Lola Berry's paleo chocolate ganache birthday cake recipe

Paleo showstopper: Chocolate ganache birthday cake.
Paleo showstopper: Chocolate ganache birthday cake. Photo: Armelle Habib

This is a showstopper, perfect for a big celebration. It looks epic, it tastes heavenly and it's the perfect paleo cake. I love surprising people with amazing creations that don't really look healthy, and this is a masterpiece. 

300g (3 cups) almond meal

30g (¼ cup) coconut flour

90g (¾ cup) raw cacao powder

1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped (or a pinch of vanilla powder or a dash of vanilla extract)

200g (1 cup) coconut sugar

2 tsp baking soda

60ml (½ cup) coconut oil, melted

3 large eggs


250ml (1 cup) full-cream coconut milk

edible flowers to decorate (we used violas)

Chocolate ganache

375ml (1 ½ cups) full-cream coconut milk

4 tbsp maple syrup (honey works well too)

60g (½ cup) raw cacao powder

½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped (or a pinch of vanilla powder or a drop  of vanilla extract)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 18-centimetre springform cake tin with coconut oil.

2. In a bowl, mix together the almond meal, coconut flour, cacao powder, vanilla seeds, coconut sugar and baking soda.

3. Mix the melted coconut oil (make sure it's not too hot or it will scramble the eggs), eggs and coconut milk. Slowly add the  wet ingredients to the dry and mix together really well; you want a smooth batter.

4. Pour the batter  into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. It may need a little longer. If it does, cover with foil to prevent the top from burning.

5. When it's cooked, turn it out of the tin and leave it to cool on a wire cooling rack. Once it's completely cool, cut the cake in half horizontally.

6. Now for the ganache. In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk and maple syrup slowly and gently, stirring it every now and then – you want this to be thick so give it time, it may  take about an hour to really thicken up.

7. Once it's super-thick, add the cacao powder and the vanilla seeds and stir for another few minutes, then pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so to cool and thicken some more.

8. When the ganache is cool, spread it on the bottom half of the cake, then place the top layer of cake on and coat it in ganache too.

9. Top it all off with a generous scattering of edible flowers. Gorgeous!

Serves 12

TIP: I like to use almond meal made from almonds with the skin on, but if you use the meal made from blanched almonds that's OK too. Almond meal from blanched almonds will give the cake a slightly lighter texture.

Extract from The Happy Cookbook, by Lola Berry, published by Plum $34.99.