Grain-Free Paleo Chocolate Mud Cake w/ Cassava Flour

I like to consider myself a connoisseur of cakes, and when this grain-free miracle came out of the oven, I couldn’t believe my tastebuds. Not only is the taste chocolatey perfection, but the texture is spot on. I guarantee even gluten eaters wouldn’t know the difference in a blind taste test. Best frosted with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and chocolate ganache.
Grain-Free Chocolate Mud Cake by Our Paleo Life

Paleo Chocolate Mud Cake

I had planned on making this cake in celebration of my (gulp) 35th birthday (which is a week from tomorrow). But unlike baby me, I’m impatient now. I couldn’t wait until my actual birthday to share this with you. I had to post it immediately. But let me just tell you, all the moms/grandmas/aunts/sisters/girls/women in your life would probably love you forever if you made them this cake for their birthday. Just saying…

Grain-Free Chocolate Mud Cake by Our Paleo Life

So, a while back, I bought my first 2lb bag of Otto’s Cassava Flour. I’ve talked about it a little bit here, but I’ve been experimenting with it more and more. I remade my stepmom’s sausage gravy and it is just perfect.

Grain-Free Chocolate Mud Cake by Our Paleo Life

Otto’s is fantastic. It’s my new go-to flour. High in carbs but perfectly Paleo (great during our non keto times).

Grain-Free Chocolate Mud Cake by Our Paleo Life

Now, let me tell you a little about this cake. Back in October, I was planning my daughter’s birthday party. She was turning 10 and that’s a BIG deal, you know? Double digits. So the cake had to be great. I started perusing Pinterest for inspiration and came across Katherine Sabbath. Now, that was really out of the question, I just couldn’t do anything with all those artificial colors, but the concept alone was so inspiring. Then I read about “mud cakes”, which honestly sounds really gross. But after a little more digging, it turns out mud cakes are pretty much magic. Like, the perfect cake.

Grain-Free Chocolate Mud Cake by Our Paleo Life

Naturally, I needed to make one. Before I found cassava flour, I had been experimenting with a slew of different gluten-free flours and starches. I was kind of dreading trying to come up with the right mixture of flours to get this cake just right. But, that didn’t have to happen. The only flour in this cake is cassava, and there is no grainy texture, no gummyness (common with the starches), just perfect cake texture.

Grain-Free Chocolate Mud Cake by Our Paleo Life

I tested it with a few variations and I will say that ghee beats coconut oil, and granulated maple sugar beats honey or maple syrup. Those are my personal preferences, but should you need to make the subs, it’s been tested and approved to work with either.

Grain-Free Chocolate Mud Cake by Our Paleo Life

So stop what you’re doing, get some cassava flour (if you haven’t already) and make. this. cake! Might I add, it is perfect with some Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Just saying…

Grain-Free Chocolate Mud Cake by Our Paleo Life
Grain-Free Chocolate Mud Cake by Our Paleo Life

Grain-Free Chocolate Mud Cake {using Otto’s Cassava Flour}

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

I like to consider myself a connoisseur of cakes, and when this grain-free miracle came out of the oven, I couldn't believe my tastebuds. Not only is the taste chocolatey perfection, but the texture is spot on. I guarantee even gluten eaters wouldn't know the difference in a blind taste test. Best frosted with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and chocolate ganache.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened Almond or Cashew Milk, preferably homemade
  • Squeeze of Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp (125g) Ghee or Coconut Oil*
  • 3/4 cup (125g / 4.5oz) Dark Chocolate, (chopped) or Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • Scant 1/4 cup (75g) Honey/Maple Syrup, increase to 1 cup if omitting maple sugar
  • 1 cup (150g) Otto's Cassava Flour, spooned & leveled, though weighing is truly the best method to get accurate results
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder**, or 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar + 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp (35g) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup (170g) Maple Sugar***
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp Light Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, or Melted Coconut Oil
  • 3/4 cup Water, use only 1/2 cup if using all honey and no maple sugar

Ganache

  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate, (chopped) or Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk, canned, full-fat

Instructions

Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 320°F.
  2. If making cupcakes, line your tin with baking cups. If making cakes, lightly grease the pans with coconut oil, cut a parchment circle to fit the bottom of the pan, place it in the pan, and lightly grease that as well. Set aside.
  3. Combine the milk and lemon juice, gently stir, and set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the ghee/coconut oil, chocolate, and honey/maple syrup. Heat until melted and combined, stirring occasionally.
  5. While the chocolate mixture is melting, combine the Otto's Cassava Flour, baking powder/soda, salt, cocoa powder, and maple sugar (if using, see recipe notes) with a whisk to remove any lumps.
  6. Once the chocolate mixture is melted, pour it into the dry ingredients, as well as the additional oil, eggs, water, and milk. Whisk until everything is fully incorporated and no lumps remain. It should be the consistency of a thin brownie batter (and taste just as good).
  7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, or split batter evenly between two 6" or 8" cake pans.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven. 20-25 minutes for cupcakes, 40-50 minutes for cakes (start checking at 40 minutes). Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let cool completely (in the pan) on a wire rack. Once cool, gently remove from pans and frost with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache.
  10. The cake is best eaten the same day. If making in advance, double wrap in plastic wrap (unfrosted) and store in the fridge for up to 5 days (but this cake is really best served without refrigerating).

