Naturally sweetened and gluten free, this Healthy Pumpkin Cake with Greek yogurt cream cheese frosting is a lighter version of the classic fall dessert!

A slice of healthy pumpkin cake on a plate.

Add a little more sparkle this season with a spectacular healthy pumpkin cake!  A delicious twist on a fall classic your whole family will love.

The aroma of cinnamon and pumpkin spice combined with the moisture from the pumpkin puree and zucchini are all the things that make this gluten free pumpkin cake a crowd-pleaser.

The yogurt cream cheese frosting with a hint of vanilla on top takes the cake!

And if you’re still craving pumpkin treats, add healthy pumpkin pie to your list of healthy Thanksgiving recipes. It’s pumpkin dessert perfection!

Healthy pumpkin cake with frosting on a fork.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

With wholesome ingredients, this delicious pumpkin cake recipe may be lightened up but it is still decadent and perfect for all your fall occasions!

  • Nutritious: With a whole can of pumpkin plus a cup of zucchini eating your vegetables has never been easier, orr tasted better.
  • Naturally sweetened: Unrefined sugars like maple syrup, honey or agave give this cake a slightly sweet taste.
  • Gluten free: Almond flour is packed with nutrients, lower in carbs, and naturally gluten free.
  • Oil free: Using almond flour means you don’t need any butter or coconut oil for this healthy pumpkin cake!

Ingredients and Notes

Pumpkin puree, almond flour, zucchini, eggs, maple syrup, vinegar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, vanilla, Greek yogurt, cream cheese, salt, baking powder and soda.

This naturally sweetened healthy pumpkin spice cake does not skimp on flavor or texture and can be made ahead of time. Just make sure you don’t eat it all before your holiday guests arrive!

  • Almond flour: Superfine is best, store bought or homemade. I love the Costco brand!
  • Pumpkin puree: 100% pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Can use white vinegar as well.
  • Eggs: Three eggs are needed for lift and binding. I have not tried an egg substitute.
  • Sweetener: Your choice of maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey.
  • Zucchini: Finely shredded. Do not squeeze out the moisture as this helps with the texture of the cake.
  • Spices: You will need both cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. I make my own pumpkin pie spice substitute, you can use store bought.
  • Baking staples: Baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • For the frosting: This cream cheese frosting is healthier by combining Greek yogurt with cream cheese, icing sugar (powdered confectioners sugar), and vanilla extract.

How to Make Healthy Pumpkin Cake

This cake is so easy to make in one bowl!

You will also need an 8 x 8 or 8 x 11 pan lined with parchment paper. This cake sticks and we don’t want any cake crumbs left behind!

Pumpkin puree in a bowl with shredded zucchini being stirred in with spatula.

Whisk: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add maple syrup, pumpkin puree, vinegar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well to combine.

Add: Add the zucchini in and stir.

Stirring pumpkin cake batter in a bowl.

Stir in almond flour: Then mix to combine.

Healthy pumpkin cake cooling in a cake pan.

Bake: Pour into prepared dish, level with a spatula, and bake until a toothpick inserted and comes out clean. Remove and let cool completely, 3-4 hours.

Strain: While the cake is cooling, strain the yogurt using a colander and a towel or coffee filter over a bowl. Keep this in the fridge for the next few hours.

Frosting being spread on a cake with yellow spatula.

Icing: When the cake is cooled and yogurt has strained, discard the whey.

Add yogurt into a large bowl with remaining cream cheese frosting ingredients. Beat with a mixer until smooth. Make sure to scrape the walls of the bowl.

You want to make sure everything is incorporated.

A frosted cake with toothpicks holding saran wrap up from touching cake.

Assemble: Spread icing on top of the cake. Use an offset spatula if you have one.

Serve: You can serve immediately or have it set longer in the fridge for a few hours.

Prior to cutting it into pieces, run a butter knife along the sides of the pan to loosen.

Tips for Best Results

  • Pumpkin: If you can’t get your hands on canned pumpkin puree, homemade pumpkin puree works too!
  • Liquid: The choice is yours for your preference of sweeteners but make sure it’s liquid. Do not use brown sugar or granulated white sugar.
  • Almond flour is a must! It’s nutrient-dense and yields wonderfully tender moist results and this recipe has not been tested with other flours including whole wheat flour, coconut flour, oat flour, or any all purpose flour.
  • Hidden treasures: Shred zucchini on the side of the grater with the medium holes. That way it “disappears” into the cake.
  • 10% Greek yogurt: Does not need to be strained, it’s already thick and creamy.

Customizations for This Cake

Baking is a science and I do recommended to follow the recipe as written! At time you may need to make few ingredient swaps, here are some common options.

