Recipes | Cakes & Cupcakes

Low FODMAP Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting

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Our Low FODMAP Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting is perfect for Halloween or Easter, with its fancy chocolate nest, but the easy, moist chocolate cake and espresso enhanced chocolate frosting make this a great cake for any celebration, without the moody décor.

main image of Low FODMAP Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting, decorated for Halloween
With or without the Chocolate Nest, our Low FODMAP Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting is sure to be a hit.

This recipe is based on several components. The first is our easy chocolate cake, which happens to be vegan on its own, and easy enough for non-bakers. The mocha flavored frosting is sweet, but not too sweet. We think this cake appeals mostly to adults with the coffee flavors.

And then of course there is the fantabulous chocolate nest; we give you the directions for that below and it’s easier to make than you might think. And fun! You will feel so accomplished, and it definitely impresses friends.

another vertical Low FODMAP Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting image
The raven is not edible, but the candy-coated almonds are.

We have many low FODMAP and gluten-free cakes for you including yellow cake and white cake and several buttercreams and frostings so be sure to take a look around. And if you are a serious baker, we highly recommend our eBook, Low FODMAP Baking.

Low FODMAP Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting and Chocolate Nest
Toasting some chocolate cake scraps makes for perfect “dirt”.

Halloween, Easter, Or…

As presented this cake was intended for a moody and spooky Halloween celebration. The nest is made from dark chocolate, and Jordan almonds covered in edible gold and silver are tucked here and there. The raven is not edible but rather is a Halloween prop.

Make sure you plan your decorations ahead of time as you might have to order a few of these things.

For Easter I could envision a white chocolate nest with pastel colored Jordan almonds or even jelly beans.

overhead of chocolate nest on cake
You don’t have to make the nest, but it is actually fun to make and actually easier than you might think.

If you want to learn more about what candies are low FODMAP, we have a fabulous article for you.

And then of course, this chocolate cake with mocha frosting stands quite well on its own with no additional decoration. It would make a lovely birthday cake. (PS: Did you know that we have a giant Low FODMAP and gluten-free birthday cookie? I couldn’t help but mention that here).

very close image of wedge of chocolate cake
Look how moist our Easy Chocolate Cake is!

Plan Ahead

As mentioned previously there are several components to this recipe and there are many reasons to plan ahead. One reason is to simply spread out the work, but in some instances, you have to do some things ahead of time.

The cake can be made the day before, so get your baking done. The frosting should be made and the cake should be assembled the day you’re serving or perhaps the day before.

If you are going to be making the nest, the vodka needs to be frozen, and I find that it is best to freeze it overnight. As always make sure you read the recipe through top to bottom so there are no surprises.

overhead of wedge of chocolate cake on glass plate
What Is Mocha?

Mocha refers to a flavor created by combining chocolate and coffee, in this case instant espresso powder. You could use instant coffee, but the flavor won’t be quite as deep and rich.
 
If you can find Medaglia D’Oro in your supermarket that is a great brand of instant espresso powder. I also often order from King Arthur.

Is Cocoa Low FODMAP?

There are lab tested low FODMAP serving sizes of cocoa. I have an issue with the way cocoa is presented in the Monash University app and you can read more about that in our article, All About Cocoa.

Is Chocolate Low FODMAP?

There are low FODMAP serving sizes of white, milk and dark chocolate. We have in-depth articles for each type. This is a recipe where you have to pay attention to serving sizes in order to remain diet compliant.

How Is This Low FODMAP?

It all comes down to portion control, folks. You might want to read our article, What Is A Low FODMAP Serving Size?, which contains a ton of info. All of the ingredients have low FODMAP servings, and we have taken their lab tested recommended amounts into account, as well as stacking.

Of course, as always, know and eat to YOUR tolerances.

This is a rich cake. A small serving size is even suggested for non-FODMAPers!

Making Our Low FODMAP Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting

Your Easy Chocolate Cake should be baked and cooled.

