Basic Chocolate Cake Recipe

This is a rich, decadent, but basic chocolate cake recipe. It is chocolate-packed, moist, and not-too-complicated. Baked and served in one pan slathered with a layer of fresh chocolate whipped cream frosting.

Basic Chocolate Cake

There are a few things that make my basic chocolate cake recipe different from others, but before I get into the details, I should write a bit about the type of chocolate cake we are dealing with. This is not one of those, multi-layered, fancy-pants chocolate cakes. I'm not much good with those. This is a simple, relatively unassuming chocolate cake. An everyday chocolate cake that you might not make everyday. It is chocolate-packed, moist, not-too-complicated and delicious. I bake, frost, and serve it in one pan - typically a Pyrex I picked up at a yard sale years ago. It has no added sugar in the cake or frosting (I use maple syrup), and whole wheat pastry flour is used in the batter. A generous slather of fresh, chocolate-whipped cream frosting tops it all off (also maple sweetened).

Basic Chocolate Cake Recipe

You will want to refrigerate any leftover cake that has been frosted. I should also mention that as the cake chills it become more and more truffle-like in texture. Feel free to let it come back up to room temperature if you like a more crumb-like texture. Likewise, the frosting will set up as it chills, but stays billowy and light at room temperature.

I've been trying to develop more recipes like this one. Cakes, tarts, cookies and treats that approach the sweeteners and flours a bit differently than most traditional recipes - less refined sugar, less white flour, etc. Let me know if this is something you're interested in seeing more of, and I'll keep posting the best-of what I come up with.

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Basic Chocolate Cake Recipe

I typically make this frosting just before serving. I should also mention that you'll want to give your coconut milk a good shake (or stir) before using it - it tends to separate in the can. If you have a hard time finding whole wheat pastry flour, feel free to substitute unbleached all-purpose flour.

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup non-alkaline/non-Dutched cocoa powder (I use Dagoba)
1 tablespoon baking powder (look for non-aluminum type)
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup barely melted unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
1 cup real maple syrup, room temperature
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coconut milk, room temp
8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, shaved or finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350F degrees with a rack in the middle. Butter and flour an 8x8 square cake pan (I've also had success using a 9x9 pan, just adjust your baking time).

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the melted butter and maple syrup until it looks like caramel. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and then the coconut milk. Pour the maple syrup mixture over the flour mixture and stir until barely combined. Add the chocolate and stir until everything comes together and is no longer dusty looking - avoid over-mixing. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. This is a cake I like slightly under-baked, so I pull it out when the center is still a bit under cooked - the toothpick doesn't quite come out clean when testing. If you are going to use it for a layer cake - then bake it all the way (clean toothpick). Remove from oven and allow to cool (absolutely completely) in pan before frosting (frosting recipe below).

Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

To make the frosting melt the chocolate in a double-boiler, or in a bowl placed over a pan of boiling water. In a medium bowl beat the butter until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the maple syrup. Then add the melted chocolate. Stir until silky smooth - any flecks of butter should be melted. Pour the chocolate mixture over the whipped cream and fold the chocolate into the cream. Keep going until the chocolate is well incorporated. Use an offset spatula to frost the completely cooled cake. If the cake is at all warm, the frosting will weep and melt. It still tastes good, but isn't what you're after.

Makes one 8x8 or 9x9 cake.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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I wish there were a realistic alternative to a cup and a quarter of maple syrup that this recipe uses for diabetics. I have tried Splenda For Baking out of frustration with other non-sugar sweeteners, but the Splenda leaves a lingering aftertaste that is unpleasant (just like most other non-sugar sweeteners). Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners also present some unhealthy side effects that the producers of them are not necessarily honest about (maybe they don't really know). Ah, chocolate cake used to be such a favorite, but with most sugars being prohibitive for diabetics and most substitutes tasting ick, what's a chocolate cake lover to do? When I look at your lovely picture of this cake, I'd like just one forkful though (and then someone would have to quickly hide the rest of the cake before I realized what they were doing)! I'm going to keep your recipe for when I can find a reasonable sugar substitute, since you do offer a very healthy recipe otherwise and that's much, MUCH appreciated!.


Hey Heidi. I love your website, but I'd love to see some more baking recipes for the gluten-free sugar free baker. I was recently diagnosed as being intolerant of gluten, dairy and sugar, and refuse to believe that means I have to give up baking. But I need some guidance about great gluten-free flours, baking recipes, etc. Thanks! Keep up the great work! HS: Hi Jess, there are some fantastic online resources dedicated to GF cooking and baking. Baking GF required a slightly different palette of base ingredients than I typically use - part of the reason you don't see many of those types of recipes here. Best, -h


Hi Heidi! I think it would be really nice if you put the measures in grams also, not only in ounces, as I guess a great part of your readers doesn't live in the US. I live in Brazil and sometimes I feel that your recipes are made for US residents only... :(


Yes, yes, YES!! More non-refined sugar and white flour desserts!!!! Yummy!


Would this work in a shaped cake pan? I want to try this with an egg-shaped pan.




Mmmmmm i love it, i like baking am happy i will learn alot from u. Can it work on birthday Cakes.


Just made this tonight and it got rave reviews - the combo of maple syrup and coconut milk gives it just enough sweet but it is mostly a bold, chocolate-y cake. Thanks for the recipe!


this was definetly interesting... i never thought of using maple syrup as a sweetner... great idea. how were you able to convert using white sugar to maple syrup? what ratio did you go by?


I'm trying this recipe next week-end, but in my hometown is really hard to get real maple syrup, so I will try with honey instead. Heidi, do you think it'll work? Thank you for this recipe. Keep your creations and these marvelous findings on new ingredients. My diet is so healthy and so delicious since I found your blog a year ago! You're a true artist. : )


looks so good!!!!!


looks fantastic I love chocolate cake especially hershey's


I am definitely up for having more recipes like these. Thank you!


This looks great! I am definitely interested in fewer granulated sugar and white flour recipes. My mom is allergic to gluten and I found out I am allergic to cow's milk as well, so I have to modify all of my recipes to cook with various ingredients that weren't originally intended. Could you do a post on the subtle differences between cooking with different types of oils? What is a good substitution for what, etc?


I am really impressed with this recipe, grateful that someone else like myself enjoys using the more natural sweeteners in cooking!


Have you read/heard of Mani Niall's "From Agave to Turbinado"? I'm guessing you have, but if not, it's a great cookbook to check out to start experimenting with different, natural sweeteners. Also, I've tried several of the recipes with using other than white flour (even when that's what's called for), and they've turned out well.


I'm a big fan of cream cheese frosting--easier to veganize (Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese) than whipped cream frosting. I've only made it using confectioners sugar, but I'm sure it lends itself easily to agave or maple syrup for sweetening. I'd prefer more baking recipes that are either vegan or are easily veganized than ones with less refined sugars and flours.


First of all, thank you Heidi for this website. I am new to cooking and baking and this is the place where I look for easy recipes. I made your bran muffins (substituted wheat bran with oat flakes and took off a tablespoon of sugar) last week and they were a great hit. Would love to know how you can make this wheat-free--ie. do you have to adjust amount of other ingredients, etc? I have two kids who are allergic to wheat. Also, what can you use instead of maple syrup? Really doubt I could find it here in Thailand. (BTW, I haven't tried baking with coconut oil as yet---despite its availability here. Personally I don't like the smell of the coconut oil that much. Maybe this is a cultural thing. Perhaps westerners do find the coconut oil's smell pleasant and exotic...) Thanks again.


