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. :)

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Cake

Recipe Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
4.7 from 32 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 18 mins
Total Time: 28 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 14 slices

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease two 9-inch round cake pans or other sized baking dish.
  • In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients including flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Notes

We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Whole-Wheat Chocolate Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 242 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 23mg8%
Sodium 54mg2%
Potassium 193mg6%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 18g20%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 35IU1%
Calcium 65mg7%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food

Whipped Cream Frosting and Berry Sauce

Whipped Cream Frosting and Berry Sauce
4.7 from 32 votes
Prep Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 3 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream organic recommended
  • 3 tablespoons sugar organic recommended, to taste
  • 1 ½ recipe 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). See link below.

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, whip cream and sugar together using an electric mixer.
  • Meanwhile prepare berry sauce(s) with desired fruit for topping. Let sauce(s) cool.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Make colored circles on top of cake using berry sauce (pictured).

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

  • For best results serve within a few hours. Keep leftovers refrigerated.

Notes

Tools needed: squeeze bottle or spoon, and toothpicks.
We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Whipped Cream Frosting and Berry Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 869 Calories from Fat 792
% Daily Value*
Fat 88g135%
Saturated Fat 55g344%
Cholesterol 326mg109%
Sodium 91mg4%
Potassium 179mg5%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 3500IU70%
Vitamin C 1.4mg2%
Calcium 155mg16%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Related Posts: Whole-Wheat Chocolate Cookies

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231 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with Easy Whipped Cream Frosting”

  1. Jacqueline McIlmoyl

    5 stars
    This cake is delicious. There is no way to tell that it is mostly whole grain! We ate it without the whipped cream on top and it was fantastic. Obviously, the whipped cream would be amazing, but we couldn’t wait that long! :) It was a lovely texture and is nice and moist throughout. We baked it in one 9×11 rectangle pan for 22 minutes.

  2. Shibani Chhabria

    Made it.. loved it!
    Used olive oil and even added 2 heaped tablespoons of ground flaxseed. Kids loved it and no complaints on the flaxseed.
    Thank you!

  3. What could I use as a sugar substitute? 1.25 cups seems like a lot. I am wanting to make my son’s first birthday cake. Could I use sweet potato or? Any other ideas?

    1. I am going to attempt to make it with coconut sugar – which is lower on the glycemic scale – and I am going to drop it to 3/4 cups. I always use half the amount of sugar suggested.
      I will let you know how it turns out.

  4. 5 stars
    So wonderful ! Used brown sugar instead, my 14 year old daughter made the cake, the whipped cream frosting and a cherry berry sauce. All 12 kids and 4 adults loved it for Daddy’s birthday !

  5. Yup – it’s a keeper!!! It even worked great in our bunny shaped cake pan! Thanks for a great recipe!! :-D

  6. 5 stars
    We absolutely love this cake! I would love to use this recipe for cupcakes – can you give me an idea on baking time? Thanks!

  7. Does the cake recipe really call for 2 tablespoons of vanilla? Just wondering if it should be teaspoons?? I hope you can answer this question fast…am making it right now! : )

  8. 4 stars
    Great recipe, thanks!

    Right now I’m on whole wheat, no sugar diet. This is the only recipe for chocolate cake that I was able to find that used any whole wheat flour! Do you have any idea how this would taste fully whole wheat and with a sugar substitute?

  9. I’m not a baker but want to use this recipe for cup cakes for my daughter’s 2nd birthday next week. Can I frost the cup cakes the day before, will the frosting he up?

    1. Hi Jenny,

      What I do when I don’t want to use white instead of wholemeal flour is add 20% ground oats or 10% ground flax. That way I’m replacing the good I’m losing from the wholemeal with something as good or better.

      Oats do change the texture though, and generally make something denser. Flax generally keeps things light.

  10. Any recommendations for a good egg substitute for this recipe? Flax is our go-to usually. Will that work?

  11. 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!

  12. 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!!

    1. 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. :)

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

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

  13. 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!!!

  14. 5 stars
    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.

  15. 5 stars
    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.

  16. 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?

    1. 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.

