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20 Healthy Cake Recipes That Taste Incredible

If you have a diet plan to follow but love you some good cake, these 20 healthy recipes are for you! 

Let’s cut right to the chase. Everybody loves cake, right?

Right.

But as we all know, your favorite cake from your favorite bakery doesn’t exactly win awards in the “healthy diet department.

And especially not when you’re watching your macros.

Well, these cake recipes are here to the rescue.

Trying to cut back on sugar and calories?

Then skip the icing and reduce sweetness with Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake or Skinny Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Glaze.

Looking to cram in as much protein as possible?

Then complement your daily dose of protein powder with Birthday Cake Protein Blondies, Protein Pop Tart Cakes, or High-Protein Cinnamon Cake Bars.

Have food sensitivities or allergies?

Give the Almond-Orange Flan a try if you’re lactose intolerant, or whip up the Flourless Lemon Poppyseed Breakfast Cake or Apple Chickpea Cake with Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting if you’re gluten free.

Just as concerned with your micros as you are with your macros?

Then sneak healthy nutrients into your sweets with Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake or the Kabocha Squash Spice Cake.

My point? You can have your cake and health goals, too.

Enjoy!

Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake

Serves 10

This lightly sweetened cake is great with coffee or tea in the afternoon. And with fresh orange slices decorating the top, it would be a shame to cover it up with extra sugar in the form of frosting.

Like other upside-down cakes, it has a caramel top instead. This one has the distinctive flavor of cardamom, and the cornmeal goes well with the mixture of olive oil and Greek yogurt, used in place of butter.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

327

Calories

6 g

Protein

46 g

Carbs

14 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 blood oranges

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup fine ground cornmeal

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cardamom

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 large eggs, room temp.

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. blood orange zest

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Vanilla Protein Cupcakes with Protein Glaze

Serves 6

Vanilla cupcakes might not seem as exciting as the off-the-wall flavors on Cupcake Wars. Yet then you’re missing the best part.

Since vanilla is a flavor that goes with everything, these can be topped with any kind of icing, glaze, or frosting. These have a whey protein glaze for maximum nutrition, but you could go for a thicker frosting with a scoop of vanilla whey isolate, chilled coconut cream, and shredded coconut.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

199

Calories

15 g

Protein

16 g

Carbs

9 g

Fat

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcakes:

1/2 cup almond meal

1/4 cup vanilla brown rice protein powder

1/4 cup unrefined coconut sugar

1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 large egg

2 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)

 

Glaze:

1/4 cup (about 1 scoop) WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate

1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

1/4 cup reduced-fat cream cheese

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Birthday Cake Protein Blondies

Serves 8

When you’re craving cake but what your body needs is a post-workout snack, this protein bar provides the perfect compromise.

These look like white cake with sprinkles, but there’s no wheat flour in this recipe. The base of the batter is vanilla whey protein powder, plus a little coconut flour for flavor and texture.

Even the frosting is practically sugar-free with cream cheese, Greek yogurt, more whey powder, and just enough stevia to sweeten it up.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

100

Calories

12 g

Protein

23 g

Carbs

3 g

Fat

Ingredients

Cake Blondies:

1 1/2 scoops WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate

1/2 cup erythritol (or baking stevia)

2 Tbsp. coconut flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. baking soda

Dash of salt

1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. coconut butter (or cashew butter)

2 large egg whites

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. sprinkles (optional)

 

Frosting:

1/2 cup whipped cream cheese

1 scoop WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate

2 Tbsp. Truvia

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Cardamom Chocolate Mousse Cake

Serves 8

This cake is for serious chocoholics. It replaces butter or oil with cacao butter, which can be bought as wafers or as big chunks that can be chopped up.

Either way, you’ll need to melt it in a double boiler – which is a fancy way of saying put a heat-resistant mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water.

With the steam trapped under the bottom of the bowl, it’ll provide a consistent, low heat to melt more delicate ingredients like chocolate or cacao butter.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

439

Calories

7 g

Protein

21 g

Carbs

37 g

Fat

Ingredients

4.5 oz. cacao butter

3/4 cup raw cacao powder, sifted

4 Tbsp. pure honey (or to taste)

1 can (13.5 oz.) full-fat coconut milk

1 Tbsp. ground cardamom

2 large eggs

1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional topping)

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5-Ingredient Cake Batter Fudge

Serves 18

These mini treats will satisfy cake cravings without the flour or frosting. They’re not exactly low-fat snacks, but that’s because they’re made from a mix of cashew and coconut, making each square as filling as traditional fudge.

