by Olena

Healthy Chocolate Cake

Olena Osipov
4.9 from 50 votes

This Healthy Chocolate Cake with yogurt, maple syrup and whole wheat flour is every dark chocolate lover’s dream dessert. Easy recipe for beginners and a total crowd pleaser!

Healthy Chocolate Cake

Healthy Cake

This healthy chocolate cake is moist, not overly sweet and light. I based it on vanilla sour cream cake recipe I grew up with in Ukraine. I also blame this healthy cake appearance on a batch of Instant Pot yogurt.

It is every dark chocolate lover’s dream – a slice of heaven! If you are not “a baker” like me, this healthy chocolate cake recipe is for you. The process and ingredients list couldn’t be simpler. You and whoever you make it for will love it!

And a quick tip, if too much dark chocolate keeps you awake, I recommend eating one slice before bedtime. Sounds like a doctor’s advice.

slice of healthy chocolate cake on plate with fork

Ingredients for Healthy Chocolate Cake

  • Yogurt: You will need to buy 2 different yogurts. One is regular or Greek yogurt with 3% and higher fat content (whole milk) for the batter. And another one with 2% fat content yogurt – regular if you want runny frosting (main photo), Greek if you want thick frosting (photo below).
  • Sweetener: Any liquid sweetener will work. I used maple syrup. Honey might come through a bit too strong.
  • Flour: Whole wheat or spelt flour. I have not tried this cake with any other flour, therefore can’t vouch for results. Baking is a science and for best results it is best to follow the recipe closely!
  • Cacao powder: Also cocoa powder is fine, it is just more processed version of cacao powder.
  • Baking essentials: Baking powder, baking soda, pure vanilla extract, salt.

yogurt, maple syrup, eggs, whole wheat flour, cacao powder, vanilla

How to Make Healthy Chocolate Cake

  • Prep cake pans: Place 2 cake pans bottoms down on 2 pieces of parchment paper, circle around with pencil, then cut out each circle with scissors. Place cut outs inside each cake pan and spray with cooking spray covering the sides. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 2 cake pans lined with parchment paper
  • Combine wet ingredients and leavening agents: In a large mixing bowl, add eggs and maple syrup, beat with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Then add yogurt, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, salt and beat with a mixer for another 30 seconds.wet ingredients beaten in glass bowl
  • Incorporate dry ingredients: Add cacao powder and using a whisk, whisk until well mixed. Add flour and whisk until smooth and well combined. Do not over mix but whisk until smooth consistency. healthy chocolate cake batter in glass bowl
  • Bake: Divide batter between 2 previously prepared cake pans and bake on a bottom rack for 27 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.healthy chocolate cake batter in two pans on counter
  • While cake is baking, prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, add yogurt, maple syrup, cacao powder and vanilla; whisk well. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake. Please see my notes in Tips section about type of frosting.healthy chocolate cake frosting
  • Remove from pans and let cool: Remove cakes from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, separate the edge of each cake from the pan, flip over on your hand, peel off parchment paper, and place bottom down on a cooling rack. Let cakes cool off completely before assembling. peeling off parchment paper from chocolate cake
  • Slice cakes in half: When ready to assemble the cake, using long (fillet) knife, cut each cake in half lengthwise. slicing chocolate cake in half
  • Frost: Place bottom layer and spread 1/4 of frosting on it (my picture shows drizzle, you actually spread with spatula). Repeat with remaining layers. I would recommend to use a bit more frosting in between the layers and less on the top – cake will be richer.frosting healthy chocolate cake between layerspouring frosting over healthy chocolate cake

More Tips and FAQs

  • If you want runnier frosting like pictured: Use 2% and more fat content plain yogurt. Greek yogurt is too thick
  • If you want thick frosting that you can spread: Use 3% and more fat content Greek yogurt. You would have to buy 2 large containers of yogurt anyways, so you can choose the type of frosting. Here is my test #2 picture, when I frosted entire cake with 2% Greek yogurt frosting.
  • Decorating ideas: Decorate however you wish. I grated a few candies on top, you could use sprinkles, fresh berries or icing sugar.

How to Store Healthy Chocolate Cake

Storing: Refrigerate cake covered for up to 5 days. Make sure container is airtight otherwise frosting will dry out slowly.

