Nothing brings me more joy than creating keto desserts that rival those made with sugar and flour. And this Chocolate Kahlua Cake is a prime example of this little obsession of mine.
There is, of course, no real Kahlua in this cake. Instead, it’s spiked with my ever popular sugar free coffee liqueur.
But the overall effect is the same – a delicious chocolate layer cake with boozy coffee undertones and smooth coffee flavoured frosting. It’s a stunning keto layer cake that’s as tasty as it is pretty!
Keto Kahlua Cake Inspiration
I love to troll my dessert blogger friends for makeover recipes. That’s right, I am a classic internet troll and I haunt them on Pinterest frequently.
I am often take with the work of Lindsay from Life Love and Sugar, as well as Julianne from Beyond Frosting. Both of these women make some of the most beautiful cakes you’ve ever seen.
Working with keto ingredients makes my job a little tricky. I don’t have the advantage of gluten and sugar to give my desserts the same structure or consistency. But many of my keto layer cakes have been inspired by these bloggers, including:
And this new creation is no exception!
How to make Keto Chocolate Kahlua Cake
- Make the cake layers. I decided to make this keto cake recipe in 6-inch pans, for a taller, eye-catching dessert with 4 layers. Don’t worry, I provide instructions for 8-inch pans too! It’s a basic almond flour chocolate cake that’s easy to make.
- Copycat Keto Kahlua gives added flavor. But again, don’t worry. You can replace my homemade coffee liqueur with regular coffee, or with coffee plus some added vodka and rum to get the same overall effect.
- Slice the layers in half. To make a 4-layer cake, you bake two 6-inch layers and then you cut them very carefully through the middle. I use a serrated knife for this, and I take my time, eyeing each side as I go to make 4 even layers.
- Whip up the frosting. Mascarpone cheese makes up the base of this creamy coffee frosting. Then it gets folded into some whipped cream for a smooth and airy concoction. I won’t blame you for just digging into the frosting with a spoon!
- Assemble the cake. Place one layer on a cake platter and spread with some of the frosting, then repeat until all of the layers are added.
- Use the crumb coat method. Slather a light layer of frosting over the sides of the cake first, to “set” the crumbs and make them stick to the cake. This helps to avoid getting little crumbs in the outer layers of the frosting.
- Decorate! I held back enough frosting to make little stars around the top of the cake. Admittedly, I am not great at this but it worked out quite well. Then add some coffee beans to the stars and some sugar-free chocolate sprinkles to the top and the base.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have provided instructions for 8-inch cake pans in the recipe notes. The cake layers will be much thinner so plan on making a two layer cake.
You bet. Just replace my keto coffee liqueur with plain coffee and you’re good to go.
I do not advise coconut flour for this Keto Kahlua Cake. However, if you are allergic to nuts, you can use sunflower seed flour in place of the almond flour. It’s a direct cup-for-cup replacement.
Substitute cream cheese for the mascarpone, for a delicious alternative.
I recommend a granular sweetener for the cake, but you can use any granular sweetener you like best. The frosting requires a powdered sweetener so it’s not gritty, but again, any powdered sweetener should do. The consistency of the frosting comes from primarily from the mascarpone and the whipped. It may be a bit softer if you use BochaSweet or allulose.
Good Dee’s awesome chocolate sprinkles are back in stock!!! Go check them out! There are a few other brands as well.
Keto Chocolate Kahlua Cake Recipe
- 1 ⅔ cup almond flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup unflavoured whey protein powder (or egg white protein powder)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter
- ⅔ cup Swerve Granular
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup sugar-free coffee liqueur OR ¼ cup strong coffee + 2 tablespoon vodka and 2 tablespoon rum
- Keto chocolate sprinkles
- Coffee beans
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease 2 (two) 6-inch cake pans (see blog post for advice on baking in larger pans). Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper circles and lightly grease the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cocoa powder, protein powder, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sweetener until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.
- Add the almond flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the coffee liqueur. Beat until just well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the beaters as needed.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the two baking pans, and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until risen and the tops are firm to the touch. Remove and let cool 30 minutes in the pans, then run a sharp knife around the edges and flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cakes have completely cooled, slice carefully through the middle of each with a serrated knife, to make 4 cake layers. Note: If your cakes are very domed at the top, carefully slice off the domes to even them out.
- Gently warm the coffee liqueur in the microwave and stir in the espresso powder until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone with ½ cup of the powdered sweetener until well combined. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the coffee mixture.
- In another large bowl, beat the heavy cream with the remaining sweetener and the vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Add the mascarpone mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Then beat in the remaining coffee mixture until the frosting holds stiff peaks.
- Place one layer of the cake on a cake plate and top with about ½ cup of frosting, spreading to the edges. Repeat with the remaining cake layers and frosting.
- Spread the remaining frosting over the sides of the cake, reserving a little for piping decorative accents, if desired.
- Place coffee beans decoratively around the top of the cake and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.
- Gently press some chocolate sprinkles into the base of the cake, all the way around.
- Prep the pans as directed above and divide the batter evenly between them. Bake at 350F for about 15 to 20 minutes. They will be much thinner than the 6 inch cakes.
- Do not attempt to split the cakes in half, they will be much too thin and fragile. Frost as a 2 layer cake and enjoy!