto, to take on this challenge.

But it had to be done, and I’m so glad I did it. I couldn’t sleep at night, thinking about how to assemble, decorate, and build this cake. Now that it’s done, I’m sleeping like a baby again.

Don’t let the sheer number of ingredients and steps scare you away. I’m just trying to be thorough in the explanation. It’s definitely best to read through the entire recipe so you know what lies ahead for you if you decide to make this (which you should do at least once in your life). The thing that’s so great about this cake (besides the fact that it tastes great) is that it’s a surprise when you cut into it. You would look at this and expect 3, maybe 4, layers inside. But 14? Wow!

The 14 Layer Cake

A chocolate and strawberry 14-layer cake is pretty much the most perfect Valentine’s Day dessert, wouldn’t you say? 14 layers on the 14th. Perfect. Also worth mentioning, the combination of the chocolate and almond buttercream frostings tastes exactly like a swirled ice cream cone. Mmhmm, you’re welcome.

Step by Step Photos

For those of you visual people, before we get down to the actual recipe, here are some step-by-step photos to help you visualize the process.

The easiest way to bake the cakes is in disposable 9″ cake pans, that way you can prep all the pans and have them ready instead of washing out the pans each time for each batch.

Lightly coat the bottom of the 9″ pans with shortening or oil (I use avocado oil for ease). Line each pan with a parchment circle cut to size (or purchase pre-cut parchment rounds, which makes it much easier and faster). Then lightly oil the parchment paper. This is all to be sure your cake comes out of the pans easily and without sticking.

With the pans prepared, mix the cake batter. Divide the batter evenly between all 14 pans. This is about 3/4-ish cups (I use a large cookie scoop and put 3 scoops in each pan).

Gently tap each pan on the counter to smooth the batter to the edges. If that doesn’t work, use the back of a spoon to press and spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake in batches in the preheated oven. Place no more than 5 pans in at one time, staggering the pans on the oven shelves so they are not directly over each other.

Cool the baked cakes on a wire until cool (it won’t take long since they’re so thin), then gently invert the pan to remove the cake. Carefully peel the parchment off the bottom of the cakes. I lay paper towels on the counter and line up all the cooled cakes so they are ready to be stacked.

Start layering the cakes/filling/ganache. I started with chocolate but it’s best to start with strawberry so you end with a ganache layer on top, which makes frosting the cake easier. Also, if you prefer not to frost it at all, you can just drizzle any remaining ganache around all sides of the cake.

As you’re layering the cake, gently set the new layer on top and adjusting/sliding the layers to be sure they remain even and aren’t sliding off to one side (resulting in a lopsided cake that could topple over). Once all the layers are added, place a wooden skewer in the cake to keep the layers even. Refrigerate the cake to set the layers.

If you want to add frosting (which I highly recommend), once the cake is cooled and the ganache and strawberry filling have set and hardened a bit, add a crumb coat of chocolate frosting. This will make the final layer of frosting much easier to apply. Refrigerate the crumb-coated cake until it has crusted over (doesn’t stick to your finger when you touch it and has a slight crunch).

Once your crumb coat is ready, add blobs of the white (almond) frosting with an offset spatula in a random pattern all around the cake. Fill in the blank spots with some of the chocolate frosting. Using a bench scraper, lightly drag it along the cake to blend the two frostings. You can see a tutorial on this method here.

If you have any gaping areas, fill it with the color that’s lacking (in my case, white) and run the “cleaned off” bench scraper over it again. Repeat the process on the top of the cake.

Decorate the frosted cake as desired. I used strawberries with the tops cut off and piped the white frosting in between them. and more along the bottom (which also helps to hide any imperfections along the bottom edge of the frosting).

Use a sharp, hot knife to slice through the cake. Carefully remove the slice and show off all those gorgeous layers.

14-Layer Chocolate-Strawberry Cake {grain-free} by OurPaleoLife.com

Chocolate Strawberry 14-Layer Cake {grain-free; dairy-free}

Yield: 16 slices
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes


Yellow Cake

  • 4 1/2 cups (540g) Otto's Cassava Flour, (sifted, spooned, leveled)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Vegetable Shortening, we use Spectrum brand, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Ghee (for dairy-free) or Grass-Fed Butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups Organic Cane Sugar, you can use Maple Sugar as well
  • 6 large Eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Dark Chocolate Ganache (double if using all ganache and no strawberry filling)

  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk, canned, full-fat

Strawberry Filling

  • 1-1/2 lb Fresh Strawberries, plus more for garnishing, optional, stems/leaves removed
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1 tsp Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Shortening, we use Spectrum brand
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 3 1/2 cups Homemade Powdered Sugar, see notes
  • Up to 1/2 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk or Full-Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Almond Buttercream Frosting

  • 3/4 cup Vegetable Shortening, we use Spectrum brand
  • 3 cups Homemade Powdered Sugar, see notes
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk or Full-Fat Coconut Milk, may need less
  • 1 tsp Pure Almond Extract



  1. Position racks in the center and bottom third of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Lightly oil 14 9" disposable cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Oil the the parchment in the pans. Set all the prepared pans aside.
  2. Combine the combine the cassava flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. To make the cake batter, add the shortening, ghee, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and be sure the mixture is well-blended.
  5. On low speed, add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the milk, beginning and ending with the flour, and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often with a rubber spatula, if necessary. Beat in the vanilla.
  6. Scoop approximately 3/4 cup of batter into each of the prepared pans. Use the back of a spoon to spread the batter evenly throughout each pan.
  7. Stagger the pans on the racks so they are at least 2" from each other and the sides of the oven and not directly over each other
  8. Bake the layers in the preheated oven until they feel firm when pressed in the centers and are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans, about 12-14 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Invert the layers onto cake racks, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.
  9. Repeat the process until all 12 layers have been baked and cooled.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

  1. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the coconut milk over medium-low heat. Get it simmering hot but don't let it come to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the chocolate, stirring constantly until completely melted. Let cool to about room temperature (you don't want to melt the frosting), and gently pour over the top and side of the cake. For best results, cool the frosted cake in the fridge for an hour to keep the ganache from dripping all the way down the sides.