Freezing: Freeze cake tightly wrapped in plastic and then placed in a resealable Ziploc bag. Or in an airtight container for up to 3 months. I have a few pieces frozen because with all the testing who can eat so much cake in 2 weeks?!

More Healthy Cake Recipes

healthy chocolate cake recipe

Healthy Chocolate Cake {No Oil and So Moist}

This Healthy Chocolate Cake with yogurt, maple syrup and whole wheat flour is every dark chocolate lover's dream dessert. Easy recipe for beginners and a total crowd pleaser!
4.87 from 50 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Cooling Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 32 minutes
Servings: 10 slices
Calories: 292kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups plain regular or Greek yogurt 3%+ fat
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 2 cups whole wheat or spelt flour

Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain regular or Greek yogurt 2%+ fat (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Place 2 cake pans bottoms down on 2 pieces of parchment paper, circle around with pencil, then cut out each circle with scissors. Place cut outs inside of each cake pan and spray with cooking spray covering the sides. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, add eggs and maple syrup, beat with an electric mixer for 30 seconds or until well incorporated. Add yogurt, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, salt and beat with a mixer for 30 seconds.
  • Add cacao powder and using a whisk, whisk until well mixed. Add flour and whisk until smooth and well combined. Do not over mix but whisk until smooth consistency.
  • Divide batter between 2 previously prepared cake pans and bake on a bottom rack for 27 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • While cake is baking, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, add yogurt, maple syrup, cacao powder and vanilla; whisk well. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.
  • Remove cakes from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, separate the edge of each cake from the pan, flip over on your hand, peel off parchment paper, and place bottom down on a cooling rack. Let cakes cool off completely before assembling.
  • When ready to assemble the cake, using long (fillet or bread) knife, cut each cake in half lengthwise.
  • Place bottom layer and spread 1/4 of frosting on it. Repeat with remaining layers.
  • Decorate however you wish. I grated a few candies on top, you could use sprinkles, fresh berries or icing sugar.
  • Cut into 10 slices, serve and enjoy!

Store: Refrigerate covered for up to 5 days. Freeze tightly wrapped or in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

    Notes

    • Flour: Whole wheat or spelt flour. I have not tried this cake with any other flour, therefore can't vouch for results. Baking is a science and for best results it is best to follow the recipe closely!
    • Sweetener: Any liquid sweetener will work. I used maple syrup. Honey might come through a bit too strong, therefore I do not recommend it.
    • Cacao powder: Also cocoa powder is fine, it is just more processed version of cacao powder.
    • If you want runnier frosting like pictured: Use 2% and more fat content plain yogurt. Greek yogurt is too thick
    • If you want thick frosting that you can spread: Use 3% and more fat content Greek yogurt. You would have to buy 2 large containers of yogurt anyways, so you can choose the type of frosting. Here is my test #2 picture, when I frosted entire cake with 2% Greek yogurt frosting.
    • Decorating ideas: Decorate however you wish. I grated a few candies on top, you could use sprinkles, fresh berries or icing sugar.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1slice | Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 355mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 2mg
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    olena osipov in the studio

    Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

    My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

    144 comments on “Healthy Chocolate Cake

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      1. Hi Sarah! It’s there (I just checked). Keep scrolling through the write up and you will find a recipe card at the end with a complete list of ingredients, quantities and thorough instructions.

    1. 5 stars
      Made the cake for my husband’s bday. Himself and my 5 year old (who hates yogurt) loved it. Now on, I don’t need to think twice when he ask for cake. Thanks a lot Olena for this wonderful recipe.

    2. Hi! Thank you for your post! I was wondering if I could use dairy alternative yogurts like soy or almond yogurt?

      1. Hi Brittany! Yes, you can. The web has lots of tips on the best non dairy yogurts to use for frosting (as some non dairy yogurts can be more bitter and not that great in baking). Hope that helps.

    3. Hi, I want to try this recipe, but want to make it vegan. I was going to try chia eggs to substitute the eggs, but not sure what to substitute for the yogurt. Can I do avocado? What would you suggest?

      1. I’m going to try this recipe with Just Egg (plant based ‘egg’ product — comes in a bottle sold in cooler section near other egg products). Used it in a challah bread recipe successfully the other day… will report back with results.

