Healthy Maple Cake

Craving some cake but don’t want all the calories, fat, sugar and unhealthy ingredients?  Then make this Healthy Gluten-Free Maple Cake!  One deliciously flavorful bite and you’d never suspect it’s low-fat, refined sugar-free, high-fiber and high-protein.

Healthy Gluten-Free Maple Cake (low fat, refined sugar free) - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

This cake is so incredibly moist you’ll never know it’s missing the butter and oil.

It’s super sweet too, yet naturally sweet, because it’s sweetened with applesauce and pure maple syrup.  No refined white sugar, genetically modified high fructose corn syrup or fake “maple syrup” stuff here.

And, despite being gluten-free, this cake is 100% whole grain, thanks to the brown rice flour and sorghum flour!  Plus, it has a good structure and doesn’t crumble (or taste) like sand, kind of like most storebought gluten-free baked goods.

Healthy Gluten-Free Maple Cake (low fat, refined sugar free) - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

Along with the pronounced rich maple taste, this cake gets another boost of flavor from vanilla and some ground cinnamon.  They really take the cake to the next level  :)

2 8" layers

Healthy Maple Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 160g (1 cup) Brown Rice Flour
  • 136g (1 cup) Sweet White Sorghum Flour
  • 1 tbs Double-Acting Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 246g (1 cup) Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 168g (1/2 cup) Pure Maple Syrup (I used Grade B)
  • 4 Large Organic Eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Stevia Extract
  • 1 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, sorghum flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, almond milk, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla extract and stevia extract.
  4. Dump the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and whisk together.
  5. Whisk in the vinegar, then scoop the batter into the prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until the surface of the cakes spring back when tapped.
  7. Flip the cakes over onto wire cooling racks and let cool completely.  Frost the cake, slice, and serve!

First, let me just apologize for not providing a frosting recipe here.  The frosting you see in the pictures was a little…  off.

I first tried making Maple Cream, which is basically boiled maple syrup that’s cooled and stirred until it thickens and turns opaque.  But no luck for me.  I literally stirred super thick maple syrup (like, maple syrup as thick as hardening concrete) for 40 minutes.  My arms almost fell off so I quit.

Then I made an Almond Butter-Maple Frosting.  I based it off this recipe, but I substituted almond butter in place of the cream cheese.  It frosted onto the cake just fine, but after a few hours it thickened for some reason (like, as thick as fudge).  Ugh.  I should really just follow the original recipes instead of changing them on the spot all the time, shouldn’t I?

So, I would recommend a few different frosting options:

  1. Creamy Caramel Frosting
  2. Smooth Brown Sugar Frosting
  3. Spiced Butterscotch Frosting
  4. Cinnamon-Spiced Frosting
  5. Maple Cinnamon Frosting
  6. Seven Minute Maple Frosting

This cake is slightly dense with a moist crumb, so I think a light frosting would contrast really well with the cake!

This cake could also probably be baked in a muffin tin if you want individual portion sizes.  Or, you could bake this in a loaf pan if you want a cake-loaf thing.  For some reason, I really like baking cakes in loaf pans.  I don’t know why, but I prefer square slices of cake rather than the typical triangle ones…  is that weird?

Healthy Gluten-Free Maple Cake (low fat, refined sugar free) - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

Here is a nutrition label comparison between Bon Appetit’s Maple Cake recipe and my Healthy Gluten-Free Maple Cake:

(Bon Appetit’s nutrition label is on the left, the Desserts with Benefits nutrition label is on the right)

Unhealthy Maple Cake nutrition label - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits  Healthy Gluten Free Maple Cake nutrition label (low fat and refined sugar free) - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

Wow, BIG difference, eh??

For the same amount of cake, my cake has:

  • 300 less calories
  • 14.5g less fat (and less saturated fat too!)
  • 36g less sugar
  • less cholesterol, less sodium and less carbohydrates
  • more fiber and more protein

Yum!  Now that’s what I call a healthified cake  ;-)

Healthy Gluten-Free Maple Cake (low fat, refined sugar free) - Healthy Dessert Recipes at Desserts with Benefits

Enjoy!

21 comments on “Healthy Maple Cake

  1. That looks amazing and that is perfect because i am gluten free!! i can’t wait to try it and i might make it thanksgiving!

  2. Hello there,

    I don’t prescribe to the belief that low-fat is healthy or good for the waist-line and was wondering if your use of applesauce is a substitute for oil/butter. If so, do you think I could use 1 cup oil/butter for the applesauce (or maybe 1/2 and 1/2 with applesauce)?
    I want to add fat to curb the insulin spike, which will be caused by the amount of carbs in this recipe. I hope I’m not coming off as rude…I do really think this will be good – I love maple!

