Real Healthy Birthday Cake

Best gluten free birthday cake recipe

Nothing says Happy Birthday like this indulgent, real food cake!

A long, long time ago — years before I ever started cooking — my aunt, Ethel, passed a cake recipe along to my parents. This wasn’t just any cake recipe, this was a from-scratch, chocolate cake with whipped cream filling and chocolate fudge frosting. So much chocolate…it put all other cake recipes to shame. So whenever birthdays would roll around, we would ask for an Ethel Cake. Somehow over the years the chocolate cake batter changed to yellow cake batter, but the unmistakable, rich chocolate frosting remained untouched. When B and I got married, I continued the Ethel Cake tradition.

The past few years, since changing our eating habits, we’ve been Ethel-Cake-less on our birthdays. This year, for B’s birthday, I took on the challenge to re-create our favorite birthday cake using only wholesome, real food ingredients. The end result was a rich, moist cake filled with delicate sweet flavor and indulgent, dark chocolate frosting. It feels great to have a new, wholesome birthday cake tradition.

Don’t get me wrong, this cake is an indulgence…big time. Yes, all the ingredients are wholesome, but it’s still a very decadent, calorie-filled dessert so watch portion size and limit this one for extra special occasions…like your next big birthday celebration!

Real Healthy Birthday Cake
A Recipe by Diana Keuilian
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves 24

For the Cake Batter:
For the Cream Filling:
For the Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

  1. Line two 8-inch, round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease the pan sides with coconut oil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the Cake Batter: In a food processor, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda and turmeric. Pulse until well combined. Add the eggs, honey and vanilla. Process until fully combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and fully set. Cool in the pans for 20 minutes before transferring to a cake plate.
  3. For the Cream Filling: Place your metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove from freezer, immediately pour the chilled coconut milk (or cream) into the bowl and whisk on high for 60 seconds. Add the syrup, vanilla, almond, stevia, arrowroot and salt. Continue to whisk for 3 minutes. Transfer the cream mixture to a shallow bowl and place in the freezer. (Do not leave in the freezer for more than 10 minutes. If you’re not ready to assemble at that point then transfer to the fridge.)
  4. For the Chocolate Fudge Frosting: In a double boiler (to make your own double boiler simply place a small amount of water in a skillet and then place a medium saucepan in the skillet) over low heat, melt the chocolate, mixing often. Add the coconut milk, coconut oil, shortening and honey. Continue to mix over low heat until melted fully combined. Remove from heat and place the saucepan in a bed of ice (fill a big bowl with ice), while you whisk constantly until the frosting thickens and becomes creamy. If you want to skip the ice bed part then place the saucepan in the freezer for about 5 minutes, remove and whisk for 60 seconds, place back in the freezer for 5 minutes and whisk for 60 seconds – continue this process until the frosting thickens and becomes creamy.
  5. Assemble Your Cake: Place one cake layer in the center of a clean cake plate. Remove the cream filling from the freezer and spread over the top of the first cake layer, leaving a small outer ring of cake untouched – about an inch, to prevent the cream from dripping out. Place the second cake layer on top of the cream. Clean the edges of the cake, if any cream has been pushed out. Frost the cake with the chocolate fudge frosting, starting with the top of the cake, working your way down the sides. If at any time your cream becomes too runny then simply freeze the whole cake before continuing to frost.
  6. Smooth the frosting out and wipe any excess frosting off the cake plate. Chill for 20 minutes before serving.

Calories: 299     Fat: 21     Carbohydrates: 23     Sodium: 86     Fiber: 2     Protein: 6    
Healthy cake vs unhealthy cake
The cake on the right is made with traditional, boxed cake mix, sugar and dairy. The real food cake, on the left, was rated as most delicious in an informal side-by-side tasting I did with 15 well-fed volunteers.


  • Kevin November 30, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    With this recipe I don’t see any instructions on adding water to the cake mix? I had to add coconut milk

    • Diana December 1, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      Hi Kevin, there should be plenty of liquid for the batter to gain a smooth consistency from the 10 eggs. Enjoy!

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