Crazy for Crust

Oct 30

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Snack Cake

 Yesterday, Jordan and I went to a local pumpkin farm with her Brownie Scout Troop. We spent an exhausting (and unseasonably warm) few hours playing on the slide, riding the train, and jumping on hay.

{Well. She did that.  I watched.}

This pumpkin patch is known for their baked goods (aren’t they all?). They sell their homemade pumpkin bread and cake, as well an assortment of pies and cookies. Normally, I just go all dessert-blogger on them and say something snotty like “I can make that at home, let’s go.”

But yesterday we carpooled, and the driver needed baked goods. So, of course, I bought some too. (A slice of pumpkin cake, loaf of pumpkin bread, and two cookies, to be exact.)

I still had that funny feeling in my tummy, you know, the one I talked about last week? The one that screams “DESSERT BLOGGERS DO NOT BUY DESSERT, THEY MAKE IT.”

But then the other part of my tummy, the one that was growling, said, “Dessert bloggers also have to style, photograph, edit, and write what they bake.”

I swear, my tummy is SO smart.

I instagrammed a photo of what I bought because, in that moment, I was so excited. I had dessert for after dinner that I didn’t have to do any work for.

It was like a night off, or something.

Is this what it feels like on Holidays for working people?

{FYI, I do find it ironic that I’m posting a pumpkin cake while I write about this topic.}

This cake is another example of the things food bloggers do. I made it for my dad the last time they visited, at the beginning of October. But, they were coming to stay with Jordan and Mel and I were heading out of town, so I ran out of time and didn’t photograph it.

Do you know how much that pained me? That I made this delicious cake that was SO moist and SO good and I didn’t photograph it?

It was so painful that I had to make it again for you. You can thank me in the comments. 😉  (<–sarcasm)

My dad is not supposed to eat sugar, and I’m always trying to find yummy sugar free recipes for him. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. This one rocked my socks off.

It’s a sugar-free cake mix (from Pillsbury) mixed with a can of pumpkin and some other cake ingredients. Then I swirled the top with butter, cinnamon, and sweetener.

{You could totally make this regular and full of sugar – just substitute a regular cake mix and real sugar.}

Seriously. SO good people. I made this with every intention of freezing it to bring to my dad at Thanksgiving. It is in the freezer…but who knows how long it will last there.

So go make this. And I give you total permission to enjoy it without photographing it. Feel no guilt!

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Snack Cake


  • 1 sugar-free cake mix (from Pillsbury)
  • 1 can (about 2 cups) pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 packets sweetener of your choice (I used Nectresse)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9x13” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Mix cake mix, pumpkin, oil, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl with a hand mixer until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of batter and place the rest into the prepared pan.
  3. Place reserved batter back into your bowl, and and add the melted butter, cinnamon, and sweetener. Stir to combine.
  4. Place dollops of the cinnamon batter mixture over the cake and swirl with the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.


This can also be made with sugar - just use a regular cake mix and 2 tablespoons of sugar instead of the sweetener.

47 Responses to “Sugar-Free Pumpkin Snack Cake”

  1. Lisa posted on October 30, 2012 at 7:02 pm (#)

    When I saw the title, I thought, “Say whaaaaaaaat??? Dorothy’s lost her marbles.” But this looks so good!! I need to try it. Pinning. Making. Eating.


  2. sally @ sallys baking addiction posted on October 30, 2012 at 7:16 pm (#)

    i will NEVER get tired of pumpkin recipes – esp those on the healthier side with no sugar. THe best guilt free pumpkin cake around for sure :)


  3. Karyn - Pint Sized Baker posted on October 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm (#)

    Wha?? A dessert with no sugar? How can it be? If you hadn’t told me, I never would have know. Guess now I can have TWO slices without feeling guilty! Thanks so much.


  4. crazyforcrust posted on October 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm (#)



    • karen replied on November 19th, 2013 at 9:05 am

      I’m soooo happy to find your sugar free pumpkin recipe. The idea of having a desert that’s good and good for you and NO SUGAR. Woo Hoo I’m on my way to the kitchen right now. THANK YOU


  5. Katie @ Dip It In Chocolate posted on October 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm (#)

    I love that you posted this! In the last week my husband has gone all Atkins on me. I do NOT know how to bake without sugar… I have never gotten the point. 😉

    I now have some sugar-free experiments planned for the future and I’ll add this to my list. I’m sure my carb deprived hubby will thank you.


