This super easy stir-together healthy Chocolate Cake is a cinch to make and it has less sugar than traditional cakes. Maybe “healthier” is a better set up, but whatever you call it, it’s so darn good! (P.S. It happens to be vegan!)

slice-of-healthy-chocolate-cake-on-pink-plate

Healthy Chocolate Cake

I’ve been searching for a “house cake”, you know, one that becomes the traditional cake we make for birthdays and special occasions. One that we’ll think back on fondly.

And also one that’s easy enough to make without much notice because as we all know, sometime you just need a slice of cake for no good reason! I’m happy to say that this cake fits the bill.

TIP: This cake is made with less sugar than traditional cakes and has some ingredient options so you can decide how “healthy” to make it.

ingredients-in-chocolate-cake

Ingredients You Need

To make the cake, you’ll need:

TIP: The cake is dairy and egg-free, and you can make it gluten-free by using a gluten-free cup for cup flour blend.

how to make healthy chocolate cake step by step.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s the basic process of making the cake. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the recipe with the full information.

  1. Preheat the oven and grease two 6-inch round pans very well..
  2. Stir together the ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk. Make sure you get all of the lumps out of the cocoa powder.
  3. Divide batter between the pans evenly. Bake.
  4. Let cool on a wire rack and frost.

TIP: I like making this cake in two 6-inch pans as it’s a nice size for a smaller gathering of up to 8-10 people. It also means you don’t need a ton of any of the ingredients AND is a great size for a smash cake.

chocolate-frosting-on-mixer

Frosting Options

Frost with either my Quick Chocolate Frosting, Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, or Strawberry Frosting. Or any other frosting that you enjoy!

how-to--frost-chocolate-cake-step-by-step

Tips for Frosting a Chocolate Cake

I have a few frosting options for this cake, though the basic method of frosting the cake is the same.

  1. Place one of the cakes onto a platter or cake stand.
  2. Add a big spoonful of frosting and spread to cover the top.
  3. Add the second cake and the rest of the frosting. Spread over the top and over the sides.
  4. Add sprinkles if desired. I like to use a cookie cutter to make a star design (imperfect as it is!).

TIP: Check out my Quick Chocolate Frosting (which is made with cocoa powder and yogurt!) or Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting for this cake.

healthy chocolate-cake-with-star-sprinkles

How to Store

You can make the cakes the day before you plan to serve. Let cool fully, then place on two separate plates and wrap well with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature. Frost before serving if possible.

With leftovers, you can store wrapped well at room temperature or in the fridge. I am partial to how this cake tastes when it’s chilled so we store it in the fridge.

You can also freeze slices for future enjoyment too. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap (wrapping slices on small paper plates makes this easy) and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the fridge.

Best Tips for Success

  • Use a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour or all of one or the other. (All whole wheat will be a smidge more dense.)
  • Try to avoid over-baking to ensure that the cake is moist and doesn’t crumble too much. Check for doneness with a cake tester—insert it into the center of the cake and look for it to come out clean.
  • Be sure to grease the pan well to ensure it doesn’t stick.
  • To make this in a 9-inch cake pan, use just one pan and bake for 24-26 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out cleanly. Be sure to grease the pan well to ensure it doesn’t stick.
  • You may also like Sweet Potato Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake, Favorite Football Cake, and my Vanilla Oat Smash Cake.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe for your family, so please comment below to share!

This recipe was first published September 2020.

slice-of-healthy-chocolate-cake-on-pink-plate

Healthy Chocolate Cake (Lower Sugar, Allergy-Friendly)

I use two 6-inch cake pans to make this cake, which is a perfect size for a small gathering or even to use as a smash cake.
4.88 from 40 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Calories 238kcal
Servings 8 -10

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose (or whole-wheat flour)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (I like SACO or Hershey's Special Dark)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe Quick Chocolate Frosting or Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 6-inch cake pans very well  on the bottom and sides with nonstick spray. (I use classic Pam spray.)
  • Add the ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk gently to combine. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, using about 1 cup and 2 tablespoons in each pan.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the middle is firm to a light touch and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly. Try not to overbake.
  • Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the cakes from the pans by running a paring knife around the edges to loosen. Working with one pan at a time, carefully turn the pan over onto a wire rack. The cakes should slide out easily. Let cool completely on the wire rack.
  • To frost, place one cake onto a cake plate or plate. Add ⅓ of the frosting to the top of the cake. Spread to the edges. Top with the second layer and the remaining frosting, then spread over the top and the sides. Add sprinkles if desired.