For the Frosting: Whisk the cream, sugar, and instant espresso powder together in a saucepan.

whisking cream, sugar and espresso powder together in saucepan

Bring to a simmer over medium heat and allow to simmer vigorously for several minutes or until visually thickened and reduced a little bit.

vigorously boiling espresso frosting mixture

It should coat a spoon. 

espresso frosting mixture coating a spoon

Scrape into a bowl and stir in the chocolate and butter. Allow to sit and the residual heat will melt the chocolate and butter. After a few minutes, whisk everything together until smooth and combined and whisk in the vanilla.

espresso frosting mixture in pan
The frosting will look liquid at this point. Don’t worry!

At this point you have a choice. You can either put the bowl in the refrigerator for a while and whisk it from time to time until the frosting is thick enough to spread. Or, if you want to hasten this step you can place the bowl over ice water and stir occasionally until thick enough to frost your cake. It will be very liquidy at first; don’t worry. It will firm up.

espresso frosting in bowl with whisk

Assembling The Cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Trim the cake layers so they are level or, if they already are level, I am going to still ask you to shave a little bit off of each layer. We are going to use this shaved off cake to make the “dirt”, which is actually toasted chocolate cake crumbs. Crumble these trimmed cake bits into one of your cake pans (which should be clean and dry). Don’t worry if the cake is very moist; that’s the point of this next baking process. We are going to dry them out. Bake for several minutes, tossing them around a couple times, until they are firm and beginning to feel very dry. They will firm up even more upon cooling. Dump them out of the cake pan into a little dish for later, and then wash and dryer pan because you were going to use it for the nest.

Meanwhile, fill and frost your cake layers smoothly.

close up of espresso frosting on cake
Look how smooth the frosting becomes.

I find this easiest to do on a cake turntable.

two cake layers with frosting in-between

Add an extra thick frosting layer around the sides then take a small straight icing spatula and make vertical swipes, going from the bottom of the cake to the top.

sides of chocolate frosted cake
A small straight icing spatula will help make this design on the side of the cake.

As you get to the top just keep drawing straight up and the frosting will make little peaks. You are striving to make a stylized bark look. Transfer to a serving platter. The cake is ready to be served at this point. You could also store it at room temperature in an airtight cake dome for 24 hours. If you would like to make the nest, directions are below.

For The Nest: Line a half-sheet pan with paper towels and place it on your work surface. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or the top of a double boiler. Pour the frozen vodka into one of your cake pans – the same pans you used to bake the cake – and set right next to paper towels. You will end up using several parchment cones. Scrape some melted chocolate into a parchment cone and snip a small opening. Start piping the chocolate in rings, one on top of the other, right into the vodka. Go round and round and build up a multi-ring shape, then pause. The chocolate will firm up the second it hits the vodka. 

Pick up the ring carefully with two forks or your fingers and place on paper towels. Repeat with more chocolate and parchment cones and keep going until you have a nest of the dimensions you want. You will be stacking these rings and remember, they do not need to be perfect; a nest is organic in shape. I pipe some of the rings in smaller and smaller diameters to help create a pleasing shape.

closeup of chocolate nest

Decorate The Cake: Place the nest on the center top of the cake and tuck some of the Jordan almonds here and there.

gold and silver Jordan Almonds in chocolate nest on cake

The Raven that I recommend has wires in its feet and you can stick those into the cake so that he looks like he is perched on the side. Sprinkle the cake crumbs to look like dirt around the bottom of the cake.

vertical image of Low FODMAP Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting
Dig in! Watch your portions!

Bring the cake to the table and expect oohs and aahs.

FODMAP Information

Our recipes are based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly science.

