High Protein Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Frosting

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By Winnie Abramson, ND

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pumpkin cake 3

This cake is much higher in protein, and much lower in carbohydrates and fat, than a typical cake. It’s dense, moist, and not overly sweet: leftovers keep very well in the refrigerator, or cut unfrosted cake into slices, wrap tightly, and freeze for later.

Serving size: 1/9th of an 8×8 inch cake
Per serving:
Calories: 188
Protein: 13.6 g
Carbohydrates: 16.2 g
Fat: 7.8 g

(If you bake your cake in a different size pan and cut it into more or fewer slices, the macros will be different!)

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It’s been more than two years since I last wrote anything here at Healthy Green Kitchen. Did you miss me? (If you didn’t notice I was gone, I’m not the least bit offended lol.)

For me, the time really flew: I found lots and lots of things to do. I got certified as a nutrition coach, then a strength coach, and I’ve been working with clients in both capacities for some time now. Also: I’ve been running an Airbnb at a family-owned property in partnership with my dad, and I just packed my oldest child up to go to college.

My decision to stop blogging wasn’t a spur of the moment thing: I’d thought long and hard about it. And I remained certain I’d make the right decision about until just recently, when I realized that I miss creating and sharing recipes here. I’d never gotten around to taking the site down…so I’ve decided to give it another go.

To long-time (long ago?) readers of this blog: I really cannot thank you enough for sticking around. That said, I do want to give you a heads up that things are going to be a little different this time around (I’ve listed 3 new things you may notice below). Two years is a long time: I’m not the same and the way I cook and plan to run this blog isn’t going to be exactly the same.

1. I’ve been competing in the sport of Powerlifting for 3 years now (I’m headed to my second USA Powerlifting Nationals competition in October), and because I am an athlete (and an older athlete at 47), I pay pretty close attention to the way I eat so that I can maximize my strength in relation to my body weight. While of course this blog always had a strong focus on nutrition, going forward you will see that I follow a nutrition plan that is focused on macronutrients. Some of you may be familiar with counting macronutrients (“macros”, for short), while some of you may have no idea what I am taking about. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, for now all that really matters is that from here on out, I’ll be including nutrition info in my recipes: i.e. how many calories and how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat are in what I make (should you follow the recipe exactly as written). It also means you’ll find a lot of protein-rich recipes here (hey I am a strength athlete…I eat lots of protein!).

2. Ingredients will be listed with measurements by weight as well as volume from now on. Why? Well, if you are are counting macros, then you likely already know that it’s important to have precision, and measuring by weight (I generally use grams) is the best way to achieve this for many ingredients. My other reasons for using weight measurements: it’s the best way to get consistent results in baking and hopefully it will help out my non-US readers. I will retain the practice of giving volume measurements in cups as I did previously for anyone who does not have a food scale, but know that I do suggest you get a scale (I have this one in black) for the best results.

3. I am going to be taking a very low-key approach to social media this time around. A large part of why I gave up on blogging before is because I became overwhelmed by what I perceived to be the social media requirements of the job. So you may see me post new recipes on my blog’s Facebook page and on Instagram, but that’s going to be it.

Well now that the “housekeeping” is out of the way, on to the high protein pumpkin cake!

I found a few forgotten jars of pumpkin and butternut squash puree when I was cleaning out my pantry this summer. Though fall was not even close to being in the air at the time, I started experimenting with different cake and muffin recipes that would fit my macros, and I settled on the one you see here. I’ve made this cake about a dozen times now (and once or twice with cooked, mashed sweet potatoes), and believe this recipe is delicious no matter which starchy, orange veggie you choose to include.

For reference, I compared the calories and macros in this cake to this Maple Glazed Pumpkin Cake  I wrote about 6 years ago. That cake has 6 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 81 grams carbohydrates, and 413 calories per serving.

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Previously posted recipes featuring pumpkin that you may want to check out; I plan to update the macros on as many recipes as possible in the future :)

Gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
Grain-free Spiced Squash Muffins
Chai Pumpkin Oatmeal
Healthy Pumpkin Shake

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of my links, I make a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Macro-Friendly Pumpkin Cake
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High Protein Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Frosting

A dense, moist, high protein pumpkin cake with an optional high protein chocolate frosting.
Servings: 1 8x8 inch cake or 12 standard muffins or 24 mini muffins.


For the cake:

  • *100 g/1 cup oat flour I take rolled oats and grind them into oat flour in my blender
  • *78 g/2 scoops/approximately 1 cup good-tasting vanilla protein powder I usually use Myotein for baking
  • *24 g/.25 cup powdered peanut butter I used Peanut Butter and Co. Vanilla Powdered Peanut Butter but there are many other brands you can use
  • *1 tablespoon baking powder
  • *¼ teaspoon salt
  • *244 g/1 cup pumpkin puree I've used both Libby's and Farmer's Market brand organic or butternut squash puree or peeled mashed sweet potato (these all have slightly different tastes but I tried them all and liked them all in this recipe)
  • *4 tablespoons all-natural unsweetened applesauce
  • *2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • *1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • *240 ml/8 oz./1 cup cultured low-fat buttermilk (you may also use non-fat Greek or Icelandic yogurt, both of which will add more protein than the buttermilk); if you don’t eat dairy, you can try almond milk or another non-dairy milk or yogurt)
  • *1 large egg
  • *66 g/4 tablespoons Nuts 'n More Pumpkin Spice peanut spread or any all-natural peanut butter or almond butter or a combination of the two, warmed in the microwave, then stirred, so it is very smooth
  • *2 tablespoons butter

Optional additions:

  • *3 g/2 tablespoons sugar I've used organic coconut sugar; you can use a sugar substitute instead but I can’t vouch for the amount to use as haven't baked with them
  • *1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans or chocolate chips remember that using any of these or making any other changes to the recipe will change the macros so be sure to input your own recipe into MyFitnessPal (or another service for accurate macros.

For the frosting:

  • *1 scoop Chocolate protein powder I like UMP
  • *2 tablespoons Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa I like the flavor and color this imparts, but you can use regular cocoa powder if you prefer
  • *4 tablespoons chocolate milk I use Fairlife chocolate milk
  • *water as needed


  • 1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  • 2. Blend or process until the ingredients are completely incorporated and the batter is smooth.
  • 3. If adding nuts or chocolate chips, fold these in with a rubber spatula
  • 4. Spray baking pan or muffin tins with a very light spritz of buttery spray (I like Emeril’s), or grease with a bit of butter if you are ok with adding a bit more fat, or use paper muffin cups to avoid any extra fat
  • 5. Use spatula to spread batter into pan, or scoop batter into muffin tins. Don’t lick the spatula if you are counting macros (unless you plan to “log your lick”) and do your best not to leave any batter/macros behind ☺
  • 6. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes if baking in an 8x8 pan (or approximately 20 minutes for muffins), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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