I'm having a b-day party on Friday for my toddler, who doesn't eat any sugar. This recipe is so exciting! We've used honey, without a lot of success in baking, honestly. More of this type of substitution would be appreciated.


just last weekend, i was looking all over the internet for a 'healthy' chocolate cake recipe for my husband's birthday! and now, here it is. i will just make it belated (i never found one last week so i made chocolate chip cookies with wheat flour and agave.) thanks and i would look for future recipes!

kristen powell

I love these kind of recipes - everyday classics with a twist. The idea of using the coconut milk with the chocolate is a great one. I'll definitely try it.


Wow, it looks very delicious and it taste wonderful! Very chocolaty indeed.


Post cooking (and eating)...Amazing! I just made these as cupcakes and they turned out perfect (sub maple syrup for mix of agave and honey...only thing I had on hand). Thanks for the yummy recipe:)


woo, it was yummy. my husband cant have milk products so i did it without the top part. i mixed quinoa flour in the whole wheat flour, and it was very yummy. i found it a bit dry though. thanks for a great recipe. yes, i would love some cookies/cakes recipes without butter/sugar. by the way, i love your peanut butter cookies(with maple syrup)!!!


Maple Syrup IS sugar: it's fructose, same as honey, and same as 1/2 of the beet/cane sugar molecule ( beet/cane sugar is sucrose, which is 1 fructose stuck to 1 glucose ) Glucose is necessary fuel for one's brain ( which doesn't eat anything else ), and fructose can rip the minerals from your body. "Sugar" isn't inherently bad, it's *excess* of it that is: 1/2 lbs of it in every 2l bottle of pop? plus candy-bars, etc? No, if you're burning 5000 calories/day, then you need sugar while exercising, and proteins when you stop, so sugar isn't inherently bad, BUT out-of-balance sugar, too much for one's caloric-burn, THAT is bad. I'd rather sugar than Aspertame, any day, but I'm not diabetic ( for whom glucose is problematic ). Blessings, all...

Captain Obvious

I like the idea of organizing the replies. I second the comment that "Many of us who actually cook your recipes like to read the helpful tips of others who also cook the recipe, as opposed to those who are simply admiring and planning." It is the tips and dialog I read the comments for, as well as your occasional replies. Actually, I enjoy the admirers' comments, just because they are so well intentioned. They also are important because they bring you feedback; I would not want them to feel shunted aside. (And, often they are thanking you for a recipe I then go looking for! LOL) If you redesign the comments section, I suggest one of your categories could be "Ingredient Substitutions." Perhaps another could be "Ingredient Questions." I think you will have to supervise the posters' categorization choices for at least a while. I copy your recipes for my sister, an engineer with a wheat-allergic child. I delete all the admiring and planning comments, as well as posting dates. I leave in all the photos and names, and insert about 3-4 line spaces between each comment so the pages won't look too dense. Today's recipe + comments filled a 39-page document at first--but it was down to 14 pages when I was done. Thank you, Heidi, for your conscientious work in helping us all to be healthier.


I am always looking for unrefined baked good recipes! Please keep them coming. I typically try and adjust recipes myself to make them somewhat healthier. Its very refreshing to make a recipe that has been written with consideration to our health. Trying this cake for sure...maybe as cupcakes?


less refined sweeteners and flours - yes please! I recently got my hands on Super Natural Cooking, and it's beautiful! I haven't tried baking with many other flours other than spelt and gluten free blends (rice, chickpea,tapioca) and I'm really looking forward to trying out the recipes with teff and amaranth flour. Thanks Heidi!


I am definitely interested in your healthy versions of treats. Thanks!


That frosting looks fantastic--spoonalicious!


Sorry to make my third comment to a single recipe, but, I just stumbled onto this article:–thenewoliveoil There is also another link in the article which goes further into the benefits of coconut oil (I did not read the information on this link) ...for those who are weary of using coconut oil and/or for those who just want to read about it!


Amalia - you will have to adjust your recipes for the change in altitude. I do not know offhand exactly what you need to do (change in baking temperature, perhaps tweak the ingredients), but I am sure that a quick trip to Google will help you :-) Lilith - I am so jealous of your maple-syrup-making endeavours! I live in Mississauga and think it's about time this year that I visit a sugar shack somewhere around here.


This looks delicious! I am a maple syrup freak, so I will use it in anything! In fact I am going to try to make your maple scones tonight. I love the recipes which are based on less refined and less white ingredients - please keep them coming! :-) I just made your wheat berry bowl for breakfast again yesterday morning. That is such a magnificent creation! Thank you for your recipes . . .


I really enjoy and love the whole wheat flour recipes and would love to see more. I am not concerned with the kind of sugar, just the amount. sugar is sugar. One is sap from a tree, one is sap from a beet or cane.


Mmmmmmm... this looks DEEEELICIOUS! Please keep posting recipes like this cake...


Absolutely keep them coming in... :) Meanwhile, if you could conjure up some of your lovely cake recipes minus the eggs, that'd be greatly appreciated too!


I'm in love with the use of coconut milk in this recipe. The cake looks beautiful, moist and rich. Nicely done!

Allen of Eating Out Loud

I love love love that you are doing more recipes with whole wheat and less sugar. Keep up the good work!!! :D


I love your recipes and look forward to desserts, especially the healthier ones. ( I have both your books and use them all the time.) My only hesitation about so many naturally made desserts is the expense of maple syrup and other sweeteners. I wish something could be done about the cost of raw ingredients. Those of us who want to invest in our health don't want it to cost an arm and a leg!


YUM---- lately I feel like I end up buying desserts for my parties so I can focus on the hors d'oeurves and meal instead..but this is so easy and basic! I'm not much into froofy desserts anyway! And the chocolate whipped cream sounds good enough on its own!!! Thanks....

Season to Taste

I really recommend for those looking to test out substitutions and/or natural baking, cooking with hemp milk. I have been eating vegan baked goods out of necessity (egg and dairy allergies) and avoid soy milk and soy products as much as possible as they are endocrine disruptors. While I have long been a fan of almond milk in cereal or tea, it's lacking in richness for baking. Hemp milk works great in baked goods; and with a little vinegar added and allowing it to "curdle" for 10-15 minutes prior to incorporation, makes an excellent buttermilk substitution. It's Omega 3, calcium and protein balance is superb. If you're looking to cook with healthier ingredients, I recommend it highly. My current baking book of inspiration is "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" from which I am experimenting, with flours, nut milks, and more.


Whole wheat flour chocolate brownies, with a fudgier texture than cake. Black beans are nice for a protein-laden alternative, but something with whole grain fiber I have yet to see.


Yes, very interested in deserts etc with using different sweetners & flours. This cake looks great think I'll make it for Easter! THanks for sharing your talents! Ann


Some options for the cake--buttermilk. The acidity prevents the flour from creating gluten so the cake is tender and moist. For the frosting, a ganache works well. Warm 1 cup cream to 120 degrees, take off heat, add 1 & 1/3 cup chocolate pieces, and stir until smooth. Pour over cake for a gorgeous, silky glaze. Or if you like fluff, beat the ganche at high speed with a mixer 5 minutes, then spread on cake. I like to add 1 tsp espresso powder and 1 T bourbon to the cream for the ganache. Must go, I hear a piece of cake calling my name.

