Healthy Chocolate Cake

by Erin @ Food Doodles on September 8, 2019

This healthy chocolate cake is super moist, made a little healthier with whole wheat flour and is honey-sweetened. It can also be made gluten-free and vegan!

Healthy Chocolate Cake

Hello everyone!  I’m so excited to finally be writing to you again!  I’ve been busy with running a sourdough micro-bakery out of my home and a very large whole house renovation and that’s on top of working part-time and taking care of my family! 🙂

I’ve always had big plans for Food Doodles, but unfortunately, I will never have the time to make those big plans a reality so I’m very happy to announce to you that my good friend Erin will be taking over Food Doodles from now on.  Erin and I have been blog friends for many years and from the beginning, our style of blogging has been very similar.  

Not to mention she has some wonderful recipes, I have tried and enjoyed many of them!  I know she will share some amazing recipes with you!  

I’ve enjoyed my time with Food Doodles so much, but it’s time for me to move on.  Food blogging has been an awesome experience for me, thank you all for being a part of that!  

For now, I’m so excited to see what Erin has in store for Food Doodles. I know it will be awesome! 🙂

Hi everyone! Erin here. I’m super excited to be taking over the reins here at Food Doodles. Heidi and I started our blogs around the same time 8 years ago and we both posted the same kind of recipes (except I really just post sweets and nothing savory). 

I plan on continuing posting the same kind of recipes that Heidi was, so nothing will change there.
A little bit about me – I’m from Texas but have been living in Germany for the last 10 years. The first 8 years we were in my husband’s hometown of Berlin and the last 2 in Munich. We have an almost 2-year old son named Björn (we met in Sweden as exchange students and wanted a Swedish name!).
I’m just returning from maternity leave and am excited to have a second blog where I can post not just sweet recipes like on my blog, but also some savory ones as well!

My first blog, Texanerin Baking, is all about making healthier sweet treats that taste just as delicious as the original.

Nowadays, I post mostly gluten-free recipes but I have a collection of 230 whole grain recipes that might interest you! I also post lots of dairy-free, vegan, paleo and grain-free recipes. So they’re all healthier.
I spend a lot of time tweaking my recipes so that they don’t taste healthy. On average, I test each recipe about 6-10 times before I post it. That’s why I don’t post as often as other food bloggers but when I do post, it’ll be super delicious. Promise! 😉

You won’t find me posting any recipes with strange gluten-free flours over here. If I post a whole wheat recipe, I’ll probably include a gluten-free flour option. I also might use oats, oat flour (which is just ground up oats), coconut flour and almond flour but probably nothing else. Perhaps buckwheat? We shall see!

But enough about me. For my first post, I thought I’d post something a little celebratory – this healthy chocolate cake. Food Doodles is back! Woohoo. 😀

Plus Heidi had never posted a chocolate cake (though she has these flourless chocolate cupcakes) and I figured it was time to remedy that.

So now on to this healthy chocolate cake! It’s seriously super moist and is whole grain and honey-sweetened. If you prefer, you can make it gluten-free or vegan!  

I list a lot of options for the flour, sweetener and eggs. Each version is just as delicious but you can tell a difference between the version with 1 cup of honey versus 2 cups of granulated / coconut sugar.

The honey version is clearly less sweet than the other one, but under the frosting, I think it’s still sweet enough!

I’ve also tried this healthy chocolate cake with chia eggs, in case you’d like to make this cake egg-free or vegan! It worked great.

Additionally, there are several choices for the flour. Whole wheat, white whole wheat, whole spelt or all-purpose flour all work. I’ve tried them all.

For a gluten-free version, I used my favorite gluten-free baking mix, this one from Bob’s Red Mill. Other brands might work in this recipe but I can’t guarantee it. 

Healthy Chocolate Cake (gluten-free, vegan options)

There’s a huge difference in baking times depending on what combination of flour, sugar and egg you use. The whole wheat / egg / honey version took 48 minutes. The gluten-free / chia egg / honey version only took 22 minutes.

