Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Butter Frosting (Low Carb, Gluten Free)

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Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Now that it’s almost fall and school is back in session, pumpkin recipes are popping up just about everywhere.  But it can be a tricky ingredient when baking low carb and gluten-free, as it adds a great deal of moisture and can make your treats gummy and wet.  And different brands of pumpkin puree tend to vary in their overall moisture content. But I learned a great trick from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen, to dry out the puree on some paper towels ahead of baking. Sopping up that extra moisture will help your low carb pumpkin desserts have the right consistency.  And adding a little low carb brown butter frosting will make them the hit of any fall party!


1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup unflavored whey protein powder
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Swerve sweetener or other erythritol
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp stevia extract
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered Swerve Sweetener or other powdered erythritol, sifted
1/4 cup cream, room temperature


For the cake, lay down two layers of paper towel on a plate and spread out pumpkin puree.  Top with another two layers of paper towel to sop up as much moisture as possible.  Let dry for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325F and grease two 8-inch round cake pans.  Line bottoms of pans with parchment and grease the parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, whey protein, baking powder and spices.
In a large bowl, beat butter, erythritol and pumpkin puree together until smooth.  Beat in eggs, vanilla extract, and stevia extract.
Beat in almond flour mixture in two additions, alternating with almond milk (your batter should be thick, but if it’s really stiff and hard to beat, add another tablespoon or so of almond milk).
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and smooth the top.  Bake 40 minutes or until edges are browned and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in pan 20 minutes, then flip out onto wire racks to cool completely.
For the glaze, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it browns and becomes fragrant.  In a medium bowl, place powdered erythritol and slowly pour in browned butter, beating to combine.
Add cream and beat until smooth and a spreadable consistency has been achieved.
To assemble, place on layer of cake on a serving plate and spread with about half of the frosting.  Add the second layer of cake and spread the top with half of the frosting.
Serves: 12

Originally published on Sep 13th, 2013.

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Comments (21)

  1. Tessa at

    This looks fabulous.  I have to ask though about the whey protein. Every single recipe I have ever made that included whey protein turned out with a very weird texture and was not very good at all.  Now granted, I think all of them had the whey as one of the main ingredients whereas yours just looks like an additive.  But still it makes me wary.  I guess there’s just one way to find out!

  2. marcia at

    I am allergic to dairy. What can I sub for the Whey Protein? I don’t eat soy either. Thanks for any help you can give! 

  3. Jenevere at

    I wonder if egg white protein can be subbed for whey protein?

  4. Carolyn Ketchum
    Carolyn at

    Hi all…the whey protein is to help it rise in the absence of gluten.  But you can use powdered egg whites or hemp protein in its place!

  5. Lisa Mathews at

    This was excellent!  I used Sweet Cream Flavored Visalus which is a soy protein shake mix instead do the whey protein powder.  Also. I used Whey Low sugar sub (I order it online, but whole foods sells it) and for the icing I made cream cheese frosting with whey low powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla.  My whole family loved it! 

  6. Shyla at

    Can you taste the coconut flour in the finished product?  I am very sensitive to the taste of coconut (makes me gag) so I was wondering if you can taste it and if so, is there another gf, preferably low carb flour you could substitute.  I know it absorbs a lot more moisture than almond flour but I’m wondering if you could just use more almond flour and adjust the liquids?  Thoughts?

  7. Melanie E. at

    Shyla, this is such a minimal amount of coconut flour and it would definitely be masked by the pumpkin and other spices.  (Even other recipes I’ve made with much more coconut flour don’t have a coconut-y flavor to me!)

  8. CB at

    I’m probably just missing it, but I don’t see the carb count for this recipe. 

  9. Lin at

    It looks great but I count carbs and calories and that info isn’t here. Can you add that info, please?

  10. BJ at

    I can’t use artificial sweeteners. How much raw sugar can be used in this recipe instead?

    Marcia, if you use pure whey protein isolate (not concentrate or a blend) it is virtually lactose free. I have problems with lactose, but I can use that with no problems. 

  11. Lizz at

    Hi everyone, I know this is a pretty old post but I’m going to make this cake for thanksgiving (I’m on LCHF and don’t want to cheat!) so I figured out the nutritional info: Whole recipe for the cake is 2362 cal, 82g protein, 114 g carbs, 48 g fiber, 66 g net carbs. I divided by 8 and 12 and respectively got: 295.25 cal, 10.2 g protein, 14.25 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 8.25 g net carbs per slice for 8 slices OR 196.8 cal, 6.8 g protein, 9.5 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 5.5 net carbs per slice for 12 slices. The icing is 980 total cal, 122.5 each for 8 servings and 81.6 each for 12 servings.

    It JUST occurred to me that I didn’t calculate fat and for that I apologize!

    Haven’t baked this yet but I’m dying to try it. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. marisa at

    Just curious about the flour, I have a daughter who is allergic/sensitive to nuts and wondered what floor could be used?

  13. Abi at

    BJ, the sweetener here is Erythritol which is not actually “artificial” – it’s a sugar-alcohol which occurs in fairly small quantities in some fruits and fermented foods.

    However, of the artificial sweeteners which do exist (aspartame, sucralose etc…), they are chemically entirely different to each other so even if you do have trouble with one, it’s unlikely you’d have the same problem with another.

    And lastly, whether something is artificial or natural tells you absolutely nothing about how toxic it is – many plants, veg and fruit contain natural toxins although in small quantities and of course there are many natural plants which are extremely toxic.

    And lastly artificial ingredients have probably undergone far more safety testing than most of the foods we eat which were a case of, “if you don’t seem to drop dead when you eat it, it’s probably alright!”

  14. Marlaena at

    I made this cake today and it was delicious. The only think I would do is put some toasted nuts on top to give it some crunch. I will make this again. Thank you!Q

  15. Beth at

    These recipes look wonderful… Love it that they are low carb and no hard to find ingredients. Thank you!

  16. ann at

    Is it normal for the frosting part to get “gritty” after storing the frosted cake in the refrigerator? They do this when I use powdered xylitol or swerve.

  17. CAM at

    A kind of response to BJ:

    As far as being allergic to artificial sweetners goes, they could be intolerant for other reasons like arthritis or fibromyalgia. Cutting out artificial sweetners help cut out a lot of pain and symptoms from them.

    Keeping that in mind, there are also other kinds of sweetners that, when used in baking, can actually have an effect on you, like some of the powdered kinds.

    Maybe ask a nutritionist if you can, about what kind of sweetner would be best to use in cooking in place of pure sugar.

  18. Can I use vanilla flavored whey protein instead of unflavored? Has anyone else done this in their recipe?

  19. Pauletee moran at

    It was amazing as always, love the way the brown butter icing taste

  20. Cynthia at

    I need the carb count for my diabetic son. Do you have that?

  21. Linda Vick at

    Nutritional values would help alot especially the fat and carbohydrates

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