  • Make your own pumpkin spice: Easily make 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice at home with 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves and 1/4 tsp allspice.
  • Vegan cake: This cake not been tested and recipes with 3 eggs and almond flour can be tricky to replace, but you can try a flax egg or chia egg. Cake will be flatter and more dense.
  • Powdered sugar: To make powdered sugar at home, blend cane sugar in a high-speed blender. Alternately, make healthy cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar!

How to Store and Freeze

Storing: Store assembled, and completely cooled, cake in the fridge for up to 2 days. Use an airtight container otherwise, yogurt will dry out.

Freezing: You can freeze an unfrosted cake for up to 6 months tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and covered in foil. Thaw on the counter for 6 hours or in the fridge overnight.

I have never tried freezing this cake after it had been assembled with frosting, so I hesitate to recommend it just based on the frosting. I think it should be fine, but if you try it, let me know!

FAQs

Can I make this cake ahead of time?

You can make and store this cake up to 3 days before serving in an airtight container. Do not frost the cake until just before ready to serve.

Can I add chocolate chips to this cake?

Yes! Add up to a 1/2 cup or more to the batter before baking, dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips would be my preference. You may also love my healthy pumpkin chocolate chip bread!

What other frostings could I use?

 If you don’t love the idea of a cream cheese frosting you can definitely omit it and try this only Greek yogurt frosting. You may also love this healthy buttercream frosting!

Can I make this cake dairy free?

The cake as listed is dairy free. For the frosting, you could try to use a plant based yogurt and cream cheese. It has not been tested and I am not sure how that would taste.

More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

More Healthy Cake Recipes

You might also enjoy this list of 20 almond flour recipes!

A slice of healthy pumpkin cake on a plate.
Healthy pumpkin cake on a plate with fork.

Healthy Pumpkin Cake

Naturally sweetened and gluten free, this Healthy Pumpkin Cake with Greek yogurt cream cheese frosting is a lighter version of the classic fall dessert!
5 from 5 votes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 349
Diet Vegetarian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Pumpkin Cake:

Greek Yogurt Icing:

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line only the bottom of 8 x 8 or 8 x 11 baking dish with parchment paper, spray bottom and sides with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs for 10 seconds. Add maple syrup, pumpkin puree, vinegar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk well breaking any baking soda or powder lumps.
  • Add zucchini and stir. Add almond flour and stir well to combine.
  • Pour into previously prepared baking dish, level with spatula and bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  • While cake is cooling down, line small colander with a coffee filter or paper towel and place on top of a small bowl. Add yogurt and let it strain in a fridge for a few hours.
  • Discard the whey from yogurt, add strained yogurt into a large bowl along with cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract. Beat with a mixer until icing is smooth, pausing and scraping the walls.
  • Spread icing on top of cake. I like to let it refrigerate for a few hours for icing to set better but you can serve right away.
  • Loosen the cake around the sides with a butter knife. Cut into 12 slices and enjoy!

Notes

  • Store: Store assembled cake covered tightly for up to 2 days.
  • Freeze: Freeze unfrosted cake tightly wrapped with plastic and then foil for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. I have not and would be hesitant to recommend you freeze assembled cake. Not sure how yogurt icing will thaw but my gut says 90% it should be fine.
  • Make ahead: Store baked, cooled and covered with plastic unfrosted cake for 3 days. Then frost before serving.
  • Pumpkin: Homemade pumpkin puree or store bought works. Ensure it is 100% pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Sweetener: Can be any but has to be liquid.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 256mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 24g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    amazing . everyone loved it. I did a few substitutions( do not hate me!) I didnt have zucchini. so i used a banana and some applesauce to total 1 cup. Changed icing a bit because i did not have greek yogurt. I used 4 ounces cream cheese 1/2 cup sour cream, vanilla and a 1/4 cup powdered icing. came out great. almost like a pie texture

    1. That’s awesome to use what you have on hand, no need for a grocery run! Thanks for sharing and glad it turned out!

    1. Hi Mem. Almond flour is a MUST in this recipe. I have only tested this cake with almond flour. Each type of flour acts very differently in baking. Baking is a science and I strongly suggest following the recipe as written.

  2. 5 stars
    This cake is so delicious and moist. I love this variation of a classic autumn dessert! I didn’t have any sugar or icing sugar so just followed another of your recipes that calls for maple syrup as the sweet frosting ingredient. I also threw in some finely chopped crystallised ginger for fun at the end. Very tasty! Olena, I hope you are planning on making a cookbook some day!

  3. 5 stars
    Any recommendations for doing a cane sugar free icing? As a diabetic I try to keep the processed sugar to a minimum… perhaps a stevia version?

    1. Is erythritol and option for you? It works. Also powder stevia but not liquid would work technically if you are OK with its taste. You can skip sugar all together but icing won’t be sweet.

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