I was so surprised and sure that I had made a mistake that I baked the cakes a second time in one night. It was correct!

The sprinkles I used definitely aren’t healthy. I’ve read about ColorKitchen Rainbow Sprinkles from Nature but haven’t tried them (we don’t have them in Germany so I’d have to order them from the US). If you have tips on good naturally colored sprinkles please send them my way!

Some natural topping ideas would be fresh berries or dried raspberries. 

For the topping, I used a mix of cocoa powder, honey or maple syrup, coconut oil and nut butter to create some healthy chocolate fudge frosting.

I actually prefer this healthier cream cheese frosting on this chocolate cake. But I prefer that frosting on everything, so that’s not a big surprise!

The amount that the cream cheese frosting recipe yields is perfect for this cake. I hope you’ll enjoy this cake should you try it! I’d love to hear how it goes. 🙂

5 from 1 vote
Healthy Chocolate Cake (whole wheat, gluten-free, vegan options)

This healthy chocolate cake is super moist, made a little healthier with whole wheat flour and is honey-sweetened. Can also be made gluten-free or vegan!

Author: Erin @ Food Doodles
  • 1 cup (320 grams) honey* or 2 cups (400 gram) granulated sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups (210 grams) whole spelt flour, whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour or 1 3/4 cups (236 gram) Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour for a gluten-free version
  • 3/4 cup (85 grams) cocoa powder (I prefer Dutch-process)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs (50 grams each, out of shell) or 2 chia eggs** for vegan
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) milk of choice***
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) olive oil (or another neutral-tasting vegetable oil that's liquid at room temp)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) boiling water (this is not a typo!)
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 °F (167 °C). If not using honey (which bakes quicker than sugar, hence the lower temperature), preheat to 350 °F (175 °C).

  2. Line a 9"x13" pan with a piece of parchment paper.

  3. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar (if using honey, don’t add it yet), flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

  4. Add eggs, milk, honey (if using), olive oil and vanilla. Mix for 2 minutes on medium and then stir in the boiling water. The batter will be almost as thin as water. If you taste it, it will NOT taste good! But don't worry. It tastes great after baking. Pour into the parchment-lined pan.

  5. The bake time will vary widely depending on what combination of sugar / eggs / flour you use. The whole wheat / egg / honey version took 48 minutes. The gluten-free / chia egg / honey version only took 22 minutes. For the gluten-free or egg-free versions, I recommend to start checking at 20 minutes and then every 5 minutes after that. Otherwise, start checking at 30 minutes and every 5 minutes after that. Bake until a toothpick comes out with some moist crumbs, but no liquid.

  6. Let cool completely before frosting (frosting recipe is down below).

Recipe Notes

* If using raw honey that's crystallized, you can just measure it out into the bowl where you're mixing all the liquids, and let it sit for 5 minutes. That worked for me.
** To make the chia eggs for this recipe, mix together 2 tablespoons of ground chia seed with 6 tablespoons of water until well combined. Let sit for about 1-2 minutes or until goopy like regular eggs. 
*** You can use whatever type of milk you'd like. If you use canned coconut milk, water it down using 1/3 cup coconut milk and 2/3 cup water so that it's runny like regular milk. If you need this cake to be dairy-free or vegan, make sure to use dairy-free milk.

5 from 1 vote
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) refined coconut oil*
  • 1/2 cup (128 grams) natural peanut butter or another nut / seed butter (use the kind with just nuts / seeds and salt)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (72 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • salt to taste (be sure to add this! It really brings out the flavor)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • if using sunflower seed butter: coconut sugar to taste (I used 5 teaspoons)
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a small pot or pan over low heat. Add the nut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and salt and stir together. When it’s completely smooth, take it off the heat and add the maple syrup and stir until well combined.
  2. If using sunflower seed butter, add coconut sugar to taste. Put the pot back on the burner and set to the lowest setting. Stir until the coconut sugar is dissolved.
  3. If using another type of nut butter, you don't need additional sugar. Let cool until room temperature and then spread over the cooled cake.

