Healthy Pumpkin Snack Cake (Gluten- & Grain-Free)

By Ann Fulton

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Decadent enough for dessert yet healthy enough for breakfast, this easy-to-make treat is sure to become a family favorite.


The natural sweetness and tender crumb of this quick-prep treat make it a true family favorite around here.  Though I originally created it as a healthy snack or dessert option, its wholesome qualities soon made it an acceptable–and regular–addition to our breakfast menu.  That posed one small dilemma…

What should I name it?  Is it a cake or a quick bread?  Should it be eaten for breakfast first thing in the morning or later in the day as a snack or dessert?  Ultimately, the name doesn’t really matter, nor does the time of day it’s consumed.

Realistically, this recipe is a hybrid.  It lacks icing and isn’t as decadent as a traditional cake, although the tenderness and flavor do not leave us wanting.  Unlike most quick breads, I forego the loaf pan in favor of a square or round pan for the sake of faster, more even cooking.  (And randomly, I always think that a slice from a loaf pan seems less substantial than a square or wedge cut from a cake pan.  Does anyone else think that, too?)

One important note: coconut flour is unique.  It’s far more absorbent than flours like all-purpose, almond, and oat and, as a result, imparts great moisture in baked goods.  It’s these properties, however, that make substitutions nearly impossible without altering the amount of eggs and other liquid in the recipe.  For those who wish to experiment, I can give you some tips, but for time-tested results, I recommend following the recipe as written.😀

Decadent enough for dessert yet healthy enough for breakfast, this easy-to-make treat is sure to become a family favorite.

Wondering what else to do with coconut flour?  You might enjoy these Coconut-Banana Bread Breakfast Cakes.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Snack Bread
Decadent enough for dessert yet healthy enough for breakfast, this easy-to-make treat is sure to become a family favorite.

Yield: 8–10 servings
  • 1 cup (112 grams) almond flour
  • ¼ cup (28 grams) coconut flour*
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs**
  • ¾ cup (184 grams) pumpkin puree (canned is fine; not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) maple syrup
  • ¼ cup (52 grams) melted coconut oil (could substitute melted butter)
  • Optional: ¼-½ cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease an 8-inch square baking dish or a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate medium to large bowl, whisk the eggs and then stir in the pumpkin, maple syrup, and melted oil.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir to combine. Stir in the optional half cup of chocolate chips. (Alternately, you can use 1/4 cup of chips a topping. Even 2 tablespoons is enough to add a hint of chocolate on top for those who enjoy but want to keep added sugar to a minimum.)
  5. Pour into the prepared pan (sprinkling with chips if desired), and bake for 25 minutes, give or take a few minutes depending on oven and precise dimensions of the chosen pan, or until just cooked through the center.
  • *To avoid over-packing the flours, fluff them up a bit before spooning into the measuring cup and leveling off with the straight edge of a knife. This is especially helpful with the coconut flour, which is a particularly absorbent flour. Also, because the properties of coconut flour are unique, equivalent substitutions of alternate flours tend to be unreliable.
  • **It’s helpful to bring the eggs and any other refrigerated ingredients to room temperature in order to prevent the coconut oil from solidifying upon contact with them. If this does happen, warm in 10-20 second bursts in the microwave—just enough to re-melt the oil without cooking the eggs. Tip 1: To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, place them in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes. Tip 2: A large is equal to approximately 1/4 cup or 2 ounces. If your eggs are on the smaller side, you can add extra egg white to equal a total of 3/4 cup or 6 ounces of eggs for this recipe. That will ensure a proper ratio of wet to dry ingredients.
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    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Cynthia, You could likely replace all of the almond flour with the whole wheat pastry flour or replace in combination with oat flour. Substituting the coconut flour is a little more complex, as this is a unique flour. My recommendation would be to only sub the almond flour, but if you need to eliminate the coconut flour also, you could experiment with a combination of the wheat flour and oat flour but using a total of 1-3/4 to 2 cups and reducing the eggs to one or two. I haven’t tried so I can’t vouch for it, but this is where I’d start if I were to experiment with the recipe. If you try, I’d love to know how you make out!

  1. Ellen Post author

    This is the most tender, scrumptious pan of yumminess I’ve had in ages. I had two pieces left when we went away for a few days. Ate the remainder yesterday morning–a week old by that point–and it was still fantastic. (I did cover the pan with Saran wrap and keep it in the fridge.) Making more today!

  2. Gail

    I have a question. I have never bought almond flour before. Looking for it at Giant today and all they had was almond flour meal. Is this the same as just almond flour?

    1. Ann Post author

      Almond flour tends to be slightly finer than almond meal–and the latter often includes some of the skin, hence the darker brown flecks. I haven’t used almond meal in this recipe, although it should work well. The end result may simply be slightly more hearty or rustic in appearance. I hope that helps!

  3. Kate

    Do you have any suggestions for the *best* egg substitute for this particular recipe? It looks fantastic, I just want to veganize it. Thanks!!

    1. Ann Post author

      I have not made this recipe with an egg substitute. That said, I have used the “neat” egg in a variety of other recipes with excellent results. If you try, I’d love to know how you make out!

  4. Mary Lou Keller

    Hi there Ann! This looks so yummy! Do you have an idea of serving size/how many servings? I want to put this in WW recipe builder to see what the Smart Points would be!

    Hope you are doing well!

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Mary Lou! I gave it a yield of 8-10 servings. The photo shows what one of nine servings looks like. Coincidently, I just cut into a fresh batch this morning, and I quartered it and then cut the quarters in half diagonally. This method of cutting made it feel like we all got a really big piece! So good to “hear” from you and hope you enjoy!