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Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Cake | Vegan, GF Options

Okay, so let’s talk chocolate cake – a luxurious refined sugar free chocolate cake so moist and soft… and all for under 200 calories per serving!

This to-die-for chocolate cake recipe is like MAGIC… it will completely redefine what you think of when you picture chocolate cake made without any sugar! Full recipe:


This recipe is thanks to your feedback!

Many of you have been requesting more refined sugar free recipes, and I love when you request recipes! Please always feel free to leave suggestions, questions, and feedback about anything at all! Speaking of which…

I want the new Chocolate-Covered Katie to be a place you will really love.

We’re reading all of your feedback on the new blog reveal and are making changes I hope you’ll be excited about! Based on your requests, we’re changing the recipe pages to a new format (yay!), we moved the search bar closer to the top and added a pin button, and if there are other things you’d still like to see, please feel free to let us know. This is going to be so awesome when it’s finished!!!

This to-die-for chocolate cake recipe is like MAGIC… it will completely redefine what you think of when you picture chocolate cake made without any sugar! Full recipe:

Love you guys.

xoxo Now on to cake!

This refined sugar free chocolate cake recipe is everything a chocolate cake should be – soft and fluffy, never dense or gummy like refined sugar free baked goods can sometimes turn out. The recipe will completely redefine what you think of when you picture chocolate cake made without sugar.

This to-die-for chocolate cake recipe is like MAGIC… it will completely redefine what you think of when you picture chocolate cake made without any sugar! Full recipe:

(As a side note, if you want to take any of my recipes that call for sugar and make them refined-sugar-free, simply use a cup of coconut sugar or sucanat or evaporated cane juice for every cup of sugar called for in a recipe.)

This to-die-for refined sugar free chocolate cake recipe is like MAGIC… it will completely redefine what you think of when you picture chocolate cake made without any sugar! Full recipe:

Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Cake | Vegan, GF Options

Total Time: 20m
Yield: 8 slices
Print This Recipe [mrp_rating_result show_count="false" show_rich_snippets="false"]


Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Cake

  • 2/3 cup milk of choice
  • 1 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or honey or agave)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or melted coconut oil (Or here is an Oil Free Chocolate Cake)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (not dutch)
  • 1 cup loosely packed spelt, white, or gf all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • optional 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Cake Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 F, and grease an 8-inch square or round baking pan. Whisk together the first 5 ingredients, and set aside for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl until well-mixed. Pour wet into dry, stir just until evenly mixed, and transfer to the prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes on the middle rack, or until cake is light and fluffy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (If using a 9-inch pan for a thinner cake, you may have to experiment with the baking time.)

View Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Cake Nutrition Facts

Coming up in my next post? A brand new cheesecake recipe!!! Oh yes… I told you the new Chocolate-Covered Katie is going to be really fantastic!!! 🙂



Dark Chocolate Banana Bread –  (vegan, gf, refined-sugar-free)

Published on September 3, 2015

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
featured on The 
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Fox, The 
Huffington Post, and 
ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

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    • Rachel says

      The vinegar is probably what causes the baking soda to react and the cake to rise. You might be able to replace it with another acid, like buttermilk (if you’re not vegan) or maaayyybe lemon juice with a non-dairy milk, but I’ve never tried that in baking.

      • Helen says

        Yes, vinegar is often necessary in combination with baking soda. However, this recipe doesn’t have baking soda. I too am wondering why vinegar is used with baking power, as baking powder already has acid in the mixture.

  1. Wendy@TheNomadicVegan says

    Hi Katie!
    I’ll be the dissenting voice here and say that I actually prefer the “refined sugar recipes”, because I know I can always use xylitol, which I’m convinced is much healthier than any form of sugar, refined or otherwise. When recipes call for liquid sweeteners like maple syrup I’m always less keen to make them, precisely because of the sugar content. Unless you know of a liquid version of xylitol or stevia??

    • Chocolate Covered Katie says

      The only thing I can think of would possibly be boiling it down for simple syrup. But I’ve not tried. I think you’re better off just finding recipes that call for sugar in the first place instead of trying to substitute. For example, my cookbook has a chocolate cake recipe and there is also a chocolate cake recipe linked in this recipe (the oil-free link) that would work for you 🙂

    • Leo Sigh says

      Same. I see a lot of vegans substituting mounds of sugary stuff for animal products or real sugar. It’s not any healthier and, in some cases, it’s worse for you. I’m not saying this is, but it’s the fault in the vegan community I’ve avoided since I became vegan as I see years of being overweight for many vegans if they continue down this path.

      • Leul says

        Dear Katie
        This is a brilliant recipe for health conscious people like me. I would like to know how you made the frosting.

    • Shelby says

      I know this is older, but I’m glad you said something. Maple syrup and agave ARE technically refined sugar; I like how Katie uses dates and other natural sweeteners in other recipes. I’m disappointed that this recipe is not using those as sweetness.

