Nov 5, 2012

High Protein Pumpkin Spice Cake

Tis the season for pumpkins! Pumpkins are a huge decorating item and they seem to be everywhere right now, from the doorsteps to the tables. The recipe blogs and food spotting sites are abuzz with pumpkin recipes, from creamy soups, to zesty curries, to delectable desserts. One of the the most popular pumpkin treats is pumpkin bars, sometimes called pumpkin brownies. High Protein Pumpkin Spice Cake is my healthy remake of this popular fall treat. 

Pumpkin bars typically offer little nutritional value beyond a smidgen of vitamins from the pumpkin puree, and are loaded with refined flour and sugar, usually with cream cheese frosting. My version has tons of protein - 7.5 grams per serving (that's more than an egg!), whole grains, healthy fats, and of course pumpkin. I think this healthy version is not only just as good, but better than original pumpkin bars!

As with my High Protein Chocolate Banana Snack Cake, my family mainly uses this recipe for breakfast, but it is a wholesome treat you don't have to feel guilty about enjoying any time of day! It's a great after-school snack for kids, works as a dessert, and would be perfect to bring along to a get-together with friends.

Speaking of pumpkins...

This is my little 9 month old pumpkin.

Here he is with his daddy on a hay ride.


And all of us together.

Here are a few notes about this recipe:

I usually use cottage cheese for this recipe as it has more protein than many brands of plain Greek yogurt. Homemade greek yogurt or homemade cream cheese would be an ideal substitute for the cottage cheese if you already have those on hand or make those on a regular basis. Store-bought cream cheese does not contain nearly as much protein as cottage cheese so I don't recommend that for this recipe.

This recipe can be gluten free by using spelt or buckwheat flour.

Made with cottage cheese (which typically contains more protein than Greek yogurt), and walnuts, this breakfast contains 7.5 grams of protein when consumed in nine servings (6 grams as 12 servings.) An egg has about 6 grams of protein, so each serving is more than an egg. Eat it with an 8 oz glass of milk and you more than double that. 

High Protein Pumpkin Spice Cake

2/3 cup whole cane sugar or regular sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter

2 tablespoons molasses
2 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese or greek yogurt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup whole wheat, spelt, or buckwheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt*

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (You can also use vanilla chips or chocolate chips, though they do offer more sugar and less protein than nuts - but they sure taste great! Look for a brand with all natural ingredients.)

*Reduce salt to 1/2 teaspoon if using salted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the cane sugar and coconut oil. Add the molasses, eggs, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. Stir to thoroughly combine. Dump the flour on top of the batter (don't stir just yet). Sprinkle the remaining ingredients except nuts over the top of the flour. Alternately you can use a small sieve to sift the dry ingredients over the batter. Stir to combine. Poor into a greased 9x9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle nuts over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Bake time: 40-45 minutes. Servings: about 9-12.

Search terms:
Healthy pumpkin cake bars
Low sugar pumpkin bars

This recipe was featured on Tropical Traditions coconut recipe blog(!).


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