Marilyn’s SCD “chocolate” cake

© 2010 by Marilyn L. Alm

This “Chocolate” cake is the most famous SCD cake. It is known to be the center-piece of many celebratory occasions. It is not only a fancy birthday cake, but also makes great brownies, or muffins, or cookies, when baked in different bakeware. Vanilla ice-cream between two “chocolate cake” cookies is a favorite birthday treat at many SCD kid’s birthday parties. When pecan flour is not available, the cake works well with almond flour.

Marilyn Alm. is a veteran SCD expert and the owner and mentor of the international SCD Yahoo group ( Like thousands of other SCD users, I am forever grateful for her life’s work and her generous mentoring.
She is also gifted in the kitchen, and is known to create many mouthwatering SCD recipes. We love this cake and share this recipe here with Marilyn’s permission. 

An important note from Marilyn:
This is one of the very few recipes I have which requires a food processor. It is, quite literally, the result of experimentation for more than nine years, because even before I was completely SCD, I was trying to find a way to replace my beloved chocolate cake. This does.

This “Chocolate” Cake Recipe is © 2010 by Marilyn L. Alm and is intended to be formally published in Louisiana SCD Lagniappe. It was developed after many years of experimentation and a bunch of expensive ingredients. It has been shared with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet Community for personal use only. There have been instances where people assumed that “because they found it on the net,” it was free to use however they wanted, without asking permission – including placing it in a recipe compilation being distributed from their own web site. Another individual put this recipe up on her web site and claimed it was her own – I had to file notice with her ISP to get it taken down because she refused to answer emails. If you want to use it, ask. Chances are, depending on what you want it for, I’ll say yes. Or we can negotiate. This recipe is easily one of the most popular ones among people doing SCD, yet I have never made a penny from it. The least that can be done is to grant me the courtesy of asking.


  • 16 large Medjool dates
  • 6 ounces (171 grams) pecan flour
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) cocoa butter, melted[1]
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 milliliters) finely ground black pepper[2]
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) legal vanilla extract
  • 1 jumbo egg (71 g or larger)


  • Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C).
  • Place the pecan flour, salt, and black pepper in the food processor. Process to mix well.
  • Pit the dates and chop, by cutting lengthwise and then crosswise, and crumble the date pieces into the food processor. Process for several minutes until dates and pecan flour are well mixed.
  • Add the melted cocoa butter and vanilla. Process again for several minutes. The date/pecan mixture and the cocoa butter will slosh around in the food processor and will not incorporate with each other – but you need this processing to really chop up / puree the dates.
  • Scrape down the sides. Add the egg and the baking soda and process again. It’s rather amazing to see how this mixture suddenly turns into a very chocolate-cake-looking batter. You may wish to scrape down the sides once, and process a second time until very smooth.
  • Pour batter into four well-buttered mini-Bundt pans or one well-buttered 8” (20 cm) cake pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool cake(s) and turn out. The mini-Bundts can be topped with vanilla half & half yogurt and cherries for a to-die-for dessert. The cake tastes even more chocolaty if it chills over night before you eat it.
Note: This is a very dense, firm, almost brownie-like cake. Be very, very careful. The tendency is to want to eat the entire recipe. Still working on a “chocolate” frosting, but as heretical as it sounds, “chocolate” frosting on this cake might almost be overkill. If you have a frosting you like, you can make two layers by doubling the recipe.
[1] Cocoa butter is the pure fat and is SCD-legal, even though cocoa powder or chocolate is not. If you are concerned about it, use expeller-pressed coconut oil or unsalted butter. It won’t be quite as “chocolaty” but it will be very good.
[2] Yes, I know. Pepper? In a sweet cake? Are you crazy? (Well, yes, probably….) Actually, this was a trick I picked up to give sweet spices and things depth: use pepper as the “bottom note.” I tried any number of ingredients to get that slightly sharp “bite” of dark chocolate, including a tablespoon of very strong coffee, but nothing worked the way the pepper did. And, since I am not a coffee drinker, and my husband is allergic to it, the pepper is significantly more convenient.



  1. I was wondering, Tali, if you (or Marilyn) thought the egg could successfully be replaced with a gelatin “egg”. My daughter is now egg free so we can’t make the original recipe anymore.

    • Using “gelatin egg” as an egg replacer will likely result in a different texture, but it could still be delicious. This is not the kind of cake that depends on many eggs, so I think it would be an experiment worth trying. Now that you have eliminated eggs, you will have to experiment with egg alternatives anyhow… I may try it myself next time I make the cake and I will let you know how it came out. If you try before me – please let us all know 😊

        • Okay! I finally took the time to make the recipe and I used 1 gelatin “egg” (1 Tablespoon gelatin + 1/4 cup water). Other than the middle of the cake not rising, it tasted delicious and was indeed baked all the way. Thank you!
          I’ll definitely give it another go. Not sure what I’d change, but my daughter is happy with her “chocolate” and that’s what matters. 🙂

          • Barbara, thank you for posting about using the gelatin egg substitute. Do you have any other recommendations for egg subs?? My daughter cannot have flax seed or we’d try that.
            Thank you

  2. I’m not even sure my eggs are “large”, much less jumbo! Should I use two whole eggs, or weigh out 71 grams of lightly beaten eggs?

    • Marilyn writes very precise recipes, so to get results that are as close to her creations as possible, you can aim for 71 grams of beaten eggs. However, many find this recipe very forgiving and accommodating, and delicious even when modified. For example, many use almond flour instead of pecan flour. Following this line of thought, two small eggs can replace a jumbo egg and still produce a wonderful cake.

    • Almond flour works great with this recipe instead of pecan flour. We often make this cake with almond flour and love it.
      However, coconut flour is not recommended here, since coconut flour requires more liquids and more eggs when baking.

  3. Can I use regular dates instead of Medjool dates?
    This recipe sounds wonderful as I crave chocolate. 🙂

  4. Made this tonight for my birthday it was delicious! I used hazelnut flour because I couldn’t find pecan and it was a great sub in. I do have a hot tip for making it taste even more chocolate-y 🙂 I remembered that back in my bar going days we sometimes used to get “chocolate cake shots” which I think was just Frangelico ( hazelnut liqueur) with a slice of lemon. You would drink the liqueur and then bite the lemon and it was a really convincing chocolate cake flavor. So tonight, I did a little squeeze of lemon over the cake and low and behold it gave it and even more chocolate like flavor! I think the addition of the acid helps give it that “bite” you are looking for with the pepper.

  5. I’ve been making a (dripped) yogurt/honey/vanilla topping… blending it all together and using it to top the SCD jello as an extra treat. I mix them together and taste, then put it on when I serve.

  6. I have recently discovered there is such a thing as chocolate extract, which is made by soaking cocoa beans in alcohol. If it’s the real thing, it contains no carbs or polysaccharides, so “should” be SCD legal. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m going to give a go and see if it enhances the “chocolate” flavor.

  7. This chocolate cake is the best thing ever on a SCD diet… I make this cake for 10 years and every single time I am so grateful to Marilyn to give me this much joy… did I mention best thing ever?
    Thank you – Sandra

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