Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cake
A delicious and healthy way for your kids to eat pumpkin – this Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cake has all the flavor without all of the sugar!
The pumpkin season is just beginning! So of course we had to bring you a healthy pumpkin cake recipe! If you and your kids are going to enjoy some pumpkin desserts, it might as well be just a little bit healthier. There seems to be two crowds – those you love pumpkin and those who don’t. Which team do you side with?
Why is this Pumpkin Spice Cake healthier?
I swapped out the butter for coconut oil and we use maple syrup instead of sugar. It’s not a sweet cake anyways and with a cup of pumpkin it’s basically a vegetable cake… right? The frosting is also made with low fat cream cheese, greek yogurt and just a liiiittle bit of sugar. Usually frosting is more than half sugar, but we took a different approach with our Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cake.
Pumpkin itself is actually a nutrition powerhouse. Here are a few reasons why you should add pumpkin to your food:
- Vitamin A. Pumpkin is packed full of vitamin A which promotes good vision and also helps form and maintain healthy skin.
- Fiber. Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories.
- Potassium. You might have heard of bananas being called nature’s energy bar? That is because potassium refuels your body. Turns out, a cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient potassium, with 564 milligrams compared with banana’s 422.
- Vitamin C.
The Perfect Size
This recipe makes an 8X8 inch pan which is perfect for your family! everyone gets a piece tonight and a piece tomorrow and then it’s gone! I don’t know about you, but when I make a cake in a casserole dish and there are so many leftovers I end up eating cake for days! It’s so terrible! So just make the perfect amount instead!
Tips for Baking our Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cake
The only thing to really watch out for is your coconut oil! Make sure you melt it before you use it and mix it with your room temperature pumpkin puree first. This way, the coconut oil has a better chance to incorporate evenly into the cake! If you add a cold egg to the coconut oil it will make the oil solidify and then you’ll get chunks of coconut oil in your cake. If that happens, it’s not the worst thing! Your cake will just look very…bumpy when you pull it out of the oven. Once you frost it, it will look and taste great!
Looking for another pumpkin dessert? This Pumpkin Mousse is incredible!
Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cake
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, pure
- 4 ounce cream cheese
- 1/2 cup (8 fl oz) Greek yogurt, vanilla
- 1/4 cup unsifted powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8X8 inch pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate bowl combine your melted coconut oil and pumpkin puree. Do this first so the coconut oil is evenly dispersed. Add you room temperature egg, milk, vanilla and maple syrup. Stir until combined.
- Add wet ingredients to dry and stir just until combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
- Frosting: Combine cold cream cheese, greek yogurt, and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Frost cake. The frosting won’t be as stiff as normal frosting because there’s less sugar to thicken it. So I refrigerated my cake to thicken the frosting.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie
Hello Lizzy I liked this recipe, I’m starting in this world of desserts and what luck to start with you, can you add some concentrate to this recipe? Keep it up, I’ll keep watching you, you’re great.
Is there an alternative frosting recipe for dairy allergic people?
Finally, a recipe that posts the nutrition information! Thank you!
Not criticizing, just clarifying … 1/2 c yogurt is not 8 fl. oz; it’s 4. How much do we use? Thanks. Sounds great.
To get the nutrition data from our database, that’s how it’s written! Sorry. So, it’s 1/2 of an 8 ounce container.. So 1/2 cup or 4 ounces.
Hi, I have a fresh pumpkin. Can I use it instead of canned one? If so, how should I do it?
Yes! Fresh would be amazing!
Why would you use tpumpkin in a can when it is pumpkin season?
It’s more convenient. Canned pumpkin is still a healthy option (as long as the only ingredient is pumpkin, and it doesn’t have added sugar of course!)
Do add more fiber add some flax seed and or chia seeds!
Is there an alternative to the powdered sugar in the frosting? I appreciate your recipes so much and am trying to keep processed ingredients out of my children’s diets.
You can actually make your own less processed version of powdered sugar using coconut sugar and tapioca flour. This is a great recipe here: https://joyfoodsunshine.com/paleo-powdered-sugar/
This is a very forgiving recipe!
I didn’t have maple syrup, so I used some swerve powdered sugar and a dab of ribbon cane syrup. Didn’t have vanilla so I put in about 1/4 tsp of orange extract. The batter was a bit dry so I added a little more pumpkin, a little leftover coconut milk and water until it felt right. Baked it in a bundt pan for 30 minutes. Delicious, moist, not ridiculously sweet, flavorful! I ate mine with butter and a little xylitol sprinkled on it. Going to try it with the cane syrup later.
Honestly, people, TAKE SOME RISKS and tweak the recipe if you need to! This recipe is going in my file… ❤️
I have a problem understanding what is 7/4 cup flour, and 3/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 3/2 teaspoon baking powder?
