13 Healthy Cake Recipes

Birthday cakes, wedding cakes, just-because-you’re-craving-it cakes. Who doesnโ€™t love cake? In most households, cake is a food of celebration that brings family and friends together. But when one thinks of the foods featured in a healthy diet, cakes are seldom mentioned. Cakes are burdened with a bad reputation because they typically lack nutritional value and are chock-full of empty sugar and fat calories.ย But what about healthy cake recipes? Yes, they do exist!

Leading a healthy lifestyle means eating smart and getting plenty of physical activity to maintain a healthy weight. However, that does not mean we cannot occasionally satisfy our food cravings. If you crave cake but feel guilt-ridden when you indulge, these delicious healthy cakes recipes will allow you to satisfy your dessert desires without remorse. 

Guilt-Free Angel Food Cake

angel food cake
Tim Sackton / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Angel food cake with no butter and no egg yolks, means a cake with no fat. A generous portion smothered with fresh fruit, wonโ€™t sabotage an otherwise healthy diet. Getting its lift and lightness from beaten egg whites, angel food cake is the perfect guilt-free dessert. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 cups egg whites (approximately a dozen eggs)
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. Set aside.
  3. In a chilled mixing bowl, combine egg whites, almond extract, vanilla, and salt. Beat until frothy. Sprinkle cream of tartar on the mixture and beat again until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks. 
  4. Gently fold in sugar and flour mixture.
  5. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 5 x 9-inch loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until loaf is golden brown and top springs back from the touch. 
  7. Remove from the oven and place on a baking rack to cool. 
  8. When cool, invert to remove loaf from the pan. 
  9. Store cake in an air-tight plastic container. Refrigerate to preserve freshness. 

Zero-Cholesterol Spicy Carrot Cake

Cristina Matos-Albers / Unsplash

With zero-cholesterol, this sweet and spicy cake enhanced with apples and carrots, lets you indulge your cravings without the guilt. 

Ingredients

  • 1 package yellow cake mix (18.25 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup golden sultan raisins
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups of freshly grated apple (2 or 3 large)
  • 3 cups freshly grated carrots (4 to 6 large)
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon  
  • 1/3 cups coconut or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 3/4 cup fat-free egg product
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Use a teaspoon of the coconut or vegetable oil to coat sides and bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. 
  3. Dust baking pan with a teaspoon of the dry cake mix. 
  4. In a medium-size mixing bowl, toss carrots, apples, and raisins with 1/4 cup of the dry yellow cake mix.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, blend the remaining cake mix, egg product, spices, applesauce, and oil. 
  6. Stir in carrot, apple, and raisin mixture, blending well. 
  7. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly. 
  8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until firm, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake, comes out clean. 
  9. Cool cake in pan on a baking rack.
  10. When the cake is cool, sprinkle the top with confectioners sugar.

Healthy Fruit Cake Recipe

Bryan Ochalla / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Store-bought holiday cakes made from fruit peel, sticky-sweet candied cherries, and chewy citron are simply icky. They’re dry, disgusting, and dreadful, but fear not!

Related Post: 8 Low Sugar Fruits: A Safer Way To Snack

Todayโ€™s healthy cake recipes are moist, rich, flavorful and loaded with crunchy nuts and delicious dried fruits. Providing generous amounts of protein and fiber, a serving of this gluten-freeย healthy cake is not just good, it is good for you.ย 

Ingredients 

Fruit

  • 8 cups or about 12 pounds of your choice of diced dried fruit. Dried pineapple, apricots, raisins, dates, apples, currants, cranberries, peaches, pears, or plums.
  • 1/2 cup diced crystallized ginger (optional)
  • 3/4 cup rum or brandy (for an alcohol-free cake, substitute apple or cranberry juice)

Batter

  • 1 cup softened, unsalted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature (for a lighter, fluffier cake, substitute 4 duck eggs)
  • 3 cups gluten-free baking flour
  • 3 cups mixed unsalted nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, pecans, or Brazil nuts)
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 1 cup apple or cranberry juice

Directions

  1. In a large glass bowl, combine dried fruit and ginger with your choice of liquid marinade. Cover and allow to stand overnight. 
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  3. Choose pans, lightly grease, and flour them. This recipe makes 3 standard loaves or 16 mini loaves.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, eggs, butter, fruit juice, baking powder, espresso powder, salt, and spices. Blend well. 
  5. Fold in fruit and nuts.
  6. Spoon batter into baking pans and place them on the middle rack in the oven.
  7. Bake for two hours for large loaves, or about an hour for smaller loaves. Fruitcake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  8. Remove baking pans from oven and place on a raised baking rack to cool. 
  9. When completely cool, invert pans on a rack to release fruitcake from the pan. 
  10. Securely wrap each fruitcake with plastic wrap and store in a cool, dry place for up to eight weeks. For longer storage, refrigerate or freeze. 

Gluten-Free Apricot Almond Cranberry Cake

Vegan Feast Catering / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 pound of slivered almonds
  • 1/2 pound of diced dried apricots
  • 1/2 pound chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied orange peel
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup gluten-free baking flour
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Line two loaf pans (5 x 9 inch) with greased parchment paper. 
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk eggs with yogurt, add orange peel, vanilla, cranberries, and honey.  
  4. Sift together salt, baking powder, and flour. Add almonds. 
  5. Combine moist and dry mixtures, blending well. 
  6. Spoon batter into loaf pans 
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a loaf comes out clean. 
  8. Remove from oven and place on a baking rack to cool.
  9. When completely cool, remove from pans and dust with confectioners sugar. 
  10. Freeze or store refrigerated, in individual air-tight plastic containers, to preserve freshness.

