Skinny Chocolate Glazed Pumpkin Cake


These are a couple of the reasons why I love fall the most:

First, it’s the season for pumpkin breads and muffins, which are the best.

My favorite has always been chocolate chip pumpkin bread – sweet pumpkin and rich chocolate are the perfect pair, in my mind.

Chocolate chip pumpkin bread feels like a snack, though, and what I wanted to try this year was a true dessert – something that really feels like an indulgent treat.

So I baked a rich and moist pumpkin cake and topped it with a sweet chocolate glaze…


…Huge success!

Meat-and-Potatoes-Guy loves this cake, and it’s one of my new favorites too.


It’s the perfect, indulgent after-dinner treat, and yet the pumpkin makes it quite healthy too.

This dessert (with canola oil and whole wheat flour) is very low in saturated fat (less than 1 gram per serving) and packed with a full day’s supply of Vitamin A (for healthy, smooth skin and a strong immune system).

(Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the complete, printable recipe.)


Second best thing about the season for me: the stunning fall colors in New England.


Meat-and-Potatoes-Guy and I took Calvin on a small hike near Boston at a state park called Blue Hills Reservation (it’s a ski destination in the winter).


There was a nice view of the city skyline from the top.


And quite the striking sunset!


Here are the ingredients you’ll need for the pumpkin cake.


Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F.

Grab a mixing bowl and add all of the following: whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.

Also add some delicious ground spices (which will complement the pumpkin perfectly!): cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

Sift together the ingredients and stir until well combined.


Grab a second large mixing bowl and add a can of 100% pure pumpkin puree.

Along with an egg, some sugar, some heart-healthy canola oil, a bit of low-fat milk, and some vanilla extract.

Whisk until all the ingredients are well combined.


Then slowly blend in the flour mixture, stirring just until the batter is well combined.


Next, grab an 8-inch X 4-inch baking pan and coat it thoroughly with canola oil cooking spray.

Pour the pumpkin batter into the pan.

Then grab a table knife to spread and smooth the batter on top, ensuring the corners are filled in and the surface is perfectly smooth and even.

Toss the cake into the oven.

The cake takes about 40 minutes to bake. So at this point, you can forget about it for a while.

(It’s best to limit opening the oven door to check on the cake – opening the door will lower the temperature of the oven.)

The cake will soon fill your house with the yummy aroma of freshly baked, cinnamon spice pumpkin.

(No need for that “Pumpkin Spice” Yankee Candle today – you’ve got the real thing going!)

At the end of the baking time, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake.

If it comes out without any batter stuck to it, the cake is ready.

If batter clings to the toothpick, allow the cake to bake a few minutes more.


When the cake is ready, set it on the counter to cool for several minutes.

When it’s cool enough to handle, grab a table knife and run it all along the side of the cake, ensuring the cake isn’t stuck to the sides of the pan.

Turn the pan over onto a tray or cutting board, and the cake should fall right out.

Flip it again so the cake is right-side-up.


Then prepare the Chocolate Glaze.

Grab a mixing bowl and add some confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar), some unsweetened cocoa powder, a bit of vanilla extract, and a bit of water.

Stir until you end up with a frosting-like chocolate glaze.

If the glaze is too thick to spread over the cake, add a bit more water (about half of a teaspoon at a time) until you reach the perfect consistency where it’s just thin enough to spread over the cake (without become too liquidy).

Use a small spatula to spread the chocolate glaze all over the top of the cake.


Then help yourself to a thick slice while it’s still warm!


The pumpkin cake is dense and moist, with a hint of cinnamon spice.

But it’s the rich, gooey chocolate glaze that really makes this cake an indulgent treat.


I like that this cake is sneaky in two ways:

  1. It has that really enticing, festive, impressive look to it, but yet it’s actually so easy and painless to make.
  2. It’s so sweet and indulgent tasting, you’d never guess this is a healthy dessert!

