Low-carb Dark Chocolate Nut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Grain-free, Gluten-free, Low-carb}

27 Feb
Low-carb Dark Chocolate Nut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Grain-free, Gluten-free, Low-carb}
Low-carb chocolate nut cake with cream cheese frosting

Low-carb chocolate nut cake with cream cheese frosting


This recipe has been awhile in the tweaking stage, but I think I’ve got a winner now πŸ™‚

I do love dark chocolate. I always have, but perhaps even more so since ditching the wheat and going low-carb… as dark chocolate is one of the few sweet indulgences I still make in my healthy lifestyle. This cake is moist, rich, tasty, low in carbs and delicious enough to have for special occasions, while being simple enough to prepare for no reason at all!


Grain-free, low-carbers, Rejoice! 16 pieces will give you:

  • About 3g net carbs per slice without chocolate chips
    (4.25g with cream cheese frosting )
  • About 6g net carbs with chocolate chips
    (7.25 with cream cheese frosting)

The recipe is one that I evolved from my Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffins (which are truly awesome by the way, if you haven’t tried them yet!) The nut butter and pumpkin puree in the batter seem to really add to the moistness. I threw in some walnuts and a few chocolate chips, which made it even yummier, but those are optional of course. These would also work great as cupcakes or muffins, but I rarely make cake, so am happy having a slice with my coffee this morning πŸ˜€ While this was yummy when fresh, I find it’s much better when it’s been refrigerated overnight, as the frosting firms up and the cake takes on a fudge-y richness. It reminds me of the zucchini fudge cake my mom used to make back in the wheating days πŸ˜‰

Low-carb Chocolate Nut Cake

Adding wet ingredients into dry

Adding wet ingredients into dry

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 C almond flour
  • 2 Tb coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C dark cocoa powder
  • 6 Tb Truvia or other sweetener to taste
Prepared pan

Prepared pan

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 C nut butter (I have used both cashew and almond butters)
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 2/3 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 C half-n-half, coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1/4 C melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 Tb vanilla extract
Smooth batter on top

Smooth batter on top


  • 1/2 C dark chocolate chips (I used 60% cocoa Ghirardelli)
  • 1 C chopped walnuts, pecans or nuts of your choice

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake pan or cupcake pan with liners. (Note: I used a 10″ springform pan, greased with butter, the bottom lined with a parchment round, and dusted with gluten-free flour to prevent sticking.) In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, and add other wet ingredients one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add wet ingredients into dry, and combine completely.

Cooling before frosting

Cooling before frosting

Stir in nuts and chocolate chips if using them. Fill cake pan with batter, taking care to smooth out the top a bit, as this batter is not self-leveling. Bake for a total of 35-45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through bake time to ensure even cooking. Remove to rack to cool. If splitting one cake into 2 layers as I have done, cool completely before attempting to cut cake. Frost with Cream Cheese frosting or serve plain.



Rich, thick cream cheese frosting

Rich, thick cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 3/4 C butter, softened
  • 1/4 C Truvia or other sweetener to taste
  • 2 blocks cream cheese, softened (16 oz total)
  • 1 Tb vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tb half-n-half or cream if needed

Directions: In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat butter until lightened. Add sweetener and beat until well mixed and light. Add cream cheese, one block at a time, beating completely to ensure a fluffy frosting. Mix in 1Tb vanilla if desired. Add liquid if needed for desired consistency, and mix well. Be sure cake is cooled completely before frosting.

Very moist, rich and filling!

Very moist, rich and filling!


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13 responses to “Low-carb Dark Chocolate Nut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Grain-free, Gluten-free, Low-carb}

  1. johnnysenough hepburn

    February 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    This sounds truly delicious. When you add the nut butter are you buying those or preparing them at home. It’s just that I might not be able to find them. I’ve really got to get too grips with more baking.

    • Gretchen without Grain

      February 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      I usually buy them because it’s easier (I do enough food prep!) and because I have a good source locally that is reasonably priced (same bulk store I buy my nut flours.) I have made cashew butter at home in my food processor, and have had good luck, as it is a softer nut. I don’t have a super-powered Vitamix blender… but those who do are able to use that to make nut flours and butter pretty easily, I believe.

  2. Shellye

    March 28, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Vitamix is great in making nut butters quickly. This is such a great blog!

    • Gretchen without Grain

      April 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Thank you Shellye! I wish I had a Vitamix, it’s an awesome kitchen tool! For now, I use the heck out of Ninja and food processor. Glad you are enjoying the blog πŸ™‚ ~Gretchen

  3. Kat (The Grain-Free Goddess & Obsessive SLP)

    March 30, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Oh my goodness, Gretchen! This cake is phenomenal!! My guests loved it; everyone had second helpings! This is one of the best cakes I have ever eaten…who would want a white flour cake when you can have this! I am making another one tomorrow to bring to an Easter dinner. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    • Gretchen without Grain

      April 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Kat, Yay!! I’m so glad this cake was a hit! I really worked at tweaking the recipe before I posted it, and we love it too. You are very welcome, and I hope your second cake went over as well as your first! ~Gretchen

    • Susan

      June 9, 2013 at 9:56 am

      I have been looking forward to making this cake for a couple of weeks and was soooo disappointed. It was bitter with absolutely no sweetness. 6 T sweetner in cake and 1/4 c in frosting. Unbelievably yucky! And I love this site and so many of the recipes. What happened to this one?

      • Gretchen without Grain

        September 5, 2013 at 10:42 am

        I’m sorry to hear that this recipe was disappointing to you! I’m not sure whether something went amiss in the preparation, or whether you have a difference in what level of sweetness you prefer. I have made this many, many times, and it’s always received rave reviews. After being off sugar for a time, we have found that we prefer the dark chocolate taste, as sweeter recipes are a little overwhelming. I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed the other recipes. Can’t win ’em all with everyone! πŸ˜‰ ~G

  4. laurasmess

    April 15, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Oh my gosh. That last photograph… mouth watering! Even for a wheat eater like me! Love your blog… just finished reading your post about the benefits that you and your husband have experienced over the past year. So, so happy for you and your family πŸ™‚ My husband and I are currently in the process of reforming our diet to remove refined sugar, refined flour and artificial ingredients also… so your experience is food for thought. This is my first visit to your blog, so I’m still in the process of reading some of your archives, but thanks for sharing your journey with us. It’s inspiring xx

    • Gretchen without Grain

      September 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

      I’m glad that my blog has you thinking! All flours are refined to some degree, as they have to be processed. Refined white flours and whole wheat flours are actually not much different in the body, and for many, they cause a lot of irritation and inflammation. I hope that your attempts to ditch the sugar are going well!! ~G

  5. Kelly

    July 13, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    I love your recipes!.

  6. Kelly

    September 6, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    This looks so good!. I love chocolate!.


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