  4. Store the frosted cake in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

* If you use unrefined / extra virgin coconut oil, the frosting will probably have some coconut flavor to it. With refined coconut oil, there's no coconut taste at all.
You can't taste the olive oil once the cake is baked! 
Adapted from Hershey's One Bowl Chocolate Cake.

Leave a Comment

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sonakshi Saxena May 11, 2020 at 02:02

Hey.. thanks for the recipe. Going to try it out! Can we use honey instead of maple syrup in the frosting?


2 Erin @ Food Doodles May 16, 2020 at 13:27

I’m sorry for just now seeing this! Yes, that should work but the frosting may have some honey taste to it. Not that that’s a bad thing!


3 Elizabeth McKevitt Perez February 1, 2020 at 16:35

I am SO very impressed!! This cake was fluffy and moist and with great flavor! The combo I used was regular flour, olive oil, honey and eggs. I used a food scale for the first time, instead of just measuring cups. Baked it at 325 for 40 minutes. To be honest I was a little thrown by the not so great flavor of the liquid batter, with the olive oil. But! After baking you couldn’t taste the olive oil at all. My high school sons gobbled up half the cake before I had even put the frosting on, they said it didn’t need any. I had to agree! We left the frosting on the side. I’m personally not a huge fan of chocolate with peanut butter (gasp – I know) so the frosting wasn’t my most favorite, but it still was pretty yummy. This surely will be a recipe I will use again and again! Thank you!!


4 Erin @ Food Doodles February 7, 2020 at 05:46

I’ve been meaning to add a note about how the batter doesn’t taste good. Thanks for the reminder! I just added it. I’m so glad that you and your boys enjoyed the cake! And how awesome that you’ll make it again and again. That’s always nice to hear! Thanks a bunch for your feedback. 🙂


5 Kristin January 7, 2020 at 05:06

I rarely comment on these recipe blogs, but I wanted to let you know I made this and it’s delicious! Used whole wheat flour and raw sugar. So satisfying, filling, moist, and chocolatey. Thanks for posting!


6 Erin @ Food Doodles January 13, 2020 at 12:34

You’re welcome and thank you for taking the time to leave feedback! I really appreciate it. 🙂 I’m so happy you liked the cake! Thanks again.


7 Holly November 9, 2019 at 17:57

Just made this last night. It is excellent! I didn’t make the icing and it doesn’t even need it. I used coconut sugar and avocado oil. SO GOOD!


8 Erin @ Food Doodles November 11, 2019 at 02:10

Yay! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks a ton (as always!) for leaving feedback. 🙂


9 Holly December 8, 2019 at 20:26

Hey Erin, I just made this for the fourth time and this is the first time I’ve done the vegan version. I don’t know what happened but I had to throw the whole thing out. I’ve used chia eggs so many times in different baked goods and have had great success. This was a suuuuper gummy and wet and just basically not edible. I know it’s not your recipe it has to be something I did although I’m a pretty experienced gluten-free/Paleo baker (but not like you 😉). I didn’t do anything different than I have all the other times accept losing the eggs and I always weigh everything in grams according to your recipe. I used BOB’s 1:1 for gluten free plus coconut sugar as I have the other times. Your recipe called for two eggs so I made two chia eggs. I used 4 TBS ground chia and 12 Tbs water doubling your instructions for one chia egg ( because the recipe calls for two eggs). Did I do something wrong there? It seemed like a lot of liquid to be adding. I’m so bumbed that I had to toss this 🙁 Hoping you can shed some light for me. By the way, I subscribed to food doodles but I haven’t received anything. I’m also subscribed to Texanerin but I don’t get emails for new recipes or anything from there either. It just dawned on me so I thought I would let you know so maybe you could check. Thanks so much and happy holidays! I made your gingerbread cookies and pecan bars from the other site for Thanksgiving and they were delish!!!


