This healthy pumpkin cake recipe is full of nutrition and flavor, with an over-abundance of fresh pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices. The cake is also vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free, using a flaxseed egg and a gluten-free baking flour. The frosting is vegan and dairy-free, yet has a distinct “cream cheese” flavor thanks to a secret ingredient.
Healthy Pumpkin Cake Recipe + Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
This healthy pumpkin cake recipe produces a dense cake that is nutritious and filling, and will boost your energy given the high percentage of pumpkin puree. They could even be called pumpkin bars, perhaps pumpkin bar cakes?
We can also call them delicious and healthy with the incredible nutrition behind pumpkin puree. And there is a LOT of pumpkin in these bars.
How Healthy is Pure Pumpkin?
Pumpkin is a wonderful ingredient to add to cakes because it doesn’t lose it’s nutritional powers even after backing.
And the powers are significant. Pumpkin is great for heart healthy because it is high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber, as well as high in potassium, vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.
Pumpkin is also great for the skin, nails and hair since it is high in vitamin A, a vitamin that is actually essential to many body processes.
How Nutritious is This Pumpkin Cake Recipe
This cake is vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free so right there, it is healthier than a traditional pumpkin cake recipe. And it is perfect for people who can’t or don’t want to eat animal products, dairy or gluten.
Specifically, the recipe uses a ground flaxseed egg, nut milk, and sugars that are vegan and free of bone char.
They are even lower in oil than most pumpkin bar or pumpkin cake recipes, with only 2 tbsp of olive oil used, and 2 tbsp of apple sauce providing the additional moisture needed.
The frosting has fat, though, in the form of vegan butter. It is a traditional sugar-based frosting made to taste like cream cheese without dairy with the use of a secret trick – apple cider vinegar, just one teaspoon gives the frosting the bite of traditional cream cheese.
Still this pumpkin cake can be eaten without frosting easily if you want to omit it.
How Do We Make Pumpkin Cake?
Pretty simple. Just mix up the dry ingredients. Mix up the wet. Combine the two, and bake. The frosting gets put together in a traditionally similar manner.
And the recipe is actually quite fool-proof which is not always the case with gluten-free baking.
And all credit goes to the flour, my favorite gluten-free baking flour, actually, by Bob’s Red Mill. If you follow my recipes, you know by now that I find his flours and products extremely dependable. And I use them all the time.
The last recipe I made using his products was an Easy Apple Cranberry Crisp made with his delicious, nutritious new line of fall granolas.
How To Bake with Gluten-free Flour?
Just replace your wheat flour with this one to one to turn your baking recipes gluten-free. The brand has a few other gluten-free flours as well to consider.
You have probably seen his brand of flours and seeds in grocery stores, but if not, just buy it on his website here.
Questions Answered About This Pumpkin Cake
1. Does it store?
Yes, feel free to freeze it. Just do so sans frosting.
2. Can you swap out the flours?
If you don’t need to bake gluten-free, you can use a regular all purpose flour.
3. Can I swap the puree out?
No, then it wouldn’t be pumpkin cake. Besides, it’s the puree that gives these bars incredible texture, moisture and fall flavors.
4. Can I eat this cake as a snack cake without frosting?
Yes, this cake is definitely flavorful enough to go without frosting.
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Healthy Pumpkin Cake Recipe + Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
This healthy pumpkin cake recipe is full of nutrition and flavor, with an over-abundance of fresh pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices. The treat is also vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free using a flaxseed egg and a gluten-free baking flour. The frosting is vegan and dairy-free, yet has a distinct "cream cheese" flavor thanks to a secret ingredient.
For the Pumpkin Cake:
Make the cake
Preheat the oven to 350 Line a 7x9-inch cake pan with parchment.
Mix 1 tbsp flaxseed with 3 tbsp of water and set aside for ten minutes.
- Mix dry ingredients, adding to a large mixing bowl the flour, sugar, soda, powder, salt, pumpkin spice. Stir until combined.
Mix wet ingredients, adding to a smaller bowl, the pumpkin purée, vanilla, olive oil, apple sauce, apple cider vinegar and flax egg to the mixing bowl and mix in very well.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and use a hand-mixer to blend up the batter.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25 minutes or less, until a tester comes out clean.
- Use the parchment sides to lift the cake out of the hot pan and set it on a cooling rake.
Make the Frosting:
- Put the butter into a large mixing bowl, and microwave to soften about 25 seconds.
- Add the sugar, ACV, vanilla and 2 tbsp of milk.
- Using a hand-mixer, blend the ingredients until creamy. Add more milk to increase creamy texture.
Cool the cake, frost, cut into slices and serve.
Thank you Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post. The recipe, ideas, content and opinions expressed here are all my own. I do recommend you try Bob’s Red Mill products, you will be so inspired by all their healthy unique products!
Dee Dine is the recipe developer and writer behind Green Smoothie Gourmet. She shares her super healthy wholesome recipes on her blog and her Instagram that she feeds her family and friends. She gravitates toward recipes that are fast to create, plant-based, nutritious, easy, and use familiar ingredients. And chocolate is always a good idea! More about Dee.