    Thanks so much!

  3. …and the frosting you made had the following ingredients? Even though you say it turned into fudge…I kind of want to make it…

    Frosting:
    1 1/2 cups almond butter
    1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp maple syrup
    1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
    2 tsp maple extract
    a pinch of sea salt

  4. I would love to make the maple fudge but am confused you said “Then I made an Almond Butter-Maple Frosting. I based it off this recipe, but I substituted almond butter in place of the cream cheese. It frosted onto the cake just fine, but after a few hours it thickened for some reason (like, as thick as fudge)” but said above that you used roasted almond butter. Is there any chance of a complete recipe judging by the popular mix fudge is all the rage at the moment I am sure others would be interested as well. I will be giving the cake a try as well sounds yummy.

    • Claudia-
      I’m sorry, I didn’t write the recipe down! But, after looking back at the original recipe I think this was the “frosting-turned-fudge” recipe:
      ~2+1/4 cups Roasted Almond Butter
      1/2 cup + 2 tbs Pure Maple Syrup
      1 tbs Pure Vanilla Extract
      2 tsp Maple Flavor
      1/16 tsp Sea Salt
      To make a fudge, I would line an 8″ brownie pan with parchment paper and scoop the mixed fudge inside. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, then slice.
      Hope this helps! 😀
      -Jess

  5. This maple cake looks SO good! I love how you “healthified” it. I have a maple cake up on my site, but it’s not nearly so healthy. My passion is for healthy recipes, but in our large family, it’s too expensive to eat as healthy as I’d like – so I usually make adjustments to recipes as I am able (after I know they work well when they are “healthified”).
    Love you site and the healthy recipes you make!

    • Mandie-
      Aw thanks so much Mandie! I think any adjustment to healthify a recipe, even slightly, is the best option 🙂
      I feel like healthy food is becoming more and more mainstream so more and more stores are selling them! Costco sells coconut flour, chia seeds, natural peanut butter and organic eggs now, I love it.
      Amazon.com and iHerb.com are life savers too. I hope this helps!
      -Jess

  6. Amazing as always!! I was wondering, is there any good substitute for the sorghum flour? I order it from USA because it doesn’t exist in my country and i wanted to know maybe another flour would work, like: chickpea flour, quinoa flour, buckwheat flour or another type of gluten free flour.
    Thank you for your recipes!!!

    • Tatiana-
      I haven’t tried this recipe using another flour but you can try brown rice flour if that’s available? I’ve never used chickpea flour so I’m not sure about that. Quinoa flour and buckwheat flour might work, but I’m not an expert on exchanging gluten-free flours… YET! 😉
      I hope this cake works with another flour. I’m crossing my fingers! 🙂
      -Jess

  7. Thank you Jessica I can not wait to try it out.

  8. Thanks for the recipe. It was awesome!! Gluten free, thats all the best for me!

  9. Hey!
    This cake looks so good! Do you think subbing egg whites would work? My dad has high cholesterol but he asked me to make him a cake for new years that had no stevia in it…this seems like the one to choose! (I was gonna just leave out the stevia and leave it sweetened with only the maple syrup – he has no sweet tooth, but hates stevia!)
    What do you think?

    • Emma-
      Sorry for the delayed response, I didn’t have my computer for a week!
      I think egg whites might work instead of the whole eggs, you’ll just need to use a bit more to compensate for the lost yolks. I’d say use 8 egg whites in place of the 4 eggs.
      I wouldn’t recommend omitting the stevia but if your dad really hates it I guess you can, it just won’t be sweet at all. Hope you like the recipe!
      -Jess

  10. Hey, that cake looks great! cant wait to try it out!
    i was just wondering if i could substitude the stevia extract with normal stevia (obviously more than 2 tsp…). do you think that might work?

    thanks a lot
    -Amandiea

    • Amandiea-
      What kind of stevia do you have exactly? There are so many different types nowadays! If you’re talking about stevia in the raw, 2 tsp of liquid stevia = ~1+1/2 cups of stevia in the raw. According to the package, it should equal 2 cups of stevia in the raw but I find it really sweet. If the cake isn’t as sweet as you like, just make a sweet frosting or drizzle some pure maple syrup on top to compensate 😉
      Hope you like the recipe!
      -Jess

  11. Hi Jess, thanks a lot! I am talking about normal raw stevia, so your answer really helped me!

    Love your website!
    -Amandiea

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