If you are one pumpkin spice latte away from a total squash overdose, you may have read the words “Pumpkin Sheet Cake” and felt the twinge of an eye roll. If this is the case—if even the prospect of the fluffiest, most moist pumpkin spice cake you’ve ever tasted cannot tempt you—I still have a very compelling reason why you should bake this Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting anyway.
Cream cheese frosting.
One of my less-polite habits is wiping all but the thinnest layer of frosting from my of slice cake, because I find most frosting recipes to be overly sweet or even greasy. I’ve even gone so far as demonstrate this behavior at weddings, which is usually the point in the evening when, if he didn’t already at the site of my attempted line dance to “Cotton Eyed Joe,” Ben pretends he doesn’t know me.
But this cream cheese frosting recipe? I could eat it on a slice of cardboard. THAT GOOD.
Seeing as we have an extra fluffy, super moist pumpkin sheet cake available as our frosting vehicle, however, let’s enjoy it that way instead, shall we?
About This Pumpkin Sheet Cake
As with last week’s healthy pumpkin bread, this pumpkin sheet cake is taking us back to the pumpkin fundamentals. It’s soft and springy, packed with warm spices, and only takes one bowl to make. While many pumpkin spice cakes are on the heavier side (a product of the density of the pumpkin puree itself), this pumpkin sheet cake is refreshingly light and delightfully tender.
To keep this pumpkin sheet cake on the healthier side, I swapped out a portion of sugar for honey and the vegetable oil for Greek yogurt. I employed the same trick for the frosting, substituting Greek yogurt for part of the butter and cream cheese. I love the extra bit of tang the yogurt adds to the frosting, and it makes it extra creamy and smooth too.
My other healthy twist was to replace half of the regular flour with white whole wheat flour. Its mild taste is completely undetectable, and you can go in for that extra slice with confidence, knowing you’re squeezing in a little extra fiber.
I chose to do this pumpkin spice cake as a sheet versus layer cake for maximum ease and portability. In addition to being faster and easier to make than their fussier layer cake cousins, sheet cakes travel well and are especially simple to slice and serve at parties and potlucks.
As I quickly discovered, sheet cakes are also ideal for trimming off little extra bites whenever you happen to be walking through the kitchen, a place that, when this pumpkin sheet cake is on the premises, you are likely to find yourself very frequently.
More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
I have DOZENS of Healthy Pumpkin Recipes, but here are a few ideas:
- Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins
- Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies
Recommended Tools to Make Pumpkin Cake
- 9×13 inch baking pan (I love the carry-everywhere lid)
- Stand mixer (this hand mixer is excellent too)
Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Pumpkin Sheet Cake:
- 1/2 cup canola oil or melted cooled coconut oil
- 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup brown sugar light or dark
- 1/4 cup honey plus 2 tablespoons
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling
- 1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder I recommend aluminum free
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice or substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
For the Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 6 ounces 1/3 reduced-fat cream cheese also called Neufchatel; do not use fat free
- 3 tablespoons non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly coat with baking spray.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, beat together the oil, Greek yogurt, brown sugar, and honey until well blended and smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, incorporating between each. Beat in the pumpkin puree.
- Sprinkle the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice over the top. Mix to combine. Then, sprinkle in the whole wheat flour and all purpose flour. By hand with a wooden spatula or spoon, stir the batter, just until the flour disappears.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then with an offset spatula or spoon, smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the cake on a wire pan to cool completely.
- To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, butter, vanilla extract, and salt at medium speed for 2 minutes, until fluffy and well combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar, increasing the speed to medium as you go. Beat for 1-2 minutes until well combined. Spread frosting evenly over top of cooled cake. Let the frosting set for 10 minutes (you can pop the cake into the refrigerator if you are in a hurry), then slice and serve.
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