Even if you can’t find cashew butter, or prefer to save a few grams of fat as well as a few dollars, almond butter will be delicious in this recipe too.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

136

Calories

3 g

Protein

8 g

Carbs

11 g

Fat

Ingredients

3/4 cup cashew butter

3/4 cup coconut butter

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. rainbow sprinkles

Get the Recipe

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Protein Pop Tart Cakes

Serves 2

Can’t seem to leave the breakfast habit of Pop-Tarts in the past? Make this rich protein cake instead, filled with low-sugar jam of choice.

The one in the picture is thicker, more like a toaster strudel, which is great for dunking into a hot cup of coffee. If you prefer them to be thin and crispy like Pop-Tarts, roll out the dough to be thinner, and make three jam-filled protein cakes instead of two.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

332

Calories

21 g

Protein

15 g

Carbs

22 g

Fat

Ingredients

1/4 cup almond butter

4 tsp. coconut sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup pea protein powder

1/2 tsp. toffee-flavored liquid stevia (or more to taste)

1 square dark chocolate

1 Tbsp. low-sugar strawberry jam

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Skinny Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Glaze

Serves 12

Cupcakes can be incredibly decadent even without the frosting on top. Use a glaze instead, like in these gingerbread cupcakes, and you can save a couple hundred calories compared to buttercream. And with a drizzle of sugar on top, you can also use less sweetener in the cake itself.

It works as a topping with any flavor of cupcake. Try a citrus glaze on fruit cupcakes, or even a balsamic vinegar glaze on strawberry cake if you’re feeling inspired by the crazy combos on Cupcake Wars.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

161

Calories

2 g

Protein

27 g

Carbs

5 g

Fat

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

3/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

1 large egg

1/3 cup molasses

2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

 

Sweet Cinnamon Glaze:

2/3 cup powdered sugar

3 tsp. water

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

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Chocolate Coconut Flour Cake with Avocado Mousse Frosting

Serves 4

Even though cake can be delicious without frosting, sometimes it’s really the frosting that you’re craving more than the stuff underneath.

With this healthy dessert trick, you don’t have to forego the chocolate frosting. Just replace the butter or cream cheese with rich, creamy avocadoes. They’re already the right texture, so they don’t even need to be whipped to make a fluffy frosting. All the ingredients can be combined in a blender.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

454

Calories

12 g

Protein

42 g

Carbs

30 g

Fat

Ingredients

Chocolate Coconut Cake:

3/4–1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

4 egg whites

1 large egg

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 Tbsp. cold espresso (or brewed coffee)

6 pitted dates, soaked and chopped

1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Chocolate Avocado Frosting:

2 avocados, pitted

1.75 oz. (about 1/2 bar) dark chocolate

4 pitted dates

2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp. cold espresso (optional)

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Unsweetened almond milk (as needed to thin)

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Low-Fat Creamsicle Cake

Serves 9

Cake mix is easy to avoid if you have flour, sugar, and baking powder in your pantry. But when you’re looking for a way to upgrade that box, try out this creative cake recipe. Instead of following the package directions, all you need for awesome creamsicle flavor is Greek yogurt and orange juice.

To make this without the premade mix, you’ll need 2 1/2 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, 1/2 cup non-fat dried milk, a teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Mix all that together whenever you have the time, and the homemade white cake mix can be stored in your pantry until you need it.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

238

Calories

4 g

Protein

43 g

Carbs

6 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 box (16 oz.) white cake mix

1 small container (6 oz.) nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1 cup orange juice

Zest of 1 orange (optional)

Powdered sugar (optional garnish)

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Flourless Lemon Poppyseed Breakfast Cake

Serves 4

If you can have a lemon poppyseed muffin for breakfast, why not upgrade to healthy lemon cake?

The difference is mostly the frosting, which can be made out of protein powder and almond butter for a super-filling topping that’ll help power you through the day.

To make a version of this lemon cake that’s more like dessert, use a cream cheese frosting or one made out of coconut butter; recipes for both of those options are included on The Big Man’s World blog.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

590

Calories

30 g

Protein

68 g

Carbs

24 g

Fat

Ingredients

Vegan Cake:

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats, ground

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or stevia baking blend)

1 Tbsp.  baking powder

Pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup poppy seeds

3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk

2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 Tbsp. lemon zest

1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 Tbsp. almond butter, melted

 

Protein Frosting:

3 scoops WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar (or more to taste)

1 Tbsp. almond butter (optional)

Almond milk as needed

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Angel Food Cake in a Cup

Serves 2

Although making a mug cake in the microwave can be convenient, the result can be heavy and dry. Instead of trying to make the perfect moist chocolate cake, opt for this easy angel food version, which can make the base for any number of desserts depending on what else is in your kitchen.

