You can have your cake and eat it too with this healthier, low sugar chocolate cake made with whole wheat flour. It is moist, fluffy and delicious.
This whole wheat chocolate cake is great for a birthday cake, or for special occasions.
We love desserts around here, but we like to make them with less sugar. We find ourselves reducing the sugar in almost all the recipes we make. They just don’t need to be that sweet. We still like them to taste sweet, just not too sweet.
Chocolate and whole wheat flour are like a match made in heaven. Chocolate pairs well with the flavor of whole wheat, but it also has a way of making the texture seem like all purpose flour baked goods. If you’re new to using whole wheat then making chocolate desserts is a good place to start.
What's Cool About This Recipe
- 100% whole grain: This cake is made with whole wheat flour making it healthier than traditional cake.
- Low sugar: We took a classic chocolate cake recipe and reduced the sugar a bit to make this low sugar chocolate cake.
- Small batch: Like our banana cake, this recipe makes the perfect amount of cake batter to fill two 6 inch round cake pans for 2 layers about ¾ inch thick. You can double the recipe if you want a bigger cake.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Flour: Flours that work for this cake
- Fresh milled soft white wheat, highly recommended as it makes the very best cake
- Whole wheat pastry flour (store bought), this makes a good cake but not as good as fresh milled flour
- Fresh milled hard white wheat
- Whole spelt flour
- High extraction whole wheat flour like this one from Living Sky Grains
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: Don’t use dutched (alkaline) cocoa. You need the acidity from regular cocoa powder to activate the baking soda.
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Oil: We usually use avocado oil or olive oil, any oil you use for baking should do.
- Sugar: We use organic granulated cane sugar, you can also use coconut sugar.
- Vanilla extract
- Hot water
See recipe card for quantities.
Step 1: Stir the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
Step 2: Using an electric hand mixer, in a medium mixing bowl, mix the oil and sugar on medium/low speed until combined and no sugar clumps remain.
Step 3: Add the egg and vanilla extract, mix on medium/high speed for 1-2 minutes or until lightened in color and thickened.
Step 4: Add the dry ingredients alternately with the hot water. Mix on medium/low speed for 30-60 seconds.
Step 5: Pour the batter into 1 or 2 6-inch round cake pan(s) lined with parchment paper.
Step 6: Bake for 28-32 minutes for 1 cake or 16-20 minutes for two cakes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Transfer the cake from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
To Make Cupcakes
Divide the cake batter evenly between 6-7 paper lined cupcake cups.
Bake at 350° F for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Frosting for Chocolate Cake and Cupcakes
We recommend frosting this cake with your favorite frosting. We love putting a layer of fruit filling in the middle and then frosting with something yummy like:
The obvious way to eat cake is to frost it, slice and serve, but there are other ways to serve it. You can:
- Make parfaits, cut the cake into small squares then layer in individual cups with pudding, fruit and whipped cream.
- Serve slices with fresh fruit and ice cream on top.
- Or with ice cream, caramel sauce, fudge sauce and toasted pecans.
- Make cake pops
If the cake is frosted it will probably need to be stored in the refrigerator. It will last 3-4 days.
How to Freeze
To freeze the cake layers wrap them tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and additionally in tin foil if you want. They will last for 2-3 months. Remove the wrapping, and cover to thaw. Frost or eat soon after they are thawed to prevent them from drying out.
Tips From Our Kitchen
Use an electric hand mixer, or whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds. Whole wheat flour cakes are different from cakes made with all purpose flour, if you don’t stir the batter enough they can be crumbly.
For best results we recommend using freshly milled/ground flour, the results you get from fresh flour are astounding, and sooo much better than store bought whole wheat flours.
Double the recipe for a 2 layer, 9 inch cake.
A dense cake can be caused by using too much flour. Make sure you measure precisely or use a kitchen scale for the most accurate measurements.
Crumbly whole wheat cake can be because you didn’t mix the batter enough, I know, it sounds counterintuitive. But the bran in whole wheat flour is sharp and acts like little razors cutting the gluten strands. So mixing the batter a little extra helps activate the gluten, giving it a greater chance of survival among its bran enemies.
Make sure your oven is completely up to temperature before putting your cake in the oven. Do not open the oven door while the cake is baking (until it’s time to check for doneness).
If the floor of your home is not very stable then be careful walking around your kitchen while the cake is baking.
We were having a lot of problems with our cakes falling and then we discovered that our oven temperature was fluctuating quite drastically.
Low Sugar Chocolate Cake
- ¾ cup (90 grams) Whole wheat pastry flour, soft white wheat
- ¼ cup (24 grams) Unsweetened cocoa powder not dutched
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon Baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ cup (52 grams) Oil
- ⅓ cup (70 grams) Organic cane sugar
- 1 large Egg
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120 grams) Hot water
- Stir the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.¾ cup (90 grams) Whole wheat pastry flour, soft white wheat, ¼ cup (24 grams) Unsweetened cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon Baking soda, ⅛ teaspoon Baking powder, ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- Using an electric hand mixer, in a medium mixing bowl, mix the oil and sugar on medium/low speed until combined and no sugar clumps remain.¼ cup (52 grams) Oil, ⅓ cup (70 grams) Organic cane sugar
- Add the egg and vanilla extract, mix on medium/high speed for 1-2 minutes or until lightened in color and thickened.1 large Egg, ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with the hot water (add ⅓ of the flour and ½ of the water, mix. Add ⅓ more flour and the rest of the water, mix, add the rest or the flour.) Mix on medium/low speed for 30-60 seconds.½ cup (120 grams) Hot water
- Pour the cake batter into 1 or 2 parchment paper lined 6 inch round cake pan(s).
- Bake for 28-32 minutes for 1 cake or 16-20 minutes for two cakes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Invert the cake onto a wire rack, remove the pan and the parchment paper. Let cool completely before frosting.
We calculate these nutritional facts using an estimate and they can vary drastically between ingredients used and measuring technique. So, they are not intended for medical use.