World’s Best Chocolate Birthday Cake


I can’t believe that my baby boy, Connor, will be 1 in just a few weeks!  It seems like only yesterday that Hunter turned one and really it was… he will be 3 in May! WOW! Having small children is more challenging and stressful than any job I have ever had, but there are so many moments that make it so worth it! My plans to work ALWAYS get disrupted by a crying baby, or one pulling on my pants leg, and my house is ALWAYS buried in toys, even if 10 minutes ago they were all picked up. But, I wouldn’t change a thing…well, except for having family and friends nearby…that would be so awesome! It’s wonderful watching them grow, and I am grateful and thankful that I have been entrusted with their precious little lives. It’s still amazing to think that I am there mama! 😀

Connor 8 months Hunter 2

With Connor’s birthday approaching, I have another grain-free birthday party to plan! I created the Best Grain-Free and Sugar-Free Birthday Cake for Hunter’s first birthday almost 2 years ago and it has been a big hit. If you like vanilla cake, give it a try for your next celebration. This year, I have been working on more nut-free options so I thought I would do a nut-free chocolate cake and I am SO glad I did!! I can honestly say this is my FAVORITE chocolate cake recipe. Period. Nut-free or not!  I am still amazed that anything can taste this good being gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free & low-carb. Honestly, 2 years ago I would have thought you were crazy if you told me something can taste good that was void of all of those things, but now I take pride in this recipe because I know EVERYONE will love it!

That’s the goal of each and every one of my recipes. Not only that they follow certain dietary guidelines like being grain-free, low-carb, and sometimes dairy and nut-free, but that the recipes taste DELICIOUS!! I don’t really consider myself a food blogger…more like a culinary engineer!  This means lots of time in the kitchen, lots of $$$ spend on ingredients, and lots of tasting foods (and some times dumping the failed recipe or giving to our dog for dinner! 😀 ) I won’t settle for “it tastes ok.” I want “WOW, this is GRAIN-FREE?!?!?” That’s the reaction I am going for with EVERY, SINGLE, Recipe! All of my recipes are original. These creations all start in my kitchen and that’s how I like it! I hope you enjoy this recipe, just as you have enjoyed the other 400 recipes found here on my blog and in my two cookbooks, Satisfying Eats and Comforting Eats!017026


The great thing about grain-free baking is that I find it to be really easy! If making bread, there is no machine needed, no yeast to bloom, no dough to proof, etc.  All you need is a muffin top pan and my easy bun recipe to make yummy bread, perfect for sandwiches. You can’t get any easier than that! 

For this recipe, and most recipes containing large amounts of coconut flour, there is a little technique involved. Because coconut flour is so fibrous, it needs to be treated a little differently than other grain-free flours (such as almond flour). I have found that once the wet ingredients have been added to coconut flour and the batter is mixed, more liquid and more mixing needs to occur to insure that the coconut flour is fully hydrated so you don’t end up with a dry product. Pretty simple, but pretty important in this recipe!

The other steps in the recipe are pretty straight forward.

Sweeteners of choice

As most of you know, I have been using KAL Stevia in my recipes for the past 2 years. However, in recent months, the company that produces KAL Stevia has changed their method of manufacturing the stevia powder, and the bottle of once PURE stevia now contains maltodextrin (except in their organic variety). This is so sad! Why fix something if it is not broken?? The reason they give for adding the maltodextrin is so that the stevia powder won’t stick to their equipment. Unfortunately, maltodextrin is a corn-derived ingredient, and like most non-organic corn products, contains GMOs and should be avoided. 

So my plans are to continue to use the remaining PURE Kal Stevia that I have, and to experiment and find other brands that taste good and hold true to having NO other added ingredients. 

I decided to use this cake recipe as part of my stevia testing. For this Chocolate Birthday Cake recipe, I tried 4 different stevia varieties:


  1. Original KAL Stevia (that doesn’t contain any fillers and also can’t be purchased anymore.)
  2. Organic KAL Stevia  (no fillers)
  3. The New formula of KAL (contains maltodextrin)
  4. Organic Sweet Leaf powdered Stevia (no fillers)
  5. Organic Trader Joe’s Stevia
  6. Stevia Select Powdered Stevia (NEW recommended brand)

I used the same amounts of all of the KAL brands and I used double the amount of Sweet Leaf Organic Stevia as the recipe called for of KAL Stevia (I have figured this out from a couple of other recipes I have tried). The results for this chocolate cake: I couldn’t really tell the difference between the Organic KAL Stevia vs. the other 2 “formulas.” I also liked the Organic Sweet Leaf Brand in this chocolate cake.

