Hands-on Time
40 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 40 Mins
Serves 16 (serving size: 1 slice)

I set out to prove that you can make a luscious showstopper dessert with 100% whole grains, no refined flour. After a few attempts, this stunning layer cake, made with finely milled whole-wheat pastry flour, came together. Buttermilk and canola oil keep the cake moist, a layer of yogurt cream (whipped cream stretched and lightened with Greek yogurt) adds richness, and the chocolate glaze on top takes this into uh-mah-gah territory. My husband said he likes it better than any other chocolate cake he’s tried—that the whole wheat actually forwards the chocolate flavor in a way that white flour doesn’t. And so now this is what I bake for his birthday. We love this dessert, and if you make it, you’ll see why.

How to Make It

Step 1

1. Preheat oven to 350°

Step 2

To prepare cake, coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with parchment or wax paper. Coat paper with cooking spray; set aside.

Step 3

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through baking soda), stirring with a whisk.

Step 4

Place granulated sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Beat in buttermilk, 1/3 cup warm water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed until just combined, and then beat on medium speed 1 minute.

Step 5

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake at 350°F for 23 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; carefully remove paper. Cool completely.

Step 6

To prepare glaze, combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar and next 5 ingredients (through dash of salt) in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook 3 minutes or until butter and chocolate melt, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.

Step 7

To prepare yogurt cream, place cream and cup powdered sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form (about 1 1/2 minutes). Add yogurt and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla; beat at high speed until well combined.

Step 8

Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or plate; top evenly with yogurt cream, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with remaining cake layer; carefully pour chocolate glaze over top of cake, spreading to edges. Top with berries; arrange cherries on top.

Chef's Notes

Executive Editor at Cooking Light, Ann Pittman, explores whole grain's all-around awesomeness in her new book, Everyday Whole Grains: 175 Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice. This complete guide to healthy, hearty, and incredibly versatile whole grains includes something for everyone and offers innovative new techniques to ensure the most flavorful results. From simple, delicious sides to satisfying mains and sublime desserts, this James Beard Award-winning author educates, inspires and does not disappoint. Discover a whole new way of looking at whole grains, how they are prepared, and how they can be incorporated into a healthy diet at every meal.

Also appeared in: Oxmoor House, March, 2016,Everyday Whole Grains: 175 Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice