Ooey Gooey Healthy Pumpkin cake is loaded with wholesome ingredients and turns out moist and decadent. Easy to make and with its wonderful flavor this is the perfect fall dessert.
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Why is this Pumpkin Spice Cake Healthier?
In addition to the ingredients listed below, what makes this cake uniquely healthy is the lower amount of white flour and sugar used. Additionally, there is no oil or butter in this recipe and yet it still turns out with gorgeous flavor and texture. Here are the powerhouse ingredients that really pack a nutritional punch.
Oats– High in manganese, antioxidants and soluble fiber, incorporating oatmeal into your diet may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Pumpkin– Packed with Beta Carotene, eating pumpkin can may help with better immunity and eye health.
Walnuts– A good source of healthy fats, protein and fiber, enjoying walnuts may also help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
How To Make Healthy Pumpkin Cake
One of the elements that allows this cake to still have great texture with a limited amount of flour is the ground oatmeal and walnuts. It is helpful to begin with grinding these two ingredients. Here are the steps in how to make this Pumpkin Cake.
- Preheat oven to 325℉ and grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
- Using a blender or blender attachment, measure 1/2 cup rolled oats and 1/2 cup walnuts and then grind.
- Add ground oats and walnuts to a medium sized mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients to bowl with the exception of chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. Mix well.
- In a stand mixer combine wet ingredients and mix well.
- Add half of dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Scrape down sides and repeat with second half of dry ingredients.
- Gently stir in chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 mins or until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Note: Try to test in an area that does not have chocolate chips. This is because inserting the cake tester into the chocolate can give the appearance that the cake is not done.
- Let cake cool completely before frosting.
Evaporated Milk vs Sweetened Condensed Milk
Both of these types of milk come in a can and are often located on the baking isle on your local grocery store. In short, they are a thicker version of milk due to a lower level of water content. However, it can be very easy to mix these two milks up with one another and doing so can definitely cause a problem in baking. The main difference to remember between these two canned milks is that sweetened condensed milk has added sugar whereas evaporated milk has no additional sugar added.
Note: For this recipe if sweetened condensed milk is accidentally purchased just simply substitute the same amount as the evaporated milk and eliminate the honey.
To make a cake that is perfect for breakfast with lower sugar levels, leave off cream cheese frosting. Also, lower chocolate chips to 1/4- 1/2 cup.
Variations of Healthy Pumpkin Cake
- Spice It Up- Adjust the spice levels to suit personal taste preferences. Increase or decrease the amounts of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves to achieve the desired flavor profile. For those who enjoy spicier cakes, increase the amounts of ginger and cloves.
- Swap The Flour- Try using almond flour, coconut flour, whole wheat flour, or a gluten-free flour blend instead of all-purpose.
- Additions- Fold in chopped pecans, shredded coconut, raisins, or dried cranberries.
- Make Cupcakes- Divide the batter into liners to make pumpkin cupcakes instead and top with frosting.
- Pumpkin Layer Cake- Bake two cake layers instead of a sheet cake and stack with frosting in between.
- Nut-Free Version- For those with nut allergies, omit the ground walnuts and chopped walnuts from the recipe. Instead, add an extra 1/2 cup of rolled oats or substitute them with sunflower or pumpkin seeds for added texture.
- Add A Fruity Twist- Incorporate diced apples or mashed bananas into the batter. This will add moisture and natural sweetness to the cake, giving it a different flavor profile.
- Citrus Variation- Add a burst of citrus flavor by incorporating the zest of an orange or a lemon into the batter. The citrus zest will provide a fresh and tangy element to the cake.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of pan can I use if I do not have 9×13 inch one?
If you don’t have a 9×13 inch baking pan, there are a few options you can use to bake this Healthy Pumpkin Cake recipe:
- Two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans– Divide the batter evenly between two round pans and bake for a layer cake.
- One 9×9 inch square pan- This will be a bit deeper than a 9×13 pan, so you may need to increase bake time slightly.
- A 13×9 inch rectangular pan- Very close in size to 9×13, just a bit narrower. Bake as directed.
- Loaf pans- Divide batter between two standard size loaf pans. Will take longer to bake through.
- Bundt or tube pan- For a thicker, denser cake. Add 10-15 min to bake time.
The baking temperature should remain the same. Just watch carefully for doneness if using an alternative size, adjusting time up or down. Let the cake size determine number of servings.
Can I use pumpkin pie spice instead of the individual spices listed in the recipe?
Yes, 2-2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice can conveniently replace the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves called for in this pumpkin cake.
How do I store this cake?
If you plan to eat the cake within 2 hours, you can keep it at room temp with no issues. Beyond that, refrigerate. Proper refrigeration allows it to keep for 5-7 days or more.
Can I substitute avocado oil with another type of oil in this recipe?
Yes, there are several other healthy oils you can use in place of avocado oil in this pumpkin cake recipe:
- Sunflower Oil- Made from sunflower seeds, this oil has a light flavor and lots of vitamin E.
- Safflower Oil- A great source of heart-healthy fats and vitamin E with mild flavor.
- Almond Oil- Has a mild, nutty flavor that pairs well with baked goods. It is rich in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats. Choose food-grade almond oil that is specifically labeled for culinary use.
- Olive Oil- Extra light or mild olive oil can work in cakes. It won’t have as neutral a taste as other oils.
More Classic Fall Desserts
For anyone who adores pumpkin Homemade Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Spice Muffins are classic desserts they will love. For a bit of a twist on traditional pumpkin recipes, Pumpkin Pie Coffee Cake and Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies can be a fun change.
If you enjoyed this Healthy Pumpkin Cake please let me know by leaving a comment and review below. Doing so helps to encourage others to make the recipe also. Thank you!
Healthy Pumpkin Cake
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup ground oats *measure 1/2 cup rolled oats first and then grind
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts *measure 1/2 cup walnut halves and then grind
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed) *light or dark
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- 2 cups canned pumpkin
- 2 tbsp oil *I used avocado oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 3 tsp vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 tbsp butter *room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese *room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/4- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp half and half *or evaporated milk
- Preheat oven to 325℉ . Grease and floour a 9x13 inch pan.
- Measure 1/2 cup rolled oats and 1/2 cup walnuts. Grind well using blender and add to a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Measure and combine remaining dry ingredients with the exception of chocolate chips and chopped walnuts and add to ground ingredients. Mix well.
- In a stand mixture measure and combine all wet ingredients. Mix well.
- Add 1/2 of dry ingredients to wet and mix until just incorporated. Scrap down sides of mixer bowl and repeat with remaining dry ingredients.
- Add chopped walnuts and chocolate chips to batter. Stir just until blended in.
- Bake for 35-40 mins or until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
- Let cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a stand mixer, cream butter and cream cheese. Add powered sugar 1 cup at a time mixing thoroughly before adding next cup. Halfway through creaming process add vanilla. If frosting becomes to thick, add milk 1 tbsp at a time until correct consistency. Beat for a full two minutes at high speed.
- Measure the 1/2 cup rolled oats and 1/2 cup walnuts and then grind. This helps the cake to still have great texture with a limited amount of all purpose flour.
- Accidentally purchased sweetened condensed milk? No worries! Just simply eliminate the honey and use the same amount of milk.
- Eliminating the cream cheese frosting helps to lower the sugar levels for an even healthier cake.