L. Meyer

Went for a run yesterday; stopping afterwards at the market for a couple of things and finding myself wandering the aisles looking for something chocolate (after 5 miles I deserved it : ) After several aisles with zero satisfaction it dawned on me that the chocolate I really wanted was this cake that I had read about shortly before I went for that run. After yoga this morning I will head back to the market for coconut oil and whipping cream : ) Many kudos to the delicious power of suggestion carried in your words and photos.


Yes, more sweet recipes please! My sweet tooth will thank you for it! And thanks to DeanaGunn for the Dutch cocoa explanation. I was about to ask.


eat it all


Wow, that looks delicious! I'm vegan, so I may try out a version with margarine and egg replacer, so I hope it turns out half as well as yours!


I will definitely be trying this, soon! I would love to see more of these sorts of recipes, my youngest sister has never had refined sugar (and we'd like to keep it that way) I'm a sucker for a good cake recipe, can't wait to try this one. I always bake in my Le Creuset dutch ovens, they seem to bake more evenly (not rising as much in the middle) plus, you get the nice rounded edges, and they always come out clean!

Lindsey Ann Bledsoe

I want to know... Just how you stay so slim and gorgeous when you make such tempting goodies like these. Do you bake and not eat?? This is what I like..nice home baking..and chocolate of course. Lovely recipe for Easter.

Jenny Mac

My family, and my blog, are all about healthier ways to enjoy eating so thank you, for a less sugar, less refined flour option.


this looks really interesting...and yummy! I can't wait to try it out. I am such a huge fan of sweets, so I would LOVE more recipes like this one. I'm a huge fan of your site too! The orange-glazed tempeh (or tofu) has been in heavy rotation around here since I saw the recipe.


Great recipe.. i love to bake , sokeep the baked goods coming... as its winter nearly here in Australia, nothing like baking to keep warm and fat!!

Dionysia Palmer

Yes! This is definitely something I want to see more of - baked goods without the white flour, refined sugars, canola oil, etc. Such recipes are surprisingly scarce. Thank you so much for working on this and for the great post! Will try this cake soon!


I love that you use coconut oil, have heard such good stuff about it and have been wanting to use more of it. I see there are quite a few vegans wanting an egg substitute - is there any rule of thumb for replacing eggs in any recipe? I've heard that you can use vinegar, but I'm not sure how.


Hi Heidi - I have been following your blog for a while and tried out a few of your dishes. The quinoa ones are yummy :) This chocolate cake sounds good too, would love to try it soon! Please do post more such recipes with substitutes- healthier and rustic (which is your trademark anyways :)) I have a couple of questions - Can I substitute coconut milk with plain milk? cos though I love coconut in other dishes - not sure of how I will like it in a chocolate cake! secondly - is there a substitute for egg in such recipes? like yoghurt or something - not sure - just asking! HS: Ambika - I think working out the substitutes will take some experimenting here. So, if anyone has great success please leave a note (or email me) and I can update the recipe - even if the comments are closed down the line.


Thanks for this recipe! I am not what you would call a healthy eater but your blog and your dishes have long enticed me :) I made your salt kissed buttermilk cake (yum!) and resultingly am now the proud owner of a small sack of whole wheat pastry now I have another cake to make with it thanks to you! :)


hi Heidi, first of all, I love your blog, and am a naturopath and yoga teacher who has recommended it to lots of clients. They all love it too! The latest research I'm seeing is that agave nectar is just as damaging as high fructose corn syrup, and can also have a detrimental effect on red blood cells. I don't recommend it. Also, I substitute powdered green stevia for any sweetener in all of my recipes, about 1 heaped teaspoon per cup of granulated sugar in a recipe. I find that even in recipes calling for honey/agave/maple syrup that using powdered stevia they don't end up dry. I find that for people with a lot of health issues even maple syrup and other natural sweeteners can be a barrier to true healing. I'm not against them for people with no health concerns though. Just thought I'd add my thoughts as a few of these issues came up repeatedly in the comments. Also, have used a mix of whole spelt flour and oat flour in similar recipes and it always turns out well (but havn't made this recipe yet). That's all for now, thanks for being you and sharing such great things


I do not use eggs, Heidi do you have a substitute instead of egg replacer, I would love to try this beautiful cake but w/o eggs.


Hello i give you my blog to let them pass and get all the recipes you want, easy, fast, tastys, and are updated every day, I hope you like it. Ale TURECETA.WORDPRESS.COM


Thumbs up on the whole grain & alternatively sweetened dessert recipes, keep 'em coming!! Thanks Heidi, that's exactly how we roll around here!


I'm so glad that you are posting recipies that include alternate flours and sweeteners! I love experimenting with these things too! I make a killer pan of brownies that I've managed to replace most of the fat and sugar (with agave nectar) and added some nutritional value with brown rice flour. The cool thing is that when baked, the brown rice flour becomes a bit grainy in texture, which is great for brownies. Since I use very little sugar, this lends the texture that everyone is accustom to without all the guilt. The most important part is to use good chocolate... whatever you do, it's only going to taste as good as your chocolate! Thanks for all the great stuff on your site!

Joe Byer

I am a nut for whole wheat recipes, and often try my hand at converting conventional recipes to more healthy versions. Coconut milk is another of my favorite ingredients, so I'm thinking this cake might be just the thing for our small Easter dinner party dessert. Thank you for all of your wonderful healthy but yummy ideas for delectables of all kinds!

Sadie & Quincy

I am a nut for whole wheat recipes, and often try my hand at converting conventional recipes to more healthy versions. Coconut milk is another of my favorite ingredients, so I'm thinking this cake might be just the thing for our small Easter dinner party dessert. Thank you for all of your wonderful healthy but yummy ideas for delectables of all kinds!

Sadie & Quincy

This recipe looks delicious! Please yes, keep posting modified treats. I like baking (and eating!) desserts but my preference is always to go for the healthier and more wholesome versions. Your blog and your book are such a treat by the way. I've loved the recipes I've tried so far


This cake looks so yummy! I'm so glad that I found your blog Heidi......I absolutely love your recipes and ideas and definitely I'll be looking forward to see more recipes like this cake....What do you think about substituting agave nectar for the maple syrup? would it change the texture of the cake? Thanks for sharing : )

Winny Jreige

A basic chocolate cake always catches my attention... But I would make a much simpler chocolate topping because what you're asking those ingredients to do at those temperatures is really hard. What about whipping cream and right as it's about to be medium peaks, sifting in a tablespoon or two of cocoa. If someone wants it sweet, a dash of Mesquite flour or agave would do the trick. Another frosting could be a 1:1 cream:chocolate ganache. The sugar is in the chocolate so you don't have to mess about with mounting or emulsifying... Just some simple chocolate topping thoughts. :} HS: LOVE the cocoa idea Shuna. And then people could really "season" with cocoa to their preference. I'll give it a go that way next time. I've been trying to figure out a number of no-powdered sugar glazes and frostings - I suspect you'd find some of my failures quite amusing ;) I'll track you down offline and tell you. Miss seeing you around Shuna xo -h

shuna fish lydon

Just in the knick of time! I woke up this morning wanting something chocolate. Low and behold I saw your email to the new recipe. I made it this afternoon and we had after dinner. The cake is wonderful! So much chocolate flavor! I'll be using this as my birthday cakes from now on! I did have to substitute 1/2 cup of agave nectar for 1/2 of the maple syrup because I only had a 1/2 cup of maple syrup on hand. The cake was still really enjoyable! Thanks a bunch!