  • Almonds: Both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested whole almonds, and their results vary from one another. Monash says that a Green Light low FODMAP portion is 10 whole almonds at 12 g, but a high FODMAP portion is 20 whole almonds at 24 g. FODMAP Friendly gives them a “Pass” at 30 g or ¼ cup.
  • Butter: Both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested butter. Monash states that a low FODMAP Green Light portion is 1 tablespoon or 19 g and also states that “butter is high in fat and does not contain carbohydrates (FODMAPs)”. FODMAP Friendly gives it a “Pass” at 1 tablespoon or 19 g. Both recommended serving sizes are presented as part of healthy eating guidelines, not as maximum FODMAP serving size. Fat can affect guy motility and trigger IBS symptoms in some people. Eat to your tolerance.
  • Chocolate: Monash University has lab tested dark, milk and white chocolate all have low FODMAP amounts: 85% dark at 20 g; dark at 30 g; milk at 20 g; white at 25 g.
  • Cocoa: Monash University has lab tested what they call “cocoa” and also “cacao” and they show different FODMAP content. The problem is that from the chocolate manufacturing industry’s perspective, there is no difference between cacao and cocoa powder. The FDA, The Food Standards for Australia and New Zealand, the ICCO (International Cocoa Organization) and the National Confectioners Association do not even recognize the term “cacao” to describe cocoa powder. We have an article, All About Cocoa, that we encourage you to read. It attempts to explain the discrepancies in the Monash lab testing.
  • Dairy: The low FODMAP diet is not a dairy-free diet. It is, however, low in lactose. Many dairy ingredients are low in lactose, such as heavy cream and many cheeses.
  • Sugar: Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested white, granulated sugar. Monash states that a Green Light low FODMAP serving size of white sugar is ¼ cup (50 g). FODMAP Friendly simply states that they have tested 1 tablespoon and that it is low FODMAP. Regular granulated white sugar is sucrose, which is a disaccharide made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Sucrose is broken down and absorbed efficiently in the small intestine. 

Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.

close up wedge of chocolate cake on glass plate; gold fork
This cake offers rich mocha flavor, moist texture and is easy to make, yet elegant enough for a special event.
main image of Low FODMAP Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting, decorated for Halloween
5 from 1 vote

Low FODMAP Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting

Our Low FODMAP Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting is perfect for Halloween or Easter, with its fancy chocolate nest, but the easy, moist chocolate cake and espresso enhanced chocolate frosting make this a great cake for any celebration, without the moody décor.

Low FODMAP Serving Size Info: Makes 1, 8-inch (20 cm) cake; 24 slices; 1 slice per serving (Note that the chocolate nest and decorations are not taken into consideration for serving recommendations as they are considered optional)

Makes: 24 Servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Freezing Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 55 minutes
Author: Dédé Wilson

Ingredients:

1 batch Easy Chocolate Cake, baked in two 8-inch (20 cm) pans, and cooled

Mocha Frosting:

  • 1 1/3 cups (315 ml) heavy cream, preferably lactose-free
  • 1 ½ cups (297 g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 6- ounces (170 g) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick; 57 g plus) 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Nest & Decoration:

  • 10- ounces (280 g) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate, preferably around 65% cacao with a high cocoa butter content. Look for “coverture”
  • 3 ½ cups (840 ml) vodka, frozen overnight
  • Parchment cones
  • Gold & silver Jordan almonds

Preparation:

  1. For the Frosting: Whisk the cream, sugar, and instant espresso powder together in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and allow to simmer vigorously for several minutes or until visually thickened and reduced a little bit. It should coat a spoon. Scrape into a bowl and stir in the chocolate and butter. Allow to sit and the residual heat will melt the chocolate and butter. After a few minutes, whisk everything together until smooth and combined and whisk in the vanilla.

  2. At this point you have a choice. You can either put the bowl in the refrigerator for a while and whisk it from time to time until the frosting is thick enough to spread. Or, if you want to hasten this step you can place the ball over ice water and stir occasionally until like enough to frost your cake. It will be very liquidy at first; don’t worry. It will firm up.
  3. Assembling The Cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Trim the cake layers so they are level or, if they already are level, I am going to still ask you to shave a little bit off of each layer. We are going to use this shaved off cake to make the "dirt", which is actually toasted chocolate cake crumbs. Crumble these trimmed cake bits into one of your cake pans (which should be clean and dry). Don’t worry if the cake is very moist; that's the point of this next baking process. We are going to dry them out. Bake for several minutes, tossing them around a couple times, until they are firm and beginning to feel very dry. They will firm up even more upon cooling. Dump them out of the cake pan into a little dish for later, and then wash and dryer pan because you were going to use it for the nest.

