Healthy & Delicious: Mexican Chocolate Cake Recipe

Healthy and Delicious

Healthy and delicious recipes from Serious Eats

Healthy & Delicious: Mexican Chocolate Cake Recipe

Editor's note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Take it away, Kristen!

[Photograph: Kristen Swensson]

Wacky Cake is a non-dairy, eggless, completely vegan chocolate confection that is nonetheless moist and totally delicious. It can be traced back to either the Great Depression or World War II, when money and animal products were in short supply.

I made it for the first time about three years ago, and have done so for birthdays and holidays ever since. The whole thing costs a little under $1.25, with each slice coming in around 180 calories.

Much like Wacky Cake, this Mexican Chocolate Cake from Real Simple is vegan, delectable, and staggering inexpensive. Unlike Wacky Cake, it possesses a spicy kick not usually associated with dessert. It pairs beautifully with a full-bodied red wine, but you could also serve it to kids without them staging a revolt.

I made one huge change to the cake, which came about accidentally. Real Simple asks you to add 1/4 cup canola oil to the mix, which was omitted by the recipe I was forwarded. So, my cake didn't have any.

Lo and behold, you couldn't tell the difference. That means this version of Mexican Chocolate Cake is virtually fat-free, and for those of you sticking to your resolution diet, three Weight Watchers points per serving.

Go forward and eat cake, friends. Maybe with Banana Ice Cream? Could be a good time.

  • Yield:10


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons water


  1. 1.

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. 2.

    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together first seven ingredients (flour through salt). Make two small wells in the mixture. In one, pour in the vinegar. In the other, pour in the vanilla extract. Pour cold water over everything. Stir until moistened and a only a little lumpy.

  3. 3.

    Pour batter into an 8-inch round cake pan. Bake for 30 or 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then carefully pry out and finish cooling on a wire rack.

  4. 4.

    While cake is baking, whisk together 2/3 cup powdered sugar and 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder in small bowl. Add water. Stir to make a thick glaze. When cake is completely cooled, drizzle over cake.