Sounds delicious, and yes please keep us in unrefined recipes!


This looks awesome. I can't wait to try it either. Please keep up the "healthy" treat recipes!


Absolutely! Please share with us recipes with "less refined sugar, less white flour, etc. " I need your help in that department. My substitutions don't always come out tasting good. I'm sure yours do.


loving this recipe - can't wait to try it - love the idea of all the healthy ingredients. I want to make this for a friends child who has a milk allergy any great idea's for a rich creamy milk free frosting? I have one made of advacado's but I am looking for something not as rich as that. The advacado one is almost like a truffle.


Chocolate cake with coconut oil and coconut milk!!! wow just up my street. Thanks much. I once had a chocolate cake in New York with a chillie truffle center - and this caught me quite by surprise. Do you have a recipe for a molten chocolate cake with a hot center? Thanks again.

Shanta Sunderdas

I'm especially eager to try this cake refrigerated and see it's 'truffle' like texture! I love your dessert recipes and would love to see more. They're simple, healthful, and have never failed me... not once! Their unique nature keeps my hunky-dory Minnesotan family on their toes, too. Each dish is such a thrill with the ingredients I have readily available -- I get compliments and refer your site all the time with your desserts! I would love to see other desserts you make along with more pot-luck/BBQ/picnic recipes that will be consuming my life this season.


I'm new to your blog and am excited to look around more. We don't bake/cook with refined (or artificial) sweeteners. I'm anxious to try your frosting recipe!


See, everybody should be making cake with stuff like this--the ingredients are actually food! I bet you could sneak some dates or pumpkin puree in there, too. Please do continue with recipes like this. People need to know that you don't need white flour or white sugar to make things taste good! Now I just need to get my mom to read your blog...


I made the chocolate cake this evening, and although the consistency was perfect (and very chocolatey), there was a strong taste of baking powder. I'm wondering if perhaps 1 T. baking powder might be too much? HS: I always use 1T. with this cake. What brand were you using?


Here in Japan, using that much real maple syrup would just about send you to the poor-house! A typical container would be 10 or 15 dollars, if not more and only hold a half a cup, if that much. What can I use instead of maple syrup? I would try to use it in the frosting though.... but what could I use in the cake, honey? Please do add more sweets, cakes and cookies! And thank you for all the wonderful ideas.


Love the fact that it uses wholmeal flour... I question re. cocoa. What is non-Duched cocoa? can you use Duch cocoa? Thanks again for your lovely recepies, they look so yummy and inspiring.


hi heidi love you website- it took me a long time to realise you were a vegetarian! love your generally healthy recipes and great photographs and innovative ideas. one thing i don't like is the use of coconut oil, coconut milk and agave nectar. coconuts are 85% to 90% saturated fat- so no better than butter or cream. i don't see the point of reducing refined sugar only to pour saturated fat into your arteries which will raise your bad cholesterol sky high! and agave nectar is no different to high fructose corn syrup in the way it is made, which as we all know is incredibly bad for you and causes toxins to build up in your body. have you done research into these? i love your recipes and generally substitute olive oil for coconut oil and honey/maple syrup for agave nectar but was curious as to how such a generally health conscious website would advocate these two ingredients in particular. HS: Hi Kavi - I appreciate your comments and feedback. These are questions that come up occasionally here. I posted a general outline of many of the ingredients I like (and why) in a separate section of the site - Build a Natural Foods Pantry. There are sections on my general philosophy, fats, sweeteners, grains, etc. I suspect the list will evolve over time, as I learn more, and as my own personal food philosophy evolves and grows. I'm comfortable with high-quality coconut products based on the reading I've done, and enjoy coconut milk/products a couple times a week typically. But it is really up to each individual to navigate which foods are right for them in the context of their life, health, lifestyle. I also try to write and feature recipes that are easily adaptable - so if you aren't into agave nectar or coconut oil, you might be able to easily swap in another ingredient you feel more comfortable with.


I would love more recipes like this--I bake for my kids and I'd love to make them healthier foods.


Yes to more healthy treat recipes, perhaps a flour-less cake recipe, chocolate of course, and a lemon cake. Mahalo plenty.


Well cool, I bought some coconut milk today, so I've got everything on hand. I'll have to give this a try. YES to the healthier treat recipes!


More! More! More! (jumping up and down)


I try to eat a primarily vegan diet and I gave up all sugar (including things like maple syrup and honey) on January 1 of this year. I really appreciate this recipe, but am going to see if I can figure out a way to make it without the added maple syrup and have it still taste good. Thank you for the inspiration! And any more recipes like this you want to share, I'm here ready to give them a whirl.


I have never used maple syrup in a cake recipe. I like the simplicity of this reipce.

Treehouse Chef

What can I substitute for eggs,besides Egg Replacer? I like agave as a sweetener for desserts. Otherwise I might try it if I can find an egg replacer that's not filled with baking powder. Any ideas??


I tried this cake late last night (Australian Time!) and it worked wonderfully! No one in the house could get to sleep while the amazing smell went through the house. I had to cook if for a touch longer than you said (i think it baked for about 50 minutes) and it was still slightly underdone in the centre (as i like it!). I used Vanilla Bean paste in place of Vanilla extract as it always makes the most amazing vanilla flavour (even if you just want a hint). It can be hard (and expensive!) to get maple syrup here, but luckily I had some on hand. While it was cooking I thought it could work really well as individual cakes with a molten centre. Then you could serve then with either a caramel or chocolate sauce, or even a raspberry coulis? Oh and the taste is AMAZING! Wonderful recipe Heidi! HS: So glad you liked it Andrew! I love the raspberry idea - that sounds great. And who doesn't like vanilla bean paste?

Andrew Teasdale

yes... definitely more like this.. the usual treats done in a healthier way.. yes please


Whheeeeee!! Yay! I will so try this. Also, yes, PUH-LEEZE post more recipes using alternative sweeteners and less white flour...Agave is a good one! It has a low glycemic index and therefore is safe for peeps with diabetes and sugar issues (Candida issues included). Stevia is bake-able but I think it is so yuck. I'm curious to what you can create--I get the newsletter so I will keep my eyes open for new endeavors in alternative baking! Thanks for being curious yourself ;)

Britt in Austin

I really like the looks of this cake,and you did a wonderful job.I know it takes time and work,even though lot of us Love to cook!! Just don't think it all goes unnoticed!! Thanks for all you do!! Most of the time,I may look,but am silent,but my typing is slow,and my work is time consuming(taking care of sick people,my wife),cooking and cleaning! All,you good cooks,help me get ask,I want that recipe,and where did you get it!! Thanks Again!!!


I am very interested in seeing more recipes like this. I do not like to cook/bake with refined sugars or white flours. It is difficult for me to find recipes like this that I can make and feed my children. Thank you for this, and give us more!


I'm adding my vote for interested in seeing more of non-white sweet recipes.