Hi Doris, sorry for the confusion! We had some glitches to our recipes following a big update to our site last weekend. The amounts should look normal to you now. Thanks for your patience!
I can’t see the nutritional info 🙁 I’ve check the page several times. Please help.
Hi Jen! We don’t currently have nutrition data directly on recipes on this site (we’re working on it!) In the meantime, all our recipes are in the free connected cooking app, Prepear, and they have nutrition info attached. You can get it free here: https://www.prepear.com/
Super delicious and easy to make! My batter was dough consistency once I put everything together so I had to add a bit of non dairy milk and an extra scoop of pumpkin. I’ll def be trying this again!
Delicious! They turned out beautiful. They are not too sweet and very easy to make. It very well could have been a mistake I made, but when I mixed the ingredients, it looked like bread dough. After adding some oat milk and a scoop of pumpkin until it was the right consistency, I baked until it was done. I’ll def be trying this one again! Thank you!
My pumpkin cake came out delicious! It is a very light cake and I don’t feel guilty when I have a piece. I used sugar free maple syrup, so next time I’ll need to add a little bit of a sweetener. I loved how moist it was and the frosting was delicicious.
Going to give this recipe a go ,can you freeze this cake many thanks
Yes, you can freeze it!
Too doughy. Not enough moisture. Tasted like a solid load of bread. Very disappointed.
This healthy cake is also delicious, especially with the frosting! The reason for four stars is because the batter as made following the recipe was extremely thick. I added a good amount of 2% milk and one extra spoonful of pumpkin to get it to a cake-like consistency of batter. The taste is spot on, though! I also baked mine for an extra three minutes, but it may not have needed it. I will make again for sure!
This turned out completely inedible. I checked the ingredients 10 times to make sure I got it right. Are you sure it is not missing more liquids? It did not rise at all and has the consistency of rubber.
Wish I read all the comments first…. This turned into dough instead of batter and I had no additional pumpkin. Going to try and salvage with applesauce… Disappointed in this recipe.
I’m sorry this didn’t turn out for you Kg, we’re going to take a look at this recipe.
Disappointed..initially when my batter was too dough like I thought k missed something..but I followed the recipe spot on..ended up adding about 1 cup of milk to make the batter of the correct consistency..baked perfected, risen well..still it lacks moisture..had to poke holes and add orange juice and topped with yogurt..tastes well but there’s something seriously wrong with this recipe. Big turn off 🙁
Hi Tulika, I appreciate your feedback! Sorry to hear you had issues with this recipe. We put it on our list to review.
I tried this recipe and it turned out great. Thank you sooo much! I added some yoghurt to the batter to have a moist cake! Thanks
That’s great to hear! Thanks for sharing!
Definitely not a cake consistency. This is like a hard dense bread.
Do you think this recipe would work for mini bundt cake pumpkins? How would you adapt it? Just watch the bake time?
Yep! Just adjust the baking time- I’d start with 15-18 minutes and check at that point. 🙂
I made this cake today, and it came out great. Just wondering if it would come out OK if I did 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 oat flour in the future…
So glad it worked out for you! If you try it, please let us know how it turns out! We’ve had great luck with similar substitutions in the past. 🙂
This is the one time I did not read the reviews. I followed the directions and the batter came out more like cookie dough. It did not “pour” into the pan, it had to be spread. It appears that a liquid must have been omitted from the recipe. Kudos to those who added a liquid. I considered it, but hesitated. I wish I had. Thank you.
I love this recipe, we first used it at Halloween time after removing the inside of our pumpkin but it is now a preschool favourite with the kids and the local childcare has incorporated it into their weekly meal.
I use boiled and mashed pumpkin instead of canned (Australia), this adds quite a bit of moisture to the cake. I have not met one kid yet that hasn’t like it.
Thanks so much for sharing! We’re so thrilled to hear that you all love it so much!
I made these into muffins (without the frosting) and froze them so we can have something fast to grab and heat up on busy mornings. I love this recipe!
My batter was extremely thick and dry. I added the rest of the can of pumpkin and some milk. I baked it for 40 minutes. It came out ok.
Made this today. I’m not sure if adjustments to the recipe have been made since it was first published (re: the 2020 contents about a too thick batter), but I had absolutely no issues with that.
Came together so quickly and was delicious. Light, moist, and not too sweet. The icing was good, though I may try a different brand of vanilla yogurt next time (personal preference). My bake time was significantly longer, but maybe that’s just my oven?
Regardless… definitely on the make again list!
Batter very thick. Baked for 50 minutes. Very doughy in the middle. Lacks flavor. Disappointed.