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.

Notes

  • * This recipe has been tested with grass-fed butter, ghee, and coconut oil. While all 3 yielded great results, the coconut oil cake had less flavor.
  • ** Yes, baking powder is not paleo, but we use it. This recipe was tested with the baking soda/cream of tartar sub and the center didn't rise quite as well. Nothing that couldn't be fixed by trimming the top of the baked cake.
  • *** Using an all-liquid sweetener is not preferred, but if you don't have maple sugar on-hand, all honey or maple syrup work fine as well. Just be sure to reduce the water (as noted).
  • Nutrition Facts do not include frosting, only cake and ganache.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 502Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 21gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 110mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 6gSugar: 29gProtein: 5g

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

25 comments
  1. Hi Kendra, my husband requested this cake for his 40th bday and I’ve never done anything like this but am ready to go for it all the way! I just got the cassava flour today and have already made donuts, I actually used 1/2 cassava and 1/2 almond flour, and they turned out excellent! Therefore, thanks for introducing us to that grain free flour, we’ll go 10 lbs ourselves next! Down to the question, looking at your mud cake slice it looks like you have many layers, and the recipe yields 2 layer cakes :/…. Do I have to double or triple the recipe to make the cake look like yours? Thanks for your time!

  2. Arianna, for the cake in the pictures, I used a 6″ cake pan. If you used an 8″ pan, you’ll likely need to double it get that height. I cut the two 6″ rounds in half to get 4 layers, but 8″ rounds might not be tall enough for that. I’m glad to hear it turned out good with the 1/2 and 1/2 flour mixture as well, thanks for letting me know 🙂

  3. This cake is awesome!!!! But… I baked it Sunday and crossed my fingers. I filled it with a vanilla bean swiss meringue and a layer of gonache. Then I held my breath and put it in the fridge to set up. I know you said not to, but I had to.

    I then gonached the whole cake and returned it to the fridge. I took it out again to decorate and returned it to the fridge until Monday. I let it sit out for several hours before we cut it and it was fantastic! Fudgy and not at all weird tasting. Texture was perfect.

    It sat out last night and I had a taste for breakfast, because come on… It was staring at me! It was somehow even better. I cut a large piece to bring to a friend later and threw the rest in a big bowl to make cake balls with. (My daughter has been begging me to make gluten free cake balls since she’s never tried a cake ball). They’re in the freezer now and I have high hopes.

    Give this cake more credit!!!! It’s amazing and can definitely withstand the fridge!

    Thank you so much for this amazing recipe.

  4. Can something be subbed for the shortening in the frosting recipe? Lard maybe? Thank you very much….. I’m wanting to make this for my 42 in a couple of weeks.

  5. I’ve made this recipe twice, and wow! It’s so tasty and moist and absolutely delicious. It has won over even the pickiest eaters in my house. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  6. Thank you so much for the great recipes and photos, I been reading your recipes tonight and am wowed at the ingredients list all so good real stuff, but I really need to thank for for the information about Cassava flour, I had never heard of it, after reading your recipes I order a bag and can hardy wait for it to arrive,

  7. I wanted something AWESOME for my birthday cake and this did not disappoint! Thank you so much. The frosting had some terminal issues, but the cake and everything else was great and a crowd pleaser.

    1. Yes, you certainly can, it will just have a slightly “darker” flavor (like if you were to use brown sugar instead of white sugar). Coconut sugar also doesn’t dissolve as easily as maple sugar but I don’t see that being a problem in this particular recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    Hi Kendra,
    Not sure if you are still replying to these threads but here goes. Can the eggs and butter be substituted to create a Vegan cake? I will try the recipe as is but, my niece is vegan and wanted to make one for her as well. Thanks so much looks yummy! Stacy

  9. 5 stars
    I never comment on recipes but I was so impressed with this cake I feel like I have to say a huge THANK YOU for posting!!

    Followed recipe exactly (although used an alternative buttercream frosting) and the cake was beyond delicious. By far the best looking and best tasting cake I have ever made!

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment! I’m so happy to hear that you loved it. It’s our favorite cake too, and I didn’t even used to like chocolate cake. Ha!

  10. Excellent cake. I mixed everything in the vitamix. Used only honey as a sweetener. I’ve played with so many grain free recipes for years – this is hands down the best.

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