Yes, please do post more recipes like this one! I love being able to browse dessert recipes on your site without having to do mental conversions of sugar to agave, white flour to whole wheat, etc. Such a pleasure!

Hannah @ I Heart Kale

yes to more sweets!! and...would these work as cupcakes?


Yum! Chocolate and cake meet - whole grains and unrefined sweetners - I am in heaven. I think I will try this with an addition of ground espresso and pecans.. or something. Is there anything better then coffee & chocolate? Thanks for another great recipe!


I am tempted to try this for Easter even though I promised my daughter cherry pie. I love the sweet recipes, but your recipes using whole grains are my favorite. Also I would love Lynne's recipe for chickpea and peanut butter cookies...


The frosting is most interesting! Maple is a good idea...

The Duo Dishes

I definitely can support using maple syrup, as I live in Canada and it is very easy to come by. Plus it is delicious. I agree with the suggestion to label the comments as "have tried" "will try", etc.


thanks for this one--looks yummy & can't wait to try... and I'd love to see more in this vein...I always sub. whole wheat pastry flour for white flour and it is almost always just fine. I do use applesauce in place of some of the sugar and use the most unrefined I can find. I'm not really sure that maple syrup is any better/worse than sugar (evaporated cane syrup) to hear more on that & your thoughts.


Recipes like this one are great! I'd love to see your take on a vanilla cake. Thanks Heidi.


I forgot to mention that you could have the posters decide on/choose their category, so it would only be a one-time programming change. Either way - good luck with everything and thanks for all the great recipes!!!

Suggestion follow up

Hello Heidi! You are an incredible food blogger and very popular. What if you started a VERY HELPFUL trend by labeling comments as "MAY TRY" "HAVE TRIED" or "BLOG COMMENT" "RECIPE COMMENT" or something to that effect. Many of us who actually cook your recipes like to read the helpful tips of others who also cook the recipe, as opposed to those who are simply admiring and planning. You could either have two columns of comments, or a sort function or different background shades or just labels. I bet if you did this EVERY SINGLE OTHER FOOD BLOG would follow suit. It just takes so much time to scroll through and overview all the comments to get to the ones that are really helpful. Example: I subbed part almond flour (1/2 cup) for the whole wheat flour for more of a torte texture. THANKS! HS: I totally agree. Wayne is going to help me update the site to the newest version of MT, and at that point I have a list of things I'd like to improve on 101 Cookbooks. Comments is top of the list - I like you idea, we've also talked about some other functionality. Thanks for the input, and your patience as well.


PLEASE keep up the great work with unprocessed flours and natural sweeteners, it is a joy to eat "normally" even with diabetes and keeping the GI low! Heidi you ROCK! -much love from boston


This is ridiculous--how am I expected to lose weight, stop eating chocolate or some baking, cooking when there are brilliant recipes like this popping up everywhere. I give up and give in...and plan to bake, frost and eat this cake close to immediately.


Please more of these, I've been looking for simple desserts to make at home, and if you can do these without eggs or butter so much the better. We're trying for less expensive and less expansive!!


I love recipes like this! Can't wait to try it later today... I would like more gluten free baking or advice given on options for making these recipes gf. Thanks so much xxx


My first visit here and I know your blog is going to be a regular place for me to visit. I live in the French countryside and I'm really hoping that I'll be able to source the ingredients that you use in your recipes.

French Fancy

Thank you so much for posting this recipe...Your recipes all are so creative and yummy sounding. I have a 2 yrs old who I don't feed refined sugars to so I am always on the look out for something with maple/agave etc. so YES please post more recipes like this!! Do you ever bake with out egg?


Heidi, Thank you for these fantastic recipes. We try to bake only with unrefined/unprocessed products, i.e. no white flour or white sugar, etc. Your site is amazing in helping us to achieve these goals. Thank you so very much for the hard work you put into perfecting these recipes, and the mouth-watering photographs to go with them.

MorticiA Alders

I've been baking like this for a while. I've found that our "sweet tooth" had adapted to less sweet flavors and we don't even like the heavily sweetened stuff anymore. I don't blog, but if you'd like me to share any of my recipes, feel free to holler. I've loved learning from yours!


YES love recipes like this. Thank you. I needed a chocolate cake recipe for some sweet potato frosting I want to try!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

I get so excited when I see that you posted a dessert recipe because I know that it will use whole wheat flower and a different sweetener than white sugar! I love baking, but we try to eat really healthy in my house and my mom is not very happy when I want to make a cake or cookies. But now that I've starting making things with whole wheat flour and more natural sweeteners I have to hide them so she doesn't eat them all! :) I'm totally in favor of you continuing to mix recipes for "sweets" in with your other awesome recipes. This way I don't have to try substituting in recipes and end up with a batch of inedible cupcakes (it's happened many times). Keep the delicious recipes coming!!!


I would love to see other grains used also, like spelt, oat, quinoa, buckwheat, barley flour, etc.


Really looking forward to more of these types of dessert recipes. Thank you for being so health conscious.


This looks fabulous! I've also been trying to cook things with an alternative to white sugar, so it's really inspiring to see other people's take on it. This cake is great because it looks so accessible, and even though it doesn't contain sugar, the sweetener you used is something most people would have around the house. Awesome job!


I haven't really done much with whole wheat flour or natural sweeteners but I'd like to start. I love to bake but then I have a platter of sweets I don't really want to eat. So some more recipes like this would be a nice treat (haha) once in a while, but I definitely wouldn't want them to completely replace your savory recipes, which I'm much more likely to make myself. :-)


Heidi, it is a shame that you have to ask if your readers would be interested in these types of healthy treats. I admire your spunk, zeal and efforts in all that you do. For a change, you are a voice that admits we all have a sweet tooth, like to eat.... but are really thinking about our health and them are doing something about it. Continue with your new ideas, twists and turns. For every non believer... you create a new one with your tempting delights. By the way this cake looks like a winner . I think my step son will eat and not even know that it is healthy 4 him.


Sounds great, but I'm allergic to coconut in pretty much every form. Any ideas for substitutions for the coconut milk?

Amy Frushour Kelly

Love the alternative sweeteners! Also, just a heads up to beware of using agave as a sugar replacement. Some recent studies/articles have purported Agave to be the newest healthfood fraud...


I have a major sweet tooth and would love to be able to eat more desserts without filling up on refined sugar and white flour. So I would be excited to see more recipes like this and the carrot oatmeal cookies you posted a week or so ago, which use other ingredients. Thanks!


Thank you Heidi, for highlighting the fact that delicious cakes made without refined sugar or dairy are absolutely a reality. Your cake looks and reads light, very chocolate and yummy. I'd like to add it's possible to make delicious chocolate cakes with the same criteria and egg free too. This is the basis of my work (pleasure!). We are lucky today to have so many non dairy milks, flours and sweeteners available. You do such an exceptional job of spreading the word that healthy does not mean deprivation.

Fran Costigan

I absolutely agree - I would love more sweet recipes that uses whole grains and no refined sugars. We were up at my family cabin in Ontario making maple syrup with my grandparents two weekend ago, and this will be a great way to use some. Although this is my first comment, I have been reading and using your recipes regularly for about six months - thank you for the great selection!


yes yes yes to more "healthy sweet" recipes. i made both nikki's cookies and carrot oatmeal cookies for a picnic yesterday -- everyone loved them and was impressed that they did not have any added sugar. thank you heidi-- you are totally inspiring me in the kitchen. AND i just bought copies of Super Natural Cooking to give as gifts to my kids teachers. :)


I'll just echo the multitude of others who said yes, more recipes like this please! Perhaps I could better reconcile my giant sweet tooth with my conscience if there were more "healthy" sweet treat options!