With this recipe, as with any recipe, always add a little less sweetener than the recipe calls for, especially when using stevia. Everyone’s palate is SO different and you don’t want to add too much stevia and risk a bitter aftertaste. This is also the reason I choose to add miniscule amounts of organic coconut sugar or raw honey to recipes. Just one tablespoon of either of these natural sweeteners helps achieve that little bit of extra sweetness without risking bitterness from extra stevia. Again, such a small amount is trivial and can always be omitted, but I have chosen to add these small amounts to make the recipes have the right amount of sweetness (for my taste) and adding such small amounts still keeps my recipes low-carb. 

If you don’t want to use stevia, please feel free to use whatever sweetener you choose. There is no real conversion chart and I don’t know how much of every sweetener it will take to sweeten my recipes. What has ALWAYS worked is just tasting the batter, and adding as much sweetener as you need to get the sweetness YOU desire. Again, no formula, but this method works.

4/11/14 Update: I just made this using Organic Trader Joe’s Stevia and it was great! Just like with the Organic Sweet Leaf, you need to use twice as much of the Organic Trader Joe’s Stevia as called for of KAL Stevia in a recipe.

To summarize: Buy Stevia Select Powdered Stevia  or Organic KAL Stevia that contains NO fillers or purchase Organic Sweet Leaf Stevia. If using Stevia Select Powdered Stevia or Organic Sweet Leaf Stevia, use twice as much of it as the recipe calls for of KAL Stevia to achieve the same sweetness. I am currently only using Stevia Select Powdered Stevia. I have been very happy with the results. 

There is a little difference in taste between the “old” and “new” KAL Stevia. If using  Organic KAL Stevia or Organic Sweet Leaf Stevia, use a little less than the recipe calls for and then taste. Then you can decide if you want to use more stevia or use an additional sweetener of choice to achieve your desired sweetness. 

Please tell me in the comments below what sweeteners you use and how they work out in my recipes! 

035About this recipe

Besides being DELICIOUS, it’s really easy and even more versatile! I have made it at least 6 times and have had about 10 people try it and everyone LOVED the cake! A few people stating it was their favorite chocolate cake…this made me smile!! 😀

You can follow the recipe to a “T”, or you can use these variations:

For Dairy-Free: Use canned coconut milk as stated in the recipe. I prefer using canned coconut milk because it is much richer than using homemade (which I mainly use for making shakes).

For a Dairy-Free Frosting: Use this ganache recipe from my other birthday cake recipe or this fluffy frosting recipe as pictured.

Non Dairy-Free: The cake recipe as stated is dairy-free but you can also use sour cream or heavy cream in place of the coconut milk. My favorite (out of the 6 times that I made the cake) is when I used half sour cream and half coconut milk. 

Nuts: If you can have nuts, consider sprinkling them on top of the cake before baking.

Donuts, mini cupcakes, loafs: Use whatever pan you would like to achieve whatever shape you want. 

Sweetener: As stated above, use whatever sweetener you would like, and enough to suit your taste. For the Creamy Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting, if you decide to use a granular sweetener, be sure to add it to a coffee grinder to make it into a fine powder so that it completely dissolves.

Chocolate: I chose to use a combo of unsweetened chocolate and 70% chocolate chips. This helped achieve a nice chocolate flavor without it being to strong (if I had used all unsweetened chocolate). Feel free to use whatever combo of chocolate you have on hand just know it will change the carb. count. 

Extracts: I only added vanilla extract and used strong brewed coffee for the recipe but you could also use almond extract for a slightly different flavor profile.

Eat & Be Merry!

If you are making this cake to celebrate a birthday, be sure to make yummy Vanilla Ice Cream or my Dairy-Free Triple Chocolate Ice Cream! Happy Birthday to my baby boy! :) 

World's Best Chocolate Birthday Cake
Serves 20
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
  1. World's Best Chocolate Birthday Cake:

    Creamy Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. For the Cake:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blend dry ingredients in a large bowl with whisk. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT the 1/2 cup of extra liquid and chocolate chips. Blend well with whisk or hand mixer. Taste for sweetness and adjust if needed.  Allow to sit for 3 minutes and then add the last of the liquid and blend the batter again. Taste for sweetness once more before baking.