10 Erin @ Food Doodles December 15, 2019 at 11:25

Hi Holly! I’m sorry for just now seeing this. That’s the amount for both eggs – I’m so, so sorry! You should have used 2 tbsp chia + 6 tbsp water. I feel absolutely sick about this. If I didn’t live in Germany, I’d try to send you a replacement cake. 🙁

I’m subscribed to both email lists with different accounts and always get them. Have you checked your spam? If on Gmail, you should check your Promotions tab because they land there. I’m glad that you liked the pecan pie bars and gingerbread cookies! Thanks for letting me know and a thousand times sorry about this cake. 🙁


11 Holly Sale November 7, 2019 at 17:37

Erin, I’m such a tastebuds would follow you anywhere! I checked this site from the link I received because I’m subscribed to Texanerin. Do I need to subscribe here to receive your new posts or will I get them because I’m subscribed to your other site? Looking forward to trying this yummy cake and all your other amazing concoctions!


12 Erin @ Food Doodles November 11, 2019 at 02:12

Thank you for coming over here to check out the site! 🙂 I’m so happy you’re interested. You won’t get posts from Food Doodles without signing up for the newsletter first. I should have mentioned that in my post on Texanerin Baking! Thanks for pointing that out. On the right side of any page on Food Doodles, at the top of the sidebar, there’s a place where you can put in your email address to sign up for the newsletter. Thank you! 🙂


13 heather September 13, 2019 at 09:48

I wonder if I could use almond flour in this…and maybe sub erythritol? I think I need to go to the store and get some ingredients here… It sounds amazing!!!


14 Erin September 17, 2019 at 04:29

Almond flour isn’t really interchangeable with non-nut flours / meals. :/ And I don’t have any idea about the erythritol. Sorry about that!


15 Zuzana September 13, 2019 at 09:10

Happy you are here Erin. Looking forward to so many wonderful recipes


16 Erin September 17, 2019 at 04:35

Thanks so much! 🙂


17 linda spiker September 12, 2019 at 17:10

What a gorgeous cake! I would drench it in cold milk!


18 jenna | the urben life September 12, 2019 at 11:41

I love chocolate cake!! Love the vegan options 🙂 Bob’s Red Mill products are the best!


19 paleoglutenfreeguy September 12, 2019 at 10:14

That looks like the perfect chocolate cake but what I really can’t wait to try is that frosting!


20 Cheryl Malik September 12, 2019 at 09:29

This is such a beautiful cake. Oh, wow! Yummy!


21 Hope September 11, 2019 at 18:27

Congratulations on taking over a new blog Erin! What better way than with a chocolate cake. Love how moist this looks and all the different options you have given – thanks. I will be trying the gluten free option!


22 Raia Todd September 10, 2019 at 15:16

Looks so delicious! I bet I could eat that frosting with a spoon, too… 😉


23 ChihYu September 10, 2019 at 12:41

Healthy chocolate cake that’s delicious and moist? Sold!!


24 Jean Choi September 10, 2019 at 10:39

Drooling over this cake! So moist and perfect. Also, your kiddo is so cute!!


25 Joni Gomes September 9, 2019 at 16:28

Omg the texture of this cake was amazing!! At first I wasn’t sure about the olive oil but it worked out perfectly!


26 Megan Stevens September 9, 2019 at 15:07

Wow, super excited for your recipes and congrats on the new blog. Your photos are gorgeous, and I can tell your recipes are indeed tested and tested and perfect! Cheers!


27 Charlotte Moore September 9, 2019 at 07:33

WOW!! What a surprise! I am so surprised it is someone I already follow. CONGRATULATIONS!!!


28 Erin September 9, 2019 at 12:30

Haha. Hi Charlotte! I was betting I’d hear from you. 😉 (I’ve seen your comments over here before!) Thanks so much! I’m glad you’re still reading. 🙂


29 Heidi September 8, 2019 at 20:07

Oh my goodness, this looks amazing! Perfect celebration cake ??. Your little guy is so cute! I can hardly believe he’s almost 2 already! That’s a great picture of you two ? ❤️


30 Erin September 9, 2019 at 12:29

Thanks so much! I’m so happy you like my first post. 🙂 Thanks again for everything! <3


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