Heidi, I mentioned in an earlier comment, that I have enjoyed some of your recipes. I also mentioned that I have been cooking 'healthy', for my family (four kids) for 32 years. Some of the major differences in my cooking, from most of your recipes, is that I do not use white flour, I try to go low fat, and I do not use white sugar. I have changed all the recipes I cook, the sweet treats, to using honey or more often than not, maple syrup. Love using maple syrup. As I said, I have been doing this for many years, so I was happy to see this cake recipe. I also try to use other things, instead of heavy creams, in my recipes. I have also found that using low fat coconut milk, is a great way to add moisture to a recipe. I am looking forward to trying this cake recipe. It is similar to what I have made, but it is always fun to try a new recipe. I will be baking it for an upcoming birthday. I have enjoyed checking out your recipes, and looking at the photo's. They really wet your appetite. ( I hope I did not accidentally post this more than once, cat is in my lap.)


Heidi (or anyone) - do you think the frosting would come out the same way using coconut oil instead of butter as the fat? This looks absolutely fantastic and I can't wait to try it!!


Thank you for your creativity in using more healthful ingredients. I'd definitely be interested in seeing more baking recipes that use less refined ingredients and more whole grain flours!

Diana Louise

Heidi, this looks fabulous, and I love the idea of creative substitutions. I'm not an accomplished baker so am not confident enough to experiment on my own. I'm glad you do! Any baking recipes you can adapt around these restrictions would be simply awesome: gluten-free, diabetic-friendly, and omitting allergy-causing nuts (husband goes into anaphylactic shock), coconut, eggs, and cheese. How's that for an assignment! Btw, one of my newest favorite recipes is your pan-browned brussels sprouts. They're as incredible as you described! (Yes, hubby forgoes the cheese part.)


Oh boy. I just got around to making the black bean brownies and now this. Better add another spin class to my rotation this week!


Yes, please keep posting dessert recipes like this! My coworker made your oatmeal carrot cookies this weekend and we are munchin on them now. Terrific!


Thank you SO much for posting these recipes! I feel like I found a gold mine here! I'm trying to stay away from white sugar and white flour, and your blog has been such a blessing to me. It's my birthday in 2 days and now I can still have my cake and eat it too! :D I made your peanut butter cookies this weekend and they were delicious!!


This looks delicious, and I'd love to make it! Alas, my husband is allergic to coconut.


Maple syrup and coconut milk... I'm in love!


Heidi, what are your feelings/thoughts on using liquid stevia in baking and desserts? I've used it to supplement reduced amounts of other types of sweeteners, but it's always been kind of an experiment. It seems to me that a natural, calorie-free, sugar substitute might be more desirable than using honey/maple/etc., but it might still cause blood sugar problems due to the body's expectations of sugar when it tastes sweet. Hm.


Looks heavenly! I have been wanting to figure out a soaked, dairy free cake recipe (also using whole wheat and natural sweeteners). I can't wait to try, just waiting for my family to get over a cold before I feed them sweets. Thanks for the inspiration!

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Thank you for posting this recipe - the timing is perfect, as I am baking a cake for a friend this weekend, and was specifically looking for a recipe that was a little healthier than the average dessert recipe! I would love to see more dessert recipes from you with a different twist on sweeteners and flours. Thanks again!


This looks WONDERFUL! I've never seen a cake recipe with cocoa powder or maple syrup in it. I'll have to try it. Yum!

Krista on the Hill

This looks great. I'd love to see more recipes that don't use cow's milk! I'm going to try this with the coconut milk ASAP.


My 2 year old would love this. Any suggestions on how to make this gluten-free? He was just diagnosed with celiacs diease. I'm not yet familiar with all the wheat alternative flours. Thanks.


I will research coconut oil, as you suggested. However, fat is a real issue for me, since I have diverticulosis and must be on a very low fat diet. I use applesauce in place of the oil in most cakes, or half oil/half applesauce...I do a lot of baking and it really keeps baked things moist. I haven't tried WW pastry flour -- will do. Also, I have a sister who can't digest gluten, so I do a lot of baking with spelt flour, which is wonderful. Thanks for doing all the experimenting with baked stuff. I appreciate your point of view!


I can't wait to try this! I would love to see more stuff like this too! I tried the cashew curry recipe this week and it was amazing!!!


This is totally on my list of things to bake next. Thanks for sharing!!!


This sounds wonderful. Yes, please continue to explore baking with whole wheat flour and more healthful sweeteners. Recipes of this sort are hard to come across, and I think many of us are really appreciative.


We have so much chocolate just sitting here looking innocent and waiting for a job? This little recipe will put some to work asap. Thanks. you are ever interesting! best, s

s. stockwell

Looks Scrumptious & Wholesome too!! Yes, I would love to see more recipes using whole grain flours and less refined sugar...(o: Thx!!!!

cindy novick

My super-skinny sister turns her nose up at this, but healthier desserts are exactly what I need to keep my house healthy and happy. Thank you for your innovation and hard work.


I love the Dagoba cocoa as well. I think I saw someone ask about dutched cocoa as I was skimming contents. If you are baking and rely on the reaction of baking powder, you need a natural cocoa (acidic) rather than a dutched cocoa (made alkaline). Otherwise it will have a poor texture and taste. I've used maple syrup and agave before in cakes but not coconut milk...curious to see how the flavors mesh. Thanks for yet another interesting recipe! I'd personally love to see a yummy gluten-free chocolate cake recipe/substitution here sometime (your black bean brownies are on my list to try) Deana

Deana Gunn

looks great! i'm going to try it with my tofu peanut butter and chocolate frosting... and please - more recipes using alternatives - i've been baking chickpea cookies using chickpeas and peanut butter instead of butter and they've been a HUGE success with friends and family.


I'm currently doing some wedding planning details for my wedding in June, and part of my big DIY project is baking 18 different cakes, one for each table. I'm not into anything fancy; I just want them to be simple -- almost zenlike -- and taste fantastic even after the fridge. What captivated me was your description that it's an everyday cake you might not make everyday. That sounds like just the thing. I'm excited to try this out soon!


Oh, and I'd love to see more recipes of this type - without refined flours and sugar. More with agave nectar please! Thanks.


YOU ROCK. Yep, I am totally interested in seeing more recipes like this--less refined sugar, etc. I am actually taking a break from chocolate right now, one of my last vices, and am feeling better and sleeping better. BUT I am still interested in this recipe and more like it! Keep up the awesome work, and thanks for your great writing and photos.

Sarah M. Isaacson

This looks very yummy. I actually made your carrot oat cookies yesterday (I forget the exact recipe name). I substituted some agave nectar for some of the maple syrup and skipped the walnuts for my walnut-hating five year-old. They turned out great! The coconut oil was an amazing addition and I'll bet it is great in this recipe too.


I'm so glad you didn't do a layer cake - that is always an instant reject for moi. One level of pure chocolate is quite satisfying (and easier to make;-) Love the 'truffle' effect once chilled!

