Recipe: Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with Easy Whipped Cream Frosting

This whole wheat chocolate cake recipe is the perfect solution for anyone who wants to make a cake from scratch without spending days in the kitchen or Whole-Wheat Chocolate Cake Recipe from 100 Days of Real Foodhaving the end result look like it was decorated by a 4-year-old. Earlier this year my daughter asked me if I could “write” Happy Birthday on top of her homemade cake, and I practically laughed out loud at the thought of what that would look like.  So cake-decorating skills or not…absolutely anyone can make this “tie dye” cake turn out beautifully. And don’t be afraid to switch up the colors. I used peaches and raspberries in the pictured version, but if you want it to be more “boyish” blueberries would add some great color as well.

Before we switched to “real food” I used to make birthday cakes out of a box topped with frosting from a tub mixed with food coloring from little squeeze bottles. I’ve always loved to bake, but I never used to make cakes from scratch because I didn’t have a good “go-to” recipe and I also didn’t know any better! Now that we’ve cut all highly processed food from our diets I prefer a cake made from scratch with only a few simple ingredients when it comes time for those special celebrations. No matter how much we say junk food is okay in moderation I almost never want the highly processed, factory-made, artificial version anymore. So as I mentioned in my previous whole-wheat chocolate chip cookie recipe, this cake “breaks the real food rules” a little, but I would much rather you make this for your next celebration instead of relying on Betty Crocker (or worse – your grocery store bakery)! Feel free to check out the ingredient list for those options if you don’t believe me that this is a much better choice. :)


4.7 from 12 reviews
Whole-Wheat Chocolate Cake
Serves: 14-16 generous servings
Recipe Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
  • Cake Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour, organic pastry or white winter wheat recommended
  • 1 cup all purpose white or cake flour (or can sub whole-wheat flour), organic recommended
  • ½ cup unsweetened "dark" cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar, organic recommended
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 eggs, organic recommended
  • ⅔ cup oil (I recommend melted butter or coconut oil)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • Butter for greasing pan(s)

    Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease two 9-inch round cake pans or other sized baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients including flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  3. Make a well (hole) in the middle of the dry ingredients and drop in the water, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Mix by hand with whisk until well blended.
  4. Distribute batter evenly into the two cake 9-inch pans and bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes clean. Let cool before adding frosting.

4.7 from 12 reviews
Whipped Cream Frosting and Berry Sauce
Serves: 14 - 16 generous servings
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream, organic recommended
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar (to taste), organic recommended
  • 1 ½ recipes berry sauce with water reduced in half (subbing either frozen or fresh organic fruit for desired topping color for e.g. raspberries = bright red, peach or mango = orange, blueberries = blue, cherries = dark red)
  • Squeeze bottle or spoon
  • Toothpicks
  1. In a large bowl whip cream and sugar together using an electric mixer.
  2. Meanwhile prepare berry sauce(s) with desired fruit for topping. Let sauce(s) cool.
  3. Turn out one of the cooled cake rounds onto serving platter. Cover the top (that used to be the bottom) with whipped cream frosting. Lay second round cake layer directly on top of first frosted cake layer. Now cover the entire exposed cake with frosting including sides.
  4. Put berry sauce into a squeeze bottle or alternatively you can try to drizzle sauce onto cake with a spoon. I used a “ketchup-style” squeeze bottle with the tip cut off to make the opening at the top a little wider.
  5. Make colored circles on top of cake using berry sauce (pictured).

    Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food
  6. Using toothpicks start in the center of the cake and drag through the sauce to the edge. Repeat until desired look is achieved.

  7. For best results serve within a few hours. Keep leftovers refrigerated.
We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.


Related Posts: Whole-Wheat Chocolate Cookies

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  • Comments

    1. Lynn |

      I made this with strong coffee instead of water and 1/4 coco and used a mascarpone frosting, perfect ‘tiramisu’ cake!

    2. Paulette |

      The cake was good! I tried to make the frosting, but as I
      was mixing it separated and became clumpy and not good.
      Is it because I used cane sugar instead of the refined stuff?

      • Sasha |

        I have a similar recipe that I use quite often but this decorating idea will spice it up for a change.

        @Paulette: only mix until the cream is “stiff”. If you mix too long it’ll turn into butter chunks swimming in butter milk.

    3. Audrey* |

      You might want to edit the recipe to say (for the newbies like me that don’t know…) that you have to whip the cream and sugar on HIGH to get anywhere. I tried every speed on my mixer for about 10 minutes, except super, blown-out, all the way, high and all I had was a soupy mess. I finally thought I’d give high a try before I threw it out and it finally started to firm up. (And then it was perfect!) Might seem common place to people who bake, but I had no idea and I saw several comments from others that didn’t either.

    4. Courtenay |

      This has become our go to recipe for birthday cakes. My kids both love it, and several months ago my daughter asked for this cake with strawberries we picked. We put some in the freezer and I defrosted and drained them. I mashed them and put them in the middle, and used the extra strawberry juice to color the frosting (I actually use frosting from the cupcake recipe on this blog, but only half because it’s so sweet for us). The extra strawberry flavor was really delicious and it made my birthday girl very happy! One note for those trying this recipe for the first time, make sure you really grease those cake pans, and then allow them to cool about 30 minutes to get them out easily.

    5. Elizabeth |

      Is there really 2 Tablespoons of Vanilla in this cake recipe? Just asking because it seems like a lot. Thank you & I love your book!!!

      • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

        Hi Elizabeth. Yep, the recipe is correct. :)

    6. penelope |

      My family loves this cake. Can this cake recipe be used to make cupcakes too?

      • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

        Hi there. It can. Bake at the same temp and regular size cupcakes are usually cooked within 15-20 minutes.

    7. Kat |

      This sounds so good! I want to make it for a small birthday celebration. Could I half recipe and just use one 9″ cake pan? Thanks!!

      • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

        Hi Kat. While that is not something we have tried, I think that should work fine. And since there is an even number of eggs, you will not have to worry about splitting an egg. :)

    8. Emily |

      Made this this weekend for my son’s 2nd birthday. Loved it! I did use 1 cup white whole wheat and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour. It came out kind of dense so next time I will use all pastry flour. This is my go to recipe for chocolate cake now!

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