This chocolate almond cake is made with almond flour - obvs! - and sweetened with maple syrup, and the ingredient list overall is short for a cake. The resulting texture is dense and fudgy, and the cake is healthier with the boost of almond protein, and makes the perfect afternoon boost.
Chocolate Almond Cake
This almond flour chocolate sheet cake has a story attached to it. A story of lost heirloom silver and surprises and family devotion and cake. Of course, cake. (So, psst, if you are only here for the recipe, scroll down to the lower part where I talk about the recipe, or hit that "jump to recipe" button, I don't mind! I don't usually write family story posts, so this won't happen often.)
My mother was born in London, educated there, and met my father in Boston on a whirlwind trip state-side with girlfriends. One thing led to another, and they decided to marry and settle in New England.
Now, I'm not sure my mother really wanted to leave London, but "love" makes one do crazy things, so she packed up trunks of family heirlooms, her clothes and books, lots and lots of books, and filled our house with all those things and more.
A Lost Silver Treasure
As the years passed, it was clear to my siblings and I that on that journey across the sea, something special had been misplaced - her own mother's silver cutlery set.
When my siblings and I were old enough to grasp the significance, my father explained how the silver set had been a wedding gift to her mother. And had been used at many important dinners since her father was an British diplomat.
It held hundreds of pieces to support the most formal of dinners. And was solid silver, ornately carved. And, even if the set hadn't had historical significance or value, my mother loved had that silver set as a reminder of her own childhood.
Inspired to Help
So together my siblings and I hatched a plan.
We wrote letters and even emails (although some were elderly so paper mail was more effective) to friends and relatives across the sea. Stateside, we met with area relatives to brainstorm. And finally we found it. Tucked away in an aunt's attic in Hampstead, England. To this day no one remembers why it missed the boat.
Treasure is Found
Well, you can imagine our joy, and we quickly decided it wasn't the kind of thing to just matter-of-factually present -- no, we wanted fireworks, a marching band and a cake!
Well, we couldn't really arrange the fireworks and marching band, so we settled on the cake.
And what better way to feed a celebration but then with my mother's own recipe for chocolate almond sheet cake!
So a cake was baked, and we made an arrangement to have my mother sitting on the porch when friends just "dropped by".
A dozen of us crowded on the porch, munching veggie platters, ginger-ales in hand (she loved ginger-ale), and someone said we should have dessert now -- let's cut the cake!
So dishes were brought out, and someone put the cake on the table. A large square chocolate sheet cake.
Want to cut it Mom? Need a knife? Here, why not use this silver one? And I passed over a silver knife from the lost set.
She looked down at the knife in her hand and froze. We knew she knew instantly what she was looking at, and words wouldn't do justice to describe her reaction.
And this is not a novel (although you might think so if you've read this far), so I won't try to wax poetic. Just understand that her joy reverberated around the room and remains in the memories of everyone present. And she cut the cake!
Thank you for reading my story. And now do you want to know more about the cake?
The Ingredients in this Chocolate Almond Cake
This chocolate almond flour cake is only 8 ingredients:
- almond flour
- cacao powder
- baking soda
- baking powder
- flax seed eggs
- maple syrup
- almond milk
The only wait time is the 30 minutes for the flax eggs and 25-minute baking time.
And this cake is made without eggs and without oil. It's without butter, and without refined-sugar. That's a lot of withouts. And withouting isn't easy with a cake, but I will share my secrets.
How to Make This Chocolate Almond Cake Without Eggs
Even before I began a plant-based journey, I was baking without eggs. I'm not sure why, I think I ran out on a certain baking day. And having a background in science, I viewed it as a challenge to figure out how to bake without them.
Well since so many better cooks before me had already solved the problem, my investigation was quite quick. There are plenty of respectable sources sharing indepth explainers, such as Joy the Baker, and an article on SheKnows.com, and Healthline.
Of all the options these experts share, which include tofu, applesauce, oils, chia seeds and flax seeds, I chose the latter for this cake. But a pumped-up version. Haha, this egg-replacer hits the gym!
Next, let's look at the flours in this cake. I have many cakes that use all-purpose flour and baking 1--on-1 flour, so I wanted this one to be different.
I chose almond flour. Not almond meal. Finely ground almond flour that is made from blanched almonds. You can probably guess the brand I'd recommend. I talk about them often enough. But you can choose your own favorite.
How Healthy Is Almond Flour in Cakes?
Well, this cake only has a few cups of almond flour, so I'm not going to sit here and say it's like a multivitamin, haha. But obviously cake in general isn't traditionally the healthiest food to eat - loaded with white flours that have no nutrients, oils that are sometimes toxic, refined sugars that are the opposite of nutritious. So having a cake without those things is a spring breeze!.
Specifically, almond flour adds protein and other nutrients that wheat flours do not. Almond flour is also a great gluten-free alternative. Finally, this cake needs less oil - none! - because almond flour provides tons of healthy fats.