This recipe is, no question, my new favorite for fall!

Here is the complete, printable recipe:

Skinny Chocolate-Glazed Pumpkin Cake
Nutrition Information
  • Serving size: 8
  • Calories: 255
  • Fat: 7.9g
  • Saturated fat: .9g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 43.8g
  • Sugar: 28.9g
  • Sodium: 88mg
  • Fiber: 1.9g
  • Protein: 3.2g
  • Cholesterol: 21mg
Recipe type: Healthier Dessert
Total Time: 55 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
For the Pumpkin Cake:
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup 100 percent pure pumpkin purée
  • 1 organic, pastured egg
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup organic canola oil
  • ¼ cup organic 1 percent milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2½ teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. To a mixing bowl, sift together and combine the following: whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.
  3. To a second large mixing bowl whisk and combine the following: pumpkin, egg, granulated sugar, canola oil, milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly blend the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, stirring just until the batter is well combined.
  5. Coat an 8-inch X 4-inch baking pan with canola oil cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan, spreading and smoothing the top with a table knife, ensuring the corners are filled in and the surface is perfectly smooth and even.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the Chocolate Glaze. To a mixing bowl, add the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, water, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Stir until ingredients are well combined. If the glaze is too thick to spread over the cake, add ½ teaspoon of water at a time and stir until desired consistency is reached.
  8. Run a table knife along every side of the cake, ensuring cake doesn't stick to the sides of the pan. Turn the pan over onto a tray or cutting board to remove the cake from the pan. Flip the cake so it's right-side-up. Use a small spatula to spread the chocolate glaze all over the top of the cake. Slice and serve.
  9. To Store: cake should remain fresh for about 4 days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool, dark, dry location.



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  1. November 1, 2013 / 6:20 pm

    Sounds fantastic! Chocolate and pumpkin are two of my very favourite flavours. I’d love to see your chocolate chip pumpkin bread recipe too if you’re willing to share it.

  2. November 2, 2013 / 12:14 pm

    Wow! This looks incredible! Skinny cake that just so happens to use the two best flavors ever invented? I’m in. Sooo in. 🙂

  3. November 2, 2013 / 3:15 pm

    I LOVE pumpkin and chocolate together! And these photos? So beautiful. I am always in awe of your food styling, Jen!

  4. November 4, 2013 / 2:12 pm

    Oh I love the idea of mixing chocolate and pumpkin, how cool. Looks delicious!

  5. November 5, 2013 / 12:52 pm

    Going down to the kitchen right now and going to be bakin’ this awesomeness for a snack later today…too yummy to even wait!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. November 5, 2013 / 6:21 pm

    I love Fall too! Sadly, we are now in the throes of Winter here…I think I need a piece of this cake to make me feel better! It looks fabulous. I do have a can of pumpkin just waiting to be put to good use.

  7. November 10, 2013 / 7:07 pm

    I’ve never had chocolate and pumpkin together but from the look of your cake…I need to remedy that. :_

  8. November 11, 2013 / 7:31 am

    Mmmmmmmm….. this looks so good!! I love, love pumpkin treats, especially with chocolate. Your views of autumn scenery are really pretty, too.

  9. November 24, 2013 / 4:25 pm

    I’ve never had pumpkin cake before but this looks delicious! And at 8 calories per serving – you’ve got to be kidding.

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      November 25, 2013 / 9:53 am

      Hello Pearlessence – it’s great to see you back! 🙂 Yes, I do WISH this was 8 calories per slice (!) but that’s actually meant to be 8 servings in the total recipe and then the calories come after the word: 255 calories 🙂

  10. November 25, 2013 / 8:40 pm

    I didn’t know (or had forgotten?) that you live in MA! So cool. I JUST moved away from Massachusetts, and while I don’t miss the cold, I do miss the colors. It’s very pretty in the fall!

    Also, this cake looks amazing. Might have to make it for Thanksgiving!

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