This Healthy Chocolate Cake is lower in fat and sugar than traditional chocolate cake recipes. It also happens to be gluten-free!
There is absolutely zero butter or oil in the cake portion of this healthy chocolate cake. It stays moist with a whole lot of unsweetened applesauce, and egg whites are used in place of whole eggs.
Can you use a sugar replacement to bake this Healthy Chocolate Cake?
Yes! The sugar level in the cake is low (just 2/3 cup of granulated sugar) if you want to use regular sugar. In the recipe, I give alternatives to bake the cake with a sugar replacement if you need it to be sugar free. I’ve tried a lot of different brands, but I like the Swerve brand of sugar-free sweetener for baking and sweet treats. It’s the brand that tastes the best to me. If you’re baking this cake for someone who cannot have much sugar, use a sugar replacement. If you are following the Weight Watchers program, use a sugar replacement.
The frosting is made from low fat cream cheese, a cup of powdered sugar (again, I give you a sugar replacement option in the recipe), cocoa powder, vanilla and nonfat milk.
How does a healthy chocolate cake taste?
I brought this cake to a birthday celebration with a bunch of relatives, and I didn’t tell any of them that I had baked a healthy cake. Note that I used regular sugar (not a sugar replacement) in the recipe. I sliced and served, and I waited for their reactions. My mother in law was first (she’s a chocolate fanatic): “Ok, Lori… what’s different about this cake?” My son said, “I can taste cinnamon!” My sister-in-law said, “It tastes like a healthier version of chocolate cake.” They all loved the cake (with the exception of one picky 4 year old, who ate the frosting only).
The cake itself has a very different flavor (because of the oat flour). I don’t think the cake part tastes all that fabulous on its own- it’s not super chocolatey and rich. My son argued that fact though and said he loved the cake part. The frosting is more “normal” and there’s a lot of it. Spread over the top of the healthy cake, the frosting really makes it a worthwhile baked treat. See, you can still enjoy dessert when you’re trying to be healthy!
Healthy Chocolate Cake
- 2¼ cups oat flour (see notes below)¼
- 1½ cups nonfat dry milk powder
- ⅔ cup granulated white sugar (see Notes below for baking with a sugar replacement)
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- One 23-ounce jar unsweetened applesauce (a little over 2¾ cups)
- 5 large egg whites, lightly beaten
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sift after measuring
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons nonfat milk
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 13x9x2-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
PREPARE THE CAKE:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour, dry milk powder, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce, egg whites and vanilla.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Don't over-mix or you may toughen the texture of the cake.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing to the edges, and bake until springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean- it should take anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes. Check at 25 and add minutes onto baking time if necessary.
- Cool cake to room temperature on a wire rack.
PREPARE THE FROSTING:
- In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer at low speed to beat the cream cheese, sifted powdered sugar, cocoa and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Slowly add the nonfat milk and beat until it's a good spreading consistency- about 1 minute.
- Swirl frosting over top of cake. Cut into 15 squares, and serve.
- To make your own oat flour, grind 1¼ cups old fashioned oats in a coffee grinder or strong blender.
- Substitutes for oat flour: try using rice or barley flour. Almond flour can be used too, but the flavor will be different and it will have a higher fat content.
- If counting this cake for WW POINTS, use SWERVE sweetener or another no calorie sweetener instead of sugar. Using Swerve: 4 blue or purple points per slice and 5 green. If you make the recipe as written, each slice will be 9 points on all color plans.
- I baked this cake with regular sugar, but you can certainly bake with a sugar replacement, if you'd like. Just follow instructions on the bag for how to replace the sugar. I usually like the Swerve brand granular when I'm replacing the sugar. It's a cup-for-cup replacement.
- For the frosting, Swerve also sells a powdered version if you want to try that to be sugar free.
- I made this cake in a 9x13-inch pan, but I think it would work just as well baked in two 8-inch round cake pans. There certainly is enough frosting to use for a two layer cake.