Strawberry Filling

  1. Rinse the strawberries and pat them dry. Add them to a food processor or high-powered blender (like the Blendtec) and puree them.
  2. Strain the pureed strawberries through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the seeds and pour the strained puree into a medium saucepan. Add in the honey and lemon juice.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring often. Skim any foam that forms on the top and sides of the pan using a slotted spoon.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring often, until the strawberries and thickened and reduced by about half.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the shortening until softened and creamy. Starting on low speed, add the cocoa powder and mix until fully combined with the shortening.
  2. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, starting on low speed and increasing speed until each cup is fully incorporated.
  3. Slowly add in the milk until desired consistency is reached. You may need more or less than is called for. It should be thick and spreadable like regular buttercream frosting.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and beat until fully mixed in.

Almond Buttercream Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the shortening until softened and creamy. Add the salt.
  2. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, starting on low speed and increasing speed until each cup is fully incorporated.
  3. Slowly add in the milk until desired consistency is reached. You may need more or less than is called for. It should be thick and spreadable like regular buttercream frosting.
  4. Add the almond extract and beat until fully mixed in.


  1. Make sure you have a cake stand large enough for the layers, as well as any decorating you want to do around the edges. Place the first layer on the plate and pour just enough strawberry filling to cover the layer to the edges.
  2. Place the second layer on top of the strawberry filling and pour just enough ganache to cover the layer to the edges. Continue in this pattern until all 14 layers have been stacked. It's okay if the filling and ganache drip down the sides, and is practically impossible to prevent.
  3. Place a tall skewer in the top of the cake, pushing it all the way down until it hits the plate. This will prevent the layers from sliding as the cake sets.
  4. Refrigerate the layered cake while you prepare the buttercream frostings. If not using buttercream, drizzle any remaining ganache over the entire cake, using an offset spatula to cover all the sides.
  5. Once the cake is chilled, use the chocolate frosting to crumb coat the outside of the cake. This will keep any of the filling and ganache from getting onto the final layer of frosting.
  6. Refrigerate the crumb-coated cake for about 20 minutes.
  7. Using the chocolate frosting, apply a thicker coat of frosting all the way around and on top of the cake. It doesn't have to be perfect, you'll smooth it out later, but do the best you can.
  8. Using an offset spatula, apply blobs of the almond frosting sporadically around the sides of the cake. Fill in the gaps with blobs of the chocolate frosting.
  9. Using a bench scraper held at an angle against the cake, lightly pull it around the cake, smoothing the frosting as you go. Scrape off the frosting on the bench scraper. View a tutorial on this method here.
  10. Fill in any obvious gaps in the frosting and run the bench scraper across the sides again.
  11. Do the same with the top, but gently scraping from the outside in to keep the edges clean.


  1. Place the remaining almond frosting in a piping bag fitted with a tip (I used an open star tip).
  2. Cut the greens off the strawberries and place 6 of them, equal distance apart, around the edge of the cake. Fill in the gaps with the almond frosting. Pipe some more frosting in the center of the cake and top with another strawberry.
  3. Pipe more frosting along the bottom edge of the cake. This will also help to hide any imperfections in the frosting along the edge.
  4. You. Are. Done! Eat this cake. Now!


Store any leftovers, tightly trapped in plastic, in the fridge for up to a week. This cake is best enjoyed at room temperature, so be sure to let it sit out of the fridge for about 20-30 minutes before eating.

Homemade Powdered Sugar
Make your own powdered sugar by taking 1 cup of granulated organic cane sugar or granulated maple sugar and 1/4 cup of arrowroot starch. Add to a food processor or high-powered blender (we have great success using a Blendtec for this), and process on high until you've reached a powdered sugar consistency. This take about 10-12 seconds in the Blendtec. Make 1 cup batches at a time.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1152Total Fat: 70gSaturated Fat: 36gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 231mgCarbohydrates: 128gFiber: 4gSugar: 92gProtein: 6g

Nutrition is calculated by a third party and may not be 100% accurate

Please share:

1 comment
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like
Slowcooker Minestrone Soup
Read More

Crockpot Paleo Minestrone Soup {with Instant Pot option}

We have enjoyed this soup both with and without the addition of the pork sausage, so it is both Whole30 and vegan friendly. This minestrone soup tastes even better than the endless soup from a certain chain restaurant, and you can make you own endless salad to go along with it.
Blueberries & Cream Gummies {by Our Paleo Life}
Read More

Blueberries & Cream Gummies – Paleo

My kids love these real-fruit, no-sugar gummies and I love that they're getting the benefits from gelatin and real fruit and not the nasty side-effects of corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors.