Nut-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake {Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free, AIP-Friendly}

Nut-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake {Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free}

This nut-free flourless chocolate cake came about as a result of an interesting challenge — finding out whether it’s possible to make a gluten-free, vegan, and allergy-friendly birthday cake for a girl who can’t eat grains, starches, beans, nuts, seeds, binders or leaveners. That meant all grain flours were out — so no glutinous grains {obv.}, but also no rice, millet, buckwheat, sorghum, oats, etc. No starches? Well out goes tapioca, potato starch, and arrowroot and no leaveners and binders too {goodbye baking soda and guar gum…} — you know, just the things that make a gluten-free flour blend work… Beans — meh, no biggie — not a fan of those anyways in gluten-free vegan cakes unless they can be well masked. The next logical conclusion would be to make one of my raw cakes, but oh, wait — no nuts and seeds either! I began to see why the person asking for advice with this cake found it a challenge!

Nut-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake {Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free}

…And you know how I feel about baking challenges, right? Sometimes it seems like it’s my mission in life to make sure everyone can have cake! :) And truthfully, why not? Nature is so abundant — I just knew there’s a way to make this cake happen. So I agreed to play around and see what I come up with. And while this cake is nut-free, it’s definitely not free of my kitchen nuttiness ;)

Nut-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake {Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free}

My first instinct was to go with coconut, but after a few failed attempts at a more conventional type of cake, and way too much resulting delicious crumble to occupy me for a year {erm… a week ;) }, I decided to go back to my unconventional ways and came up with this truly flourless chocolate cake instead. 

Nut-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake {Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free}

By now you’re probably wondering what’s in this magic cake, right? :) How can a flourless cake be made without any nuts, seeds, or flour {or the typical eggs…}? The answer is…

Nut-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake {Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free}

…right in front of your face. Have you guessed the magic ingredient yet?

Nut-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake {Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free}

Mulberries! Dried white mulberries, to be precise. They are my most favorite measure-for-measure nut substitute and have the most amazing flavor. I paired them with some chocolate in this cake and it was to-die-for! Now the cake base is actually adapted from this favorite recipe of mine, which normally relies on nuts, and it worked beautifully with the mulberries for this occasion. I topped the cake with some pretty allergy-approved toppings too: more mulberries, cacao nibs, salt flakes, and some dried lavender flowers for a nice color contrast. The result was a beautiful, decadent, and super easy cake. I’d say: mission accomplished :)

Nut-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake {Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free}

The magic that makes this cake work  by the way is compacting it well into the tray before freezing. The base actually becomes like a brownie cake base and holds up well outside the freezer too so long as the temperatures aren’t crazy hot — so unlike a raw cake, it slices more softly but still holds its shape.

Nut-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake {Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free}

P.s. I buy my mulberries from a bulk store locally, and although they are not the cheapest ingredient, they are pretty comparable with the price of many nuts and other healthier ingredients in baked goods — and they have a wonderful flavor and are a lot lighter than their oil-dense nutty counterpart… You can find them on Amazon and lots of other places online too.

P.p.s. You can easily make this cake AIP diet suitable by using carob powder in place of cacao powder, omitting the cacao nibs, and using alcohol-free vanilla extract.

Please note, due to multiple people commenting this cake went off  (see comments section for discussions) I strongly recommend against making this cake for the first time for an event. I’m not certain why it works great for some people but doesn’t work out for others at this stage, but I suspect it has something to do with the ingredients sourced. I’m leaving the recipe up because it worked for me and many others have been able to enjoy it as well, but I have to warn you to proceed with caution. If you are planning on making this cake, I recommend doing a mini-trial version first with your ingredients to make sure it works for you. That said, it seems like so long as you use alkalized cocoa powder and not raw cacao you should be good to go — see comments section for a more detailed explanation.
4.0 from 11 reviews
Nut-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake {Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free, AIP-Friendly}
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook/Chill Time: 
Ready In: 
Makes: 6" cake
 
Ingredients
Cake Ingredients:
  • 3 cups dried white mulberries, ground (I just put them into my food processor and processed into a fine crumble first)
  • 2 cups medjool dates {pitted + presoaked to soften and then strained. Note: soak for a few hours in warm water, or cover with boiled water and soak 15-20 minutes if you don't care for the recipe to remain raw}
  • ¾ cup alkalized cocoa powder (strongly recommend against using raw cacao -- see comments section for explanation)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (or agave, honey, honee, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract (or a pinch of raw ground vanilla beans)
  • Optional: 2 tbsp neutral tasting coconut oil, softened (only add if you want the cake extra firm, otherwise it will work just fine without)
Topping Layer Ingredients:
  • ½ cup coconut oil, liquified (but not hot!)(use non-dairy butter instead for a softer frosting)
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (or agave, honey, honee, etc.)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Optional Toppings:
  • cacao nibs
  • dried white mulberries
  • salt flakes
  • dried lavender or other edible dried flowers
Instructions
  1. Place all cake ingredients in a food processor and process until everything is thoroughly combined and mixture begins to form a ball. Transfer all ingredients into a 6″ springform pan and press down firmly and evenly to form cake into shape {see notes below on alternative pans}. {I did this using a spoon first, and then I put a piece or parchment paper on top and pressed the cake down even more using a flat bottomed cup to get the surface nice, even, and smooth}. Place the cake in the freezer while working on the next step.
  2. Place all topping layer ingredients into a bowl or tall glass and stir together until a smooth liquid mixture forms {stir until all clumps disappear}. Remove cake from freezer. Pour this chocolate mixture over the cake and use a spatula to spread it evenly and smoothly over the top. If you want your toppings to set into the cake, top the cake now {Otherwise, if you're using fresh toppings, like berries, etc., add them on prior to serving instead}.
  3. Place the cake in the freezer for at least 2 hours to let it set and chill. Remove from pan {carefully, as it can stick to the sides a bit; Careful loosening will prevent any cracks in the cake}. Place on a serving plate, top with any additional toppings, and keep cake refrigerated until ready to serve. {Note: this cake holds up well at room temperature and will not melt, so refrigeration isn't a must. I just prefer it chilled + it's a bit easier to slice when cold}.
Notes
If you don't have a 6" springform pan, feel free to use any small container or dish of a similar size {a tupperware container would work well, or a small pan}. Just make sure you line it with some parchment or wax paper first so that it's easier to remove the cake later. Note that the wider the dish, the flatter the cake -- the shape is up to you.

Also, to get a nice clean slice, use a sharp sturdy knife and run it under hot water for a minute, wipe water off and immediately slice. Repeat process as needed if slicing multiple slices while the cake is frozen.
Now your turn to share: what did you think was in that cake?

Happy {un}baking!

Audrey

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