The perfect fall keto recipe, these beautiful keto baby pumpkin pound cakes are really nutritious and satisfying: full of good fats from grass-fed butter and extra egg yolks, and all the protein you could ask for, thanks to the whey protein in the cream cheese icing and the lupin flour.
Not to mention, the star ingredient: pumpkin! A cake with vegetable. (Or fruit… pumpkins are actually keto friendly fruits, funnily enough) Anyhoo, his keto pumpkin cake is a wonderful way to skip a meal, if you ask me.
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Carbs in pumpkin – is it keto?
Pumpkin is one of the most keto friendly fruits there are! 😁 Pumpkins, as other winter squashes, are extremely low-carb: according to the USDA database, 100 grams of cooked pumpkin contains only 5 grams of carbohydrates, from which 1 gram is fiber, which makes pumpkin super keto friendly at only 4 net carbs per 100 grams!
Pumpkins are also unbelievably low in calories: just 20 calories per 100 grams. That’s because this low carb vegetable/fruit is about 94% water. It’s also packed full of vitamins, specially vitamin A. Only one cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) provides 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin A.
If none of these reasons is good enough for you to start getting pumpk’up, here’s the best one: A sticky, soft and sweet keto pumpkin pie spice mini pound cake!
Pumpkin puree vs applesauce in keto baking
If you ever tried to bake with less fat (the horror, I know) you are probably familiar with substituting the butter in a recipe for applesauce, for a lighter baked item. I used to do this often, when I believed my SAD diet needed less saturated fats.
While not in any way a good replacement for butter, it’s undeniable that applesauce brings good qualities to baking all in itself: it improves the lightness and fluffiness of cakes, waffles and pancakes by a lot. It also smells heavenly, and it has a delicious natural sweetness.
Unfortunately, applesauce is not a good ingredient for keto baking. It has 17 grams of carbs per 100 grams, from which 15 grams are pure sugar.
Good news: pumpkin puree and applesauce are interchangeable. Canned pumpkin puree is the keto friendly version of applesauce! The way these two ingredients behave in baking is pretty much the same.
Easy homemade pumpkin puree
So you are dazzled by the beauty of these keto pumpkin cakes, and would love to bake them and fill your house with the wonderful scent of pumpkin pie spice and warm keto baby pound cakes… but you can’t find canned pumpkin in the store.
I hear you. Canned pumpkin puree can be really difficult to find, depending on the season, and near impossible outside the US. Don’t fret, you can easily DIY your pumpkin puree!
You can use fresh pumpkins to make a puree with a similar texture to the canned one, to be used in any recipes that asks for canned pumpkin. It’s super easy to make, and the taste is going to be even better than store bought!
Choose smaller pumpkins for cooking, such as pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins. Butternut squash is also an option. These are easier to cut and cheaper than the big jack-o’-lantern style, and not to mention more flavorful. Of course, you can re-purpose your jack-o’-lantern pumpkin if you have one out of job!
Just crack the pumpkin with a knife to open, cutting it in half, and scoop out all the strings and seeds first. Leave the peel on.
Put the halves of the pumpkin on the baking tray, lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, with the cut side facing down, and then roast the pumpkin slices in the oven.
Roasting is better than boiling if you want to substitute canned pumpkin, as boiling will make the pumpkin puree watery which isn’t great to use in recipes.
Roast the pumpkin halves for about one hour at 190 °C (375 °F). Test doneness by piercing with a fork, the baked pumpkin should be really tender, with the flesh coming away from the skin. The roasted skin will easily peel off after the roasted pumpkin cools down for a few minutes.
After removing the pumpkin skin, just puree it until smooth, using a food processor or blender or immersion blender. Even a potato masher or a fork will do!
Fresh pumpkins can vary in moistness so even baking instead of boiling may result in a puree that’s still too liquid (in comparison to canned pumpkin, that resembles soft mashed potato in texture). If this happens, you can either drain it through a cheesecloth or simmer it for a while to evaporate some of the excess water.
Lupin flour, and where to find it
Lupin flour is an amazing, protein packed keto flour! Every 100 grams of lupin contain a whooping 40 grams of protein 💪
I know that lupin flour can be difficult to find (even more so than canned pumpkin outside the US). In Australia it’s everywhere, Italy is big on it as well, but if you live in the US you’ll probably have to resort to ordering it.
It can be a hassle, but lupin flour is hands down my favorite keto flour and whenever I can find I stock up on it (maybe I’m the reason it’s hard to find… sorry!) If you can find lupin only in flake form, no worries, you can use it too (I had to do this so many times): process the lupin flakes in a food processor or powerful blender until it turns to flour. It will be coarser, but still yields great results!
How to make keto pumpkin mini cakes
Baby bundt cakes are beyond cute! It’s my first time using my mini bundt pan, and I don’t know if I can go back to regular size pound cake anymore. If you want to make this a big cake, though (booo!) it should fit a 8″ pan, and you can increase the baking time slightly.
Add all dry ingredients to a bowl: the pumpkin pie spice (store bought, or your homemade selection of spices), the lupin flour, and the baking powder. Mix all very well until it becomes a single colored powder.
Cream the butter until fluffy. If you have a standing mixer, use the beater (same as paddle) attachment on medium speed for about five minutes.
Slowly add the powdered keto sweetener (I used my homemade sugar equivalent erythritol stevia blend). If you just dump the whole amount of sweetener at once you risk deflating the batter, so do it little by little, with the mixer running.
Run a spatula through the sides of the bowl a couple of times during the process so the butter is uniformly creamed and mixed with the keto sweetener. Beat together butter and sweetener on medium speed for about five more minutes, until the mixture is doubled in size and super fluffy.
Add the eggs slowly to the creamed butter and sweetener: you could do this by cracking the eggs directly inside the bowl, but as we are not using all whole eggs it’s easier if you crack the eggs in a smaller bowl and lightly beat them with a fork before slowly pouring them in as the mixer is running. The butter might break at this point, specially if your eggs are still cold. Don’t worry, it will not affect the recipe.
Stop the mixer and add the pumpkin puree and the dry mixture of lupin flour, pumpkin pie spice and baking powder, and restart the mixer on a slower speed. Help the batter thoroughly mix by scraping the sides with a spatula.
Butter and dust your mini bundt cake tin with coconut flour or lupin flour. Divide the keto pumpkin pound cake batter equally among the tins, and take to the oven preheated at 180 °C (355 °F), then turn down the temperature to 165 °C (330 °F) and bake the mini keto pumpkin cakes for about 30 minutes.
Test with a toothpick, they are done if it comes out mostly clean. A couple of crumbles are expected, and encouraged. Wait for the mini cakes to cool down while you prepare the icing.
Cream cheese & whey icing
It can’t get any easier, and the LikeHotKeto whey icing is done in 3 steps:
- Start by adding the water to the whey protein, and mix it with a fork until it forms a smooth paste without any protein clumps. It’s easier to achieve this if you add the water slowly.
- Then, add the cream cheese, softened at room temperature, and mix it really quickly until it’s fully dissolved into the whey protein cream.
- Add the vanilla extract, and drops of stevia (or you preferred liquid sweetener). The keto cream cheese icing is done!
You can adjust the flavor by adding more or less vanilla or sweetener. Then, just wait until the cakes are cold and drizzle them with the keto icing.
The cream cheese protein icing is white colored when freshly made, but will get transparent as it sets, forming a delicious shiny sticky layer of deliciousness over the keto pumpkin cakes.
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