Less is Better Pumpkin Spice Cake

Disclosure: I received free samples from Cumberland Packing Corp., maker of Monk Fruit In The Raw. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Cumberland Packing Corp. and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Less is Better Pumpkin Spice Cake

less is better Pumpkin Spice Cake

It seems like we’re all trying to cut back on sugar. As a matter of fact, the fuss over sugar has been in the National spotlight for some time, catapulted by America’s weight problem, childhood obesity and the related health concerns.

I have blogged about sugar before and  I agree Americans are consuming too much! If you’re like most Americans, you consume 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, or 355 empty calories. Teens consume even more, 34 teaspoons or 544 empty calories.

If you think this sounds like alot, it seems even higher when you consider the American Heart Associations guidelines for sugar:

• no more than 6 teaspoons /day or 100 calories for women

• no more than 9 teaspoons /day or 150 calories for men

About now you’re probably wondering if this is going to be a party pooping post about restricting sweets. Au contraire! Look, with the holidays approaching , I want to help you keep some sweetness in your life without going over the top! I believe that a planned indulgence can help keep you on track with healthy eating. My thoughts: continue to use my guidelines for cutting back on sugar and also consider  using Monk fruit in the Raw when you want the sweet things you love, without all the sugar.

Monk Fruit in the Raw is a zero calorie sweetener that’s made from vine-ripened monk fruit native to Asia, also know as luo han guo. Monk Fruit in the Raw has a taste similar to sugar, without an aftertaste. It’s versatile and can be added to beverages (both hot and cold), cereals, smoothies and used in both cooking and baking. The monk fruit extract is 300 times sweeter than cane sugar and is blended with dextrose as a bulking agent so it can be poured, measured and used as a substitute for sugar.  This allows you to substitute Monk Fruit for sugar without the need for any conversion, i.e. one tablespoon sugar = one tablespoon Monk Fruit in the Raw. For more information and a complete description of cooking and baking ideas using Monk Fruit in the Raw click here.

This week  was my first attempt at reducing sugar in baking by replacing some of it with Monk Fruit in the Raw Bakers Bag.  I took a recipe perfect for holiday entertaining, pumpkin spice cake, and prepared it with Monk Fruit in the Raw. The original recipe called for a box of yellow cake mix, which I substituted with flour, baking powder, salt , sugar and monk fruit. I kept enough sugar to provide moisture, tenderness and give this cake a pretty color, yet still managed to reduce the sugar content from 7 teaspoons/per slice in the original recipe to 4.5 teaspoons/ per slice in the recipe using a combination of sugar and Monk Fruit in the Raw. So with a two part strategy including moderation and slimming down your favorite holiday recipes, you can have your cake and eat it too!

What treasured holiday dessert will you try with Monk Fruit in the Raw? 

less is better Pumpkin Spice Cake


Less is Better Pumpkin Spice Cake


  • 2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons Monk Fruit in the Raw
  • 1 (3.2 oz) package instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 4eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 (15oz.) can pumpkin
  • cooking spray


  1. 1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a non stick Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  2. 2. Mix dry ingredients, from flour through cloves into a medium mixing bowl.
  3. 3. Beat eggs till frothy.
  4. 4. Slowly add oil to eggs.
  5. 5. Add pumpkin to oil and eggs.
  6. 6. Add dry ingredents to egg mixture. Beat on medium until ingredients are combined.
  7. 7. Pour into greased bundt pan and bake 45-50 minutes.
  8. 8. Cool for about 25 minutes.
  9. 8. Slice and serve. Serves 12.


Sugar: How Sweet It Was

Sugar: How Sweet It Was

It’s old news that America has a weight problem. The rising incidence of childhood obesity and its related health concerns has catapulted this issue into the national spot-light. How have we gotten here? Health experts point to an excess of dietary sugar as one of the reasons. If you’re like most Americans, you consume 22 teaspoons of sugar daily or 355 calories. Teens consume 34 teaspoons or 544 calories. How can we curb America’s sweet tooth? It won’t be easy as evidenced by the mixed reaction to NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s recent ban on sodas and other sugary beverages  greater than 16 ounces. Today’s post is about the recommendations for added sugar, how to  meet them and a creative way to share this information with kids!

Just how much sugar is too much? The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than  6 teaspoons daily or 100 calories for women  and  no more than 9 teaspoons daily or 150 calories for men.

How can we cut  as much as 16 teaspoons of sugar from our daily intake? Behavior change; yep, it’s time to learn how to swap healthy food and beverages  for our current not so healthy ones. Here are the modifications I’ m recommending:

• Swap diet soda, or better yet sparking water for soda. Save 8 teaspoons of sugar ( 128 calories) for every  12 ounces.

• Swap black coffee for latte. One large latte has about 5 teaspoons of sugar or 90 calories.

• Swap unsweetened coffee/tea for sweet coffee/tea or  limit the amount of sugar you add to every cup. For every teaspoon you eliminate, you save 16 calories. Experiment with alternative flavors. Before brewing coffee, add 1 tsp of  cinnamon to coffee grounds. Fresh mint can infuse flavor by directly adding to your glass of iced tea.

• Swap breakfast cereals with 5 grams or less per serving for sugary cereals. Avoid cereals with sugar listed at the top of the ingredient list or have multiple types of sugar. Some breakfast cereals can have as much as 4 tsp of sugar (64 calories) of sugar per serving.

• Swap unprocessed foods for processed. Many processed foods have unnecessary amounts of sugar added. For example: a cup of spaghetti sauce can have as much as 6 tsp of sugar ( 96 calories). Make your own and control the amount of added sugar.

• Swap reduced sugar varieties for regular jam, jelly and syrup. For every tablespoon swapped, you eliminate about  1 teaspoon sugar.

• Swap fresh fruit or canned fruit packed in water (or juice) for canned fruit packed in syrup. Savings up to 6 teaspoons or 96 calories for 1 cup of fruit swapped.

• Swap fresh fruit for pie, cake, cookies and other sweet desserts. Yes, fruit does contain naturally occurring sugar but it also contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that contribute to a healthy diet. Cakes, pies and cookies are high in added sugar and contribute little more than extra calories.

• Swap nuts, whole grain crackers, fruit, veggies, low fat/ low calorie yogurt for high sugar snacks like candy, cookies, cakes.

So you get it, but how are you going to broach the subject to your kids that some of their favorite foods are sugar landminds?  Is there an app for that? As a matter of fact there is and it’s called Smash Your Food! This app is an interactive nutritional game the whole family can enjoy! Guess how much sugar,  salt and  oil are in some of your favorite junk foods. Then  virtually smash the food to find out answers! You can view this app at Food N’ Me. For those of you (like myself) wanting it for your iPhone, you’ll have to wait until later this summer. It is currently available for the ipad for $2.99 and  there is a free version available on itunes (contains only 5 foods).

Sugar does not need to be avoided completely, but should be included in your diet in moderate amounts. Try to prioritize which sugar containing foods you desire most and work them into your daily meal plan without exceeding recommended levels. If you need help with this, consult with a registered dietitian. Find one in your area at www.eatright.org.

Do your kids know that the  American diet is not “healthy normal”?  In what ways do you educate what “healthy normal”  is? 

Diane Boyd, MBA, RD, LDN


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