Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake with Easy Whipped Cream Frosting

32 Reviews / 4.7 Average
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, 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 having the end result look like it was decorated by a 4-year-old. And while this cake does contain sugar, it's so much better made from scratch than the box cake batter.
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Whole-Wheat Chocolate Cake Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food

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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. :)


Related Posts: Whole-Wheat Chocolate Cookies

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

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Recipe Rating

  1. 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!

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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 ;) )


    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

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!!! ;-)

  14. 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!!

  15. Hi,

    This was a great recipe, really easy to follow, and my kitchen smelled heavenly when the cakes came out of the over. The only problem was when I went to make the frosting – I used two cups (not three) of heavy cream, and three tablespoons of sugar, but what I got after brisk hand whisking was not frosting but a very liquidy material – not really sure what to call it. I “poured” it over the cake, covering all sides and the layer in between and have now put it in the fridge hoping it will “solidify” in the cold.

    Can anyone tell me what I did wrong? I used “heavy cream” not “whipping cream” but from looking at other posts, it seems both are the same, so that wasn’t the problem.

    It’s a great cake so now I just need to perfect the frosting…Thanks!

  16. 4 stars
    Never made a cake before…..well…..not successfully anyway! This was so
    Easy and the results were great! Thanks so much

  17. I made this cake for my husband’s birthday and it was delicious. The recipe made a lot of whipped cream so I think next time I would only use two cups of the cream.

  18. 4 stars
    Just mixed this up and popped it in the Oven. My Husbands Birthday is next weekend and he loves chocolate cake with Peanut butter icing. So i am doing a trial run with the cake. It smells amazing! Thanks for the recipe!

  19. So yummy! I made this into cupcakes for my daughter’s first birthday and they were amazing! (I tried 4 or 5 others in the process and this was definitely the best).

  20. on liz’s comment from May 2nd, I also used honey and apple sauce because we are trying to eat much healthier. we also added 1Tbsp ground cinnamon and omg it was incredible. I never thought a whole wheat cake would taste so good and rewarding. we just added some melted dark chocolate lightly drizzled over the top of the cake since we are not big frosting eaters. amazing! 2 thumbs up!!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Heather. I think that should be fine. Coconut oil and butter exchange 1:1. Just like with coconut oil, you will need to bring it to a liquid form before adding. ~Amy

  21. I made this cake today as a run through for my daughters birthday in two weeks. While I haven’t tasted it yet, I’m wondering if anyone else found that it didn’t rise much… I used two 9″ cake pans and both vakes came out quite thinner than the traditional ‘toxic’ cakes I used to bake. I followed the recipe exactly but did choose non-aluminum baking powder and Dutch processed organic cacao. Did I do something wrong or does the photo accompanying the recipe just appear like a bigger cake? Thanks!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      No Shannon, sorry. This is one of the few recipes we have that contains some refined sugar so it is off limits during the pledge. ~Amy

  22. Just made a trial run of this cake, (minus the frosting) for a birthday party. It turned out with a pleasant flavor & very moist. The one thing that seemed to be missing was the “fluff” (as my husband described it.) Is this just because of the whole wheat factor, and can I tweak anything to maybe make it rise or “fluff” more?
    Thanks for all the great recipes!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Alicia. The whole wheat does tend to make a cake that is more dense. It may just take a bit of adjusting to a slightly different cake texture. :) ~Amy

  23. Love your blog but have to give this recipe two thumbs down. :(
    Cake sort of tasted like bad whole wheat bread with a hint of chocolate. On the plus side, though, it’s a great calorie saver since I didn’t actually want to eat any of it…except the yummy whipped cream frosting!

  24. Made this tonight– the cook time was almost double though, which I thought was odd. Anyway, can’t wait to try it! The berry sauce is amazing, as is the “frosting”. (Had to taste a tiny bit along the way.) Can’t wait to see how the actual cake part turned out!

  25. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! Made it last night… this cake is ridiculously good and tastes fresh and light… I substituted applesauce and raw honey for oil and sugar (used about 3/4c or a little less of honey and a little more than a cup of applesauce) and I pureed the mango but then decorated with strawberry slices instead of pureeing berries. SO GOOD! This will be a repeat for special occasions.

  26. Hi,
    I’m trying to make the frosting and I obviously did something wrong (I’m not a baker). I bought heavy whipping cream & added the sugar. Problem is its all runny. Did I buy the wrong kind of whipping cream? I bought the liquid you find by milk. I tried heating it to thicken & just all liquid.

    Luckily this is a trial run before party. Please help! :)

    1. Hi Krista,

      I’m not affiliated with this site, but thought I might help with your question, as I’ve done a lot of baking in my time. When you make your own whipped cream (or whipped cream frosting), you do start with heavy cream, but then you need to use an electric or hand mixer to actually whip it until you get soft peaks. It can take a little while (anywhere from 3-4 minutes to closer to 10) so you kind of just have to keep going until you get the right consistency. Hope that helps! Amanda

    2. Do not add the sugar until after you have whipped the cream. Fold in the sugar once the cream has reached your desired consistency.

  27. If making this cake a day or so before the party would you recommend freezing or just refrigerating? Wondering if you have tried this yourself? Thanks, love your blog!!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello Kim. The cake should be fine covered in the fridge over night. We do recommend that you make and apply the frosting just before serving. ~Amy

  28. How long does the whipped cream frosting look nice for once it’s on the cake? I was thinking of doing this as cupcakes for an Easter party, but worried that the frosting might lose it’s consistency, and slide off, if they are sitting out at a party.

  29. When you use coconut oil to substitute for oil in a recipe, do you measure it in solid state or liquid? or is that the same thing?