    For 2 layer, 8" cake: Oil the sides and bottoms of two 8" pans with coconut oil or butter. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Divide the batter between the 2 pans (or just measure out 10 large ice cream scoops or 2-1/2 cups of batter per pan). Using an angled spatula, spread the batter to evenly cover the pan. Optional: Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top of the cake before baking. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

    For 20 cupcakes: Using a 1/4 cup scoop, divide batter into cupcake liners already placed in muffin panOptional: Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top of the cake before baking.  Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

    Carefully remove from oven and allow to cool on wire racks.  Prepare Creamy Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting while cakes are cooling.

    For the Frosting:

    Prepare double boiler (or place a large glass bowl over a pot of simmering water like THIS). Cut unsweetened chocolate into smaller pieces. Add all of the chocolate (unsweetened and chips) to double boiler and allow to melt, stirring frequently. Once chocolate is almost melted, carefully remove top of double boiler (containing chocolate) and continue to stir until all of the chocolate is melted. Allow to cool slightly while preparing other ingredients.

    In large bowl, blend softened butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add cooled chocolate to the butter-cream cheese mixture (chocolate shouldn't be hot, only lukewarm) and blend well. Add stevia and extracts and blend well. Taste for sweetness and adjust if needed. Frost cooled cakes or cupcakes.

    Serve frosted cake immediately, or it can be kept at room temperature for a few hours. After a few hours, the cake should be refrigerated. If refrigerated, be sure to let the cupcakes and frosting come to room temperature before serving (the icing hardens when cold). You can also microwave the cupcakes (even thought I don't like using a microwave) about 10-15 seconds each to warm up the cake and frosting otherwise the frosting will harden up.

  1. Nutrition is based on recipe as decribed (including optional ingredients):

    250 Calories, 23 grams of Fat, 8 total carbs, 2 gram Fiber, 6 NET Carbs, 5 grams Protein 

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Happy Cookin’!



  1. Sam Roberts says

    Wow! You absolutely did it! “wow, I can’t believe this is grain free!”. This is cooling on top of my oven now (minus the corner piece that I HAD to taste test! I hate/loathe the taste of coffee, but can’t taste it (I used 1 1/2 tsp of coffee). I don’t like to use stevia (my own preference) so instead I increased the coconut sugar to 3 Tbs and used 2 Tbs of honey and 2 Tbs maple syrup. It is just divine. Can’t wait to put the icing on. I’m thinking of whipping some coconut cream to go in the middle to make a special sponge cake.
    Thanks so much for this one!

  2. Karen says

    If you don’t like coffee, would you just use 1 cup of “extra” liquid? What do you think about Lily’s chocolate chips and bars (I see you use Enjoy Life)? I am considering buying your cookbooks. I see that you are grain-free. Are your recipes considered low-carb? I see some recipes have fruit. I have autoimmune issues and tried gluten-free and sugar-free, but it wasn’t enough to eliminate inflammation. So now I am trying grain-free. I also want to lose some weight so don’t know if I should eat a lot of carbs. Do you recommend going low carb until weight goal is reached, then try adding fruit? Or were successful with weight loss with just cutting out grains and sugar?

    • satisfyingeats says

      Karen, I promise you can’t taste the coffee, it only enhances the chocolate flavor but you could use more coconut milk. I have never heard of Lily’s brand. Yes, all of my recipes are low-carb. If I use fruit, it is in very small amounts to still make it low carb. Typically when trying to lose weight, you need to watch carbs which means avoiding high carb grains, fruits and veggies. Hope this helps and good luck!

      • Karen says

        Thank you! I will try the cake with the coffee and I am going to buy your cookbooks. I tried to “add to cart” the spiral editions of both books from the links on the “Order Comforting Eats” tab, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Lily’s chocolates contain: Unsweetened Chocolate, Inulin, Dextrin (from Non-GMO Corn), Erythritol, Cocoa Butter, Milkfat, Soy Lechithin, Natural Flavors, Stevia Extract, Natural Vanilla. I am so glad I found your website!

        • satisfyingeats says

          Karen, look on the right side of my blog. When you add to cart, after the page refreshes, there will be something in your cart on the side of the page. Let me know if you have any other issues! Check out the links I have to chocolate, few ingredients and SO good! :)

  3. Sarah says

    YAY, I have a baby with a 1st birthday coming up too, so very excited about this.

