In honor of the holiday weekend ahead, I baked a delicious  and simple-to-make pumpkin cake to take with me to visit family tomorrow. Thanks to a dear friend (Emily, you’re the best!) I have a really easy recipe that can be made as healthy or as “sinful” (as Emily says) as you like. I have included the original recipe and the healthier version that I made, which is especially great for those of you that eat gluten-free and for those who need lower glycemic desserts. (Click here for more info on a low-glycemic diet).

Lately I have been hearing a lot about coconut palm sugar and how it is an even better substitute for baking than agave, due to its health benefits and even lower glycemic index. As an agave lover, I decided to branch out and give it a try, and I am so glad I did! Made from the coconut palm tree, coconut palm sugar not only has a similar texture  and taste to brown sugar which makes it ideal for baking, but its many beneficial nutrients include potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron,  phosphorus, and sodium to name a few. It can be found at any health food store and can be directly substituted in the same quantities as sugar.

The cake tastes great without the frosting as it is super moist so if you are dairy-free or want to bake it in an even healthier way, no need to add the frosting. If you make it the way I did, your family won’t even know that you made some healthier substitutes! If you do make the frosting, the best results will come from sticking to the original recipe as powdered sugar is pretty difficult to sub out (but if you have a great way, please share it!)

Enjoy and may the holiday weekend be filled with love, health and happiness for you and your loved ones.


Preheat oven at 300 degrees.

Mix all of the following cake ingredients together in a large bowl:

2 Cups plain flour

(I chose an all-purpose gluten-free flour but any baking flour of your choice will do)

2 Cups sugar

(I used coconut palm sugar but agave works, too)

2 Cups Pumpkin

(Make sure you don’t get the pie filling with the added  sugar)

2 tsps Baking powder

2 tsps Baking soda

1 1/4 Cups Oil

(I used walnut oil* which is a tasty and has many more health properties than Canola or Vegetable)

1 tsp cinnamon

4 eggs

2 tsps vanilla

(If you are avoiding sugar, watch that your vanilla doesn’t have added sugar)


8 oz cream cheese

1 box powdered sugar

2 tsp butter

2 tsps vanilla

* More info on why walnut oil is a healthier substitute for baking

Pour cake batter into a well-greased cake pan (whichever kind you like!)

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour (might need more or less depending on what kind of pan you use. I baked it in a rectangular pan and it only took about 50 minutes)

Mix icing while cake is baking and set aside until cake has completely cooled.

Voila, your cake is done!

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and a Happy New Year to all!

Written by: Lana House

Studio Owner, House Pilates