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

  18. 5 stars
    I have made these into cupcakes in the past and again today for my daughter’s birthday. They turned out great! I didn’t alter the recipe at all. I just kept an eye on them as far as cook time. I think today they took about 15 minutes. I had many compliments. Thank you for the great recipe!

  19. Kate Tellschow

    Have you ever used this recipe to make cupcakes? Just curious how they turned out. I wouldn’t think much would need to change but hey, what do I know! Appreciate your feedback

  20. I made brownies using coconut oil and it had quite a strong coconut taste. Can this be lessened by liquifying the oil? I don’t like the flavor of coconut.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Kerry. Liquifying will not effect the oil’s flavor. You might try a different brand or you could use butter. ~Amy

  21. Could you make this but eliminate the cocoa to make yellow cake? This recipe doesn’t have as many steps as the yellow cake recipe on this site…..

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Lauren. That is not something we’ve tried to do with this recipe. If you experiment, let us know. ~Amy

      1. I tried making it without cocoa. The batter was too moist so I added 1/2 cup white flour & then it seemed right. This made 24 cupcakes. They are really moist & light. Without frosting they taste like sweet plain muffins but with frosting they taste more like cup cakes.

  22. 4 stars
    Made this for my son’s second birthday. It was really good and all the guests loved it! The frosting, as others here seem to think too, made way too much, so next time I’d probably halve it. Instead of decorating with the berry sauce we just had it in a bowl for guests to pour on top. It was so delicious.

  23. 5 stars
    We tried this today for my husband’s birthday cake. It is a very moist cake, and the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten. No need for box mix when this can be your treat. Yum!

  24. This recipe looks great…. I want to make my son’s 2nd birthday cake in the shape of a 2. Do you think the texture of this cake would cut well? Also, can I make it ahead of time (minus the frosting) and freeze it?

    (oh and you “decorating” has completely inspired me for my 4 year old’s birthday, which is next on my list– change the colors a bit and that looks close enough to a Spiderman cake ;) )

    Thanks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Heather. Cutting it into a shape is not something we have tried but I don’t see why you couldn’t. I think it will freeze fine, too. ~Amy

  25. I made this cake (with your vanilla icing recipe and topped with Unreal peanut butter cups) for my husband’s birthday and it was a hit! We all (we have two sons ages 2 and 6) agreed that this was the best cake we have ever eaten! My 6 yr old is already asking when we can make it again. I will never buy a box cake mix ever again and I will make this cake as often as I can so others can enjoy it too! Thank you so much for sharing all of these wonderful recipes and tips. This is by far one of my favorite blogs!

  26. YUMMMY!!! My husband and 3.5 yr old just made this for my b-day, it is sooo good! We used 1/2 the whip cream frosting recipe and did one raspberry sauce and one blueberry sauce. We both agreed this was one of the best cakes we’ve ever had. Super moist and not too sweet or overpowering. The frosting was perfect too! Thanks for a delicious recipe, I couldn’t have found it on a better day! Happy Birthday to me!

  27. I would really like a processed sugar free cake recipe for my daughter’s birthday. Would honey or maple syrup work instead of the sugar?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Carla. If honey or maple syrup worked well in this recipe, it is what Lisa would have used. :) You could experiment, though. ~Amy

  28. This was the first from scratch cake I made and it was a huge hit! Thank you so much. I didn’t use the whipped frosting, but I doubled this for my son’s first birthday and did cupcakes as well. No one could believe it was my first from scratch cake. Now making cupcakes again for Christmas. Use WW pastry floor and white ww flour with coconut oil and it’s delicious.

  29. I want to make a cake for my diabetic brother so he has a dessert to eat this Christmas. Can Coconut Palm sugar be used instead of cane sugar? I know the frosting will come out brown, but that is ok.

  30. Hi! I am about to make this cake but want to clarify the flours to be used. I was going to just use whole wheatnpadtry flour. Would that work or should I do 1 cup wwpf and 1 cup reg whole wheat flour???? Tia!!! ;-)

  31. Awesome recipe!!! I also made this for my husband’s birthday dinner!! I substituted the sugar for maple sugar and added agave to the frosting with a touch of vanilla. I also put fresh strawberries in the middle and on the top with sprinkles. This was my first two layer cake and it was easier than I thought!!

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