    Thanks for the stevia info. I have been having a hard time finding a sweetener, especially stevia, that really works perfectly and I will appreciate any other findings you may have (erythritol does not like me).

    • satisfyingeats says

      Sarah, I hope you and your little one enjoys it! Just be sure to taste your batter before you bake it and adjust the sweetness if needed! Please post a picture of the cake… I would love to see it!

  4. says

    I want to try your recipe but do not want to go out and buy some of the ingredients when I have good substitutions on hand. I do not like stevia as it is never sweet for me. I saw the Astrix and looked up and down your page to see what you may be highlighting. How much 1/2 tsp. Organic Pure KAL Stevia is equivalent in cups? I have ideal white which is a mixture of xylitol + Splenda which measures cup for cup like regular sugar, powdered Erythritol which isn’t as sweet as sugar, even some diabeti-sweet brown, three kinds of splenda (but I know you cannot use splenda alone with chocolate (bitter city) Next coconut sugar is as carby as regular sugar so I can just add a bit more of on of the other sugar alcohols I have to make up for it. Can you help me?


    • satisfyingeats says

      Anita, reread the post about my sweeteners of choice. There is no equation to convert KAL to other sweeteners but you can use other sweeteners. Everyone’s pallet is SO different when it comes to sweetness and it also depends on the recipe. I don’t use sugar alcohols so I chose to use 2 tbsp. of coconut sugar divided amount 20 cupcakes so the carbs are miniscule. If I had to guess, start with 1 cup equivalent (again, just a guess) and then taste your batter and add more if necessary. I hope this helps and that you try this recipe soon! Please let me know after you make it!

  5. Tara says

    I am so happy to have found your site. I have one daughter who can’t eat any nuts or sunflower seeds and another daughter who can’t eat dairy. So we will make this recipe for our combined birthday celebration this weekend. I love it too that you don’t use huge amounts of maple syrup or honey or agave, etc. I will be so thrilled if we all like this recipe and will report back after the weekend to let you know how it turned out. Thanks again for sharing your inspirational recipes with us.

    • satisfyingeats says

      Tara, I hope you and your daughter enjoy the cake. Please keep me posted and even post a picture if you feel up to it! :)

    • Tara says

      We made this cake to celebrate 2 family birthdays and it was a hit! Both my dairy free daughter and my nut free daughter could enjoy it. Thank you :)

  6. Susan says

    So what do you think about Swerve? I use it alot and will probably use it exclusively once I run out of my original recipe KAL stevia.

  7. Billie says

    This is how I just made the cake and it is really very good… starting the frosting next. :) Thanks Melissa for making this so easy.

    World’s Best Chocolate Birthday Cake:
    1 cup coconut flour
    3/4 cup raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder 
    2 tsp. baking powder
    2 tsp. baking soda
    1 cup xylitol
    2 tbsp. organic coconut sugar
    1/8 tsp. salt
    8 large pastured eggs
    1/2 cup melted virgin coconut oil 
    1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp.vanilla extract
    1 cup canned coconut milk 
    1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cold
    1/2 cup extra liquid (I used coconut milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blend dry ingredients in a large bowl with whisk. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT the 1/2 cup of extra liquid and chocolate chips. Blend well with whisk or hand mixer. Taste for sweetness and adjust if needed.  Allow to sit for 3 minutes and then add the last of the liquid and blend the batter again. Taste for sweetness once more before baking.

For 20 cupcakes: Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full.
    Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean on the middle rack.
Carefully remove from oven and allow to cool on wire racks.  

  8. Teresa says

    Have you used the liquid stevia? What’s your opinion of the liquid? I’m not sure how to measure the liquid to the stevia powder.

    • satisfyingeats says

      Teresa, I never have. Not saying I am apposed to it but just haven’t tried it yet. Even the same brands of stevia will measure differently so I would say that you would still have to just taste and see how much you need to use. I am pretty sure the liquid is concentrated but I am not sure how much (it would depend on brand). I know this is kind of vague but there are SO many brands and varieties of stevia and they are all so different in sweetness. Hope this helps!

  9. Rachel C. says

    Hi Melissa. I have been using Trader Joe’s brand of organic stevia extract and love it! It looks similar to your container of Kal Stevia. The 1 oz. container has 622 servings and costs $9.99 in Omaha, NE. I have not had any problems with it being bitter and it measures equal to what your recipes call for when using Kal Stevia.

