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)

This Healthy Chocolate Cake is egg-free, dairy-free, and SO darn delicious. It's lower in sugar, but delivers on classic chocolate cake flavor you expect. (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. See the Notes for more options.)
4.92 from 58 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
    Not to my surprise, another WONDERFUL cake recipe!! Previously I’ve made the sweet potato cake, but this year for my husband’s birthday, I wanted to do chocolate with peanut butter frosting (borrowed that part from another blog). But if you created a less sweet peanut butter frosting recipe, I’d be all for trying it! My only negative was my cakes seemed done (baked a 5 or so minutes longer and they came out pretty clean with a toothpick), but not too long later, the centers sunk while cooling on the rack. Any recommendations there? I’ve been using cake strips to help bake flatter layers (works SO well), and I baked longer since I think those strips increase the baking time, but still not a lot of luck with it not sinking in the middle. It still tasted delicious and seemed fully baked, but who knows. I notice in the pictures above, a slight sinking as well. Maybe that’s just normal. Either way, so thankful for all that you share and will be making this again!

  2. 5 stars
    I love your recipes. Today I had a birthday party and thought I would buy the cupcakes to make it easy. Last minute a guest told me they don’t eat eggs, cupcakes I ordered contained eggs. Was able to whip up a small batch of egg free cupcakes with this recipe in the morning, everyone is included. Thanks for making it easy.

  3. Wondering if I could make a 9×13 sheet cake of this recipe. Would I double? Triple? And any thoughts on how long it would have to bake for? Thanks for any tips!

    1. I would guess double it and bake for maybe 24-26 minutes. Watch the middle since that’s what will take the longest to bake through. Enjoy and let me know how it goes!

  4. 5 stars
    I love this recipe!! It is my go to for birthdays! I usually make it in a cake but I’m looking into making it into cupcakes… Can you tell me how long I would bake it for?

    1. I- I think using about 1/4 cup batter in each cup would be in the 12-14 minute range for standard cupcakes. Enjoy!

  5. 5 stars
    I made this cake for my sons third birthday this past weekend. It was my first time making a homemade cake!
    My son is picky with desserts, so I was nervous, but he LOVED it! My husband and I loved it too! Just the right amount of sweetness and the texture was great too, perfectly moist. I used the recommended icing recipe too, the chocolate cream cheese one, worked really well together. Definitely will make this cake again! 🙂

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