Healthy Chocolate Pear Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting (low fat, low sugar, gluten free) - Desserts with Benefits

Just by looking, would you ever guess that this Chocolate Pear Cake is… dare I say… healthy?  *gasp!*

It’s true, it’s true.  I would never lie to you!

Healthy Chocolate Pear Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting (low fat, low sugar, gluten free) - Desserts with Benefits

Healthy Chocolate Pear Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting (low fat, low sugar, gluten free) - Desserts with Benefits

Most desserts are bad for your health, horrifically caloric and leave you feeling guilty.

The giant slice of cake you see here is nutritious (especially for the chocolate monster inside you) and low calorie.  Even though it tastes like something damn unhealthy from a restaurant or bakery, it sure as H-E-double-hockey-sticks won’t leave you feeling like you threw your diet off track.

Life is good when this Healthy Chocolate Pear Cake is in front of your face  ;)

Healthy Chocolate Pear Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting (low fat, low sugar, gluten free) - Desserts with Benefits

This Healthy Chocolate Pear Cake is incredibly moist and insanely chocolatey.  The Caramel Frosting is sweet and creamy and pairs just right with the chocolate, pear and spices.  One bite and you’ll be hooked.

Healthy Chocolate Pear Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting (low fat, low sugar, gluten free)

Yield: two 8 inch cake layers

Healthy Chocolate Pear Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting (low fat, low sugar, gluten free)


  • 1 cup Whole Organic Eggs (~4 large)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbs Organic Egg Whites
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 196g (1 cup + 2 tbs) Granulated Sweetener*
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbs Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 206g (3/4 cup + 1 tbs) Pear Puree** (applesauce works too)
  • 1 tsp Caramel Flavor
  • 150g (1+1/3 cups) Coconut Flour
  • 27g (1/3 cup) Unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 27g (1/3 cup) Unsweetened Regular Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp Apple Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • Frosting:
  • 12g (1 tbs) Non-Hydrogenated Shortening (coconut oil might work too)
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Stevia Extract
  • 1 tsp Caramel Flavor
  • 1/4 tsp Butter Flavor (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 105g (5 scoops) Vanilla Brown Rice Protein Powder (I used SunWarrior)
  • 150g (1+1/4 cups) Powdered Erythritol


    For the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a stand mixer bowl, add the eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract, granulated sweetener, almond milk, pear puree and caramel flavor. Stir on low while you complete the next steps.
  3. Generously spray two 8" cake pans with cooking spray (I also lined the pans with 8" parchment paper circles)
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the coconut flour, both cocoa powders, apple pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Stand mixer still running, slowly add in the dry ingredients. After all is added in, mix on medium speed for ~20 seconds.
  6. Take bowl off mixer and scoop batter into the prepared pans, tap the pans on the counter to level the batter. Bake for ~45 minutes, or until surface springs back when tapped. Flip cakes onto a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the Frosting:
  8. In a microwave-safe bowl, add the shortening and almond milk and microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each one, until shortening is melted.
  9. Stir in the extracts and salt.
  10. Stir in the protein powder, then stir in the powdered erythritol. Frost cakes once completely cool. Refrigerate for ~10 minutes to firm up the icing, then slice and serve!


*I used 1/2 cup + 2 tbs Coconut Sugar, 1/4 cup Sucanat and 1/4 cup Granulated Erythritol

**I took two 15oz cans of pear halves packed in 100% juice, drained them and pureed them in a blender until smooth.

This recipe is: low fat, low sugar, high fiber, high protein, gluten free!

Recipe adapted from: Decadent Chocolate Cake

Healthy Chocolate Pear Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting (low fat, low sugar, gluten free) - Desserts with Benefits

So, this cake tastes completely unhealthy.  It tastes like it’s packed with sugar and butter, like I had slipped into a trance and bought it from Paula Deen a bakery.  With every bite I had to convince myself that what I was eating was actually healthy.  I reviewed the ingredient list over and over, wondering how something that tasted so rich and chocolatey could actually be nutritious.  I ended up calculating the nutrition facts, expecting each slice to have at least 300 calories and 15g of fat.  But I was so wrong…

Healthy Dessert Blog  Healthy Dessert Blog

(LEFT- nutrition label for the cake itself;  RIGHT- nutrition label for the cake + frosting)

I sat in my chair, confused, when I saw the results.  One slice with frosting has only 230 calories and 6g of fat?!  This is what I dream about.  Oh, and it has 9g of filling fiber and 17g of satiating protein?  Wow, I don’t feel guilty after all…  Well, onto the next bite I go!

Healthy Chocolate Pear Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting (low fat, low sugar, gluten free) - Desserts with Benefits

Healthy chocolate cake?  Nope, that’s not an oxymoron anymore!

