Bake Your Cake and Eat It Too: A Lighter, Naked Chocolate Cake with Fruit

Stick to your New Year's resolutions and enjoy the process of doing so, with the help of this lightened-up chocolate cake.

Skinny Chocolate Cake

If there is one thing that most of us can agree on, it is that we have the best of intentions when it comes to New Year's resolutions. We want to eat better, exercise more, watch less TV and save money.

But it is hard. While I cannot help with all of those resolutions, I can try to help with the "eating better."

This stunning cake is a Naked Cake, or a cake that is made with less sugar and fat and has fewer calories. The trick to making a delicious chocolate naked cake is using a good-quality chocolate and a flavorful sugar substitute. The star of the cake is in fact the chocolate. I used a good-quality cocoa powder and mini chocolate chips and then complemented them with the sweet natural sugars found in the fruits that adorn the cake.

Add to that a homemade whipped cream (where you can control the sugar) and a no-fat chocolate sauce, and you have a decadent cake that will satisfy all your sweet cravings!

Skinny Chocolate Cake

Naked Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup applesauce

3/4 cup vanilla yogurt (you can use Greek yogurt)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup good-quality cocoa powder

3/4 cup milk (I prefer whole, but skim milk will work fine)

1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 pint fresh strawberries

1/2 pint fresh blackberries

1/2 pint fresh blueberries

2 big bunches of green or red grapes

1 pint raspberries

1 homemade whipped cream recipe (you can decrease sugar if you prefer)

Store-bought chocolate syrup

1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare (spray or butter and flour) two 8-inch round cake pans.

Warm the coconut oil in microwave for up to 30 seconds; you want it softened or even melted (but not hot to the touch). Pour coconut oil into stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add in brown sugar, applesauce, yogurt and vanilla extract, and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. 

With mixer on low, slowly add a third of the dry ingredients into the applesauce mixture, alternating with the milk. Keep alternating until the dry ingredients and milk are gone. Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold in chocolate chips by hand.

Divide batter between two cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 22 to 26 minutes or until an inserted toothpick is removed clean. (Cooking times can vary depending on quality of ingredients and weather conditions.)

Cool cakes in pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack.

To assemble cake:

Rinse all fruit so that it is shiny and clean. Prepare whipped cream (and prepare chocolate sauce if you are making from scratch).

Place one cooled layer of cake on cake stand and cover in about 3/4 cup of whipped cream. Place a strawberry that is a about 1 to 1 1/2 inches high in the center of the cake, upside down. This will help the whipped cream to not schmoosh out when you place the next layer on. Now take some of your fruit and spread it around the edges of the cake. Because this is a naked cake, you will want to pay attention to how you place the fruit on the edge.

Once cake is covered in fruit, place next layer of chocolate cake on top. Starting with a bunch of grapes that are still attached to the vine, place grapes on cake and then start building up around them. Fill in with blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, and place a few more grapes around to balance the color. Finally, place some strawberries around the edge and maybe even one on top.

Drizzle chocolate sauce over cake and chill until ready to serve. If you want to add confectioners' sugar, sprinkle immediately before serving.

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