  4. Fill and frost your cake layers smoothly. I find this easiest to do on a cake turntable. Add an extra thick frosting layer around the sides then take a small straight icing spatula and make vertical swipes, going from the bottom of the cake to the top. As you get to the top just keep drawing straight up and the frosting will make little peaks. You are striving to make a stylized bark look. Transfer to a serving platter. The cake is ready to be served at this point. You could also store it at room temperature in an airtight cake dome for 24 hours. If you would like to make the nest, directions are below.
  5. For The Nest: Line a half-sheet pan with paper towels and place it on your work surface. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or the top of a double boiler. Pour the frozen vodka into one of your cake pans – the same pans you used to bake the cake – and set right next to paper towels. You will end up using several parchment cones. Scrape some melted chocolate into a parchment cone and snip a small opening. Start piping the chocolate in rings, one on top of the other, right into the vodka. Go round and round and build up a multi-ring shape, then pause. The chocolate will firm up the second it hits the vodka. Pick up the ring carefully with two forks or your fingers and place on paper towels. Repeat with more chocolate and parchment cones and keep going until you have a nest of the dimensions you want. You will be stacking these rings and remember, they do not need to be perfect; a nest is organic in shape. I pipe some of the rings in smaller and smaller diameters to help create a pleasing shape.

  6. Decorate The Cake: Place the nest on the center top of the cake and tuck some of the Jordan almonds here and there. The Raven that I recommend has wires in its feet and you can stick those into the cake so that he looks like he is perched on the side. Sprinkle the cake crumbs to look like dirt around the bottom of the cake. Bring the cake to the table and expect oohs and aahs.

Notes:

 

  • I like to freeze the 8-inch (20 cm) cake pan, along with the vodka.

FODMAP Information

Our recipes are based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly science.

Almonds: Both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested whole almonds, and their results vary from one another. Monash says that a Green Light low FODMAP portion is 10 whole almonds at 12 g, but a high FODMAP portion is 20 whole almonds at 24 g. FODMAP Friendly gives them a “Pass” at 30 g or ¼ cup.
Butter: Both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested butter. Monash states that a low FODMAP Green Light portion is 1 tablespoon or 19 g and also states that “butter is high in fat and does not contain carbohydrates (FODMAPs)”. FODMAP Friendly gives it a “Pass” at 1 tablespoon or 19 g. Both recommended serving sizes are presented as part of healthy eating guidelines, not as maximum FODMAP serving size. Fat can affect guy motility and trigger IBS symptoms in some people. Eat to your tolerance.
Chocolate: Monash University has lab tested dark, milk and white chocolate all have low FODMAP amounts: 85% dark at 20 g; dark at 30 g; milk at 20 g; white at 25 g.
Cocoa: Monash University has lab tested what they call “cocoa” and also “cacao” and they show different FODMAP content. The problem is that from the chocolate manufacturing industry’s perspective, there is no difference between cacao and cocoa powder. The FDA, The Food Standards for Australia and New Zealand, the ICCO (International Cocoa Organization) and the National Confectioners Association do not even recognize the term “cacao” to describe cocoa powder. We have an article, All About Cocoa, that we encourage you to read. It attempts to explain the discrepancies in the Monash lab testing.
Dairy: The low FODMAP diet is not a dairy-free diet. It is, however, low in lactose. Many dairy ingredients are low in lactose, such as heavy cream and many cheeses.
Sugar: Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested white, granulated sugar. Monash states that a Green Light low FODMAP serving size of white sugar is ¼ cup (50 g). FODMAP Friendly simply states that they have tested 1 tablespoon and that it is low FODMAP. Regular granulated white sugar is sucrose, which is a disaccharide made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Sucrose is broken down and absorbed efficiently in the small intestine.

Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.

Course: Dessert, Treat
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 193IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.