    4. 5 stars
      This recipe is absolutely amazing! Though I’ve slightly modified the frosting by adding reduced-fat coconut milk, it turned out phenomenal (as for a coconut lover like me :)). I honestly did not have many hopes that a cake this healthy and low in calories will be tasty, but I have to admit, I was very pleasantly surprised when I got my first bite! Thank you for sharing this recipe with the internet and keep going with your work! 🙂

    5. 5 stars
      Next month is my 14th birthday, I wanted to bake my own cake this year, but most of my family members do not eat butter or sugar, it’s really hard to find a good recipe that’s low-cal and delicious. I made a small version of this cake today, it is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much!

    6. 5 stars
      Genius!! I made it today and it’s absolutely delicious!! Can’t even tell it’s a healthier version of a chocolate cake!

    7. 5 stars
      I’ve tried it and it was awesome. Adults loved it and my 3 year old also. I used greek yogurt 10% and whole weat flour combined with normal white flour. I used honey for frosting. Really tasty and it looked great.

    8. 5 stars
      I have just made for my husband birthday and he is falling in love again.
      Amazing and easy recipe for beginners. Many thanks

    9. 4 stars
      My cake has come out quite stodgy and not very light. Any thoughts on why that might be please? Tastes quite good but just very heavy.

      1. Sounds like chemical reaction didn’t go well. Old baking powder or soda? Any substitutes? Measured flour correctly by skimming the top of a cup? Used yogurt? Have you ever made whole wheat cake? Whole wheat flour is more heavy than white just fyi.

    10. 5 stars
      I’ve made this cake 3 times and it’s been a great success. I’ve shared the recipe with friends. Love that it uses yogurt, love that it doesn’t use oil!
      I’ve baked it with whole wheat cake flour???? And also with regular all purpose flour which I turned into cake flour ( by taking out two tablespoons – per cup- of the flour and replacing with arrowroot )
      Also ????

    11. 5 stars
      All my family and friends loved this cake on my son’s birthday party. My son and I love dark chocolate more than regular milk chocolate, so it was a perfect cake for him. The cake was very moist and the frosting is simple yet fantastic! I used 10% yogurt. Now I have 10% yogurt in my fridge all the time! 🙂
      Thank you for the recipe, Olena! I can’t wait to try other recipes of yours.

    12. Hello- would I be able to substitute maple syrup with something else or even take it out? my husband is diabetic and he can’t have that.

      1. Unfortunately can’t take it out – baking really is a science and ratios of dry to liquid have to stay plus taste will be not good. You can sub with any other liquid sweetener of choice. Someone mentioned there is sugar free syrup but I’m not sure.

      1. I just got some cocoa butter Wafers that I’m dying to try in a recipe and wondered if you think this would be okay to use one cup in place of half of the yogurt?

        1. Hi Holly. I have never baked with cocoa butter wafers so I can’t really say if it will work as a substitute for the yogurt. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out 🙂

    13. HI, this sounds like a lovely recipe that I would like to try. I would like to ask if I could skip baking soda? I only use baking powder in my cakes and allows them to rise. However, when I add baking soda they do never rise and the texture becomes chewy. Would it be OK if I skip it? Also, can I replace maple syrup with date syrup? Thank you.. looks lovely..

      1. Hi Areej. I have not tested this cake w/o baking soda. I tested with it and it works great. If you want to experiment it your way – go for it. Date syrup would be fine. Have fun!

    14. 5 stars
      Took me forever to find a recipe like this! I’m glad I stumbled upon it. The only difference was I did use unbleached white flour. The cake turned out amazing! My kids and I loved it. I will say, after refrigerating it over night, it was even better. Reminded me of an ice cream cake. Thanks for this great recipe! Definitely one I’ll be saving!!

        1. Your very welcome! Didn’t know you had a whole website. Loved reading your story! This is my exact way of living. Its been a journey. The last few years I’ve been trying different desserts without using sugar, so this was perfect. I can’t wait to try your chocolate chip cookie recipe with maple syrup. Thats my go to sugar subsitute. Even in my coffee! Thanks again, your an inspiration!

    15. 5 stars
      Awesome cake recipe!!! Light and airy unlike the ones that you get all the stores, big or small. It reminded me of home where you get cakes just like these. I usually don’t post reviews, but this one totally deserved it.

