How to Make a Healthy Cake

Two Methods:Healthy Cake RecipeHealthy Baking Substitutions

Baked goods are often filled with saturated fats, refined sugars and hundreds of calories per serving. If you like cake, but want to watch your intake of empty calories, you can learn to substitute unconventional ingredients to make it healthier. Replacing all purpose flour with whole wheat flour and sugar or fat with fruit puree can add nutrients and reduce calories. Make this healthy red velvet cake recipe or substitute ingredients in a cake recipe you want to make. Find out how to make a healthy cake.

Method 1
Healthy Cake Recipe

  1. 1
    Buy 3 large red beets. This recipe uses the sugar in beets and other natural ingredients to make a sweet red velvet cake. Trim the ends of your beets and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. 2
    Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Place the beets on a mid-level rack for 2 hours. Remove them from the oven when you can stick a fork through them.
  3. 3
    Allow the beets to cool. Peel them and cut them into sections.
  4. 4
    Place your beet sections in a food processor with 2 tbsp. of water (30ml). Puree the beets until they are smooth.
  5. 5
    Mix your wet ingredients. Place 1/2 cup (118ml) of canola oil in a mixer. Add 2 large eggs and 2 egg whites.
  6. 6
    Pour in 1 cup (200g) of granulated sugar. Place the paddle attachment on the mixture. Cream until it is light and smooth.
  7. 7
    Melt 3 oz. (85g) of unsweetened chocolate in a small metal pan on the stove top. When completely melted, remove from heat and add 1 tsp. (5g) of instant espresso powder. Stir to mix.
  8. 8
    Turn your mixer on a low setting. Pour the chocolate espresso mixture gradually into the butter, oil and egg. Turn the mixer off and scrape the sides of your mixer bowl with a rubber spatula.
  9. 9
    Add 1/2 cup (118ml) of unsweetened applesauce to the mixer. Then, add the beet puree and 1/2 cup (43g) of unsweetened cocoa powder. Combine well.
  10. 10
    Add 1 cup (130g) of dried cherries. Mix on medium speed.
  11. 11
    Mix your dry ingredients. Sift 1 cup (125g) of all purpose flour and 3/4 cup (90g) of whole wheat flour.
    • For an even healthier cake, replace 1/4 cup of the all purpose flour with quinoa flour. This is commonly available at health or natural food stores.
  12. 12
    Add 1.5 tsp. (5.3g) of baking powder and 1/2 tsp. (3g) of salt. Mix this in to the sifted flours.
  13. 13
    Fold in the dry mixture to the wet ingredients slowly. Stop when just incorporated. Over mixing the cake will result in a denser texture.
  14. 14
    Spray a cake pan with cooking spray. Dust it with flour. Pour the mixture into the cake pan.
  15. 15
    Bake the cake for 40 minutes on 375 degree heat. Remove the cake when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  16. 16
    Mix the frosting while the cake is baking.
  17. 17
    Heat up 1.5 oz. (44ml) of raspberry puree in the microwave. Make your own puree by placing fresh or frozen antioxidant-rich berries in a food processor.
  18. 18
    Heat 2 oz. (59ml) of heavy cream on a stove top. Stir constantly. When cream boils, add the warmed raspberry puree.
  19. 19
    Pour this mixture over 4 oz. (113g) of bittersweet chocolate. Stir until combined. This ganache can be used as a filling or a glaze.
    • For a traditional red velvet cake frosting, combine 24 ounce (680 g) (680g) of reduced fat cream cheese, 2 tsp. (9.8ml) of vanilla extract and 1.25 cups (125g) of sifted powdered sugar. Beat the first 2 ingredients together, then slowly add the powdered sugar. Stop when just combined. Spread over the cooled cake. You can also apply it on top of a layer of cooled ganache.

Method 2
Healthy Baking Substitutions

  1. 1
    Replace up to half of the oil, butter or margarine with applesauce or mashed bananas. This fruit puree adds moisture like fat would, but cuts down on the calories and saturated fat. You can also replace it with plain yogurt.
    • Replace up to half of the fat content with bean puree. Use pinto beans for non-chocolate cakes and black beans for chocolate cakes. This substitution increases the fiber and protein of your cake, making it much healthier.
    • Replace a portion of the fat with vegetable puree. Pumpkin puree and sweet potato puree are excellent choices. You can use spinach puree for a small portion of the fat in dark chocolate desserts.
  2. 2
    Replace white flour with whole wheat flour in the same amount. It works well in all cakes/cookies.
  3. 3
    Replace dairy products, such as cream or milk with almond, hemp or soy milk. In a chocolate recipe, you can replace milk with a coffee and soy or almond milk mixture for a richer taste. Remember to use unsweetened alternative milk, because many of the sweetened brands have large amounts of added sugar.
  4. 4
    Replace half to 3/4 of your all purpose flour with alternative flours. You can use almond flour, spelt flour, quinoa flour or whole wheat flour. Grind your rolled oats in a food processor to serve as oat flour.
    • Cakes with airier textures should have less all purpose flour substituted. If your cake requires fine flour, you can buy whole wheat pastry flour for a replacement.
  5. 5
    Replace the sugar with honey or agave nectar. These sweeteners still pack a lot of calories; however, they are more natural and have a lower glycemic index, so they are considered more healthy. If you use agave nectar, it is sweeter than sugar so you can use 3/4 of the sugar measurement.
    • Try reducing the amount of sugar in your cake. If you want to continue to use granulated sugar, you may be able to reduce the sugar by up to 1/3 of the measurement. A fresh cake will still taste sweet and airy with slightly less sugar.
  6. 6
    Use dark chocolate in place of milk or semi-sweet chocolate whenever possible. Look for chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa and aim to go for an even higher percentage. Your cake will taste richer while adding antioxidants.


  • If you plan to make many healthy substitutions in your cake, use a smaller ratio than 1/2 of the original amount for each replacement. Substitutions can cause cakes to turn out differently. Experiment with substitutions often to find the ideal ratios for your taste.

Things You'll Need

  • Beets
  • Honey/agave nectar
  • Dark chocolate
  • Hemp, almond or soy milk
  • Whole wheat, oat, spelt or almond flour
  • Food processor
  • Aluminum foil
  • Baking sheet
  • Fork
  • Water
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixer
  • Rubber spatula
  • Eggs
  • Canola oil
  • Granulated sugar
  • Instant espresso powder
  • Unsweetened chocolate
  • Unsweetened cocoa
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Sifter
  • All purpose flour
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Raspberry puree
  • Bittersweet chocolate
  • Heavy cream
  • Saucepan
  • Microwave
  • Reduced-fat cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Metal spatula
  • Fruit puree
  • Vegetable puree
  • Beans

Article Info

Categories: Cakes