It’s Halloween and pumpkins are everywhere.
I haven’t made one pumpkin dish this Autumn; perhaps because in Autumn back in Australia it’s March/April/May so the association between Halloween pumpkins and the season isn’t really made. Maybe it’s because my little sister preferred sweet potatoes, so they were cooked instead in our household from before I became slightly interested in the kitchen. Evgeny also dislikes plain pumpkin, it needs to be hidden. But whatever the reason, pumpkins have never really featured heavily in my cooking repertoire. Until I moved to Seattle.
When I was walking the aisles at Costco a few weeks ago, I came across some canned pumpkin puree and fell victim to having a product shoved in my face. I bought some of the cans.
A work friend had made a pumpkin spice cake one “fall,” and I’d had a little try. It was delicious and I couldn’t wait to make a low FODMAP version. Mission accomplished.
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- Pie/sugar pumpkin in is low FODMAP in 1/4 cup serves but is high in polyols in larger servings. This cake splits one cup between 16 serves, so is safe.
- The cream cheese contains lactose but in some countries you can buy lactose free cream cheese – check your local supermarket.
- To make this dairy free, use coconut oil instead of butter and your favourite low FODMAP milk – I like coconut milk, which is safe in the amount called for in this recipe and even safer once divided by 16. Coconuts are not classed as tree nuts – rather, they are fruits, and coconut allergies are rare (according to Allergic Living).
- Xanthan gum is not a FODMAP but gums can cause digestive distress in some people for other reasons. If this is the case, use 1 tbsp. chia meal soaked in 1 tbsp. water as a gum replacement.
- Make sure you use pure vanilla extract, without any added FODMAPs.
- Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are low FODMAP in 2 tbsp. serves.
- Sugar content:
- Monash lists 1 tbsp. of both white and brown sugar as low FODMAP, without suggesting any upper limit. Sometimes this may mean that you may safely eat more, it is just not listed as it is more than a typical serving. I have contacted Monash to ask them to clarify whether this is the case with sugar. The cake, split into 16 serves, easily falls well under 1 tbsp. sugar in each. In the mean time, if you are concerned, use dextrose as suggested below and drizzle the cake/muffins with a little maple syrup instead of the cream cheese icing (if you are unable to make icing dextrose).
- You can safely reduce the sugar/dextrose in this cake batter from 3/4 cup total to 1/2 a cup and it will still taste good, just less sweet for those whose taste buds prefer it or whose fructose malabsorption/IBS requires it. This cake already contains about 50% less sugar than many similar recipes out there.
- If you would like to use a sweetener such as pure stevia to further cut down on the sugar, feel free to do so by following your product’s substitution instructions.
- The slight excess of fructose in brown sugar (0.1 g/100 g) can be balanced out by using dextrose, as suggested in the ingredients. Read more about low FODMAP sugars and sweeteners here.
Spiced Pumpkin Cake
Serves 16 FODMAPers
Makes one 9″ cake, two 6″ cakes or 12-16 muffins.
- 115 g/1 stick of softened unsalted butter or coconut oil
- 1/2 cup dextrose/castor sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (freshly made or canned)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or LF milk
- 250 g/1 1/4 cup GF plain flour
- 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or chia gel
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 pinch salt
- Optional – 1/4 cup pepitas
Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease and line your cake or muffin tins.
Beat the egg whites and salt on high until soft peaks form, then add in the sugars and continue to beat until stiff.
Meanwhile, sieve the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and spices together in one bowl, and combine the egg yolks, butter/coconut oil, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract and your milk of choice in another.
Once the egg whites and sugar have formed stiff peaks, add in the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add in the wet ingredients. Continue to beat on medium-high for 2 minutes, until cake batter is fluffy and smooth.
If you’d like a little crunch, add in about 1/4 cup of toasted pepitas or leave them to top the icing later.
Bake at 180 C/350 F until it tests clean:
- 6″ cake: 45-55 minutes.
- 9″ cake: 55-65 minutes.
- Muffins: 18 minutes.
Let the cake cool in the tin for ten or so minutes, then turn it out into a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before icing.
Maple Cream Cheese Icing
1-2 tsp. per cake slice/muffin – freeze the rest.
- 225 g cream cheese, softened and full fat (low fat won’t whip properly)
- 60 g/1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup icing sugar or icing dextrose (or a mix of both)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Blend the cream cheese, butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a food processor until smooth. They have to be room temperature, because cold cream cheese and butter will make lumpy icing. Be patient and let them soften!
Add the icing sugar/dextrose in in 1/4 cup amounts and mix thoroughly, tasting after each addition. Stop when you feel it is sweet enough.
This icing recipe makes a lot more than you will need to top the 16 muffins I made, as I used a slightly heaped tsp. per muffin. Save the rest in the fridge for dipping strawberries – or simply freeze it for your next baking project.
Layered Cake Assembly
For single layered cakes, place each cake on a plate and spread with the icing. Top with crushed pecans or toasted pepitas.
For a double layered cake, place one cake on a plate and spread some of the icing over and top it with the second cake. If you have time, refrigerate it at this stage for 15 minutes to let the icing set in between the layers – this will prevent movement later on. Next, Spread icing over the entire outside of the cake – begin at the centre of the cake’s top and work your way to the edges and then down the sides. Top with toasted nuts or pepitas and refrigerate before serving.