Variations on Marilyn’s famous SCD chocolate cake

Inspirations for creative bakers

Families who use medical diets are known to turn the dietary restrictions into culinary marvels. Necessity is the mother of invention, so when SCD parents need to compete with extravagances of commercial treats that their child can’t have, they create delicious alternatives.
Give a group of dedicated and creative moms the recipe for Marilyn’s famous SCD Chocolate Cake and see how they delight their kids with beautiful variations: decorated layer cakes, muffins, cookies and truffles – all based on the same recipe.

Marylin’s famous SCD Chocolate cake is a fudgy, rich, dairy-free and honey-free cake (sweetened only with dates). It is a coveted treat for many occasions, created by Marilyn Alm, an expert SCD mentor and a talented recipes inventor.

With December holidays in mind, we are sharing some of the inspiring variations that have been created by SCD parents over the last few years.

One of the nice things about this cake is that the recipe is forgiving and versatile, and can be adapted in many ways:

  • It can be made it with coconut flour or almond flour instead of pecan flour. Almond flour can be used as direct replacement in the same amount as the called for pecan flour. It will work very well with almond flour, just will be a bit less dark and ‘chocolatey looking’.
    Parents also used successfully a quarter cup of coconut flour instead of the pecan flour if your family member is allergic to tree nuts.
  • Egg free option – many parents omit the egg and the cake is still delicious.
  • Parents bake it in a variety of shapes. Many use regular square or round pans lined with parchment paper on the bottom. Others use a springform pan – taking care to grease the pan with butter or coconut oil and after baking use a knife to go around outside the cake (between cake and pan) before releasing.
  • For a fancy double layer cake: a parent baked it in a 6″ Wilton pan, then cut off the crown of the cake, separated it into two layers and added a layer of icing in-between. Another parent made 1.5 times the recipe and baked in 2 pans to achieve a similar layered outcome.
  • Many bake it as cupcakes and add frosting.
  • Others bake in flat rectangular pan and use cookie cutters to create holiday shapes or heart shaped bites for Valentines day.
  • “Cake balls” – a creative mom mixed a creamy frosting (palm shortening, honey, cashews, coconut butter and dried strawberries in the food processor), put it in mini muffin liners, added rolled up balls of baked Marilyn’s Chocolate Cake, topped that with more frosting and then froze them. It turned out like a filled fudgy cake ball.
  • A special fancy variation was shared by another creative mom, who made 3 layers of cake and put lemon frosting in between and around the cake, and stylishly decorated the creation with limes.
  • The brownie-like texture makes this a perfect companion to ice cream. Split and filled homemade frozen yogurt to make ice cream sandwiches, or use ice cream and berries to decorate the cake.
  • Parents experiment with a variety of frostings to top and decorate this cake. There are many SCD and Paleo frostings recipes online. Favorite frostings used by parents for this cake include:
    • Palm shortening “buttercream” with homemade date syrup and crushed freeze dried berries.
    • Homemade SCD peanut butter frosting (PB, butter, honey, vanilla)
    • Creamed honey frosting (spectrum shortening, honey, dashes of vanilla, whisked and then put into pastry icing bag)
    • Strawberry frosting and filling (palm shortening, cashew butter, coconut butter, honey, vanilla and freeze dried strawberries, whizzed in the Vitamix.
    • Cashew butter cream icing

Get creative with Marilyn’s famous SCD Chocolate Cake. It is hard to go wrong with this one. Adjust your oven temperature as needed – as long as you don’t burn the cake it is a versatile treat. Once, when I took it out of the oven too soon and it was a bit soft and gummy inside. I returned it to the oven to dehydrate on low heat. We than crumbled portions of the cake on top of our daily yogurt servings. It turned out to be a heavenly celebration for our taste buds. Topped with cooked berries, it was the best SCD parfait we had.


  1. Marilyn Alms is a saint! Her chocolate cake recipe made me feel like I was back in my Moms kitchen whipping up something wonderful. Thick and chocolate…but not; so it’s SCD legal bliss! Chocolate lovers everywhere owe a debt of gratitude for this complex yet simply prepared cake. I had everything to make it so went for it. I’m still in shock it came together at the end just as predicted in the notes… thanks for the repository of recipes.

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