Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake

Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake - Healthy Dessert Recipes

Chocolate Therapy Cakes tend to be, well, “therapeutic” in the sense that the cake immerses you into a deep, food- and sugar-induced coma.  Therapy Cakes tend to be the unhealthiest types of cakes out there so it’s understandable if you think this one will be too…  but this one is different…  this one is healthy!

I’m sure you’re raising an eyebrow.  I mean, c’mon Jessica, be real for a minute please.  A layered chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate ganache on top??  How can that possibly be good for you?

Oh, have some faith in me!

Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake - Healthy Dessert Recipes

Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake - Healthy Dessert Recipes

This chocolate cake is secretly nutritious.  Yes, nutritious.  The coconut flour is gluten free, low in carbs and high in fiber, the eggs are high in protein, full of vitamins and packed with essential minerals, and the unsweetened applesauce provides moisture and natural sweetness.  To top it off, the cake doesn’t have any bleached and refined white sugar, processed and genetically modified white flour or hormone-filled butter.  Don’t worry though, the cake still tastes good…  OH SO GOOD!

Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake - Healthy Dessert Recipes

^^ This is the initial Chocolate Therapy Cake I made.  I made this using 6″ cake pans to create a mile high 6-layer cake.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of the frosting recipe and how I sliced the cake.  It looked a bit odd to me, being so tall and narrow.  Nobody seemed to mind but me, but it bothered me so much that I made the cake again (HAH yeahhh…  the real reason I made the cake again is because it’s damn delicious)

Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake

^^ Look at how moist the cake is!

Healthy Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Chocolate Ganache

^^ Inside the 6-layer chocolate cake… what a beautiful sight!

This Chocolate Therapy Cake recipe is rich, decadent, sweet and chocolatey.  Certainly not the things we associate with healthy food, right?  But we finally can now!

Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake (gluten free)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: three 8 inch cake layers

Serving Size: 1/10th of cake, one slice

Calories per serving: 310 (vs. 990 in original recipe)

Fat per serving: 11g (vs. 66g in original recipe)

Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake (gluten free)


  • 224g (2 cups) Coconut Flour
  • 80g (1 cup) Regular Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1+1/2 tsp Double-Acting Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 7 Large Organic Eggs
  • 6 Large Organic Egg Whites
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/3 cup Brewed Coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 308g (1+1/4 cups) Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1 tbs Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Stevia Extract
  • Frosting:
  • 1+1/2 cups + 1 tbs Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 tsp Butter Flavor
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Paste (I used homemade!)
  • 2 tsp Stevia Extract
  • 210g (10 scoops) Chocolate Brown Rice Protein Powder (I used SunWarrior)
  • Ganache:
  • 1.5oz Dark Chocolate (I used CocoaWell Omega-3 Chocolate Bars)
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil


    For the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, spray three 8 inch cake pans with cooking spray and line with parchment paper circles.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, coffee, applesauce and extracts.
  4. Dump the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk very well.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for ~42 minutes, or until the surface of the cakes spring back when tapped. Let cakes cool in the pans for ~20 minutes and then flip them over onto wire cooling racks and let cool completely.
  6. For the Frosting:
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the almond milk, butter extract, vanilla paste and stevia extract.
  8. Add the protein powder and stir together.
  9. Layer the cakes and frost the cakes.
  10. For the Ganache:
  11. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring between each one, until melted.
  12. Stir in the coconut oil.
  13. Drizzle over the cake and let it solidify.
  14. Slice and enjoy!


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

Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake - Healthy Dessert Recipes

Just to prove to you how healthy this Chocolate Therapy Cake is, I thought I’d make a nutrition label for it.  I was so shocked at how nutritionally balanced and guilt-free the cake was, it made me wonder what the nutrition label of an unhealthy chocolate cake would look like.  So, I found a similar recipe online and made a nutrition label for it.

The unhealthy cake’s nutrition label (thanks to Epicurious) is on the left,  the Desserts with Benefits nutrition label is on the right:

unhealthy chocolate cake nutrition label  Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake - Healthy Dessert Recipes

Oh. My. Gosh…  990 calories in a slice of cake?!?!  Are you freaking serious??  THREE slices of my cake has less calories than ONE slice of the unhealthy one.  That’s plain old sad.

