Pumpkin Protein Cake With Caramel and Pecan Nuts
What can be better on a cold rainy day than enjoying your favorite cup of tea or coffee with a piece of cake? If you are like me and love cakes and sweets, your answer would probably be: “Nothing is better! This is perfect, give me the cake!” And although I agree with you, I must say that there is even something better than this: imagine a cake that is packed with the right nutrients and keeps you satiated for a few hours. If you can’t believe me, try to make this pumpkin protein cake with caramel and pecan nuts.
For the cake itself you will need:
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (150 g) brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 g) white sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 15-oz can (425 g) pumpkin puree
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp (16 g) baking powder
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 30 g chopped pecans
Additionally, you will need:
- Salted caramel sauce. You can buy one or do it yourself, see the recipe below.
- Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting, see the recipe below.
- 30 g of pecans and caramel chocolates for garnish (optionally)
Macros per serving (without garnish on top): 580 kcal, Protein – 18 g, Fat – 36 g, Carbs – 50 g, Fiber – 2 g
- Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. For baking, ideally you will need a cake ring, which you can adjust to 8 inch size. As an alternative, you can take 3 of 8-inch round cake pans. Spray the sides with a baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Add in the pumpkin puree and whisk again until a smooth mixture forms.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, pumpkin spice and salt. Put the dry ingredients into the batter, then whisk just until well mixed.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan or cake ring and bake for 35-40 minutes until it feels firm to the touch. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean, the cake is done.
- Let the cake cool down. You can put it in the fridge to speed this up.
- Meanwhile, prepare the salted caramel sauce and caramel cream cheese frosting. Allow the caramel sauce to cool before using in the cake; this can also be prepared the day before. See both of the recipes below.
- Once the cake layers have cooled, you can assemble the cake. Spread 1/3 amount of the frosting on to the first layer. Then spread evenly 3 teaspoons of the caramel sauce on top of the frosting. Finally, top with a handful (30g) of crushed pecans.
- Add the next layer and repeat the process for each layer.
- Before you garnish the top, allow the cake to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. For the best taste, leave the cake in the fridge over night to set.
- Garnish the top with caramel sauce, more pecans, and chocolate squares.
- Remove the cake from the fridge at least an hour before serving to allow the layers to soften. Enjoy!
- You can do the pumpkin puree yourself. Cut the pumpkin into 4 pieces and remove the seeds. Wrap each piece in aluminum foil and put in the oven with 375F until pumpkin is tender. Allow to cool and blend it until completely smooth.
- You can do the pumpkin spice by yourself too.
- You can assemble and decorate the cake as you wish! You can do only one layer and put all the frosting on top, or you can do two layers or more. You can skip the garnish like caramel or chocolate, if you want to have less calories per serving.
Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe
For the sauce you will need:
- 1 cup (200 g) white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) water
- 4 tbsp (57 g) butter
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) heavy cream
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 tsp vanilla paste
- In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine the sugar and water but do not stir. Do not stir the syrup while cooking, as this will cause crystals to form on the sides of the pan.
- Cook the sugar over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sugar caramelizes into a rich, amber color. From the point, when sugar starts to caramelize, it can go really fast! Make sure you do not over cook, otherwise your caramel will taste burnt. So, make sure to stay with the pan at all times! The timing can also vary, depending on sauce pan and stove top.
- Once the syrup caramelizes, remove the sauce from the heat and slowly add the butter and whisk until melted.
- Then very slowly add the heavy cream next and mix again; the sauce will foam up, so make sure you pour the cream really slowly and take care that it doesn’t run over.
- Finally, add the salt and vanilla extract. Allow the sauce to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then pour into a glass mason jar for keeping. You can keep the sauce at room temperature for up to 1 week, or refrigerate for a thicker caramel.
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
For the frosting you will need:
- 560g (2-2.5 cups) plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (I used a regular Greek yogurt)
- 12.2 oz low fat cream cheese
- 2 tsp vanilla paste
- 1 tsp liquid stevia extract
- 2 scoops of protein powder*
- 6 tbsp salted caramel sauce
*I used “Kaged Muscle Kasein” casein, Chocolate Shake Flavor. Casein gives a more creamy texture, but you can also use a whey protein or a protein blend of casein and whey protein. You can also use a different flavor as well. In my opinion, those flavors would taste great with the pumpkin cake: Vanilla, Caramel, Pumpkin Spice, Cookie & Cream.
- Mix cream cheese with Greek yogurt until completely smooth.
- Add casein and mix again until completely smooth.
- Finally, add stevia, caramel sauce and vanilla paste and mix it again.
- Refrigerate to cool and set if frosting a cake, or enjoy as is. Store in the refrigerator.
For my taste, the frosting is already very sweet. However, if you like it even sweeter, you can just add more stevia or powdered erythritol.