Healthy Pumpkin Cake made grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and paleo friendly. This easy-to-bake pumpkin cake is warmly-spiced and healthy enough to eat for breakfast.
If I know you at all, I have a sneaking suspicion this is the exact cake you’ve been craving.
Okay, perhaps that was a massive projection, but this is the exact cake I have been craving not only recently, but for several autumns past.
Imagine this: all the colors and flavors of fall jam packed into one healthy pumpkin cake. It comes together lightning fast, and gifts your taste buds an utter explosion of pumpkin flavor.
Have I mentioned it’s healthy?
- Lower in sugar than a regular cake, but perfectly sweet.
- Grain-free, gluten-free
- Easy to make Vegan (see notes)
- Refined sugar-free
- Easy to make sugar-free/low-carb (see notes)
- Moist, fluffy, delicious
My secret ingredient to keep the cake lower in added sugar?: Ripe banana. The cake is mostly sweetened with one ripe banana (I can’t taste it over the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, but if you have ultra sensitive taste buds, you may be able to).
Let’s discuss the ingredients in detail.
Ingredients for Healthy Pumpkin Cake:
Canned pumpkin puree: The pumpkin portion of this pumpkin adventure. I use canned pumpkin puree, but you can use homemade roasted and mashed pumpkin.
Egg: Used to bind and fluff up the cake, we just need one egg to work some magic.
Banana: Used to give the cake natural sweetness so that only a small amount of added sweetener is necessary. As long as the banana is very ripe and you use enough pumpkin pie spice, you don’t taste the banana at all.
Almond Flour: The base of the cake! Almond flour keeps the cake grain-free and paleo-friendly. You can also use hazelnut flour or a combination of almond flour and tapioca flour for a fluffier cake.
Coconut Sugar: Bringing natural sweetness to the cake, we use coconut sugar, which is lower on the glycemic index than cane sugar. If you use cane sugar in your baking, replace the coconut sugar with either granulated cane sugar or brown sugar.
Pumpkin Pie Spice: The secret ingredient that brings the cake the fully leaded pumpkin-fall flavor. Without the pumpkin pie spice, the cake won’t have that warm cinnamony spice essence. If you don’t keep it on hand, use a combination of cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and nutmeg.
Sea Salt & Baking Soda: Used to leaven the cake, baking soda helps keep the cake together. Sea salt enhances the flavor of the cake and also makes it taste sweeter without the need for more sugar. Be sure to add it for a rich and flavorful cake!
Now that we have the ingredients down, let’s bake it up!
How to Make Healthy Pumpkin Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and oil an 8” x 8” cake pan (or line with parchment paper).
Mash the banana in a mixing bowl until creamy, then whisk in the egg and pureed pumpkin until well-combined.
In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and sea salt (dry ingredients).
Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the pumpkin mixture and stir until combined.
Transfer the cake batter to the prepared cake pan and smooth into an even layer.
Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven 25 to 32 minutes, until edges are golden-brown and cake tests clean.
Allow cake to cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
If desired, whip up the maple glaze for drizzling or smearing on top of the cake.
How to make Vegan Pumpkin Cake:
Replace the egg with one flax egg. To do so, combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and stir well. Allow mixture to sit, stirring occasionally, until thick like a beaten egg, about 15 minutes. Once mixture is nice and thick and resembles a beaten egg, proceed as normal.
How to Make Low-Carb Pumpkin Cake:
Omit the banana and add ¼ cup avocado oil or melted coconut oil. Use ¼ cup sugar-free sweetener of choice instead of the coconut sugar. Everything else in the recipe remains the same!
- Replace almond flour with hazelnut flour
- Omit the banana and add ¼ cup avocado oil, algae oil or melted coconut oil.
- Replace the coconut sugar with ¼ cup granulated sugar-free sweetener of choice.
- Add ½ cup chocolate chips.
- Add ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans.
- Frost with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
More Healthy Cake Recipes:
- Gluten-Free Sourdough Chocolate Cake
- Paleo Banana Coffee Cake
- Low-Carb Carrot Cake
- Gluten-Free Apple Bundt Cake
- Strawberry Breakfast Cake
- Almond Flour Fig Cake
Dive on in!
Healthy Pumpkin Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and oil an 8” x 8” cake pan (or line with parchment paper).
- Mash the banana in a mixing bowl until creamy, then whisk in the egg and pureed pumpkin until well-combined.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and sea salt (dry ingredients).
- Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the pumpkin mixture and stir until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and smooth into an even layer.
- Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven 25 to 38 minutes, until edges are golden-brown and cake tests clean. Allow cake to cool 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
- If desired, make the maple glaze to spread on top of the cake.
Maple Glaze (Optional):
- Add ingredients for the glaze to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 10 second increments, stirring very well in between, until melted, about 20 to 30 seconds total. Taste glaze for flavor and if desired add cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, or more pure maple syrup to taste.