  2. Diana Fleming, PhD, LDN says

    Katie, I love your website and what you’re doing to make healthier vegan desserts and other foods as I am a longstanding vegan. I looked at the refined sugar chocolate cake recipe and it has maple syrup. You also mention that if you want to make any recipe refined sugar free, just replace the sugar with coconut sugar, sucanat or cane juice crystals. Katie, these sweeteners are definitely healthier than white sugar but they are all refined sugars with a similar calorie count as white sugar. They’re all concentrated sugar sources. So using these sweeteners does not make a recipe refined sugar free. It just makes the recipe a healthier refined sugar free recipe. The only recipes that are refined sugar free are those using xylitol (sugar alcohol), stevia, dates or date sugar (which is just dehydrated dates ground up).

  3. Rachel says

    I always like to see more refund sugar free recipes. They are a little better than just sugar free…but completely sugar free is what I’d really love. I don’t buy expensive sugars like xylitol, and I’d really prefer more whole foods in what I eat. So bring on the fruit- or stevia- sweetened goodness!

    Also, I know you have plenty of truly sugar free recipes, but they are so hard to find, because everything with a xylitol option is tagged sugar free!

    I love the new look. Especially for mobile! Thank you!

  4. Mary Jo says

    Not sure where to post a general request so am posting it here? I LOVEyour recipes!! Could you come up with a no bake Pumpkin pie? I love your CHOCOLATE no bake pumpkin pie but am not sure just how to convert that into a regular Thanksgiving quality pumpkin pie??


  5. Heidi says

    Katie, I absolutely love the new site! Its so refreshing and totally represents you and your personality. If I used a gluten free flour for this recipe what would be my ratios? Or could I use just 1 flour? I have Millet, Sorghum, Arrowroot, and Oat Flours.

    • Chocolate Covered Katie says

      For the gf option, I’ve only tried it with Bob’s all-purpose gf so I can’t say for sure. Oat flour might be gummy but have a nice taste if you don’t mind the texture. Not sure about the other two, but be sure to report back if you experiment!

      • Heidi says

        I used to like Bob’s all purpose GF flour but the taste of the bean flours are not pleasant for me. I will try to mix the Sorghum and Millet and then add the arrowroot starch to give it a lighter texture. I will let you know how it comes out 🙂 Your recipes have changed my life! Your texas sheet cake is to die for!

    • Rachel says

      I don’t bake gluten free, but my friend with Celiac Disease says to mix your flours in a 40/60 ratio of whole grain to starch. It looks like your millet, oat, and sorghum are all whole grain and your arrowroot counts as a starch (as does cornstarch, if you have that, as well). He says it doesn’t really matter how many different flours or which different flours you use for each of the two types, as long as the overall ratio is correct.

  6. Pooja says

    Katie, I love your recipes and I am loving the new website layout. The chocolate cake looks amazing, I am going to make it this weekend, can’t wait. Speaking of recipe requests, I don’t have a specific request but I do have a general one. Can you try to explore desserts from other parts of the world and try to make them a bit healthier? I am from India, and we have some awesome desserts (think kheer, gulab jamun, halwas, rasgulla…). They taste amazing but the calorie counts on them will literally give you a heart attack. I would love it if you can put some of them on your to-do list.

    • Chocolate Covered Katie says

      I accidentally forgot it once while baking a cake with Bob’s gf flour, and I discovered it was just fine without the gum. So since then I have never used it for recipes when using Bob’s gf flour and have not had any issues. Hope that helps!

    • Cait says

      I’m not a gluten free expert, but the gums are (mostly) used to replace the gluten that’s lacking in gluten free flours. However, things like cakes, cookies, etc. don’t actually need gluten. In fact, they’re hindered by it – you know all those cake and muffin recipes that call for you not to over mix? That’s to avoid activating the gluten, which makes the baked goods heavy and gummy.
      Things like breads need gluten, since that’s what causes them to be soft and springy and chewy, which is when the gums come in handy, but with the right combo of flours you shouldn’t need gums for non-bready goods. 🙂

  7. Jasmine says

    Made this today with my daughter, turned out absolutely perfect! Ran out of maple syrup, so I had to combine it with honey and the cake was delicious! No substitutions needed!

  8. Katie D. says

    Hi Katie! Love love LOVE the new layout! It’s so cool to have seen your blog blossom in the last few years! I actually discovered your blog in a pretty funny way: It was around 4 years ago and I googled for fat-free and sugar-free deserts… (haha that’s not so realistic) but after following your blog for the last few years I learned moderation and educated myself on healthy fats and sugars/ sugar replacements (in small doses :)) and you also inspired me to create some of my own recipes! So i wanted to say thank you and congrats on your amazing cookbook! can’t wait for more!!