Angel food cake turns any fresh fruit into a full-on dessert, and you can even turn it into a layered parfait with fat-free whipped topping.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

168

Calories

6 g

Protein

31 g

Carbs

2 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 egg

2 egg whites

5 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. orange zest

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Kabocha Squash Spice Cake with Chai Caramel

Serves 12

It’s possible to make a sweet, decadent cake with hardly any added sugar. After a big holiday dinner, everyone will find room for a slice of this cake, and nobody will be the wiser that it has natural sugar from dates, which also add fiber and micronutrients like essential vitamins and minerals.

For even less added sugar, swap out the caramel topping for a creamy peanut butter frosting instead. Combine PB2 with twice as much Greek yogurt, adding liquid stevia or powdered erythritol to taste.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

351

Calories

5 g

Protein

43 g

Carbs

20 g

Fat

Ingredients

Spice Cake:

1 cup mashed kabocha squash (or pumpkin puree)

12 large (about 1 cup) Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

2/3 cup plain yogurt

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

2 large eggs

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup coconut sugar (or more to taste)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 tsp. sea salt

 

Chai Caramel:

1 can (14 oz.) full-fat coconut milk

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 tsp. sea salt (or more to taste)

1 1/2 Tbsp. salted butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

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Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

Serves 12

Plain vanilla cake isn’t the only thing you can make in a bundt pan. This is a dense, fudgy cake that’s nearly fat-free thanks to applesauce, buttermilk, and an unexpected ingredient.

Grated carrots and zucchini are often used in baked goods, but this one uses another veggie: beets. They lend a slightly earthy flavor but mostly keep this cake moist without butter or oil.

Beets are often used as a natural food coloring for red velvet cake. If that’s what you’re going for here, replace a bit of the buttermilk with beet juice to add more color.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

223

Calories

16 g

Protein

40 g

Carbs

2 g

Fat

Ingredients

Cake:

1 1/4 lb. raw beets, grated with peel on

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup date paste

1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

1/2 cup egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups spelt flour

1/2 cup arrowroot flour

3/4 cup dark cocoa powder

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

 

Icing:

4 scoops WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate

1/4 cup date paste

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

3 Tbsp. egg whites

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Watermelon Cake

Serves 6

While whole fruit is definitely not a cake, you can still serve it like one using this method. This makes an incredible surprise for fruit lovers with not just watermelon but a thick coconut whipped cream.

It’s great for birthdays when you don’t want a super sweet dessert, yet still need a special way to celebrate.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

485

Calories

10 g

Protein

70 g

Carbs

22 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 large seedless watermelon

2 cans (13.5 oz. each) full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. raw honey

1 cup sliced almonds (or shredded coconut)

1 cup mixed fresh fruit, for topping

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Almond-Orange Flan

Serves 8

This luxurious cake has a thick, velvety texture like flan, and yet it’s totally dairy-free. It’s made with almond milk instead, but otherwise the recipe is familiar.

Make caramel on the stove by boiling sugar and water, and then whisk together eggs and almond milk to make the custard. You’ll wind up with a dessert that looks just like flan. Instead of tasting creamy, though, it has a refreshing almond-orange flavor.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

217

Calories

5 g

Protein

36 g

Carbs

7 g

Fat

Ingredients

Caramel:

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

 

Custard:

8 egg yolks

3 whole eggs

6 Tbsp. granulated sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. grated orange zest

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Sugar Plum Protein Corn Cake

Serves 6

The ultimate summer cake, this dessert combines fresh plums and cornmeal, yet it has the macros of a protein bar. After this nutrient-dense cake, you won’t be left with that full-but-still-hungry feeling.

For this recipe, you’ll want to mix together rice and whey protein powders. Not only does that offer more variety in your diet, but it’ll help create a cakey texture that’s not too heavy and doesn’t have that springy texture from baking with too much whey.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

217

Calories

28 g

Protein

17 g

Carbs

3 g

Fat

Ingredients

8 egg whites

1/2 cup vanilla rice protein powder

1/2 cup (about 2 scoops) WHEY+ vanilla protein powder

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup almond meal

2 cups plums, pitted and pulsed

1 tsp. baking powder

Pinch of sea salt

Get the Recipe

Apple Chickpea Cake with Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 10

A flourless cake is often fudgy and rich, not crumbly like other cakes. So how does this recipe manage to do both? Wheat flour is replaced with chickpeas in this apple cake, which has several layers of thinly sliced apples in between the cake batter.

