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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!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword healthy chocolate cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 slices
Author Erin @ Food Doodles



  • 1 cup (320 grams) honey* or 2 cups (375 gram) coconut sugar or 2 cups (400 grams) granulated 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!)

Frosting: (see post for different options)

  • flesh of 1 avocado (155 grams)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (72 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons, maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) refined coconut oil


  • If using honey, 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).
  • Line 2 round 8" cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom and then grease the sides of the pans.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the sugar (if using honey, don’t add it yet), flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • 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.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with some moist crumbs, but no uncooked liquid. The bake time will vary widely depending on what combination of sugar / eggs / flour you use. The whole wheat / egg / honey version is on the longer side. The gluten-free / chia egg / honey version is on the shorter side.
  • Let cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Avocado Frosting:

  • Put all the ingredients (using 1/2 cup maple syrup) in a high-speed blender (or a small food processor) and blend until smooth. Taste and add up to another 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (I always do).
  • The frosting yields 2 cups + 1 tablespoon. That's enough for a two-layer 8" cake if you use about 3/4 cup to 1 cup for the middle and the other remaining cup on top.
  • The frosting will harden in the fridge but you can still cut it once it's on the cake. It will be too firm to spread once cold, so just gently reheat it if you need to spread it after it's been chilled.
  • It's best used on the day of making but can also be stored for up to 2 days in the fridge. The longer it sits, the more avocady it gets (it doesn't taste at all like avocado when you first make it). I only notice it after about 1 day.




* 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.
To make this cake vegan - use coconut sugar or granulated sugar (so - not honey!), dairy-free milk and the chia eggs option.
To make this cake dairy-free - use dairy-free milk.
To make it gluten-free - use the gluten-free flour listed.
Adapted from Hershey's One Bowl Chocolate Cake.