  9. Anna says

    Hi Katie! This cake looks wonderful! I have a small request. 🙂 would it be possible to be able to add a rating to your comment on recipes? there are just so many recipes I’ve already commented on but would love to rate too! 🙂 if you can’t, that’s totally fine! 🙂

  10. Jenny says

    I love the new format! The other way made it difficult to navigate on my iPhone but this is great. The cake looks yummy, too. I’m trying it tomorrow!

  11. Szilvi H says

    “Cocoa powder. Not dutch.”
    Sorry, living in Hungary/Europe I have no idea what then? What’s the problem with Dutch cocoa powder? Too high in fat?

  12. Liz Slesinski says

    This recipe looks delicious and easy to follow! I can’t wait to try it out. If I wanted to add a coffee flavor to this recipe, do you think adding espresso would work well?

  13. malaz says

    DELICIOUS! I’ve made enough gummy baked goods to last a lifetime in a quest for “Healthy bakes” and finally this beautifully fluffy creation has saved me, it didn’t last 2 days in our house and I’m not ashamed to admit I did most.of the eating! Aside from the perfect texture it also tastes incredible! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes katie!!!!

  14. Michelle says

    I have made this twice already! My best friend, her brother and mom loved it! My dad and his wife loved it! Another friend said she liked it! I LOVED IT!!!! I brought some to school and my slice was being eyeballed deeply!! I wish I could make this sugar free using dates but have not tried and wouldn’t know the measurements for it, any suggestions? Ps I don’t frost this cake because its so dang good without it!

  15. Vivios Tobias says

    i would like to replace all your peanut butter recipes with almond butter…can i do this
    & do u use smooth or chunky?

  16. Martina says

    Made these today and love it! It just may be my new favourite recipe! The only thing is that I need to make the double amount otherwise there’s not enough to go around 😉

  17. Unofficial CCK Helper says

    Mine turned out really well so I am not sure what could have happened, but did you read through Katie’s recipe faq page linked at the top of her blog?

  18. Ivana says

    Hi Katie,
    I made the cake last night,is it meant to be squidgy texture ? (It wasn’t light and fluffy)had slight aftertaste of baking soda, I am guessing it shouldn’t taste like it, I also have used gas oven perhaps it needs baking much longer than 20 mins . Do you have any suggestions as how to avoid these issues? But I must say the ganache is amazing 🙂

  19. Emily says

    I love you recipes! I have been making hem throughout my pregnancy, as I have been craving sweets! I don’t feel guilty giving into my cravings when I eat your recipes! Plus my 2 year old likes them too, which is fun! Thank you for what you do!

  20. Fifa says

    wow that was a bit of a disaster.I think it was the vinegar that reacted with the coconut oil and it started to harden within seconds!I had to sieveoff what liquid was left and then remelt the coconut oil,hopefully the cake will still work(its in the oven now)Are you sure those first 5 ingredients are right?Thanks

    • A H says

      I didn’t have a problem when I made it, and it doesn’t seem as though other people had any trouble. Try checking out Katie’s FAQ section at the top of her blog.

  21. Zanbene says

    But syrup has sugar anyway. Def healthy compared to sugared version, but its sugar regardless. Maybe liquid stevia wud do the trick

  22. Russell says

    Maple syrup is made of sugar, agave is very high in fructose and so worse than sugar and while honey has some good enzymes it is 75% fructose and so will also cause most of the problems that sugar causes.
    Stevia or Lo han are to my knowledge the only natural sweeteners that do not create the same problems as sugar.

  23. Rachel says

    It looks as the thought the cake is quite flat, does it not rise very much? Looking for a birthday cake that is refined sugar free, dairy free. Thanks,

  24. ad says

    I like your recipes but this one was terrible! i used rice malt syrup and it just did not do the trick taste wise. The texture was also like glue even though it was cooked – I suspect it could use an egg or two….

    • Julie Dove says

      Rice malt syrup is not called for in the ingredients. If you change a recipe, then unfortunately there’s no guarantee it will work.

  25. Ruth-Ann says

    Love the idea of desserts and snacks without refined sugar! Spelt is not a favourite in my family. Could I use regular wholewheat flour or wholewheat pastry flour instead? Would I need to adjust the liquid? Thanks!

  26. Andrew says

    Dear Katie,
    I made the recipe. Fabulous taste, but the cake did not really rise… I poured the liquids into the solids and used a mixer to blend…Did I blend too much? I also cooked for 25 minutes at a preheated oven at 350. Is tsp=teaspoon? Is baking powder the right amount? I also added three teaspoons of cornstarch. Do you think this is the problem? Thank you for any input1

    • Jason Sanford says

      I’m confused, as cornstarch is not listed as one of the ingredients in the recipe. It also doesn’t say anything in the recipe about using a mixer.

