Healthier Cake Recipes

Have your cake - and eat it too

healthier cake recipes

These healthier cake recipes will be a game changer the next time you have a party of holiday. They are also great to utilize anytime you have a sweet tooth!

Trying to stay healthy with proper diet and exercise is not always so easy in our busy world, filled with temptation at every turn. We deny ourselves, then feel resentful. We indulge, then feel guilty. The key is moderation – yes the M-Word. The spirit is willing but maintaining moderation is not always an easily attainable goal. 

Here are a couple of cake recipes that replace fat with wholesome ingredients, such as pumpkin puree, buttermilk, egg whites and applesauce, while preserving flavor and moistness. Sounds weird? Well, you won’t taste the pumpkin or the buttermilk, but you’ll notice the richness of flavor and moisture these ingredients provide without missing the fat. 

Try experimenting on your own – use grated zucchini to cut down on fat; low fat yogurt instead of sour cream; half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour to boost nutrition and fiber; chocolate chips and dried fruit for sweetness. 

This is not a free pass to eat unlimited sweets – each slice contains about 250 calories, 5 grams of fat and some sugar, so the M-Word is key. Try these ingredient changes, indulge moderately, enjoy your life! 

Healther Cake Recipes: My 3 favorites


1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 15 oz. can unsweetened pumpkin puree
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup+ chocolate chips
1 TB vanilla extract

• Preheat oven 350 degrees. Coat a Bundt pan with cooking spray.

• Whisk the flours, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder and soda, salt, spice together.

• In a separate bowl, mix buttermilk, pumpkin, brown sugar with mixer on low speed. Beat in egg and egg white.

• Stir in oil and vanilla.

• Gradually add dry ingredients, mixing just until combined, then stir in chocolate bits and pour batter into Bundt pan.

• Bake until skewer inserted in center comes out with only a few crumbs for 1 to 1-1/4 hours. Cool for 15 minutes on a rack, remove from pan and cool completely.

• Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a drizzle a glaze of ½ cup confectioner’s sugar and 1 – 2 TB of buttermilk.


3 eggs
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup canola oil
2 TB orange zest, grated
1 TB vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 TB pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
3 carrots about 2 cups (can substitute zucchini
1 cup dried cranberries or golden raisins
1 cup walnuts or pecans
8 oz non fat cream cheese
3 oz Neufchatel cheese
1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees and coat two 9 inch cake pans with cooking spray.

• In a bowl combine dry ingredients - flour, spice, baking powder and soda, salt.

• In a separate bowl electric mixer at high speed, beat the eggs, yogurt, applesauce, brown sugar, oil, half the orange zest and vanilla until combined.

Add to dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until blended. Stir in carrots, raisins, nuts.

• Scrape batter into cake pans and bake about 30 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted in center, comes out clean.

• Cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely.

• Combine frosting ingredients and 1 TB orange zest with mixer.

• Frost the layers, or skip the frosting and dust with powdered sugar.

I hope one of these healthier cake recipes suits your fancy!

Dawn Boulay is one of the Home Bodies trainers. She is also a personal chef. See her bio page.

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