This chocolate protein cake is going to be your new favorite healthy dessert. It tastes just like any other cake, but is made with good for you ingredients, naturally gluten free, refined sugar free and made in one bowl.
I may be more excited to share this recipe than any other one I’ve shared before. I was skeptical of how close to regular cake I could make this protein cake when I went into the testing process, but I have been SO pleasantly surprised.
It’s rich and fudgy but still fluffy and moist just like any good gluten free chocolate cake. It’s made with just one flour- oat flour, plus chocolate protein powder and cocoa powder to get both a cake like texture and chocolate flavor.
I don’t recommend adding protein powder to regular cake mix which is why it’s key to find a recipe that already calls for it! It can really change both the texture and flavor.
Protein powder can replace a bit of flour in some baked goods, but I generally don’t recommend it in large quantities. This recipe packs 10 grams of protein per serving since we’re using 2/3 cup of protein powder. Try my protein mug cake or chickpea blondies next!
OAT FLOUR. Since this is a chocolate protein cake, I wanted to use a simple and healthy flour. Oat flour is one of my favorites to bake with and yields a really nice traditional cakey texture.
PROTEIN POWDER. You need chocolate protein powder for this recipe, please don’t use any other flavors! I used a pea protein, but you can use whey. I highly suggest one that is stevia sweetened.
Make sure you use one that you have tasted before in some capacity, whether a smoothie or other baked good, it’s important you know you like it! I like this pea protein.
COCOA. The chocolate from the protein powder won’t yield a strong enough flavor, so some cocoa powder is necessary to give this a rich chocolate flavor.
EGGS. Three eggs not only help bind all ingredients together, but they also give a fluffy texture and add a whole 18 grams of protein to the cake!
GREEK YOGURT. I love baking with greek yogurt because it adds a lot of moisture and adds protein! I used plain greek yogurt, which I recommend. Either 2% or whole.
SUGAR. Any granulated sugar will work, I used coconut sugar to keep this cake refined sugar free (aside from the frosting). That plus a bit of maple syrup will sweeten the cake beautifully and add moisture.
COFFEE. I tested this both with brewed coffee and regular hot water and much prefer the flavor with coffee. If you make just regular strength coffee it won’t add a coffee flavor, just bring out the chocolate.
You can make a strong brew if you want a strong coffee flavor. Hot water will work, but it won’t enhance the chocolate flavor.
BUTTER. A bit of melted butter creates a richness to the cake and adds moisture. If you prefer, you can use refined coconut oil.
How to make chocolate protein cake
WHISK WET. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients aside from the coffee/hot water until smooth.
ADD DRY. Add in the dry ingredients, making sure to spoon and level the flour, protein powder and cocoa. Do not pack them into your measuring cups!
ADD COFFEE. Whisk just until the dry ingredients start to blend into the batter, then pour in your brewed coffee or hot water. Whisk until smooth. The batter will be on the thicker side.
BAKE. Transfer to your prepared pan and bake for 22-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The top may crack slightly as it bakes, this is normal. Careful not to over bake or it can come out dry.
COOL. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
I usually just lift it up from the parchment paper, but you can flip it carefully onto the wire rack if you only put parchment on the bottom of the pan.
FROST. While it cools, make the frosting. Beat the butter with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, then mix in the cocoa powder.
SERVE. Add in the powdered sugar, then the vanilla and milk until you get your desired consistency. Once the cake is completely cooled, add the frosting, slice and enjoy!
Make it dairy free!
This chocolate protein cake is naturally gluten free as written, but you can make it dairy free with a few simple swaps.
First, swap the butter in both the cake and the frosting with a dairy free butter like Earth Balance. For the cake itself, you can use refined coconut oil.
Second, use a dairy free greek yogurt like the one from Kite Hill. It doesn’t have quite as thick of a consistency as regular greek yogurt but it will still work. I don’t recommend a regular non-dairy yogurt such as coconut as it’s too thin.
Unfortunately, this recipe cannot be made vegan or without eggs. Since there are three eggs in the cake, they’re very important for providing structure and ensuring the cake rises and stays fluffy.
How to store
Because of all the ingredients in the protein cake that keep it moist, this recipe stores quite well! Once it has been frosted, I suggest storing it in a container at room temperature for 3-5 days.
You can also store it in the fridge, but because of the butter, it will start to harden a little bit. It will still be delicious, just have a firmer texture.
You can freeze the cake before it’s frosted. Just let it cool, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks or until ready to frost.
More high protein recipes!
Chocolate Protein Cake
by: claire cary
- ⅓ cup brown or coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup butter melted
- ¾ cup brewed coffee or hot water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup butter softened/room temperature
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-4 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients aside from the coffee/hot water until smooth.
- Add in the dry ingredients, making sure to spoon and level the flour, protein powder and cocoa. Do not pack them into your measuring cups!
- Whisk just until the dry ingredients start to blend into the batter, then pour in your brewed coffee or hot water.
- Whisk until smooth. The batter will be on the thicker side.
- Transfer to your prepared pan and bake for 22-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The top may crack slightly as it bakes, this is normal.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- While it cools, make the frosting. Beat the butter with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, then mix in the cocoa powder.
- Add in the powdered sugar, then the vanilla and milk until you get your desired consistency.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, add the frosting, slice and enjoy!