Chocolate Kale Cake with Sea Salt

I have made a lot of jokes about putting kale into a chocolate cake. Most of my friends don’t approve. I get a lot of eyebrow raises when I say things like that. So I do more standard things like saute the kale, and everyone shuts up and moves on.

I am not alone. Kristen over at The Kale Project told me that she once made kale cupcakes (no really, you can find the recipe here) and she got some eye rolls as well. I can commiserate.

But then I ended up with a kilo of kale (that’s a little more than two pounds for those of you not on the metric system) and what else was I supposed to do but get creative?

Putting kale in a chocolate cake might not be your first choice in recipe development, but I have a thing about challenging myself to make recipes that incorporate different ingredients, are relatively healthy, and that you could serve to someone and they wouldn’t think twice about what they were eating until you told them. If anyone scoffs at you for making something vegan or gluten free it’s just because they haven’t tried a good recipe. All things can be tweaked and suited to any diet. Even chocolate cake.

But this isn’t about diets. This is about trying to put kale in a cake just because you can.

Challenge accepted.

I chopped up some kale, pureed it for good measure, and whipped together a dense, chocolaty batter and hoped for the best.

I had of course forgotten that a Frenchman was coming over for lunch. Not just any Frenchman. A chef and owner of an organic restaurant.


My first rule of cooking: don’t ever serve a new recipe to guests. You always want to make sure you have tasted what you are serving first. But there was no other dessert on hand, and god forbid you serve a French lunch without dessert. Ca ne se fait pas.

There was no other choice. I grated some candied ginger on top just for good measure and set out the plates on the table.

“It’s gluten free… but you have to guess the secret ingredient,” I said, questioning my sanity of serving anything that I had made myself to a French chef.

“Hm… il y a des graines de….?” There are little grains of?

“Des amandes, mais ce n’est pas ça.” Almonds, but that’s not it.

“Ah oui… des petits bouts de vert…. le kale?” Ah yes… the little green bits… kale?

A Frenchman that knew about kale? Amazing.

“Et oui, c’est bon.”

So if this cake is French chef approved, you can stop your eye rolling and make it yourself.

Chocolate Kale Cake with Sea Salt


1/2 cup rice flour

3/4 cup ground almonds or almond flour

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3 large kale leaves

1/8 cup olive oil

For topping:

1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

Coarse sea salt


Boil two cups of water. Remove from heat and place kale leaves in water. Cover and let sit for two minutes. Remove and drain water, keeping about 2 tablespoons of the water.

Place kale and the remaining water in a food processor and mix until you get a puree consistency. Depending on the quality of your food processor, you may not get all the way to a puree. Just make sure that the kale is in the smallest bits as possible.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla. Mix in cocoa powder. Add kale puree and olive oil.

Mix in flour, almonds and sea salt and stir until well blended.

Grease a circular cake pan and dust with ground almonds. Pour in cake batter. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle cake with the chopped chocolate. Turn off the oven and put the cake back in for a minute or two, just to melt the chocolate. Spread chocolate evenly with a knife. Sprinkle lightly with coarse sea salt.

Comments 21

  1. joanna

    fantastique! Loved this post 🙂

    • Anna Brones

      yay! glad you liked it 🙂

  2. Jill Lundberg

    LOVED the cake!! It is now tested and delicious. Will make it for my next dinner party! Thank you.
    our Comments

    • Anna Brones

      Glad to hear it Jill! Let me know how the dinner guests like it 🙂

  3. The Sweet Side of Kale: 4 Dessert Recipes with Kale

    […] Kale cake: Let them eat cake…or kale…or both! Chocolate once again lends a supporting role in sweetening kale, and why not? Both are delicious and two of the most popular superfoods. It’s almost rude not to pair them together. Here’s a yummy-looking recipe for kale in a chocolate cake. Once again, eggs can be substituted out. And of course, you can always add more kale. […]

  4. paula rothman

    dont have rice flour .. can i use quinoa flour? or some other flour?

    • Anna Brones

      Quinoa flour would probably be great! Because it’s a rather dense cake that is held together thanks to the chocolate I bet you could get away with using most types of flour.

  5. scott

    That looks delicious! I’m glad I’m not the only one with these tendencies. xD

  6. Cassie

    Challenge accepted 😀

  7. Prudence

    I to like to experiment and be creative! I came up with a Kale Pound Cake that is to die for! EVERYONE loves it and are surprised to find out Kale is in the cake. It is reeeeaaalllyyy good!

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