  6. Back For Seconds posted on October 30, 2012 at 8:29 pm (#)

    Sometimes I have to just bake for the fun of it. No pictures, no pressure, and no problem if every cookie is deformed because my daughter wanted to do it all herself. It’s necessary sometimes. Just like buying the occasional dessert :) food bloggers CAN do these things.
    I love seeing sugar free desserts – especially from you because then I know it’s gotta be good! This looks wonderful!


  7. Tonia@thegunnysack posted on October 30, 2012 at 8:53 pm (#)

    I love sugar free recipes! I am so going to make this for tomorrow night!


  8. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel posted on October 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm (#)

    A guilt-free pumpkin snack cake OBVIOUSLY means I can eat several servings because you made it healthy for me to do so. Now if only we can work some nutritional magic on chips, I’ll be skinny in no time. This cake looks awesome!


  9. Kristin posted on October 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm (#)

    As a blogger, I feel like every time I have a chance to capture something (be it food, an outfit, something ridiculous), I need to take it. I wonder how normal people live….I never want to be non-blogger again :)
    I hope this baby makes it to Thanksgiving!


  10. Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection posted on October 31, 2012 at 6:16 am (#)

    Haha I totally know what you mean about having the night off and actually enjoying a recipe without having to photograph, document, edit, and spend hours on it before actually enjoying it. Sometimes it is nice to just have a night or two off to enjoy food :) And sugar-free recipes are so tricky; I’m glad this one worked out for you! Pinning it for future reference!


  11. melanie posted on October 31, 2012 at 7:10 am (#)

    Newest follower here! I found you through the Wednesday link up! Cute blog, I can’t wait to read more!


  12. Mom posted on October 31, 2012 at 7:25 am (#)

    This was wonderful cake. I helped Daddy eat it. :}
    Love, Mom


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  14. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life posted on October 31, 2012 at 7:51 am (#)

    This definitely means I can have an extra piece…ok, ok 2 extra pieces;-) I need to start making some more sugar free desserts because my jeans are definitely sugar loaded:-)


  15. Heather @French Press posted on October 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm (#)

    I’ve never tried a sugar -free dessert – the thought scares me a bit
    but you make this look really good
    and I’ve got some nectresse in the pantry that I have been wanting to try
    and a BUNCH of pumpkins ready to be cooked:)


    • crazyforcrust replied on November 1st, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      I know, they scare me too! I never know if they’re going to have an after taste or not. That sugar-free cake mix is really good!


  16. Lisa {Sweet 2 Eat Baking} posted on October 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm (#)

    I get you on the whole dessert blogger thing of ‘I can make that, stop pestering”. But then there are those days of doom where I go food shopping whilst hungry. That’s a BIG no no. I come home with all sorts of sweets and treats. Mahoosive bags of candy, candy bar yoghurts, cakes, cheesecakes, trifles.. you name it!

    Sugar free or not, this cake does look incredibly moist. And I have pumpkin puree *mexican wave everyone!*, not to mention a box of cake mix too. Hurrah! This is going on my “to bake n’ bake” bookmark list for the very near future! And mine’s going to laced with sugar too! 😉


    • crazyforcrust replied on November 1st, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Oh, gosh. Food shopping while hungry is one of the cardinal sins. I do that way too often!


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  18. Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl posted on October 31, 2012 at 9:02 pm (#)

    Pumpkin recipes are my absolute favorite. And while I don’t HAVE to eat sugar-free, I try to do so when I can. This recipe looks great, Dorothy–I can tell how moist this cake is just by looking at your pics. Great job!


  19. Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen posted on November 1, 2012 at 8:29 am (#)

    Oh this does look good! My dad is diabetic so this will be perfect! I was just brainstorming this morning for what to make for fututre posts and Sugar Free Cookies were what I was thinking about! These look delcious! Thanks for Sharing such a great recipe!


    • crazyforcrust replied on November 1st, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      I bet you could make sugar free cookies out of that cake mix. It’s really good mix, not “sugar-free tasting” at all!


