Keto-Friendly Birthday Cake

A good keto diet is about healthy whole foods, but now and then life calls for something special. Birthday cake is one. While not everyone who goes Primal or keto chooses to bake traditional treats, some do. And for those who do, it’s nice to have a lower carb version to enjoy.

This cake recipe uses Swerve in place of sugar. If you tolerate sugar alcohols well, Swerve can be one tool for Primal and even keto friendly baking—so you can have your keto cake and eat it, too.

Servings: 8

Prep Time: 40 minutes (plus chill time)

Cook Time: 25 minutes



  • 3 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 40 g chopped 90% Chocolate
  • ¼ cup Almond Butter
  • 2.5 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut Milk
  • 3 Eggs, separated
  • 1 cup Almond Flour
  • ½ cup Cacao Powder
  • 7 Tbsp. Swerve
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • Pinch of Salt


  • ¾ cup Unsalted Butter, softened but not melted
  • ¾ cup Powdered Swerve
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla
  • 2.5 Tbsp. Cacao Powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Shredded Coconut (optional)


Preheat the oven to 325 ºF/162 ºC. Set up a double boiler and gently melt the chopped chocolate and butter together until the mixture is melted and smooth. (If you don’t consume dairy, this cake can be made dairy free by substituting coconut oil for the butter. For the buttercream, use a 2:1 ratio of palm shortening and coconut oil.)

Remove from the heat and stir in the almond butter, vanilla extract and coconut milk. Allow the mixture to slightly cool before adding the egg yolks. Whisk together until well combined and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the almond flour, cacao powder, granular Swerve, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture a bit at a time until incorporated.

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites. (Whisking the egg whites help create a light and airy cake texture. You can whisk by hand or use a mixer. If using a mixer, start on a lower setting and increase after 1-2 minutes until soft peaks form.) As you whisk, they will become foamy and eventually start to stiffen. Once they begin to form soft peaks, carefully fold the whites into the batter until just combined. (Overmixing will cause the batter to lose the airy texture.)

Pour the batter into two greased 6” round pans (glass pyrex work well, too). Bake for 20-25 minutes. The cakes are done when a toothpick Just comes out clean or the top of the cake feels firm but springy. Set aside to fully cool.

To prepare the buttercream, combine the softened butter and vanilla. Sift the powdered Swerve into the butter a bit at a time and mix together until it is all combined. Set aside 1/3 of the buttercream mixture. To the remaining 2/3 of the mixture sift in the cacao powder and mix. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Stack the cake layers with the vanilla buttercream in the center of them and place on a cake stand. Frost the top of the cake with the chocolate buttercream and use a spatula to dab frosting along the outside of the cake and turn the stand as you spread the frosting with the spatula. If desired, sprinkle shredded coconut on top of the cake. Chill the cake until the frosting is set and slice.

Nutrition Information (per slice, 1/8 of cake):

  • Calories: 356
  • Net Carbs: 6 grams
  • Fat: 33 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams

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16 thoughts on “Keto-Friendly Birthday Cake”

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  1. Unfortunately for me, all sugar alcohols make me feel like garbage and sweetening with just stevia or monk fruit doesn’t work for desserts. Since I’m not keto (I usually just go keto for like 2 months once or twice a year), I just make the occasional treat using coconut sugar. I figure a treat is no good if it makes you feel like crap.

    1. I’ve tried this recipe out with coconut sugar and regular powdered sugar for the frosting and it works well! You can typically even get away with using less sugar in buttercream by adding in a little more cocoa powder or vanilla extract. It will be thinner but should set in a similar way if the cake is refrigerated for a little longer before eating.

  2. I do fine with sugar alcohols from time to time, although I try not to make them a regular part of my diet. This cake sounds amazing…wouldn’t mind at all if someone baked it for my birthday!

  3. 6 days to late for birthday and 6 days into 21 day menu in the book will have a to wait to try this one. The menu recipes are awesome. Is the sugar alcohol bad for you?

  4. I was really hopeful, but this did not go well. The consistency of the mix was really fickle. The batter was wwwaaayyyy bitter. The buttercream didn’t taste quite right. Had to scrap it.

  5. I can’t wait to try the cake recipe!! But I don’t know what Swerve is?

  6. Could I use a liquid monk fruit for this? Bulk monk fruit’s first ingredient in erythritol and I can’t tolerate it.

    Wonder if anyone answers these comments?

    1. Jayne, thanks for your question. I try to get to as many of these as I can, so feel free to ask away. (Sometimes members of the community beat me to the punch with their own wisdom, too.) For the cake itself you should be able to do that, but you might need to adjust the recipe slightly for consistency. The frosting will be trickier, but I imagine you could make it work. You might consider trying powdered stevia, too. Best — M

  7. I just made cupcakes with this recipe and I’m waiting for them to cool. After tasting both the batter and the icing I decided that I did not like the aftertaste of the Swerve in the icing. I ended up adding a bunch of almond butter to cut the aftertaste. Other than that they look great and I expect they’ll taste great, too.

  8. Wooooow, this looks so delicious! And I have to admit, I love chocolate.
    For my upcoming birthday I have to try this. Thanks for sharing all of your delicious recipes.

  9. This recipe was a total disaster. The batter was sp thick I had to add milk just to get it in the pan. For the frosting, the swerve powder does not mix well with butter. It had the consistency of ricotta cheese. Not spreadable at all.