Cook 4 Seasons

Wonderful post. Can't wait to try this cake! Yes, I'd love to see more recipes w/out the refined sugars/flours. Also - it would be great to see things using alternatives to the fats.....prune butters/pureed beans, etc..... Thanks, Heidi! I'm a huge fan!!!!


I was going to look for a chocolate cake recipe for my husbands birthday tomorrow when your recipe came on my mail. It was obviously fate. Sounds delicious. thank you

Patricia Mackenzie

Believe it or not, I have this intolerance to cane sugar. Thank you for using alternatives such as maple and agave syrups.


A few years back I stopped using anything with HFCS. Then I began cutting back 30-50% on the sugars in my baking. Now I even cut up to 50% of the oils and fats from my recipes. And my family and friend still enjoy my baked goods. Keep giving us good ideas like this chocolate cake!


A resounding yes! to more honey- and maple-sweetened recipes. And Heidi, I absolutely love your blog--great work.


you ask if we want more recipes like this one - yes, yes, yes! better sweeteners, flours, more use of coconut milk & oil - please - i love them all! i made your power bar with coconut -yum, pancakes - yum!


This looks a lot like my grandmother's chocolate cake recipe which I altered to make healthier. It was all done in one pan. I want to try it with milk instead of coconut milk (which I never have on hand). Will this work? And I encourage you to offer more recipes like this. It's the way I prefer to eat. Thank you!


Me too! I love getting yummy recipes that cut out the white stuff. I seem to be "allergic" to it all anyway. Thanks! I'll try this for Easter next week. :0)


This looks fantastic! I can't wait for me recipes like this one.


This recipie looks great ! But I've just came to live in Lima, (Peru), I've never lived before at the sea level, and apparently baking here is different. Do you know what do I have to do ? Do I have to change the proportions in any way? I will appreciate so much your advice, because everithing I make here is awfaul !


This looks amazingly delicious. Yes-- PLEASE keep the recipes with alternatives to refined sugar, white flour, etc. coming!! Would love to see more of your lovely recipes like this!


Yes, more please.......;o) Sounds and looks delicious. Just a couple of questions - does the cake taste coconut-y or maple-y and why is the non Dutched processed cocoa more favorable over the other?


Please keep posting recipes like this! I have all but given up on baking since most recipes call for a boxed mix or white sugar and white flour.


yes, keep them coming! I am a new subscriber to your blog but always on the lookout for recipes like yours. I wish I could bolt home from work and try this--doesn't help that its getting close to lunch time on the east coast!


I am also very interested in recipes like this. I've begun using at least 1/2 whole wheat flour in everything I make, and also add milled flax seed but getting away from sugar has been my biggest challenge. Most people never even notice the small substitutions but I feel somewhat "healthier" making the changes. I can't wait to try this one.

micha b

This looks amazing!! Does anyone have an eggless cake, brownie, or cookie recipe? My son is highly allergic. Thanks!!


oh--thanks so much! I try so hard to avoid refined sugar but I feel like it is a losing battle. Perhaps if I can replace with delicious alternatives it will be easier! This looks great and I look forward to seeing more recipes like this in the future.


My only problem with making this is I would eat the whole thing! I'd have to take it to someone's house or to work!! Do you ever work with quinoa flour? I've just started using it, and it seems you can replace regular flour with it.


yes! definitely interested in more recipes just like this. i've been on the look out for dessert recipes that are healthier treats.


This is perfect for a little treat for the little ones - yummy, but I feel better about the ingredients. I would love to see more of this! Thanks as always for a wonderful site and wonderful recipes!


How the cocoa adds to the taste of a good quality chocolate? Thanks

chocolate lover

Oh yum! I am more of a pie person, but I'll indulge in cake every now & then if it's chocolate and super moist. That frosting looks incredible! Thanks again, Heidi! Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

ask and you shall receive.... i was just pondering what birthday cake to make for a friend, and here you dished one up for me! i am so happy that i stumbled upon your site a few months ago - i have become of heidi devotee. and yes, please post more recipes with alternative sweeteners!


I would love to see more baked goods recipes. I loved your scones, and would be curious to see what other recipes you developed. Thanks for all your great work!


This looks great- please keep posting other baking ideas with less white sugar/flour. Yummy and at least we can feel relatively nutritious, especially with sweet demanding kids!


For those looking for a substitution for maple syrup, Jennifer McCann posted a recipe to make a substitution: However, this uses brown sugar, so it doesn't necessarily achieve the less-processed goal, but it is vegan.


Heidi, thank for your awesome recipes; they're amazing! I'll try this one out when I have the time, or when someone's birthday comes around, and we're doing potluck. I've tried the Moosewood brownies recipe (with a bit of improvisation), and they turn out fabulous every single time, my friends keep coming over to get some every time.


This looks like fun. Please do post any baking ideas. I like reading about substitutions.


This looks like fun. Please do post any baking ideas. I like reading about substitution ideas.


ok, I'm embarrassed to ask this but here goes: Is whole wheat flour the same as whole wheat PASTRY flour, and if not, where do I get the whole wheat pastry flour? Don't think I've ever seen it in markets.... Thanks so much for giving us healthier ways to prepare desserts!


Definitely keep these recipes coming! My husband and I both love desserts that are sweetened but not overly sweet, healthier but still a treat. You seem to keep a good balance of that with your recipes.


OH MY GOSH...I screwed up again! Coconut MILK, not oil. You'd think I could remember milk with a new baby... I'm really not normally this lame.


Just bought a five-pound bag of whole wheat pastry flour in hopes you would be whipping up something yummy to use it in. Sounds terrific. Thanks


Yes, please post more recipes like this! My mother has a chocolate cake recipe that is the same type of thing--a simple, moist chocolate cake that we bake and serve in the same Pyrex. I think I made the recipe with whole wheat flour once (and once with 1/3 chickpea flour, which was surprisingly delicious). My mom is reluctant to change our recipe, but she likes to be healthy, too. So I think I'll make this (and not tell her about the coconut milk) and see what the family thinks. Maybe we will make both side by side.


Ok, I'm an idiot. I re-read the recipe and see that you're using butter already. I misread it initially (I have a newborn - forgive me, I haven't slept in So yes, I'm too asking about the coconut oil. Regular oil? If so, what kind? Or perhaps milk, as the other commenter asked about.


Heidi- what a delicious cake and wonderful idea! You are a genius with these changes to making standard desserts a bit healthier and always even more delicious. Keep recipes like this one coming please!


Heidi, I am definitely interested in more recipes like this! Right now I'm avoiding dairy products/eggs/caffeine to try and pinpoint an allergic reaction, so I'll have to wait on this cake, but it's very important to me to use minimal amounts of refined sugar and white flour. Keep 'em coming!


Thank you so much for all your wonderful recipes! Just this weekend, my family enjoyed your bran muffins and your mesquite chocolate chip cookies. Keep the baked good coming - they're wonderful for kids - so they can have healthy/whole versions of "treats". In this recipe (and others), what can we substitute for the coconut oil? I see someone already asked about milk. What about room temperature butter? My husband doesn't like coconut and the price is also getting us with the economy. I love how you readily provide subsitutions - it's great for when you just don't happen to have what's called for on hand or when you just want to tweak it a bit for kicks. Thanks!


