This recipe for sugar, dairy and gluten-free chocolate cake is packed with superfoods and is a piece of cake to make (pun intended!).

This healthy chocolate cake recipe is an adaption from a Nigella recipe, but changed to suit the parameters of my diet: soy, dairy, sugar and gluten free – and organic where possible. It also has a low glycemic index.

My favourite thing about this recipe is the amount of good things in it; particularly the coconut oil, cocoa powder and almond meal.

Pure, virgin coconut oil is nature’s best source of lauric acid, high in vitamins K and E which is great for your heart and cholesterol, fights bugs to keep you healthy, and has amazing properties for your skin and hair.

Cocao powder is super high in antioxidants (flavonoids), has phenethylamine which works as a mood elevator and has the ability to reduce the risk of blood clots, boost cognitive performance and lower high blood pressure.

Almond meal is packed with protein, antioxidants, monounsaturated fats (the good ones), and vitamin E, magnesium and potassium and is great for digestion.

This makes a small cake, so double the quantities if you’re using a regular cake pan.


1/3 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons cocao powder
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Small pinch salt
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 egg
Small shake desiccated coconut


1. Preheat oven to 170°C, oil and paper a small (11cm) cake tin.

2. Sift cocoa and whisk with boiling water, add vanilla extract and leave to the side to cool (not in the fridge, if the mixture is too cold it will affect the coconut oil later).

3. Combine almond meal, salt and baking power in a small bowl.

4. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, oil and egg, and beat with an electric mixer. Make sure the coconut oil is liquid. Whisk until creamy. With the beater on a low setting, slowly add the cocoa mix and almond mix. If too runny, add a dash of desiccated coconut.

5. Pour into the cake tin and bang the tin on the tabletop to even out the mixture. Bake for about 25 minutes (or an hour for a larger cake). I find the best way to check if the cake is ready is to see if the sides of the cake have come away from the tin slightly, and to skewer the centre, it should still be slightly moist. Just try not to open to oven unless you have to – it makes the centre of the cake sink.

6. Remove from oven, leave to cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes, and then remove from tin and leave to cool on wire rack.

What’s your favourite healthy dessert recipe?

Kate Jones blogs about writing and pop culture at Calvicle Capitalism.