100% Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake (Birthday Cake)

I know a photo of this cake would have looked so much nicer with chocolate or white icing… but this is real life. Titus wanted an orange birthday cake, so  orange icing it is. Still looks yummy though… right??

In my determination to not buy any more flour from the store, but to grind it all myself, I almost faltered when it came to Titus’ birthday cake. In all honesty… I was a little afraid. I imagined my guests taking one bite of a whole wheat cake, and deciding to lick the icing off instead.

I was especially nervous about the outcome of this particular cake because I had to make some substitutions. As I’ve shared recently, my husband’s work has been sparse, and money has been, oh, let’s just say… non-existent! We’ve been eating strictly from our food storage, except for the milk we get from a farmer and the eggs we’re getting from Jerry’s mom.

The original recipe called for sour cream and 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares, two things I did not have. I googled how to make sour cream, but 1.) I’d used all of my cream for butter, and 2.) It takes several days to “sour”. So, this is what I did instead, using only what I had in our pantry…

Delicious Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • 1 1/4 cups finely ground soft white wheat (pastry wheat); sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I used Kosher)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 6 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened at room temp
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (substituted for 1/2 c. sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

1. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.

2. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat, stir in the cocoa powder and mix well. Allow to cool slightly.

3. In another bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar for approx. 2 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and cooled cocoa.

4. Add about a third of the flour mixture to the bowl, along with 1/4 c. mayo, and stir. Add another third of the flour mixture along with the remaining 1/4 c. mayo, and stir again. Finish up by adding the rest of the flour mixture, and stirring until well combined.

5. Stir in the boiling water. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8×8 pan.

6. Bake at 375* for approx. 35 min., or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

This cake turned out SO good. I was very happy to watch everybody gobble up their slices, and I even got several compliments on how delicious it was. Nobody could tell it was whole wheat, which makes this a definite keeper in my home!


17 thoughts on “100% Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake (Birthday Cake)”

  1. Hi, baking this cake tomorrow as 5th time, everytime I used vanilla essence. But just have a doubt this time, In the recipe, do you mean vanilla essence or extract? Please let me know. Thanks in advance.

  2. I tried this cake for my husband’s birthday. I used yogurt instead of mayo. I did not get soft white wheat, so I used hard white wheat. But still the cake came out so well. It was delicious and my husband loved it a lot. Ate it without guilt. Thank you so much for the recipe.

  3. Thank you so much for this delicious mouthwatering chocolate cake recipe! I baked this with raw organic cacao powder and home made yoghurt. It is so soft, perfect moisture, delicious. Im looking for a chocolate carrot cake, but im not satisfied with other recipes. Could you please suggest If i want to add carrots in this recipe, is there anything i need to adjust?

  4. Made this cake tonight! Used raw milk yogurt instead of mayo. Oh my. It was delicious! I am not a baker, but this cake made me look like I am! Thank you for the recipe!

  5. Hi there, normally I make a whole wheat choco zuchinni cake for bdays, but didn’t feel like dealing with the zuch this time, so decided to make a plain ol’ chocolate. I can’t vouch for the flavor of the finished product, b/c I haven’t eaten any yet, but it came out of the pan so wonderfully, and the batter tasted great! I used coconut oil in place of shortening, and used up some sour homemade yogurt I had on hand, in place of the sour cream/mayo, and also used sucanat in place of brown sugar. The best part? You made this for your Titus, and I’m making it for our Titus, who turns 3 today. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    • I love that, Priscilla!! πŸ™‚ Since sharing this recipe, I’ve been substituting coconut oil for shortening, and using organic cane sugar instead of white sugar, so I’m happy to see you experimenting with healthier ingredients. Let me know if it turns out good! Happy Birthday to your little man πŸ˜‰

  6. I’m soooo glad I found this recipe. I have some sprouted whole wheat flour I was looking to use in a chocolate cake. I wanted a bundt cake so I doubled your recipe. Used four Tbs of coconut oil instead of shortening. Used 2.5 cups of florida crystals and 2 Tbs molasses intead of brown sugar (which I didn’t have on hand). I used sour cream. I added two Tbs of Cafix (natural instant coffee) to the boiling water. Greased the pan with palm oil shortening and dusted it with cocoa powder. It baked at 350 for about 45 mins. Came out of the pan beautifully! Can’t wait to taste it this eve with some friends. I’ll let you know how it tastes! Thanks again!

  7. LOVED the recipe…so difficult to get a chocolate cake right using whole wheat flour but this recipe is awesome…thanks:)

  8. Kendra

    let me say first i LOVE your blog! I am so excited when i see a new post pop up in my reader πŸ™‚

    I do the same thing with substitutions…praying for the best and rejoicing when they work!!

    I wanted to share a cake recipe with you that i have had great success with and it is my “go to” chocolate cake recipe. My husband actually prefers it without icing (crazy man!) but i will also include my two recipes for the two icings i use. It is called a wacky cake but i call it my “two days before payday” cake because it is eggless and milkless, (now that i have my own hens, eggs aren’t a problem anymore πŸ™‚ )

    My family can’t tell the difference and i have been making this with fresh milled whole white wheat (prairie gold) and it is delicious!

    here’s the recipe:
    Wacky Cake:

    3 cups WW flour (when using fresh milled, you might need to add in another 1/2 – 1 cup more for the right consistency – though this is a runnier than normal batter)
    6 Tablespoons cocoa
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 cups sugar
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    2 cups cold water
    3/4 cup oil
    2 Tablespoons vinegar
    2 teaspoons vanilla

    Mix together the dry ingredients and then add the liquid ingredients. Stir well and poor into desired pan. Bake at 350 about 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

    2 2/3 cup powedered sugar
    1/3 cup cocoa
    1/3 cup butter, softened
    2-3 Tablespoons milk….add this gradually until it is at desired consistency.

    and MY favorite frosting for this cake is Peanut Butter icing!

    Peanut Butter Frosting

    1 cup creamy peanut butter
    8 tbsp butter at room temperature
    2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
    3-4 tbsp milk
    2 tsp vanilla extract

    Place peanut butter and butter in large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 3 tbsp milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy. Blend in up to 1 tbsp milk if the frosting seems too stiff.

  9. YAHHH so glad to see this! We were just talking about birthday cakes yesterday and my husband asked if I thought whole wheat would be okay in a cake. I can’t wait to try this!

  10. Good on ya for making do! We substitute all the time as we are dealing with multiple food allergies. Glad it worked out for you.
    Happy birthday Titus!


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