Heidi, In the past two weeks, I've baked your Carrot Oatmeal Cookies, Nikki's Healthy Cookies, and your Tiny Chocolate Chip Cookies. I've brought them for my coworkers and also to my favorite vendors at the farmer's market here in Austin, TX and everyone has LOVED them! I just wanted to thank you for posting up such great recipes. I love the subtleties in your recipes. They are so much more satisfying than, say, a normal chocolate chip cookie loaded with white sugar, white flour, and two sticks of butter. Please keep them coming! Love them! -Nicole


Heidi, I'd love to see a recipe for meringues that doesn't use white sugar. I'm wary of trying it myself, as I know that sugar adds stability to the egg proteins, and I'm not sure how a liquid (agave, honey, maple syrup) would hold up. Although, come to think of it, the Italian meringues made with hot simple syrup might be well adapted with heated maple or honey... HS: Hmmm. That's something I haven't tried. I'm also thinking of seven-minute frosting, which uses the hot syrup as well. Would def. be worth experimenting.


Yes! I am absolutely interested in more dessert recipes that include whole grain flour and sweeteners other than granulated sugar. I've been experimenting in this area myself, and the results have not always been acceptable. Still feeling my way on this front. Meanwhile, this cake looks fantastic and I can't wait to try it. Thank you!

The Diva on a Diet

Love your blog - it is awesome!! Found you through the Hip Homemaker. Put you both in my favorites!

Leigh Rogers

MMMMmmm..this sounds so delicious! Honestly though, I'm a little leary of using coconut oil...should I be? I'm a runner and try to keep my fat content down, but still like to eat my sweets I usually avoid baking anything with butter in it, and usually substitute applesauce for oil in most instances. Am I being to picky? What are the health benefits of coconut oil? HS: Liesl, use Google to do a search about (virgin) coconut oil. There is quite a bit of information out there about its beneficial properties. Quite frankly, I like real butter and coconut oil, and use both in moderation in my day to day cooking.


Great to meet you last week in Denver Heidi! I'm not much of a baker (more of a cooker!), but have posted a "healthier" chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe on my blog. Unfortunately it uses an artificial sweetener in the recipe - have you used maple syrup in cookies before and do you know how that works? THANKS HS: Hi Michelle, there are a couple cookie recipes in the archives that feature maple syrup as a sweetener. My peanut butter cookies are maple sweetened for example.

Michele Morris

G'morning, Heidi! Please do post more sweet recipes. We have a wonderful chocolate cake recipe in my family, and I make it whenever I have soured milk (and bring it to work to share), but I have been longing for a healthier version. Thank you.


I don't think there is anything better than real chocolate cake.

Meghan at Making Love In The Kitchen

I don't think there is anything better than real chocolate cake.

Meghan at Making Love In The Kitchen

YES! to more sweet recipes! Thanks!


Oh yum! That looks great! And just in time too. My daughters birthday is in a couple weeks and I was looking for a recipe that was more nutritious. Can this recipe be doubled and baked in a 9x13? (Big family alert!!) Could it be baked as cupcakes? And I agree the idea of revamping classic recipes is great!!


Yes - want to try this and eager for other alternatively-sweetened things (I haven't figured out how to alter with much success).

Jill B

That looks so rich and satisfying. I too, probably like most of your readers, would be very interested to see a new spin on normally refined sugar and flour-laden standbys. This looks like a great recipe to try.


Now thats Chocolate Cake!


hooray!!! do please post more recipes when you come up with them...i'm always so excited to make cakes and cookies...and always do dismayed to dump so much sugar into the mixing bowl. this looks fabulous.


Mmm, cake! Definitely want more dessert recipes using natural sweeteners and whole grains! :)


Heidi, do you think I can replace the Maple Syrup with Agave syrup? HS: I haven't tested it, but for this recipe I'd swap 1:1. PLease report back if you give it a go!


I love that this recipe uses coconut oil and milk. I would like to try this, maybe substituting agave for the maple syrup--it's low-glycemic and a little bit cheaper. Does anyone have any ideas about how to replace the eggs with a non-animal product?


Awesome sauce... if only I had checked yesterday, I was looking to bake. Monday night cake will have to do.


This cake looks perfect. I am all for using whole grains and unrefined sweeteners, so keep those recipes coming!

ashley (sweet & natural)

This cake looks perfect. I am all for using whole grains and unrefined sweeteners, so keep those recipes coming!

ashley (sweet & natural)

Yes, yes, more like this!! Love your recipes!

Joan Rough

Yes, yes, more like this!! Love your recipes!

Joan Rough

Hi Can u suggest an alternative to Maple syrup? They are scarce and very expensive in India. I would like honey/palm sugar/ some such alternative. I definitely love healthy junk ;) recipes (healthy cakes, pastries etc..) Thanks, KP


I love these kinds of recipes - a healthier way to bake! Please keep them coming...


I love this. I am not generally one for complicated desserts and layer cakes, mostly because I am a dunce at frosting anything. I also often prefer eating simpler desserts and like to have a little something sweet on hand. I love the idea of re-inventing classic desserts with less of the classic ingredients - what a great way to introduce natural ingredients and flavors into the diet!

Haley W.

I applaud you for baking without sweetners, though I'm a happy butter and sugar fiend. That said, I've posted a splendid cake that uses pureed beets, and I love coconut milk in a chocolate cake, too. We used to buy two-three gallons of maple syrup at a time, but now with a gallon running right around 50 dollars, we're cutting back, which I hate doing since maple syrup is really the better dietary choice, by a long shot...

Mama JJ

I can't wait to try this! I love recipes with natural sweeteners. :)


Very good


This is brilliant and perhaps a chocolate cake that we can eat guilt free? (well almost) good timing for Easter as well

Gourmet Chick

The idea of using alternative sweeteners and flours is a great one - please keep the recipes coming!


I think that featuring revamped classics with alternative sugars and flours is a great idea! Sometimes you crave something classic, like a chocolate cake, but it's hard to find a recipe reflecting your general food philosophy. A more specific question: if I used plain milk (from a cow rather than a coconut!), would the recipe still work, or would the cake end up drier because coconut milk is fattier than dairy milk? Should I use (dairy) cream?


This looks delicious! After discovering this site my approach to all things healthy have changed - I just love every dish I try either from this site or from your cookbook! In particular the sweet things have such a great deep and complex taste, so please more more more of everything sweet!

Alisa delicious!


Ooooh wonderful! Can't wait to try this one out! thumbs up for future recipes!!!


This looks great--just what I've been craving--but sadly over the last year or so chocolate has come to aggravate my migraines. Do you have any tips for converting this to a carob cake? Since carob flour is sweeter than cocoa powder, maybe it could replace some of the maple syrup--but would it affect the amount of regular flour used? I'm just starting to explore carob in baking--any tips you have would be greatly appreciated!


I really like the idea of non-sugar sweeteners, but maple syrup is really pricey and hard to come by where I live (Japan). Any other alternatives to try? Thanks as always for the great ideas!


Mmmmm... chocolate cake. The frosting sounds awesome!


This is great! Please show us more baked goods (cakes tarts whatever) using sweeteners other than sugar. Thank you.


Am I the first one to comment!? Looks yummy! I should make this for the next potluck we have at work. :)

Kitchen M

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