A delightful keto birthday cake is made with almond flour. The fluffy yellow cake is frosted with a rich chocolate frosting.
Last week, my husband celebrated his birthday. I made this keto birthday cake after he told me, a few weeks ago, about one of his fondest childhood memories. As a kid, his grandma used to make his favorite cake for his birthday each year – a yellow layer cake with chocolate frosting. She added rum extract to that cake and decorated the chocolate frosting with sprinkles. He loved that cake and looked forward to enjoying it every year on his birthday.
Needless to say, after hearing that story, I was on a mission to recreate that experience for him, while keeping his blood sugar stable! I had to make a few experiments, but it was worth it. This keto birthday cake is wonderful. The yellow cake layers are tender and fluffy, and the chocolate frosting is super rich. It’s amazing that we get to enjoy such a cake and it’s not even cheating!
How to make a keto birthday cake
Scroll down to the recipe card for the details. It’s actually not a difficult recipe. You mix the cake ingredients by hand, divide them between two pans and bake. Allow the cakes to cool completely. In the meantime, quickly whip up the chocolate frosting.
When the cakes are cool, assemble the keto birthday cake. Place one cake on a platter. Frost its top. Place the second cake on top of the first one and frost its top as well. Then frost the sides.
How to frost a keto birthday cake
I’m not a professional baker. My cakes have a very homemade look – and I’m absolutely fine with that. If you’re after perfection, the Internet is filled with helpful tutorials on how to frost a cake.
For example, if you want your keto birthday cake to be perfectly straight, you should shave off the slight dome on top of the cake layers. And for a truly smooth frosting, you should brush away any crumbs and apply a thin layer of frosting (a crumb coat) before frosting your cake. There are also techniques to smooth out the frosting so that it’s completely smooth and perfect.
I don’t do any of these things. My cake is imperfect.. and delicious. I mentioned the fact that the cake isn’t “perfect” to my husband and he was like, “What are you talking about? My grandma’s cake looked exactly like this!” But if you’d like to try, here’s an excellent tutorial on how to frost a layer cake.
One tool I do use is an offset spatula. It simply makes the task of spreading out the frosting much easier. So I think it’s worth it.
By the way, if you’d like to try lighter frosting, this keto chocolate whipped cream is amazing.
How to sweeten this keto birthday cake
I use stevia glycerite in this recipe. I like stevia glycerite because it nearly eliminates the bitter aftertaste typical to other stevia products. In my opinion, stevia is very safe, and I prefer stevia to other low carb sweeteners because all other sweeteners, including erythritol, cause me digestive distress. I’ve been using stevia for a long time now, and I am used to its taste.
However, if you really dislike stevia and would like to try a different sweetener, you can use a granulated sweetener in the cake batter, possibly adding a bit of milk (try 2 tablespoons) if the batter becomes too thick.
As for the frosting, I recommend omitting the heavy cream and replacing it with 1/2 cup of a liquid low carb sweetener such as Lakanto maple syrup. Alternatively, try adding 1/2 cup of a powdered granulated sweetener, and increase the heavy cream until you achieve good frosting consistency. By how much? I’m not sure, as I haven’t tried it. Perhaps start with adding 1/4 cup of heavy cream.
How to flavor the cake
Since I made it for my husband, I used rum extract instead of vanilla extract in the cake batter and in the frosting. But vanilla works too. Another good option is almond extract.
Keto birthday cake troubleshooting and tips
It’s important to use nonstick cake pans in this recipe, and grease them well. Butter works better than nonstick spray. I use these pans and replace them once a year, so they are always brand new and super nonstick. If your pans are older, it’s a good idea to line their bottoms with a circle of parchment paper and grease the parchment too.
Note that the top of the cakes won’t brown, even though they should be fully baked after about 15 minutes. This is fine, and in this particular case, the lack of browning is not an issue, because we are going to frost the cake anyway.
I recommend using Dutch-processed cocoa powder in the frosting (cocoa treated with alkali). It’s milder and less acidic than natural cocoa powder. This is not absolutely necessary, but I tried both options, and I like the frosting better with the Dutched cocoa.
Make sure the cake layers are completely cool before frosting the cake. You can speed up the process by placing them, still on the cooling rack, in the fridge.
Is this a healthy recipe?
It’s not broccoli. 🙂 But compared to a white-sugar-and-flour birthday cake, I do think this is a much better choice. It’s low in carbs, high in fiber, and its main ingredients are almonds, eggs, and butter.
Take a look at the nutrition info for a slice of this cake (calculated on recipes.sparkpeople.com). I think it’s quite impressive!
How to store keto birthday cake
Store in it in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days. I don’t own a cake dome, so I cover the cake plate with an inverted salad bowl. Do remember to take the cake out of the fridge at least an hour, and preferably 2 hours, before you plan on enjoying it.
Keto Birthday Cake
- 6 large eggs
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (3 oz)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons stevia glycerite (heaping; equals about 3/4 cup sugar)
- 2 ¼ cups almond flour, blanched, finely ground (9 oz)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or ¼ teaspoon fine salt)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (8 oz)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (40g; use Dutch processed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons stevia glycerite (equals about 2/3 cup sugar)
Bake the cake layers:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously butter two round 8-inch nonstick cake pans. If your pans are not brand new and super nonstick, line their bottoms with a parchment circle and grease the parchment too.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla, and stevia.
- Add the almond flour, mixing it in with a rubber spatula and then whisking until batter is smooth. Whisk in the kosher salt and baking powder.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. To ensure the cake layers are the same size, it’s best to use your kitchen scales and weigh the batter as you pour it into the pans. I weighed each cake at 360 grams.
- Bake the cakes in the middle of the oven until slightly puffed and set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. The tops of the cakes won't brown even when they are fully baked.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and place them on a wire rack. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then invert directly onto the wire rack, as shown in the video. Let cool completely, at least 30 more minutes.
While cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting:
- Place the softened unsalted butter, heavy cream, cocoa powder, vanilla, and stevia in a medium bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on low to incorporate, then beat on medium about 1 minute, until frosting is light and fluffy.
Assemble and frost the cake:
- Place one of the cake layers on a cake plate, flat side up. To keep the plate clean, you can line the plate with strips of wax paper to protect the plate (let them overhang), then pull them from underneath the cake once you’re done frosting it.
- Place 1/3 cup of frosting in the middle of the cake and use an offset spatula to spread the frosting all over the top of the cake.
- Gently place the second cake layer on top of the first one, flat side up. There’s no need to press on it. Place another 1/3 cup of frosting on top of this second cake, and use the spatula to spread it all over the top of the cake.
- Use the remaining frosting to frost the sides of the cake, as shown in the video.
- Once frosted, you can cut the cake and serve it. Or refrigerate it, covered, until ready to serve. Take it out of the fridge 2 hours before you plan on serving it.