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Chocolate Cake and Healthy Recipe Alternatives

Updated on October 1, 2019
dianew profile image

Diane is a part-time article writer. Retired but still enjoying writing, she writes on various subjects from her home in Spain.


For all those chocoholics amongst you, having established that chocolate is actually good for you, in moderation; here I’ll share with you some recipes for chocolate cake and healthy recipe alternatives for goodies to treat yourself with.

It has been established that dark chocolate is the best as far as health is concerned. The higher the cocoa content, the purer and healthier the chocolate. This is because it's actually the cocoa which is beneficial to health, so I'll start with a variation of brownies, made with cocoa powder instead of chocolate.


Healthy Recipe Alternatives

Alternative Brownies

These are very easy to make, and comparatively healthy compared to other chocolate cakes, and brownies.


100 g flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

(unless using self raising flour, which contains baking powder already)

3 medium eggs

65 g cocoa powder

350 g sugar

200 g butter

a stem of fresh vanilla, or vanilla essence

100 g chopped walnuts or pecans.

To Make:

Ignite oven to preheat to 180°C or 350°F, gas mark 4

Take a cake tin approximately 35 cm x 25 cm and line with greaseproof paper. Grease the paper and sprinkle with flour.

Soften the butter slightly for easy mixing.

Beat the eggs and add the sugar, mix well together. Add the seeds from inside the vanilla vein, or 1-2 teaspoons vanilla essence, and your softened butter. Then mix in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.

Mix well, make sure the cocoa is well distributed, and everything is mixed evenly, then add the chopped nuts and mix in evenly.

Pour into the cake tin, and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. A knife or cocktail stick piercing the centre of the cake, should come out clean. If it doesn't, it needs to cook a little longer.

When cool, dust with icing sugar or cocoa powder, or a mixture of both. Or spread with chocolate icing. You can also decorate with more nuts if you wish.

One tip for recipes which require vanilla, as well as sugar, is to keep a jar of sugar with a fresh vanilla vein inside. Split the vein in two, exposing the seeds inside, and insert deep inside the sugar. Left like this for several days, the vanilla flavour will permeate the sugar. The longer you leave it, the stronger the flavour of vanilla. This is great for cake baking, all you need is the sugar, the vanilla flavour is already there.

Healthier Chocolate Cake

Butterless Chocolate Cake

A quick recipe for Chocolate Cake, and using oil instead of butter, so more healthy, is next:


150 g flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

(or 150 g self raising flour)

Pinch salt

3 tablespoons Dark, unsweetened cocoa powder

200 g sugar

half cup water

half cup vegetable oil (sunflower is good)

two medium-sized eggs

1 vanilla vein or vanilla essence.

For a different flavour, you can add coffee to the water.

To Make:

With your oven at 180°C, 350 F, gas mark4

Grease and flour a 23 to 25 cm cake tin (9 inches approx)

Beat the eggs gently, add the oil, then the water, mixing thoroughly.

Add the sugar and mix well.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder together into the mixture. Add to the seeds from inside the vanilla vein, or 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence. Mix together thoroughly with a pinch of salt.

Pour into cake tin and bake approximately 40 minutes.

Again a knife or toothpick piercing the centre will tell you if it's cooked.

This recipe can be used as a chocolate dessert, served with hot chocolate sauce, fresh cream or ice cream. Or allow it to cool and serve as a regular cake.

Once cooled, you can spread icing over the outside, or you can slice through the centre horizontally to make two layers, and fill with fresh cream, jam, chocolate spread, according to taste.

In parts of Europe, especially Spain and Italy, they make cakes more often with oil than with butter. You will see that it doesn't change the flavour that much, and it's certainly much better for our health.

For those with gluten allergies, the French have a recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake.

This uses just butter, sugar and eggs, as well as chocolate.

For this you will need solid chocolate, with at least 50% cocoa.


200 g solid chocolate

200 g butter

220 g sugar (approx 1 cup)

4 medium eggs

One 23-25 cm cake tin lined with greaseproof paper. Grease and flour the paper.

To Make:

With your oven preheated to 180°C

Separate the yolks from the egg whites.

Melt the chocolate in Bain Marie (in a bowl over boiling water)

add the butter and stir together, also over Bain Marie.