Notes

  • Gluten-free: Use cup for cup gluten-free flour blend in place of the wheat flour.
  • Use a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour or all of one or the other. (All whole wheat will be a smidge more dense.)
  • Try to avoid over-baking to ensure that the cake is moist and doesn’t crumble too much.
  • Be sure to grease the pan well to ensure the cake doesn’t stick.
  • Frost with either my Quick Chocolate Frosting, Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, or Strawberry Frosting.
  • You can make the cakes the day before you plan to serve. Let cool fully, then place on two separate plates and wrap well with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature. Frost before serving if possible.
  • To make this in a 9-inch cake pan, use just one pan and bake for 24-26 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out cleanly. Be sure to grease the pan well to ensure it doesn’t stick.
  • If you are at all worried about your cakes sticking to the pans, (these 6-inch pans do not tend to stick, but I can’t speak for every other cake pan) trace the pans onto parchment paper. Cut out the rounds, trimming slightly so they fit inside of the cakes. Place each round of parchment paper into the cake pan, then spray the paper and sides of the pan with nonstick spray. Proceed with the recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 238kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 212mg, Potassium: 81mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 17g, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank God I found this! I was in the middle of measuring out ingredients for a cake because my 3 yr old wanted to bake a chocolate cake. The recipe called for buttermilk but I made my own 1 TB of vinegar then filled the rest of the 1 cup with milk. Then I saw the 2 cups of sugar and googled for a lesser sugar cake recipe. So I used the buttermilk recipe instead of water and it came out so great! I also used coconut oil instead of Veg. oil. Baked it for about 30 mins in a bundt cake pan. Thanks SO MUCH!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you! Just found a few recipes of yours and they all look simple and healthy ! I’ve always been scared to try baking from scratch but am slowly getting over my fear and seeing it is way more simple than I thought and sooo much healthier! Can’t wait to try this one!

  3. Hi i was wondering can some one make this cake sugar free and do you have any alternatives for the frosting??? Looks delicious i want to make it for my birthday but i have a 12 month baby and for sure she Will want to dive in the cake when she Will see somebody eating so i was wondering if there is an options on How to make this a little bit baby friendly.

    1. You could use a plain cream cheese frosting or my Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting. I don’t think you can leave out sweetener entirely in this, you’d need to add honey or maple syrup or some mashed fruit or it will be bland and bitter I think

  4. 5 stars
    Made this for my son’s 1st birthday! He loved it, and so did my husband and my parents. I was thrilled with how easy it was. Bookmarking this recipe for future use!

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Amy, I just made this cake for my daughter’s 2nd birthday and it was great! I made a double batch so I could have 24 mini cupcakes for her daycare class which is egg and nut free and did a single layer 9inch cake to have at home. I used your strawberry frosting on top. Thank you so much.

    1. I haven’t made it that way and it’s possible it might be a little denser, but I bet it would work similarly!

  6. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe! Made a double batch- one 9 inch cake and 6 cupcakes. The cupcakes turned out way better! The cake took way way longer to bake (I didn’t have two smaller pans) but was still good. I used your chocolate cream cheese frosting on top which was yum and not too sweet. Nice and thick for easy piping/ decorating.

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Amy, we made this for Easter and loved it so I’m planning to make it again for my daughters birthday party. Wondering if I can substitute the flour with either ground oats or buckwheat flour. I know the texture will be different but hoping not to buy a new bag of GF flour just for this one occasion. Thank you!

    1. Hi- I think of those two, I would opt for buckwheat but I think I would reduce the amount by 1/4 cup (so 1 1/4 cups) to prevent it from turning out too dry. It may also be cooked through a little sooner, so I’d check it starting 4 minutes earlier than my baking time. That might be overly cautious, but buckwheat really absorbs liquid so I hope those two changes would make it still work out okay!

  8. 5 stars
    This was a very.good cake recipe! We made it into cupcakes and they were good without frosting. I liked that they were not overly sweet and I was amazed at how light and fluffy they were.

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