Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake- Paleo/Primal

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake {grain-free|Primal}

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The thing about cake is that it can quickly get complicated. What with frostings and layers and wanting it to be pretty and hoping it will be moist…

This cake solves that problem because when it’s done all we do is a little cocoa dusting; and it’s so pretty.

The filling is FAST. The cake is LOVELY. The overall eye-appeal is alluring.

It’s just so exciting to see a cream cheese filling inside a cake, yes?!

Perhaps you’ll make this cake for Valentine’s Day?!! It’s just around the corner, so I decorated my Pinterest photo (below) with festive pinks and browns. (BTW, follow me on Pinterest here, if you’re not already! 🙂 I’d love to have you along as I grab photos of beautiful food [and healing articles] that are also compatible with all of our various wellness diets!)

In regard to cream cheese, have you ever found lactose-free cream cheese at the market? I first spotted it at Natural Grocers, here in Eugene, OR. It’s wonderful! Many who can’t tolerate cheese unless it’s aged first (like those on the GAPS Diet) can enjoy this cheese. It’s sustainably made and tastes lovely (creamy)! If you want, this Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake recipe can use lactose-free cream cheese or chevre! So it’s gentler on one’s digestion, suitable for more diets. The one we find at Natural Grocers also contains live and active cultures, so it has probiotics when eaten cold (not baked).

That’s it, Friends. There’s no big story with this cake. I just love chocolate. I love fillings. I love cream cheese filling. This cake is great. Have at it!

Love and cake! (And smooches.)

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake- Paleo/Primal (grain-free, refined-sugar-free)

By the way, this cake can be baked in a variety of shapes, pans and quantities. For example, I like making it in a smaller 7″ pan (which is what you see photographed above) and then using the leftover batter to make a few black-bottom cupcakes! I’ve also made (brownie-height) one 9″ and one 5″ cake with just one recipe of the batter. The overall appearance of the cake is a bit different when baked thus, because it’s not as deep, but SO pretty in a different way. I go into some detail on the possibilities below in Recipe Notes. They’ve all turned out beautifully, just adjusting the baking time for the variety of sizes.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake
Prep Time
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Megan
Chocolate Cake
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder or substitute up to 1/4 cup cocoa with roasted carob powder
  • 1/2 cup Otto's cassava flour (see link below)
  • 1/2 cup butter ghee, or coconut oil, melted then measured
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 3 eggs pastured, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup honey, or coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • cocoa for dusting
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature (or chevre)
  • 1 egg pastured, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 7-inch or 9-inch leak-proof cheesecake pan (see links below) or use any shape pan your prefer (a 9" by 13" casserole dish, a traditional 9" round cake pan lined with parchment etc.); but a leak-proof cheesecake pan is best for presentation. (If you use the 7-inch, you'll have batter left over, with which I make 2-3 black bottom cupcakes!)
  2. Make Cream Cheese Filling (recipe instructions below).
  3. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: cocoa powder, cassava flour, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, blend together the wet ingredients. Alternatively, combine them in a blender or briskly by hand.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined. Do not over-mix. Pour into the greased pan.
  6. Using 2/3 of the mixture, ladle large dollops of the cheese filling (recipe instructions below) around the surface of the cake. Use a spoon to push down 1-2 inches on each dollop, so the filling goes into the center of the chocolate batter. Use a spatula to scrape the remaining cheese batter over the surface of the cake; and spread it out evenly, not all the way to the edges, leaving about 1/2 an inch of chocolate batter showing around the circumference of the pan.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes in preheated oven until the edges are puffed and the center is slightly puffed and golden and beginning to look dried out on the top with very little jiggle if you shake the pan side to side. Cooking times will vary slightly based on the size of the pan and the depth of the cake; check cake(s) after 25 minutes if you're using the batter divided between two pans (see Recipes Notes for this idea).
  8. Allow to cool. Using a wooden knife, unclasp the outer ring of the pan and slide the knife around its circumference. Remove pan's sides. Use wooden knife again, if needed, to release the base of the cake from the pan base. Transfer cake to serving plate. Sift remaining cocoa over its surface until cream cheese is completely or partially covered, whatever looks prettiest to you. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cream Cheese Filling
  1. Place all filling ingredients into blender or medium sized mixing bowl. Blend on low speed, or use hand beaters to combine until thoroughly mixed and creamy, about 25 seconds. Set aside until above recipe calls for filling.
Recipe Notes

