Paleo Chocolate & Cardamom Cake

It felt like Spring outside, despite being mid December. That's typical for central Chile, where it feels like Spring most of the year. I was on the Island of Chiloé, which is dotted with brightly colored houses built on stilts, adding to the springy feel. The hostel I stayed at had a big kitchen which was shared among the nine other guests. Something about that kitchen brought us together, a group of seemingly random people, and with in a few days we were planning a "family" Christmas dinner. 

The spread included dishes inspired from everyone's home: English Sausages, bacon wrapped dates, Chilean-style salads, and mushroom risotto. There was mulled wine, a lot of it, followed by a trivia game and this Chocolate Cardamom Cake. 

Cardamom is a spice that offers both fragrance and warmth. It adds an aromatic touch to this bread that makes it fitting for springtime, and a coziness that makes it work amongst other rich dishes. This bread has a soft crumb but is not crumbly--a necessary distinction when talking about grain-free loaves. Drizzled with chocolate icing, it's more like cake than bread. It's rich and suitable as a decadent dessert, but also easy to make and works for casual last-minute gatherings. Ever since that Chilean Holiday, I've had this cake in the back of my mind. 

Paleo Chocolate & Cardamom Cake


1 cup almond flour 

2 tablespoons arrowroot flour 

1/4 cup coconut flour 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoon cocoa  

1/2 teaspoon cardamom 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

2 teaspoons honey 

3 eggs 

1/3 cup coconut milk, canned, full fat

Paleo Chocolate Icing

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa butter (coconut oil will also work) 

  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional) 

  • 2 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk 

  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, salt, cocoa, cardamom). Ensure that all of the coconut flour is mixed in, and no clumps remain. 

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla until fully incorporated. Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture, working with a spatula until a batter forms. 

4. Grease a glass bread pan with a bit of coconut oil or avocado oil. Spread the batter in an even layer on the pan. Place in center of the oven, and bake for 35-40 minute, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

5. Remove the loaf from the oven and set on a rack to cool. While it cools, melt the ingredients for the icing together in a small sauce pan or bowl, whisking until fully incorporated. Once mixed, allow to cool for a few minutes. Drizzle icing over cooled cake. Slice and serve. 


Paleo Chocolate Chip and Fig Sunbutter Muffins

Last week, after climbing, we sat in the car debating where to eat, when this place came up on Yelp: mmm...Coffee Paleo Bistro. Decision made! It's rare enough to find a paleo-friendly restaurant, let alone something with a strictly paleo menu.

Mmm...Coffee Paleo Bistro is a small cafe that serves only paleo goodies. It's disguised as a coffee shop, but dishes up grain-free everything, from muffins to brownies and granola. My eyes grew three sizes when I saw the muffins in their pastry case. Those are paleo too?! I asked, already knowing the answer. They were tall, golden muffins that overflowed from their muffins cups the way muffins do in any coffee shop. The owner of the bistro confirmed: paleo. 

After splitting a muffin for dessert, I knew that it was game time: go home and recreate these muffins. Puffy and oversized. Soft, sturdy, and a bit nutty. I began searching for recipes for sunflower seed butter muffins as soon as I had a decent internet connection. I knew that mmm...Coffee's version used flax, but I prefer to bake with eggs and figured I'd give it a shot. Want a close up of what had me so excited? The texture of these muffins is just so... muffin-y, in a way that most paleo muffs fall short. See:

Since these muffins are made of primarily sunflower butter, they're high in protein--sunflower seeds are higher in protein than most other common nuts and seeds. Sunflower butter has an addicting peanut butter-like taste to it, so it pairs well with fruit flavors (like figs!) and chocolate. I've been day dreaming about a PB&J version of these muffins, too! 

Paleo Chocolate Chip and Fig Sunbutter Muffins

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan   |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

Yields: 6   |    Total Time:


  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter AKA "sunbutter" (NOTE: if you use homemade sunflower seed butter, your muffins may turn a slight green color as they cool. This is due to a naturally occurring and edible nutrient in plants called chlorogenic acid.
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (skip this if you are using salted sunbutter)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried figs (roughly 7 figs)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine the sunbutter, bananas, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Puree until smooth.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips and figs until evenly distributed. Spoon the batter into the muffin liners until they are about 3/4 of the way full.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.


Paleo Chocolate Studded Pear Bread

Hello from Indiana! Our flight made it out of Denver just as a blizzard was beginning to dump--it's miraculous our flight left on time. Here, it's a balmy 50°F. We arrived late Christmas night, falling into bed as soon as we could. Between the travel, our fourth Christmas dinner of the week, and the weather outside, my mental calendar is spinning in circles in a way that I can't keep track of. 

Instead of checking what day it is (Saturday?) I'm letting it slip away. That's what vacation is for, right? Just before leaving the house and losing track of time, I made this bread as a tasty travel snack. It's inspired by a cake my mother used to make (maybe she still does): a soft quick bread with big chunks of juicing pear and fudgy drops of chocolate. Made with organic eggs, coconut flour, and coconut milk, it's a notch above all of the other bread slices you might find in the airport: filling, nutritious, and sustaining. And chocolate doesn't hurt. 

Paleo Chocolate Studded Pear Bread - makes 2 nine-inch loafs

8 eggs

1 cup coconut flour

1 1/3 cup canned coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt 

2 ripe medium size pears 

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs

Coconut oil, for greasing the pans 


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 

2. Whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and coconut milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowing fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Use a spatula to stir until all of the ingredients are incorporated. 

3. Pit and dice the pears, and fold the diced pears and chocolate drops into the batter. 

4. Grease the bread pans generously. Split the batter evenly between the two pans. Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the tops of the loafs are golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Set aside to cool.