  20. Angela posted on November 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm (#)

    I’ve never bought one of those sugar free mixes but, I’m going to look for them now. Sounds delicious!


    • crazyforcrust replied on November 2nd, 2012 at 6:33 am

      They really are good – not weird tasting, which is nice. It gives a good base for desserts for my dad!


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  22. Danielle posted on November 2, 2012 at 6:46 am (#)

    Is there a specific measurement to use if we use canned pumpkin pie filling?


  23. Dawn posted on November 2, 2012 at 7:04 am (#)

    Hi there! This recipe sounds so yummy! I am planning to make it for my family, but first I need to know, how many servings does it make? Reason I ask is because I need to input the recipe into (will keep it in my “private stash” there, so as not to infringe on any copyright terms you may have), so that I can find out the nutrition information on it. Reason I must do this is because my 7 year old son has type 1 diabetes, and we have to count carbohydrates, fats, and proteins of everything he eats so we can give him the appropriate amount of insulin. I’m sure he would just LOVE to try this recipe (especially since I plan to make it with his pumpkins we forgot to carve for halloween!). If you could please let me know how many servings this makes, I’d greatly appreciate it! (as would my son, I’m sure!! LOL!) Thanks so much!


  24. meredith posted on November 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm (#)

    as a type-1 diabetic for 34 years (coma & hospitalization the week before Halloween), i’m always looking for things i can enjoy: so i will definitely be trying this VERY soon, albeit with a few changes of my own that i can already tell need to be made. if they work out, i’ll let you know.

    thanks a bunch!


    • crazyforcrust replied on November 4th, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Yes, please do!! I’m always on the look-out for good sugar-free recipes. I’d love to hear about your changes!


  25. emily posted on November 3, 2012 at 12:36 am (#)

    yum, yumy, yummyyy! I’m hosting a Thanksgiving party all month long (until Thanksgiving) and would love for you to come over and link it up! This is in addition to my normal Tasteful Tuesday party that runs every Tuesday. Thank you for taking the time to celebrate Thanksgiving and be THANKFUL for all our blessings.


  26. jackie posted on November 3, 2012 at 11:23 am (#)

    I’ve decided to to blame your blog on my 8 pound weight gain!


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  28. Michelle posted on November 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm (#)

    Wow Dorothy I didn’t even know they made sugar free cake mix. This pumpkin snack cake look super moist and delicious. I’ll have to try it too (for the pictures). My Mother-in-law is diabetic and she loves pumpkin. Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday. Can’t wait to see what you share this week! Have a wonderful week.


  29. Sheri Reese posted on March 22, 2013 at 10:48 pm (#)

    I’ll be making this for Easter. My daughter and I are on Medifast so no sugar and a friend is a new diabetic. Looks great. Can’t go wrong with pumpkin. Who knew there was a sugar free cake mix?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 23rd, 2013 at 7:21 am

      I LOVE that cake mix Sheri! They have brownie mix too. I make cookies, cakes, and all sorts of treats for my dad with them!


  30. Sheri posted on August 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm (#)

    Second time to make this. Love it, shared it on Facebook.


  31. michele moyes posted on August 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm (#)

    So what flavor cake mix did you use ? Can you you any flavor ?


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  33. Lauren posted on December 11, 2013 at 7:42 am (#)

    My Grandpa is diabetic, so I always try to make a sugar-free dessert for the holidays. Last year, I made this healthy apple cake I found online. It tasted good, but it would have worked better for a brunch than a dessert. (My family is very Southern and likes their desserts sweet, not healthy.) This recipe was a huge hit!!! Thanks! You should post more sugar-free desserts so I can wow my family again at Christmas! Thanks!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on December 12th, 2013 at 6:51 am

      I need to! I’m making a couple for my dad this month, I’ll be sure to photograph them. :)


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  35. Kindra S. posted on September 7, 2014 at 11:08 am (#)

    So this is getting made today! Have to go to the store anyways for other stuff. I have gestational diabetes right now and it’s hard. I just want a donut or pizza or cake. But this looks like something I could have and it will also taste good. YEAH! Thanks so much for the recipe. I love pumpkin anything so this will be good.


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