    16. 5 stars
      Hi!! Oh my goodness!! This cake was sooooo good!! Love making it, my whole family devoured it! And it was so easy to make!! I have been looking for a good healthy frosting and this is it!! My sister wanted a Chocolate bday cake and I found your recipe!! Thank you!! I made it w honey and it was great!!

    17. How do you think it would taste if I subbed in almond flour? I would expect it to be more dense? Thoughts?

      1. If you want to use almond flour I saw a good recipe on chocolatecoveredkatie.com. Similar to this recipe, except with almond flour.

    18. 5 stars
      The cake turned out so yummy and looked just like your pictures. My kids and I enjoyed it so much. It was not overly sweet and just perfect for us. I added some chocolate chips on my little one’s request. Yogurt was the main thing that got me attracted to try the cake and I’m glad I did. Thumbs up ?

    19. Hey,
      I really wanna try to make this cake. But I can’t consume lactose. Will it be okey, if I will use coconut yogurt? And also I have only one baking form, maybe I can bake it twice In one form?

      1. Hi Anna. Hmmm, I honestly have never baked with coconut yogurt. I think if you use 1 cup coc. yogurt and 1 cup applesauce that will ensure cake rises. And yes you can use same baking pan twice. And I think coc. yogurt will be fine in the frosting. Let me know how it turns out. 🙂

    20. I am very interesting in making this cake but need to decrease the fat. Wonder how it would work using zero fat Greek yogurt. Any thoughts?

      1. Zero yogurt won’t be tasty. We already removed sugar etc. As healthy as it gets without tasting bland. You can try but I wouldn’t like it. Why no little bit of fat? May I ask. 🙂

    21. 5 stars
      I made this cake last year for my birthday and I’m obsessed with it and I also made it yesterday I couldn’t help myself. How would this work if I was to make it into cupcake as like measuring batter for cupcakes

    22. 5 stars
      I made this cake when my brother was here. My brothers wife bakes all the time. To his surprise while telling him the ingredients to find out how healthy it was and a wonderful flavor. I will be making this cake again. I cut cake in 12 peices still a nice slice.

    23. Hi,
      This receipt looks lovely, I plan to make it over the weekend. I was wondering what size your cake pans have you used? I am worried if mine are too big they are going to be too thin.
      Many thanks in advance,
      Tabea

    24. 5 stars
      Hi! I’m planning on making this for our little one’s 2nd birthday. Will the cake freeze well if I bake it ahead of time??

      Thanks!

    25. 4 stars
      I made this with my kids (aged 2 and 4) – we baked the whole quantity in a single spring form tin (just dialled down the oven temperature and cooked for longer). We didn’t ice it. Served it with vanilla yogurt instead. It was a yummy, very moist cake. It reminded me more of a e.g. date loaf than a traditional chocolate cake (unsurprising, given the healthier ingredients). We’ll make this again for sure.

    26. 5 stars
      Do you recommend icing the cake right away? I made it for my sons birthday tomorrow. I have the icing in fridge and cakes on counter. Debating icing it tonight or waiting til tomorrow ?

    27. 5 stars
      Lovely recipe. Couldn’t believe that something so tatsty could be healthy too. Thank you. I baked it for my husband for his birthday

    28. 5 stars
      Really delicious cake. My husband and I enjoyed it throughly. I did make it with a melted 85% dark chocolate bar instead of powder and the cake still came out great. I also added vanilla powder to the cake batter to amp the flavor a little.

    29. Is it crucial to this recipe to use the aluminum free baking powder? Where do you find it? Want to make this cake for my son’s birthday tomorrow but when I looked at my baking powder it lists sodium aluminum sulfate as an ingredient.

    30. 5 stars
      I made this with 4 eggs, half the amount of maple syrup, half wheat flour and half plain flour and 0% fat free Greek yoghurt. It wasn’t very sweet, but I was expecting that, but once I added the frosting it was perfect. I love the fact that it has a high protein value. Definitely a recipe I shall use again and again.

    31. 5 stars
      I only thing I did differently was 5% fage yogurt in the cake and boy was it thick! It was a.chore to spread, but did come.out very well. If anything it was super fluffy, full of air pockets and a tad bit spongey. I was thinking it could also have to do with how the leavening reacts in different altitudes… Worth a mention of the difference. In high altitude my cakes would need extra help, but I live in low altitude and baking powder and soda just make it bubble like crazy. Overall a very good recipe for the desired flavor of a typical chocolate cake!

