Naturally sweetened and gluten free, this Healthy Pumpkin Cake with Greek yogurt cream cheese frosting is a lighter version of the classic fall dessert!
Table of contents
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!
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
This naturally sweetened healthy pumpkin cake recipe 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 almond flour or homemade almond flour. I love the Costco brand!
- Pumpkin puree: 100% pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. If you prefer homemade pumpkin puree, here is an easy tutorial how to roast a whole pumpkin.
- 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 healthy pumpkin 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!
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.
Stir in almond flour: Then mix to combine.
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.
Icing: When the healthy pumpkin 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.
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 this healthy pumpkin cake 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 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon 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 healthy pumpkin 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!
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.
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!
The healthy pumpkin cake recipe 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
- Almond flour pumpkin bread
- Healthy pumpkin muffin recipe
- Healthy pumpkin bread
- Almond flour pumpkin bars
- Almond flour pumpkin muffins
- Pumpkin cream cheese muffins
More Healthy Cake Recipes
You might also enjoy this list of 20 almond flour recipes!
Healthy Pumpkin Cake
- 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!
- 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.