    I am making this cake tonight. Will let you know how it turns out!

  10. Rachel C. says

    Ok, so the cake itself is absolutely wonderful! It’s very moist and rivals my favorite chocolate cake ever! However, my family was not a fan of the frosting. The taste was good, but we did not like the consistency at all. It hardened up a lot and was almost like eating a piece of fudge. So, the cake was awesome but I will try a different frosting next time. Thanks so much for all your hard work! We LOVE your recipes!

    • satisfyingeats says

      Rachel, glad everyone enjoyed the cake! Did you see the note about the frosting in the post?? Yes, it does harden up so it is best served fresh or at room temperature or even microwaved for 10-25 seconds to soften it back up! It hardens up because I used real chocolate not cacao powder but the flavor is so much better. In one of my cookbooks I do have a chocolate cream cheese frosting that use cacao powder that you may want to try. I actually kept the frosting separate from the cupcakes until I was ready to eat one then I just microwaved the frosting and cupcake enough to get is soft. I hope this helps for next time and I am so glad y’all enjoyed it! I am looking forward to eating it for my son’s 1st Birthday in a few weeks! 😀

      • satisfyingeats says

        Great Idea Sarah. I will probably add less unsweetened chocolate and use some heavy cream like in the Whipped Ganache recipe. It’s just so good!! :)

  11. Anne-Marie says

    Melissa, I made this for my husband’s birthday and it was a HUGE hit! Everyone loved it! My husband said, “It tastes just like REAL cake!” This is my new go-to cake recipe. Thank you! :)

  12. Bonnie says

    Hello, I’m new to your page, and I apologize if you’ve addressed this many times, but in some of your older recipes you simply say XX servings of KAL sweetener ( I was all ready to buy some KAL on Amazon, but then I read the reviews after the manufacturer changed the formula. So I was scared off, but then I found a different brand (supposedly made of 100% pure stevia) via Amazon and bought some micro-measuring spoons (tad, dash, pinch, smidgen and drop) to go with it. So when you sampled the different kinds of KAL, I thought you might have mentioned what size the original KAL serving spoon was equivalent too, but so far I haven’t come across it in your site. Anyway, I’m really nervous to try some of your older recipes, because I’ve read if you over do the Stevia, there is a bitter aftertaste. So long story short, what is the KAL serving spoon most equivalent to using the micro measuring spoons?

    • satisfyingeats says

      Bonnie, the measuring spoon in KAL is approximately 1/64 of a tsp (this is my measurement). Don’t be affraid of it… like you said, too much will be bitter but if you are scared about using to much for your taste, measure out the amount that I call for in a recipe and then add most of it but not all and only add the remaining stevia after you have tasted the batter and you think it could stand a little more sweetness and it doesn’t taste bitter to you. Hope this helps!

  13. Michelle says

    What brand of unsweetened chocolate do you use? My 10 year old has been asking me to make this for weeks and I really don’t eat chocolate, so I don’t want to mess it up using the wrong chocolate. I already have the Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips, Royal Exchange semi-sweet chocolate chips (not sure what the differences are) and Royal Exchange Panama extra dark chocolate bar. Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    • satisfyingeats says

      Michelle, I actually use Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate. I use a combo of unsweetened and bittersweet to keep the carbs down. You can always just use the Enjoy Life Chips and lessen the sweetness. Whatever combo is really fine, the only thing it will affect is the sweetness. I hope he enjoys!

  14. Jess says

    Hi there, love your recipes! About to make this as one of my first full blown attempts at GF SF baking and I cant wait! Does the calorie count/nutrition info include the frosting?

  15. Erin says

    This is the first grain free cake my husband couldn’t tell was grain free! Very good! The texture is like a cake mix. This will be my go to recipe for birthday cakes. :) thank you so much!

  16. Susan says

    this looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it! I did want to point out that the FDA does consider coconut a tree nut so it is not really nut-free according to the standard food labeling guidelines and for people allergic to coconut, and there are many, this is not nut-free. I just thought I’d point that out so you can keep everyone who eats this cake safe and alive!

  17. Ann says

    I’m THRILLED this is a nut free recipe ! I can’t wait to try it. Thank you!
    Do you by any chance have a coconut flour or nut free pancake recipe Melissa?


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