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November 6, 2012

Orange Velvet Pumpkin Layer Cake with a Special Chocolate Frosting

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I really don't want to disclose the length of time I've spent trying to perfect a healthy Red Velvet Cake recipe, so let's just leave it at... okay, okay... it's been a year and a half.


Now that's off my chest I can get on with the post.  So, my first trial went surprisingly well (surprise surprise!).  I based the recipe off my Citrus Pound Cake recipe, since that is the recipe most requested by friends and family.  However, the red velvet cake didn't have much flavor (it needed more cocoa and I accidentally left out the vanilla), wasn't bright red, and the frosting was terr-i-ble.

The second trial was horrendously embarrassing, and I don't really want to talk about the third trial either.  However, I should mention that trial #3 was gluten-/dairy-/soy-free due to my allergies.  I tried out a new type of natural food coloring but it ended up turning the cake a faded burgundy color... gross.  The fourth trial was close to perfection, however I ran out of food coloring after 1.5 tablespoons.  Seriously.  Why must everything go wrong?  Why is the universe preventing me from perfecting this darn Red Velvet Cake recipe?  Ugh.

That's when I peered out the window and looked at the trees.  The leaves were green, yellow, orange, red... it was beautiful.  I glanced down at my Red Velvet recipe and realized I should simply modify it to suit the season.  Instead of applesauce, I used pumpkin...  instead of red food coloring, I used orange...  and then I tossed in some apple pie spice.  The batter was vibrant and beautiful, like those orange leaves scattered around the yard.

This cake was delicious!  While I would have preferred an extra hint of cinnamon (say, 1/2 teaspoon?), my taste-testers adored the cake as is.  It was dense and a tad bit fudgy in the center, kind of like chocolate cake.  It tasted like it was full of butter, egg yolks and unhealthy stuff when it was comprised of whole grains and natural sweeteners.  The frosting is light and fluffy, which contrasts the cake in the most perfect way, making the cake satisfying with every guilt-free bite!

Orange Velvet Pumpkin Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting:  [low fat/sugar, high fiber/protein, GF]
(makes two 9" cake layers)

       738g (3 cups) 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree, canned
       192g (1 cup) Granulated Sweetener (I used 1/2c erythritol, 1/4c sucanat, 1/4c maple sugar)
       1+1/2 cups Egg Whites
       42g (3 tbs) Grapeseed Oil (or any other neutral oil)
       2 tbs Natural Orange Food Coloring (feel free to add 1 tbs yellow coloring to brighten the orange color)
       1 tbs Stevia Extract
       2 tsp Butter Extract
       320g (2 cups) Brown Rice Flour
       240g (2 cups) Oat Flour (GF if you like)
       20g (1/4 cup) Regular Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
       5 tsp Apple Pie Spice
       2+1/2 tsp Baking Soda
       1 tsp Salt
       1 tbs White Vinegar
       1/4 cup + 3 tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk

   5-ingredient Protein Frosting:
       168g (8 scoops) Chocolate Brown Rice Protein Powder (I used SunWarrior)
       10g (2 tbs) Dark Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
       1 cup + 6 tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk
       28g (1 tbs + 1 tsp) Pure Maple Syrup
       1 tsp Stevia Extract (or to taste)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray two 9" cake pans with cooking spray (I also lined the bottom of the cake pans with parchment paper circles)
2.  Using a stand mixer and whisk attachment, whisk the pumpkin, sweetener, egg whites, oil, food coloring, stevia, butter extract and vanilla extract on medium-low speed.
3.  With mixer still running, gather the brown rice flour, oat flour, cocoa, apple pie spice, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
4.  Add the vinegar to the stand mixer bowl, once incorporated, slowly scoop in the dry ingredients.
5.  Add the almond milk and whip on high for about 15 seconds, or until batter is even.
6.  Pour/scoop batter into prepared cake pans, tap pans on the counter to level the batter and bake for ~40 minutes, or until surface springs back when touched.  Flip cakes onto wire cooling racks and let cool completely before frosting.  Feel free to level the cakes.
7.  For the frosting- in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the protein powder and cocoa.  In a small bowl, stir together the almond milk, syrup and stevia.  Add the wet to the dry and stir together, then frost!

If you want a stronger chocolate flavor for the cake, use chocolate-flavored stevia in the frosting or simply grate chocolate over each slice!
If you want a less dense cake, reduce the pumpkin by one cup and increase the almond milk by one cup.

I sliced the cake into 10 slices, but I would recommend slicing it into 12 or even 16.  Because this cake is high in fiber and protein, it is incredibly filling.  You see that giant slice of cake below?  I would say that has the same fullness factor as two giant bowls of oatmeal!

Oh, and don't worry, I'll perfect that Red Velvet soon enough!


  1. what a great colour! love it! I`ve never seen orange velvet cake before, but yours looks divine :)

  2. Love this, the apples and cinnamon sticks make great props too, lovely photos!

  3. Protein frosting?! So that means I can eat it with a spoon and it's okay, right? :D I totally think this was worth the year and a half of perfecting!

    1. Aw thanks! And you must be psychic, because I ate the leftover frosting with a spoon... ;)

  4. Um, yum! That might be my new breakfast :D

  5. This looks yummy! But in terms of the red velvet cake dilemma, couldn't you base one off beets? That red is very potent, as I'm sure you know!

    1. Good idea! I've actually tried using beets, but it didn't work as well as I'd hoped. Maybe because I used canned beets (I'm kinda scared of fresh beets...), so the cake turned brown. However, it was soooo good!
      I think I need to do some MORE research (ugh) on how the batter should be and then I will be on my next trial. Fun fun fun ;)

  6. The texture of this cake looks absolutely incredible! So dense and chewy, just the way I like 'em. Have to give that one a try!

    Funny, I wanted to start working on a red velvet cake myself. After reading your post, I'm not quite sure I want to go ahead with that project... And I just made a Beet / Chocolate Cake and it turned out really dark, rich chocolate brown, without so much as a hint of red. So I'm guessing beets wouldn't work. Need to think of something else!

    1. Yup, this cake is definitely the dense type! No "light and fluffy" cupcake texture here ;)

      I wish the typical red food coloring wasn't artificial and didn't cause health problems, otherwise I would have been done with this recipe already! :(

      And that Beet & Chocolate cake sounds awesome (especially the chocolate part). I used to hate beets but now I'm starting to like them... can't wait until you post the recipe!

  7. Wow! This looks amazing! You always make everything look so delicious! :-)


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