    32. 5 stars
      Great recipe!! I never liked the idea of baking cakes because it’s inherently unhealthy…but I chanced upon this and am now hooked onto baking without guilt! Many thanks for this perfect recipe and please share more of these gems

    33. 5 stars
      Very good we loved it. Very moist, I added honey and almond butter to the frosting, and berries on top, Awesome.

    34. 5 stars
      Sorry I think your name is Olena not Jeanette. Your recipe was perfect! Let me know if you would like pics of it as I made it a bundt.

    35. 5 stars
      Thank you Jeanette so much for this recipe! I made it for my son’s second birthday, and everyone thought it was delicious, even my two year old!

      What I did differently: Instead of using cake pans, I used a bundt pan. I also added about a cup of jumbo raisins in the cake batter, and studded raspberries on top of the bundt.

      1. I only have a Bundt pan, which oven temperature you used and for how long, I don’t have separate cake pans 🙁

        1. You can do it in a bundt pan. Same directions, check with a toothpick after 27 mins and go from there. Drizzle ganache on top. Yum!

    36. In all fairness, Jeanette, if you followed the recipe your cake wouldn’t be so dense. You can’t expect recipe to work if you cut back liquids and use half of different flour. AGree about personal preference on honey, sure. And other thing, you can’t expect whole wheat baked goods to taste exactly same as white flour goods. If you want a taste of cake with white flour, butter and sugar then you bake or buy cake made with white flour, butter and sugar. Hope you consider this info for next time you decide leave some other recipe 1 star.

    37. 4 stars
      I made this for my daughter’s 3 year birthday cake. It looked amazing and was pretty delicious. The only thing is that it needed more maple syrup than I had in my fridge so I used honey in the cake and maple syrup in the icing. I wished I had used maple syrup for the cake because it tasted very strongly of honey. Or perhaps I should have used slightly less honey than the recipe called for. It was also quite dense although I like that. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

      1. You are very welcome, Charlotte! Whole wheat flour is more dense than all purpose. Try spelt next time, it is lighter. And yes, honey has a strong taste.

        1. Hi there,
          I’d love to give this a go without wheat flour. When you say try with spelt, would you use white or wholemeal spelt? Same measurements?
          Also, does it make a difference to use cacao/cocoa/Dutch press cocoa? I’m learning!
          Thanks so much.

          1. Hi Amber. Spelt is kind of wheat. The only one I have seen is just spelt flour, sprouted or not. Same measurements. So not sure what is white or wholemeal.
            Cacao powder is less processed than cocoa powder or Dutch cocoa. You can use any. Enjoy and happy baking!:)

      1. Um no. Not because it is less healthy or because I’m being difficult. But because it will throw off the ratio as maple syrup is a liquid and sugar is dry ingredient. Cake won’t come out right. Sorry.:(

        1. 5 stars
          Hey thanks for your reply. I tried it with brown sugar. Added some water to turn it into a liquid. Decreased baking soda. It rose beautifully but fell flat 30min in. Very dense. Nevertheless it was delicious! We loved the taste! So thank you for sharing 🙂 Will experiment with the ratios next time… 🙂

    38. 5 stars
      Hello!

      I just made this cake , and I have to say it was a big success! Not overly sweet, good texture, and all my friends loved it 🙂 I will definitely bake it again!

      Thank you 🙂
      Andrea

    39. 4 stars
      gave this a go today..only because i had spare wheat flour and all the other ingredients to hand. Must say it was easy and i got a decent result. thanks

    40. 5 stars
      Very easy to make, and super yummy. I would use 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda instead as my cake was quite dense

      1. Glad to hear.:) It wasn’t as fluffy as mine? Whole wheat flour is heavier and you can’t achieve same lightness like with all-purpose flour. But still should be fluffy like in pics.

      1. 5 stars
        Made this cake for my husband’s birthday, it was delicious!! So happy to find a recipe we could share with our toddler without all of the added sugar in other recipes. Our local shop sold out of whole wheat flour so I used plain flour and it still turned out great! The icing turned out a little runny, I used plain Greek yoghurt but maybe it wasn’t thick enough. I kept it aside though and ate it by itself, it changed into a mouse consistency the next day so I thoroughly enjoyed eating that too. Thanks for the recipe Olena 🙂

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