And finally the chocolate source. Raw cacao powder. So much more nutritious than over-processed traditional baking cocoa, just brimming with disease-fighting anti-oxidants and mood-boosting magnesium.
And there you have it, a formula for a healthy chocolate cake that provides a fair amount of protein, fiber and essential minerals. So you can have your cake and eat it too! (haha, sorry, I had to add that.)
Tips To Make This Chocolate Almond Cake
1. Make sure you add the flax seed to warm water. Heat it in the microwave, or use warm filtered tap water. Don't boil it, that would be too damaging to the seed.
2. Make sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh. I am not sure how fresh but I do know that opened boxes sitting in pantries for months can lose the ability to lift a cake. Maybe take a peek at the expiration date.
3. For the many flax seed egg recipes I provide on this site, I suggest waiting 5-10 minutes for this flax seeds in water to gel. But in this recipe I suggest you let the flax seed egg sit in water geling for a full 30 minutes. And don't add the baking powder until just before you mix the flax seed eggs into the batter.a
This cake can vary in texture depending on many things, but mostly the condition and age of the flax seed, baking powder and baking soda. So, the cake can turn out more cakey one day, and more fudgy the next. I've made it many times and am happy with either texture. Because, either way, the taste is a deep chocolate, that lingers in your mind all day. (That's what my daughter told me!).
Question & Answer Time About this Cake
What are the advantages of using almond flour instead of wheat flour in cakes?
Almond flour adds protein and other nutrients that wheat flours do not. Almond flour is a great gluten-free alternative. The cake needs less oil because almond flour provides tons of healthy fats.
How do the flax seed eggs replace real eggs in the baked cake?
Eggs traditionally serve the roles of adding moisture, fact and leavening power to baked goods. Flax seed eggs mixed with water and baking powder meet those goals somewhat, although this cake is definitely denser than one made with eggs.
In fact, I've made it three times, and the last time, it came out flatter, more like a tort with a heavy cake texture. It was still awesome in flavor, and a recipe tester said the after-taste is amazingly deep and chocolatey. I think the variation in density is influenced by how fresh your flax seed is.
What is a "power version" flax seed egg as you call it in this recipe?
In this recipe, I make the flax seed eggs by stirring the flax seeds into the water. I let that stand for 30 minutes. Just before I add the mixture to the batter, add in the ¼ tsp baking powder. This last step is what makes this version of flax seed a power version. The baking powder helps provide more leavening power.
What size pan should I make this cake in?
I made mine in a 6-inch square pan rather than a more traditional 8-inch pan, to make a higher cake. Feel free to use either. Be a little careful if you consider increasing the recipe amounts to aim for a larger pan? In general, using flax seed eggs, the more you use, the less a cake will rise.
So if you want a layered cake, just make this recipe twice. Oh, and from time to time, I might call this little cake a "sheet" cake? I think technically sheet cakes are bigger than 6-inches square, haha. My family always calls all single layer cakes that are square, sheet cakes. You have been warned.
How long do I bake this recipe?
About 25-30 minutes, although your oven and atmospheric level will influence that. Watch for the top center of the cake to have solidified and test with a tooth pick or cake test to be sure it comes out clean.
How long do I cool this cake before removing it from the pan?
I let it cool a full 30 minutes.
Here Are Two Other Cake Recipes
Interested in sharing on pinterest? Perhaps use this image...
Chocolate Almond Cake
- 1 cup almond flour (finely ground)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or cacao powder)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp ground flax seed (mixed in 9 tbsp water to make 3 flax seed eggs)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 3 tbsp almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Make the flaxseed eggs by stirring the flax seeds into 9 tbsp of water. Each "flaxseed egg" is composed of 1 tbsp ground flaxseed and 3 tbsp of warm water.Let that mixture stand for 10 minutes. Just before you will add these flax seed eggs to the batter, stir in the ½ tsp baking powder. This last step is what makes this version of flax seed eggs a power version.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 6-inch square cake pan with parchment paper. You can bake it in an 8-inch round or square pan, but the cake will be thinner. Or, of course, increase the measurements to fit the pan you want. But with flax seed eggs, the smaller the cake, the more likely it will rise.
Make the Cake
- In a large bowl, stir dry ingredients together.
- Meanwhile, add the tsp of baking powder to the flaxseed mixture. Give it a stir, then add that to a smaller bowl. In to that smaller bowl, stir in the rest of the wet ingredients. Stir until the liquid mixture is fully combined.
- Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry, stir again until all are combined.
- Pour batter into pan, bake for 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
- Let cake cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove carefully, and set on rack to cool completely before frosting.
- This cake is easy to store! It can keep refrigerated a week or more, although it will dry out. I recommend freezing it unfrosted if you don't intend to eat it within a few days. Thaw by letting it set at room-temperature for an hour or so.