Healthy Chocolate Cake

If you have a sweet tooth for chocolate but want to avoid refined sugar and excess butter, check out this recipe from The First Year Blog.

Related Post: 10 Basic Cake Decorating Tips For The Perfect DIY Dessert

The frosting for this cake only requires two ingredients, and the cake itself is flavored with cocoa powder rather than chocolate chips — removing a lot of the sugar that would otherwise be included.

Vegan Rhubarb Streusel Cake

Do you have a huge patch of rhubarb in your garden that needs to be used? This healthy cake recipe from Occasional Eggs is a great way to use up some of your rhubarb in a more healthful way.

One-Bowl Healthy Yogurt Cake

Image courtesy of The Clever Meal

Inexpensive, low in sugar, and high in nutrients, this yogurt cake is topped with a simple apricot jam topping for a sweet, healthy cake for any occasion.

Reduced Cholesterol Pineapple, Coconut, And Pecan Cake

reduced cholesterol pineapple coconut and pecan cake
OakleyOriginals / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Pineapple and coconut oil provide mouth-watering tropical flavor while coconut and pecans add fiber and a satisfying crunch. 

Ingredients

  • 1 package yellow cake mix (18.25 ounces)
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 16-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine yellow cake mix, undrained crushed pineapple, egg, and 1 cup of flaked coconut (reserve remaining coconut for topping). Blend well.
  3. Pour blended cake batter into a buttered, glass 9 x 13-inch baking dish. 
  4. Sprinkle batter with pecans and 1/2 cup of flaked coconut. 
  5. Bake mixture for 45 minutes. 
  6. Remove baking dish from the oven.
  7. While the cake is cooling, in a small heavy-bottom saucepan, bring almond milk, coconut oil, remaining 1/2 cup of coconut, and brown sugar to a slow boil to caramelize, stirring constantly. 
  8. Remove mixture from heat and spread topping over the cake. 
  9. Serve warm.

Healthy High Protein Peanut Butter Cake

Maybe you’re the type of person who craves peanut butter. This recipe from The Diet Chefs has 8 grams of protein, only 117 calories, and 3 grams of fat, making it one of the healthiest recipes on this list.

Healthier Hummingbird Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Image courtesy of Joyful Healthy Eats

With a similar tropical taste to the pineapple, coconut, and pecan cake above, this hummingbird cake features layers of decadent (but not too sweet) cream cheese frosting. Though the fruit does make this cake a little dense, the sweet moist flavor is absolutely delicious!

Double Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie Bites

Honey Yanibel Minaya Cruz / Unsplash

Whether an anniversary, wedding, or birthday dinner, this easy-to-make brownie recipe will be a big hit. Made with duck eggs, these thick, moist, soft, and chewy cake-like chocolate brownie bites are a fudge-y, delicious treat. 

Ingredients

  • 3 duck eggs
  • 2/3 cup softened butter 
  • 1ยฝ cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 cups gluten-free baking flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 package dark semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Butter and flour a 9 x 18-inch glass baking dish, and set aside. 
  3. Sift cake flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom together in a large mixing bowl. 
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and sour cream until smooth and creamy. Add duck eggs one at a time, blending well. 
  5. Blend dry mixture with wet ingredients, alternating dry and wet ingredients until fully combined. 
  6. Pour blended batter into buttered baking dish. 
  7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick, stuck in the middle of the pan, comes out clean. If the toothpick comes out covered with wet batter, the brownie bites are not quite done. 
  8. Spread marshmallows and chocolate chips over brownies. 
  9. Return baking dish to the oven for 3 minutes to allow chips and marshmallows to melt slightly.
  10. Remove from oven and place on a baking rack or wooden cutting board to cool. 
  11. When brownies cool, cut into 1-inch squares. 
  12. Store brownies in a covered, sealed container and refrigerate to preserve freshness.

Strawberry Banana Ice Box Cake

Image courtesy of Julie’s Eats and Treats

This no-bake ice box cake is the perfect healthy cake option for the Fourth of July, summer birthdays, and other warm-weather family get-togethers.

Related Post: Growing Strawberries

With just 11 grams of sugar and 147 calories per serving, this is a light and delicious cake that’s totally guilt-free.

Skinny Orange Creamsicle Cake

There’s something about combining zesty oranges and sweet cream that makes for a delectable dessert. This is a fairly simple recipe that requires only a few ingredients, making it an easy dessert to whip up for a last-minute barbecue or potluck.

References:

Written by Marlene Affeld

โ€œA passionate writer for more than 30 years, Marlene Affeld writes of her love of nature and all things natural. Specializing in Eco-Travel, Science, Environmental Health, Conservation, The Beauty of Nature, Sustainability, Green Issues, and Wildlife, Affeldโ€™s passion for the environment inspires her to write informative articles to assist others in living a green lifestyle.โ€

One Comment

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  1. There’s some truly delectable-sounding desserts on this list, but with those ingredients, I’m not truly buying the “healthy” angle. To be sure, they’re better than some recipes, but to really turn these into something that you won’t regret, I would recommend to substitute organic whole wheat flour for all the white, refined flour, using grass-fed butter, and take down the TONS of sugar. If you’re willing to allow your body to detox from needing so much sugar, you’ll do yourself a far better turn than demonizing calories (we do need some of those to function, after all!) gluten, and fat. Also, I can’t get behind ever using a box mix…have you read the multi-syllable ingredients on those things??

    That said, the adorably-named hummingbird cake may need to happen… Like TONIGHT.

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