  27. Capa says

    I tried using the melted coconut oil for taste, but as I let the mixture rest, within a minute or two it turned SOLID, since the coconut oil cooled. That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense…

    • Jason Sanford says

      Unless you live in a really cold climate, melted coconut oil shouldn’t turn solid unless it comes into contact with cold ingredients – so just make sure your milk isn’t cold and you should be good to go!

  28. Lilly says

    Hi Katie! I absolutely loved this recipe! I have been trying tons of different refined-sugar free recipes and I haven’t had much luck. This recipe is so good especially when topped with your homemade healthy chocolate sauce! In my cake I used 100℅ whole grain organic ivory wheat flour, which worked very nicely. With the chocolate sauce I used butter instead of coconut oil and I used maple syrup for the sweetener. I will definitely make this again! I’m thinking next time to try it as a poke-cake with your chocolate sauce… did I mention that I had a hard time not eating that stuff by the spoonful? Thanks so much for all the lovely recipes!

  29. Fleur says

    Hi Katie,
    I’ve just tried your recipe. It’s turned out fine but it’s more like a flan type thing. In fact the mix was more like batter, quite liquid. Should it have been drier?
    Anyone else had this problem?

  30. Laura says

    Hi, has anyone actually made this? There is no binder in the recipe … is that why you are baking it thin to avoid crumbling? Thanks

  31. Juju says

    GROSS! I’d rather have the real thing. I have made this cake for decades and I have NEVER put 3 cups of sugar in the cake, it calls for 2 cups. As for the icing, ibecause this cake is so moist, it doesn’t need it.

  32. Shoaib says

    Woooow, It’s look Delicious, I hope the same with taste.
    but i love it. I have not tried yet but this evening i will show this to my Mom and tell her to make it.
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  33. Pamela says

    Hi, I just made this recipe and it did not rise and become light and fluffy. I think it’s because I used coconut cream instead of another milk. We also used gluten free flour which is rice and maize. We can not have dairy, soy gluten plus a whole heap of other things. Look forward to hearing.

    • Jason Sanford says

      Hi, unfortunately different flours will have different effects on recipes, and you never know how one will work until you try… but if a certain flour isn’t listed, it means that Katie hasn’t tested it in that specific recipe and so doesn’t know how (or if) it could work. This is especially true with gluten free flours. GF all purpose, which is listed in the recipe, is meant to work like white flour and can be used in an even substitution, but rice flour doesn’t have the same ingredient makeup as gf all purpose, and unfortunately there’s just no way to know if it can be subbed in a recipe calling for all purpose flour unless you try.

  34. Rachel Foy says

    This looks and sounds so delicious!!! Could you use Whole wheat flour instead of spelt or AP flour? Thanks!

    • Jason Sanford says

      Will probably be more dense/dry, but should work! But you never know for sure unless you experiment. Be sure to report back if you try!

  35. Radhika says

    I’d love to make an orange infused version of this cake. Any thoughts on subbing the non dairy milk with orange juice?

  36. Maria Ruiz says

    Hello Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Cake | Vegan, GF Options shows a frosting in the picture and the recipe does not give the recipe of the liquid chocolate on top. How can you do it?

  37. Ashley says

    This looks absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to try it!

    How did you make the icing?

    Is that cane, brown and raw sugar free? and gluten free too?

  38. Kara says

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I tried it yesterday, along with the healthy chocolate sauce, and my family loved it. The only adjustment I had made was to use vegetable oil for the “icing,” as I didn’t have coconut oil on hand.

  39. Tracy Iadinardi says

    This was delicious! Not sure what I did wrong but it came out more like a Brownie.
    Still tasted great!

  40. Lexy says

    I have made this a couple of times now and really love it! It always turns out moist and soft. (I use almond milk and all purpose flour) No need for the chocolate on top. It is on the “lightly sweetened” side of things but that’s what I was hoping for especially since I was looking for a refined sugar free dessert! Thank you!!

  41. Melissa says

    Hi so I have a couple of questions!

    1: I only have a 9-inch round pan. Would I need to increase the measurements. If so, by how much?
    2: What were to happen if I used dutch processed cocoa powder?

    Thanks! I’m looking forward to making this for my boyfriend’s parents who think my desserts are normally too sweet haha 😉

  42. Sara says

    I’ve made this cake numerous times and we love it. It’s great with the Healthy Chocolate Frosting. I don’t think anyone could tell that it has no refined sugar. I’ve made it with regular flour and have also made the gluten free version. It’s fantastic either way. And made with pure maple syrup? Amazing!

  43. Cooker says

    Hi… looks delish, but can you make a sugar free chocolate/lemon cupcake? Thanks lots, Love the website, tho

  44. Carla Williamson says

    My daughter wanted vegan, refined sugar free cake for her birthday. She loves the flavor of this recipe but my layers didn’t raise much and they were a bit dry. What can I do?

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