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!)
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 Healthy Chocolate Cake
To make the cake, you’ll need:
- Flour (whole wheat, all-purpose, or a mixture of the two)
- Vegetable oil
- Baking soda
- Cocoa powder (I like SACO or Hershey’s Special Dark)
- White vinegar
- Vanilla extract
- Quick Chocolate Frosting
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
Here’s the basic process of making the cake. Scroll down to the recipe for the full information.
- Preheat the oven and grease two 6-inch round pans.
- Stir together the ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Divide batter between the pans and bake.
- 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.
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.
- Place one of the cakes onto a platter or cake stand.
- Add a big spoonful of frosting and spread to cover the top.
- Add the second cake and the rest of the frosting. Spread over the top and over the sides.
- Add sprinkles if desired. I like to use a cookie cutter to make a star design (imperfect as it is!).
Tips for Making the Best Healthy Chocolate Cake
- 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.
- 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.
I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe for your family, so please comment below to share. I appreciate hearing how recipes go in your house!Print
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.
- 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
- 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 1/3 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.
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.
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.