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Skinny Holiday Harvest Pumpkin Crunch Cake

This fabulous harvest cake is one of my favorite “no time to bake” cakes.  Most people are proud to bake a cake from scratch. Some even feel using a cake mix is cheating.  So that makes me a cheater.  This cake is super moist due to the canned pumpkin and the variety of fats added.  Although this skinny version has a fair amount of fat, I’m not concerned because I’m using only good fats plus adding some heart-healthy walnuts.  This cake still has less than half the fat of the regular cake.  One skinny slice has 252 calories and 11.5 grams of fat compared to the fat version with 539 calories and 34 grams of fat.

Prep Time: 15 minutes (including topping)

Bake Time: 1 hour

Skinny Holiday Harvest Pumpkin Crunch CakeIngredients for Cake:

1 package (16.5 oz) Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

¼ cup flour

1 package (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding mix

1 cup canned pumpkin

½ cup water

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup reduced-fat butter or Smart Balance Light

3 egg whites

1 large egg, I love Egg-Land’s Best eggs

I teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup chopped walnuts or almonds

Ingredients for Hot Buttermilk Glaze:

½ cup sugar

¼ cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons reduced-fat butter or Smart Balance Light

¼ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9” spring form pan with cooking spray.

2. Using an electric mixer or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, combine cake mix, flour, pudding, pumpkin, water, canola oil and butter.

3. Add egg whites and egg and mix well.

4. Stir in the vanilla, pumpkin spice and cinnamon.

5. Mix on high for at least one minute.

6. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan.  To avoid air bubbles, gently tap the pan on work surface after filling the batter.

7. Sprinkle top with chopped walnuts or almonds.

8. Bake for about 1 hour until a toothpick comes out clean.

To make the glaze

1. Place the sugar, buttermilk, Smart Balance Light, baking soda and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring to a boil stirring constantly.

3. The glaze will foam up and thicken as the sugar dissolves and butter melts, 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Poke 12 holes all over the warm cake and spoon the hot buttermilk glaze all over the cake.

Makes 16 slices (each serving 1/16 of cake)

Healthy Benefit
Pumpkin, including canned, is great source of beta- carotene, the vegetable pigment that the body turns into vitamin A.  Pumpkin also contains a hefty amount of fiber, ample amounts of iron and vitamin C.

Shopping Tip
When baking, I like to use canned pumpkin.  It’s consistent, quick and easy to use and available year round.

Weight Watchers
(old points) 6
Weight Watchers POINTS

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 slice (each serving 1/16 of cake)
252 calories, 11.5g fat, 3g protein, 36g carbs, 1g fiber, 350mg sodium, 23g sugar

FAT FACTS: for 1 slice of regular pumpkin crunch cake
539 cal, 34.4g fat, 7g protein, 54g carbs, 2g fiber, 460mg, sodium, 16g sugar


Find more delicious recipes on Nancy Fox’s website, Skinny Kitchen

Sharon Greenthal

Sharon's blog, Empty House Full Mind, focuses on observations of the world from the midlife empty nest. Sharon is the Young Adults Expert on Sharon writes for the Huffington Post and Purple Clover. Sharon is the mother of two grown children - a daughter, 26 and a son, 24. She lives in Long Beach, CA with her husband and their perfect dog, Lambeau. Instagram: sharongreenthal

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Ellen Dolgen

Wednesday 28th of October 2015

I am definitely going to try this recipe! Sounds fabulous.

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