Labels: Applesauce, Brown-Rice-Protein, Cakes-and-Cupcakes, Caramel, Chocolate, Coconut-Flour, Coconut-Sugar, Egg-Whites, Eggs, Erythritol, Gluten-Free, High-Fiber, High-Protein, Icings-Frostings-and-Spreads, Low-Fat, Low-Sugar, Pear, Sucanat

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Comments (19)

  1. Vivian Pang: December 22, 2012

    I used to read your recipe and this is my 1st time dropping comment. This cake really light and yet look delicious! Love your blog!

  2. Kammie @ Sensual Appeal: December 23, 2012

    Oh my gosh, this cake is just beautiful!! I’ve never had the pear chocolate combo but I can sense it would taste glorious!

    Happy holidays!

  3. Anonymous: December 23, 2012

    Hi Jessica! I buy my protein powder in bulk, so I don’t have a scooper to know how much a scoop is. Could you give a cup estimate of about how much one scoop is?

  4. For the protein powder I used, it should be around 3/4 cup PACKED. Once all the ingredients are together, it should look very similar to buttercream frosting. If it’s too thin, just add 2 tsp more protein powder or erythritol (depending on your taste, I like super sweet frostings, but you may not).
    Hope this helped, and I hope you like the frosting :)

  5. Thanks Vivian!

  6. Rhosanna: December 28, 2012

    Hi Jessica!
    Bolo maravilhoso!! Amei a idéia!
    Muita luz e paz para o ano de 2013 , para você e sua família!

  7. Molly: January 5, 2013

    I’ve recently made this, and every time I eat a slice I get all confused and have to take another look at the ingredients just to convince myself it really isn’t what it taste like. I honestly cannot believe this is all good for me.
    Outstanding, keep it up! :D

  8. Awww thanks Molly :)
    I’m so glad you like the cake!!

  9. Jessiker: January 14, 2013

    Wow!! I need a piece of this – such a unique idea but looks great! My name is Jessica too!

  10. Casey: January 31, 2013

    Looks too good to be true!

  11. Tina: February 27, 2013

    Hi Jessica,
    I have a couple friends who are allergic to coconut, is there a good substitute for the coconut flour?

  12. dessertswithbenefits: February 27, 2013

    Hi Tina- I’m afraid the coconut flour is a very unique ingredient, and I have yet to find a replacement for it. Coconut flour absorbs A LOT of water and tends to be on the crumbly side, that’s why there are so many eggs in the recipe. In my experience, soy flour is similar to coconut flour in that it absorbs a lot of liquid, but I don’t think it would be a good replacement as it has an unpleasant flavor.
    If you are dead set on making this recipe without coconut flour, I would refer to this chart. :)

  13. Sara: March 26, 2013

    Wow, can I just say that I’m in love with this cake? Actually, I’m in love with basically everything that’s in your web. Right now I’m in a super strict diet, but when I’ll finish it, I will make almost one of your recipes every week, I’ve always made super unhealthy cakes and I want to try something healthy AND tasty :)
    I have a little question… In your recipes, you say “granulated sweetener”, but if I don’t have any of the sweeteners that you name, can I use regular white sugar? I know it wouldn’t be as healthy, but would it turn out right?
    Thank you anyway, have a nice day! :)

  14. dessertswithbenefits: March 28, 2013

    Thanks Sara! Yes, white sugar will work just fine. Hope you like the recipe :)

  15. LeAnn White: April 7, 2013

    Hi Jessica:

    Can you please explain the sodium content? It is a concern? Is the amount normal for what is called for in the ingredient list? Thanks for your response in advance!

  16. dessertswithbenefits: April 11, 2013

    Hi LeAnn,
    I double checked the sodium content and it is correct… a little high but correct. I would not be concerned about the sodium unless you have high blood pressure or another related issue. Just FYI, eggs are naturally very high in sodium, and there is 1/4 tsp of salt in the frosting for that “salted caramel” taste. You can certainly omit the salt in the frosting, but it helps even out the flavor. It is also helpful to note that typical bakery desserts or restaurants desserts are extremely high in sodium (many chocolate cakes use 1 tsp of salt instead of 1/2 tsp, seen here in this recipe).

  17. Caitlin Northern: October 4, 2013

    This recipe looks amazing! I really like the look of a lot of your recipes but unfortunately I live in New Zealand, where you just can’t buy a lot of the special ingredients you use, like butter extract, caramel extract, and different flours like coconut flour and peanut flour :(

  18. dessertswithbenefits: October 6, 2013

    Awww that’s too bad!! I encountered the same problem when I visited Canada, even though we are on the same continent :(
    Have you checked online? I buy most of my baking ingredients online because it is cheaper and easier, especially with, but I am not sure how shipping works when it comes to different countries. I also like websites like and … maybe there are similar websites that ship to your country? I hope so!!

  19. Dina: November 6, 2013

    it looks amazing!

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