It’s like a layer cake with fresh fruit in the middle instead of sugary frosting. Top with a healthy cream cheese frosting, as shown, or serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and drizzle of honey.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

347

Calories

11 g

Protein

52 g

Carbs

12 g

Fat

Ingredients

Cake:

1 2/3 cups chickpeas, soaked and cooked (or 1 15-oz. can)

5 eggs

1/2 cup pure honey (or more taste)

1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cloves

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Pinch of salt

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut (optional)

Zest of 1 lemon

3–4 apples, sliced into rounds

Frosting:

3/4 cup light cream cheese

2 Tbsp. pure honey (or powdered sugar)

Zest and juice of 1 small lemon

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High-Protein Cinnamon Cake Bars

Serves 9

Sunday mornings don’t feel complete with some kind of extra-awesome breakfast, whether you have a full-on brunch spread or just add bacon to your usual meal. One way to make any morning feel special is coffee cake, but it’s basically a dessert.

This version does away with the streusel, using a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar instead. That makes a low-fat cinnamon cake with less than 10 grams of sugar per piece.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

135

Calories

9 g

Protein

21 g

Carbs

2 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

2 scoops WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 large egg

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. sugar + 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, for sprinkling

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Banana Bread Pound Cake

Serves 8

While banana bread typically has a muffin texture, this one is a bit denser and less crumbly, making it into more of a pound cake. So basically you’re getting two baked goods in one with this low-fat cake, which has over 10 grams of protein per slice.

The best part about pound cake is that you don’t have to worry about making a topping too – or making the frosting or icing magically healthier. Just stir together the ingredients, starting with the dry goods and then adding the wet mixture, and then bake in a loaf pan. Let cool, slice, and serve.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

309

Calories

14 g

Protein

48 g

Carbs

7 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup sucanat (or granulated sweetener of choice)

1/4 cup arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)

6 Tbsp. (about 1 1/2 scoops) WHEY+ vanilla protein isolate

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 3/4 cup mashed banana (about 4 large)

1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup egg whites

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp. hazelnut oil (or other neutral oil)

4 tsp. stevia extract

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. butter flavoring

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Carrot Cake Coffee Cake

Serves 12

Make coffee cake a bit lighter and more nutritious with carrots. Usually it’s just made from white flour, eggs, butter, and sugar – not exactly a healthy breakfast to have with your morning coffee.

To make this veggie-studded version even leaner, use Greek yogurt or applesauce instead of the oil. And, the icing can be replaced with protein if you mix together two scoops of vanilla whey with water or milk until it gets to a glaze consistency.

Cream cheese and vanilla extract can still be used in a protein icing but aren’t necessary.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

312

Calories

5 g

Protein

43 g

Carbs

15 g

Fat

Ingredients

Cake:

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk

2 cups shredded carrots, patted dry

 

Streusel:

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp. flour

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

 

Icing:

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1/4 package (2 oz.) cream cheese, room temp.

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Get the Recipe

OVER 100,000 PEOPLE HAVE USED MY COOKBOOK TO GET THE BODY THEY WANT EATING THE FOODS THEY LOVE. WILL YOU BE NEXT?

What if I told you that just about everything magazines and trainers “teach” you about dieting is wrong?

What if you could build muscle and lose fat eating “naughty” foods every week?

What if you didn’t have to suffer through low-carb dieting to get lean? In fact, what if you could eat all the carbs you wanted?

And what if you didn’t have to gorge yourself just to gain muscle and didn’t have to put on pounds and pounds of ugly fat, either?

In short, what if I told you that proper dieting--whether you want to maximize fat loss or muscle growth--is much simpler and more enjoyable than you’ve been led to believe?

Imagine eating delicious, filling meals every day...never feeling starved or stuffed...having great energy levels and workouts...and watching your body respond exactly as you desire, dropping fat or adding muscle each and every week.

And imagine finally understanding how proper dieting really works, never again falling for the BS, tricks, and gimmicks pushed by “gurus” and other shysters.

Well, I have good news.

All these “fantasies” can be a reality...if you know how to do a handful of “little” things correctly.

You see, when you know how to diet properly--and this doesn’t mean learning to eat boiled chicken and raw broccoli six times per day--getting lean and muscular becomes simple, convenient, and dare I say...enjoyable.

And this book will show you the way.

I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

If you like my articles, then you'll love my bestselling books. They'll show you exactly what you need to do to build muscle and lose fat without hating your diet or living in the gym.

If you're a guy, check out Bigger Leaner Stronger, and if you're a girl, Thinner Leaner Stronger is for you.

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