Gluten free, intolerance friendly chocolate cake with easy vegan chocolate icing

As someone who is currently on an elimination diet/whose life for the past 4 years seems to have been one big elimination diet,  I have developed an acute awareness of, and sympathy for, those who walk among us who cannot just eat whatever is put in front of them. When It gets to a point where it's easier to answer the question 'what can you eat?' rather than 'what can't you eat?', you know you're part of a unique and somewhat crappy club, one that people don't always take very seriously. It seems to me that people think of an intolerances as an allergy's weaker cousin, a cousin prone to dramatisation and embellishment of stories. I can personally attest to the fact that this is not quite true. While intolerances aren't life threatening, they can put you in bed for a good couple of not so good days. 

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With all that in mind, I wanted to make a chocolate cake that was delicious, but also a friendly treat for those of us who want to treat themselves without needing to go foetal after. This cake is gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free and dairy free, and the icing component is all these things in addition to being vegan. If you're on a strict elimination diet, substitute the maple for whatever sweetener is permissable for you. I opted for maple because I decided to live on the wild side. 

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond meal
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
8 tablespoons cacao powder
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk of choice (I used almond)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teapoons apple cider vinegar

ICING

1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Generous pinch of salt
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon almond milk

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, cacao and salt. Add the eggs, almond milk, vanilla bean paste and maple syrup, and stir until well combined. Next add the coconut oil, and continue to stir the mixture until everything has been incorporated. Finally, add the baking soda and apple cider vinegar, and mix the bubbles through. 
3. Grease your silicon loaf pan (apparently there's no need to do this, but I always it 10x easier to remove if I do) and pour the mixture in. Pop in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
4. When the cake is nearly ready, melt the coconut oil and almond butter together to make the icing. You can do this in a small pot or in the microwave. Add the maple syrup (stevia drops work well if you're avoiding all sugars) salt and vanilla bean paste, and mix well. Add the almond milk, and an icing consistency should form. Set aside.
5. Once you've checked the cake is done, leave it to cool before removing gently from the loaf pan, and slathering with icing. Yes.