This is another recipe that I had to create because I didn’t like most of what was out there. I wanted almond meal for the “flour,” and I didn’t want a recipe that told me to measure whole nuts and then grind them. (The almond meal at Trader Joe’s usually costs less per pound than whole almonds in this town. It would be a waste of time and money for me to grind my own!)

I also wanted a recipe that uses cocoa powder instead of baking chocolate. Having grown up baking with cocoa powder, I know it can give a rich flavor to baked goods. I didn’t want to go melting and messing with baking chocolate when cocoa powder can just be stirred into the dry ingredients.

On top of that, of course, the recipe had to be sugar-free.

But no matter how I ran the Google search, I couldn’t find a recipe that met all three criteria.

So I started “hacking” Laura Dolson’s Sugar Free Chocolate Pecan Torte recipe . I didn’t get it right, though, until I crossed the recipe with The LowCarbist’s almond meal corn bread (which I do usually use as corn bread).

The result is a low carb, sugar-free, gluten free chocolate cake (or torte*) that meets my criteria. In addition to being low-cost and fuss-free, it has a fine-grained cake texture and a rich chocolate taste. Few people will realize it’s not a “standard” chocolate cake.

And of course, this cake is actually good for you!  What’s more, almond meal baked-goods are usually more filling than the grain-based originals.

So in addition to serving this cake for dessert, I often use it as a snack or breakfast bread. I’ll spread butter on it for added flavor, or nut butter for added protein.

*Here in the U.S., a torte is any cake made without flour. Europe has a slightly different definition (see the note on this Joy of Baking recipe for details). To avoid confusion, I gave up and named this recipe a “cake”!

Chocolate Almond Meal Cake


  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted (OR 1/4 cup your favorite cooking oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Sweetener equal to 1 1/4 cups sugar*
    • I used stevia/erythritol blend (6 packets) and powdered stevia (1 tsp).
    • Paleo/primal folks, feel free to use your favorite natural sweetener(s). Please know, though, that if you use honey or another liquid sweetener, you may need to reduce the water in the recipe.

*This is just enough sweetener to take away the bitterness of the cocoa and give the barest hint of “sweet.” If you like your cake  sweeter than that, use sweetener equal to 1 1/2 cups sugar or more.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8″ or 9″ cake pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together almond meal, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with whisk or electric mixer. Add water and mix well. Add butter and mix again. Add vanilla and sweetener and mix again.
  4. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture. Stir/mix until thoroughly blended.
  5. Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 min, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let top of cake get completely cool to the touch before cutting or removing it from the pan.

Yield: One single-layer cake, 8 – 12 slices.

Nutritional Information:Each of 8 slices contains approximately 7.1 g carbohydrates, 4.0 g fiber, 3.1 g net carbs, 9.0 g protein, 20.8 g fat, and 235 calories.

2 Responses to Chocolate Almond Meal Cake

  1. Kim says:

    This was really good. I used an extra egg as the free range ones are quite small. I also substituted sweetner with dextrose – only one cup, which I accidentally put in the almond meal, baking powder mixture as I couldnt find the instruction for when this is added until after I’d added it to the dry ingredients :( I had to rescue as much as I could to add to the egg/water/butter mixture. The butter kinda curdled in the egg & water mixture – even before I added any sweetner! I put the lumpy mixture into a bowl of warm water to try warm up the butter but not cook the egg- tricky. Despite these few mishaps and not being sure whether 25 or 35 mins was the correct baking time, I still managed a great cake. I followed the instruction to leave cake until cooled, but this didnt prevent it from sticking to the base of the spring-form tin, and a good 1-2 cm stayed behind :( . I lopped it on top & flipped it over, no-one can see ;) Not sure which os the mishaps caused this, any suggestions ?

    All up this recipe is pretty robust & I’ll definitely do it again as an alternate to the Sweet Poison chocolate cake done with self raising – which is also pretty good by the way.

    I serve both with whipped cream & a few straws if I have them.

    Probably will reduce sugar as I think the almond meal provides a lovely almost honey sweetness. Also stayed fresh out of fridge for several days just covered in foil.

    • Frugal Jen says:

      Hi, Kim! I’m glad you liked the cake, despite the mishaps.

      When this cake sticks, the batter is usually too moist. It’s possible that you didn’t bake it long enough, or that the extra egg caused you some problems. I would try leaving out the egg. Then play with the cook times if that doesn’t help. (See notes below.)

      Here are some additional tips that might help you have an easier time next time:

      • I try to always list my ingredients in the order that you’ll use them. If you go down the line working with them in order, it will minimize problems.
      • The main reason for adding sweeteners to the liquids is to dissolve the sweetener. But it shouldn’t wreck the cake if you accidentally put a dry sweetener in the dry ingredients. (It might mess with the texture a little, but it won’t wreck it.) So don’t bother fishing it out again if you do that. Just mix it in really well.
      • It’s okay if the butter lumps up a little. The cake should still come out fine. There’s no need to try and re-melt it once it’s mixed in.
      • Most professional recipes give a range of times for the cooking/baking time. Different stoves and ovens will cook at different speeds, and things like humidity, sea level, and even the batch of ingredients can affect the cooking speed, too. So each cook has to learn from experience what cook times work best for their situation. (That’s also why recipes give an alternate way of knowing when the dish is done, like the toothpick test I mentioned here. It gives the cook extra help in making sure the dish is done.)

      I hope some of this helps! The whipped cream and strawberries sound great!

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