I’ll take the 310-calorie cake that tastes exactly the same — if not better — for less calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar and unhealthiness.  I’d also like to avoid the 42g of saturated fat and 50g of refined sugar (that’s more than A QUARTER CUP!) in a single sitting, thank you very much.

Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake - Healthy Dessert Recipes


Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake - Healthy Dessert Recipes

PS:  I can’t believe it’s been one year since my first post on Desserts with Benefits!  Technically, my first post ever was in April 2011 on my old blog, Chockohlawtay, but I still consider today to be my blogiversary.  Definitely a day that deserves a celebration cake, yes?  😉

47 comments on “Healthy Chocolate Therapy Cake

  1. This looks fantastic!! I can’t wait to try it. I have a question…with the frosting, do you think I could use Casein instead of the brown rice protein powder?

    • Jackie-
      Hmmm, I haven’t tried it so I can’t be sure. Whey and casein protein powders tends to get really gooey so it might not hold up well. You can give it a shot, but you might need a few extra scoops to help it thicken. Just to be safe, I would give it a taste before frosting the cake. Good luck!

  2. what can i used instead of the butter extract?

  3. Congrats on your blogiversary! This is absolutely one of the best healthy decadent baking blogs, and this cake totally illustrates that! Looks soooo yummy 🙂 I love how you’ve used easy-to-find ingredients, I don’t live in the US so it’s sometimes difficult to find some ingredients you use, but this is 100% executable!

  4. This looks like chocolate cake heaven! 🙂 Thanks for creating this lovely recipe.

  5. How gorgeous and delicious!!!! Holy cow, that would be the perfect piece of therapy for me. And totally healthy?! That cake could solve any problem in the world. 🙂

  6. How gorgeous and delicious!!!! Holy cow, that would be the perfect piece of therapy for me. And totally healthy?! That cake could solve any problem in the world.

  7. Your cake looks stunning!
    Beautiful shots.
    I am certain it would taste as good as it looks, or even better!

  8. This would be awesome for the low carb people if you left it FULL FAT and cut the carbs some way??? I guess this is a plea for help, it looks so good. 🙂

  9. wow it looks amazing!

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  11. hi stevia does not agree with us. can you recommend s sweetener alternative that does not have chemicals

    • Gina-
      I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience with stevia, however, the brand I use is organic and does not contain any chemicals.
      As for replacing the stevia, I’m afraid I don’t know of any substitutes. 2 tsp of stevia has the sweetness of 2 cups of sugar, and if you were to use a granulated sweetener (such as Sucanat or Coconut Sugar), it would absorb a lot of liquid and the cake would turn out dry 🙁
      I haven’t tried this substitution in the cake, but you can give this a shot:
      -Omit the stevia
      -Add 2 cups of Sucanat or Coconut Sugar
      -Increase the applesauce to 430g (1+3/4 cups)
      And if the batter is too dry/thick:
      -Increase the almond milk by 1/4 cup

      I hope these substitutions work out for you, I’m crossing my fingers 🙂


  12. this looks amazing! i’m planning on making it tomorrow and have a quick question: did you use natural or dutch processed cocoa powder? thanks!

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  14. I totally gonna make this cake. It looks so seductive! Any chance there’s an alternative to the apple sauce to lower the sugar content just a tad more? Hopefully without drying out the cake. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Shelby-
      Thanks so much Shelby!
      I haven’t tried replacing the applesauce with anything, but you can try using 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree instead. Because pumpkin is thicker than applesauce, you will also need to add 3-4 tablespoons MORE of the almond milk 🙂
      Or, you can keep the cake recipe the same and use sugar-free chocolate in the ganache.
      I hope the substitution works out for you, and I hope you like the cake!!

  15. Do you think this would freeze well>

    • Heather-
      Hmmm, good question! I haven’t tried freezing this cake before so I can’t be sure. I’m scared it might dry out because of the coconut flour.
      I would recommend tightly wrapping the cake after baking, when it’s just slightly warm to the touch, so that way you can lock in some of the moisture. Then, to thaw, leave it in the refrigerator overnight 🙂
      I hope this works! And I hope you like the cake!

