6 Healthy, Diet-Friendly Cake Recipes Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth

Dieting shouldn’t cause you to feel deprived, which can happen when you swear off all sweets and treats. Fortunately, there’s a way for you to enjoy a slice of cake and lose weight, too. These diet-friendly cakes cut down on calories and fat by using nutritious ingredients that contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Whether you’re longing for a piece of Carrot Cake, Dark Chocolate Orange Cake, or Green Tea-Almond Cake With Coconut Glaze, these six recipes will curb your cake cravings without derailing your diet.

Source: iStock

1. Makeover Easy Apple Cake

Consisting of rich cinnamon and apple flavors, Taste of Home’s decadent cake is a dieter’s dream come true. Unsweetened applesauce takes the place of butter, while flaxseed, apples, cinnamon, and walnuts provide you with ample health benefits. Men’s Fitness notes that walnuts are a good source of protein, fiber, and the healthy fat alpha-linolenic acid, which is good for your heart and can strengthen your bones. In addition, WebMD explains that flaxseed contains heart-healthy omega 3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber.


  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup sugar blend
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups finely chopped peeled tart apples
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1¼ cups reduced-fat whipped topping

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, applesauce, sugar blend, eggs, oil, and vanilla until well-blended. Combine the flour, flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. Fold in apples and walnuts. Transfer to a 13-by-9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 28 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with whipped topping.

Source: iStock

2. Carrot Cake

Contrary to popular belief, many carrot cakes are not healthy. Eating Well’s version, however, has about 40% fewer calories and 50% less fat than most carrot cakes. This recipe, which yields 16 servings, uses less oil in the batter and no butter in the frosting, creating a slice of cake that contains 342 calories, 17 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber. Thanks to the carrots, walnuts, and whole-wheat pastry flour, one piece provides 40% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A and 12% of the recommended daily value of fiber.



  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup nonfat buttermilk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots, 4 to 6 medium
  • ¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted


  • 12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut chips, or flaked coconut, toasted

Directions: To prepare cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Drain pineapple in a sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids. Reserve the drained pineapple and ¼ cup of the juice. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and ¼ cup pineapple juice in a large bowl until blended. Stir in pineapple, carrots, and ¼ cup coconut. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended.

Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. To prepare frosting and finish cake, beat the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Source: iStock

3. Dark Chocolate Orange Cake

Rich chocolate and zesty orange flavors pair perfectly in Cooking Light’s heavenly cake. This recipe calls for fresh orange juice, which contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts the immune system and protects the body against the harmful effects of free radicals, according to Livestrong. In addition, this fudgy cake calls for cocoa powder, which may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. SFGate notes that cocoa powder is a good source of iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and flavonoids.


  • Cooking spray
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
  • Orange rind strips (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray; line bottom of pan with parchment or wax paper. Wrap outside of pan with aluminum foil. Place ¾ cup sugar and eggs in a bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed for 7 minutes. Combine cornstarch and cocoa in a small bowl; set aside. Place juice, liqueur, water, salt, and chocolate in a small glass bowl; microwave on high 1 minute or until almost melted, stirring every 20 seconds until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture; whisk until smooth.

Gently stir ¼ of egg mixture into chocolate mixture; gently fold into remaining egg mixture. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Place pan in a 13-by-9-inch baking pan; add hot water to larger pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until top is set. Remove cake pan from water; cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula; cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with powdered sugar and rind just before serving, if desired.

Source: iStock

4. Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake

Chocolate lovers will appreciate this moist Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake, which contains whole-wheat flour, low-fat yogurt, and shredded zucchini. The recipe, which is in Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass’s cookbook, The Flat Belly Diet Cookbook, via Prevention, yields 12 servings, with each containing 361 calories, 17 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber. Organic Facts notes that zucchini is a good source of vitamins A and C, protein, potassium, folate, and fiber.


  • 1¾ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat an 11-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs, sugar, yogurt, oil, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Whisk in the zucchini and 1½ cups of the chips. Stir into the flour mixture just until blended.

Spread into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 1½ cups of chips over the cake. Spread with a small spatula as they melt to form an icing, placing back into the warm oven, if needed, for about 1 minute.

Source: iStock

5. Green Tea-Almond Cake With Coconut Glaze

Veganuary’s sweet and invigorating cake contains lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, almonds, and matcha green tea, which provide the cake with fantastic flavors and your body with noteworthy nutrients. Shape states that matcha green tea can boost your body’s ability to burn fat, may reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol, improves your brain function, and may reduce your risk of ovarian, breast, prostate, and endometrial cancers.



  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • ¾ cup non-dairy milk
  • 1⅓ cups whole wheat, spelt, or mixed gluten-free
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raw almonds, toasted and chopped


  • 1 can light coconut milk, placed in the refrigerator overnight and unshaken
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flaxseed meal and non-dairy milk. Set aside. In another medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, matcha, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a larger bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk in the flax mixture. Add a third of the dry mixture at a time to the wet mixture, stirring well to combine after each addition. After all the dry ingredients are incorporated, stir in the almonds.

Scoop the batter into the oiled loaf pan, place in the oven, and immediately lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before placing on a cooling rack to cool completely. While the cake bakes, prepare the glaze. Carefully pour only the creamy white liquid at the top of the can of coconut milk into a medium-sized bowl, taking care to get as little as possible of the clear coconut water at the bottom of the can into the bowl.

Reserve the leftover coconut water for smoothies. Whisk in the arrowroot, syrup/nectar, and vanilla. Place the glaze in the refrigerator until the cake has cooled. Once the cake has cooled completely, place it onto a baking sheet and spoon the coconut glaze over the top, letting the glaze drizzle down the sides of the cake. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and either serve immediately or, for a moister texture, allow the cake to sit for a couple of hours while the glaze soaks in.

Source: iStock

6. Toasted-Coconut Layer Cake

With its creamy frosting and divine flavors, this Toasted-Coconut Layer Cake is simply irresistible. Health notes that unsweetened coconut milk gives this cake its rich texture, while providing you with immune-boosting benefits. The recipe yields 16 servings, with each containing 378 calories, 15 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber.



  • Cooking spray
  • 1⅓ cups sugar, divided
  • ⅓ cup sweetened dried coconut
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2¼ cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (13½- or 14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 2 cups sweetened dried coconut
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat two 9-by-1½-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Dust with flour; shake out excess, and set aside. To make cake, place 1 cup sugar and ⅓ cup coconut in a food processor; process until coconut is finely ground. Transfer to a large deep bowl. Add butter and remaining ⅓ cup sugar to bowl; beat with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour mixture alternately with coconut milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in vanilla. Evenly divide batter between the 2 prepared pans. Bake cakes until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Leave oven on. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack; cool completely. To make frosting, place coconut on a large baking sheet; toast until golden brown, stirring twice.

Place egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in a large deep heatproof bowl set over about 1½ inches of simmering water; beat with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until peaks form when beaters are lifted. Remove from saucepan; continue beating until frosting is cooled. Beat in vanilla. Carefully place 1 cake layer on a plate. Using a spatula, spread a layer of frosting over top of cake; top with remaining cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of entire cake. Sprinkle toasted coconut over entire cake.

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