Beat the egg yolks, and add half the sugar, mix together well, then add the chocolate and butter mixture.

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer or hand whisk, adding the rest of the sugar halfway through, whisk until stiff, as for meringue.

Fold the previous mixture gently into the egg whites, not too much so they collapse.

Pour into your cake tin and bake for around 40 minutes.

Your knife or toothpick will come out clean from the centre when cooked, but this mixture is more sticky than usual.

Once it's cooled, peel off the greaseproof paper very carefully, as it will stick, even though you greased and floured it.

This one again can be served warm as a dessert, or cold as a cake.

Sacher Torte

Rich Dark Chocolate
Rich Dark Chocolate

Sacher Torte

Sacher, possibly one of the most famous of cakes, originating in the Sacher Hotel in Switzerland, is a very rich, dark torte, a thin wedge is the usual serving, and is generally more than enough.


150 g dark chocolate, preferably at least 50% cocoa

150 g flour

6 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

175 g sugar

half a cup vegetable oil

vanilla or vanilla essence

approx 3 tablespoons water.

With the oven heated to 180°C

grease and flour a 23 cm cake tin

To Make

Melt the chocolate in Bain marie, and add the water, mixing together.

Separate the yolks from the egg whites, and beat the whites until stiff, adding half of your sugar during beating.

Whisk the yolks with the remaining sugar until smooth.

Continue to whisk, adding the oil a little at a time. Once the oil is all mixed in, add the melted chocolate.

Mix everything together, sift in the flour with baking powder, and the vanilla, and when mixed smoothly, fold gently into the egg white.

Pour gently into the cake tin, and bake between 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Leave to cool, and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours before icing or filling.

This torte usually has an apricot jam filling, but not always.

It is however, always coated with chocolate; Melt 200g dark chocolate over bain marie, add 1-2 tablespoons butter, mix together, spread quickly over torte.

(With the torte very cold from the fridge, and the chocolate just melted, this is easier.)

Black Forest Gateau

Black Forest Gateau

This is a very well-known and popular dessert gateau

Make the chocolate cake from your usual recipe, but Cook in a deep tin, so that you can cut it into three layers, or cook in three separate shallow tins.

In between the three tiers, go fresh cream and black cherries (cherries can be fresh or canned). The bottom layer of cake can be soaked in cherry brandy, kirsch, or liqueur of preference.

When you have 'built' your gateau; (cake, cream and cherries, cake, cream and cherries, cake.) You then cover the top and sides with fresh cream, sprinkle the sides with flaked chocolate, or cocoa powder. Decorate the top with black cherries and flaked chocolate. Delicious!

Now you have several ways to use chocolate and cocoa in your diet, taking in the healthy ingredients in a delicious way, but remember 'Everything in Moderation!'

Related Articles:

Chocolate with Depression

Chocolate For Breakfast Continental Style

Dairy free Chocolate Cake

Vegan Chocolate Cake

With the growing popularity of vegan diets, no recipe card is complete without a vegan alternative. Here is an easy option:


1 large, ripe avocado, approx 150gr

300g light muscovado sugar

350g plain flour

50g good quality cocoa powder

1 tspn bicarbonate of soda

2 tspn baking powder

400ml unsweetened soya milk,or nut alternative (almond, coconut, hazlenut)

150ml vegetable oil

2 tspn vanilla extract

1/2 tspn salt


Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas mark 3.
Grease two 20cm sandwich tins with a little dairy-free spread, line bases with greaseproof paper.

Put the avocado and sugar in a food processor and blend until smooth
Add the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract to the bowl, along with the salt, and process again, to achieve a liquid, velvety smooth batter.

Divide the mixture between the tins and bake 25 minutes, or until completely risen. Test with a skewer, knife or toothpick, that when inserted in the middle, come out clean.
When pans are cool to touch, turn cakes out onto colling rack to cool completely.

Melt 200g dairy-free chocolate in the microwave or over bain marie, add a little of your dairyfree milk, vanilla extract and icing sugar
Alternatively, heat some milk and mix in cocoa powder, then off the heat add vanilla and icing sugar.
For a thicker, ganache type frosting, try adding a little ripe avocado which has been whisked with a little milk or water until soft and smooth.

© 2010 dianew


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