7-inch and 9-inch Springform Cake Pans

  • This is the cheesecake pan I have. Unfortunately all cheesecake pans these days are non-stick. That's why I use a wooden knife with it, to protect the coating. I like this pan because it's leak-proof! That means I can pour liquid cake batter into it! Also, I purposefully got this size because it fits into my Instant Pot! So you can make cakes and cheesecake in your IP, which works great and is very easy-- and thus super exciting and rewarding! Only downside to this size is that all the batter will not fit. Yet I like this tall, smaller, charming cake (and that this pan fits in my IP) so I make 2 black bottom cupcakes with the leftovers, that I can put in school lunches or send with my hubby to work or eat myself for breakfast!
  • Here's the 9-inch leak-proof cheesecake pan, which will actually fit all the batter from this recipe, if you prefer (which many will) to get 10-12 servings from one cake.
  • Lastly, here's a great, basic cake pan. This option works well if you simply press parchment paper down into the pan, flattening all the wrinkles along the sides and cutting off any portions that stick up too high around the edges. When the cake is done, you just gently pull up on the parchment sides, set the cake down and then slide it onto a serving plate. The edges of the cake will show slight crimps from the paper, which actually looks just slightly rustic and quite lovely. I like this option because even if a batter touches the pan aluminum in safe for baking (just no acidic ingredients in the batter like lemon or tomato); there's no non-stick coating, and it conducts heat well. It's what commercial kitchens use for their cakes; and the pans last forever.
  • Final exhaustive note on sizes, you can fill the batter as high or as low you want; so you can even make two cakes with this recipe. Yesterday I made this recipe again, and I made one 9" cake that was almost 2" tall when it was done and so pretty, and one 5" cake about the same height for a separate occasion. The first cake made 8 nice wedges. The second could be cut into 4 chunky wedges or 6 charming pieces for small, lovely portions. In short, this recipe is versatile and inspires one to serve it in many ways, all pretty and fun.

Here's the cassava flour I use and love.

Comments 22

  1. Oh GOODNESS! I am going to try to talk someone in this house to want this for their birthday! I need to order a cheesecake pan!

  2. I think I might have juuuust enough cassava flour to make this. No springform pan though, so I just might have to eat it out of my cake pan with a fork. 🙂

  3. This is INCREDIBLE! I made it last night…it’s so moist and tastes like amazing chocolate cake with cheesecake in it. Fantastic!

  4. Can anyone tell me how to make this Wonder in my Instant Pot? I just got a double stack insert and would love to make this tomorrow for Valentine’s Day.

    1. Hi Heather, I’m going to update the recipe for that need! I’m glad you asked! 🙂 I am giving you an educated guess today, because I won’t have time to make this first in the IP (by tomorrow). But here’s what I think, based on other cakes and breads I’ve made in the IP. Once I’ve tried it myself, I’ll officially add the IP option to the recipe above. Feel free to let me know how it goes!!
      Starting at step #6~

      -Pour (and scoop the filling) the batter into the greased pan, following step #6 above, and cover with a heat-tolerant salad/dessert plate that fits the size of the pan and the IP.
      -Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot and place the Instant Pot trivet inside the stainless steel pot.
      -Set the pan inside the IP on top of the trivet.
      the IP lid on and secure it in the locked position. Plug in the Instant Pot. Make sure the vent on top of the lid is in the
      sealed/closed position. Press the MANUAL button. Then press the “+” sign to
      increase the time to say 20.
      the IP is done and beeps, press
      the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button and then unplug the Instant Pot. Allow the
      Instant Pot to naturally release pressure for 20 minutes. Using an oven
      mitt, turn the vent to “venting” to manually release any leftover
      pressure, (the silver circle will drop when it’s safe to open). Carefully
      remove the lid.
      an oven mitt, carefully remove the pan and place on a
      cooling rack. Carefully remove the plate (it’s hot), not allowing any moisture to fall on the cake.
      -Proceed from step #8 above.

      Good luck & Enjoy!! 🙂

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