  16. HI,

    HOw many tsp of egg replacer should i use instead! as I’m allergic to egg


  17. Could this be made in a 9×13 instead of layers?

  18. This looks AMAZIIIIINGGG! Way to go :)) is there anyway I could substitute the brewed coffee by any chance?

  19. What would work instead of protein powder?

  20. Amy Dow Robinson

    This is amazing!  I can’t believe there is no sugar or fat added to this recipe.  So clean tasting and I love that I can have a BIG slice and not feel sugar jitters.  I made this for my 5 year olds birthday cake and she loved it.  Thank you so much for sharing your recipes! You have saved me in a world full of sugar crazy, and box processed cake recipes.  

  21. Jessica,
    I recently was diagnosed with an allergy to Stevia in all forms, due to it being in the same family as ragweed. Can Erythritol be substituted?

    • Manne-
      Sorry to hear about your allergy! As for the erythritol sub, I’m not sure… I’m scared 2 cups of erythritol (or any other type of sugar) might dry out the cake.
      I haven’t tried this, but I would recommend replacing the 2 tsp of stevia with 1 cup of erythritol PLUS 2/3 cup of honey/pure maple syrup/agave. I hope this works out! 😀

  22. Hey! I was looking for coconut flour recipes and low in fat and sugar as well, and finally I found the best recipe untel now to make me more exited to try the coconut flour! However, I have 2 questions if you don’t mind: can I use homemade coconut flour? For the chocolate powder do you think if I reduced the amount it will turn good? What if I used chocolate protein powder instead of chocolate powder?  Really sorry my questions seems stupid but I never used coconut flour before. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    • Sarah-
      Yay! Glad you found this recipe 😀
      I’ve never heard of homemade coconut flour (that’s awesome!), so I can’t be sure if that would work… I wouldn’t recommend using it just in case it doesn’t turn out.
      I think you can reduce the amount of cocoa powder (let’s say, 2/3 cup?), but I definitely wouldn’t using chocolate protein powder instead. Chocolate protein powder will dry out the cake and it might make the batter super thick. I wish it was possible though! Then I’d be baking a bajillion protein cakes 😉

  23. MIchael Graham

    Dear Jessica, Your cake looks amazing. I was specifically looking for a chocolate cake which was sweetened with stevia.
    I baked the cake part this evening. I followed the recipe to the letter, but when it came to pour the batter, it wasn’t pourable. It was thick and had to be spread in the pan. And the batter didn’t rise at all. 
    I’m wondering if I could have made the batter more pourable before putting it in the cake pan and perhaps had better results. Would the addition of more eggs, egg whites and/or applesauce have been a solution, or would the batter have needed a bit more baking powder and/or baking soda to compensate? Thanks for any suggestions you can give me. Best wishes, Mike

    • Hey Mike,
      This cake batter isn’t as pourable as typical cake batters because of the coconut flour but the cake should have fixed some in the oven.
      Just wondering, what was the texture of the cake like after baking?

      • Michael Graham

        Hello Jessica,
        It looked more like a brownie than a cake layer but wasn’t brownie-like inside. It was cooked but very  dense and heavy. When I broke it apart, is behaved a bit like a flat scone or moist heavy cookie. To be honest, I didn’t like the flavor. The ingredients are so radically differnt for me in terms of those I have baked with when I baked cakes with the usual sugar, flour,butter, oil ingredients.. I don’t think I will attempt this cake again. Thanks so much for your answer. Best wishes, MIke

        • Hey Mike,
          So sorry to hear you didn’t really like the cake. Your results don’t sound at all like what I experienced in my kitchen… and I’ve made this cake multiple times so I’m not sure what went wrong. Did you measure your ingredients by weight like I did, using a kitchen scale?

          • Hi Jessica. 
            Thanks again for your feedback. I didn’t measure by weight. I have a kitchen scale but it is ounces and pounds. I never dawned on me the 224g meant a weigh measure in grams. What I will do is check out other recipes you have created and might attempt one of those. Thanks again and best wishes. Mike

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