Sinless Dark Chocolate & Pumpkin Protein Cake
The title of this post is purposely deceptive.
It’s purposely deceptive because I’d never call a cake ‘sinless’. ‘ I’d never call it ‘sinful’ either. I just don’t like categorizing different foods into ‘clean’ vs ‘dirty’, ‘allowed’ vs ‘forbidden, or ‘sinless’ vs ‘sinful’ because I don’t think it’s a good way to approach one’s diet, let alone judge somebody else’s. I don’t think it’s sustainable either, not if what one wants is to have a balanced and stress-free relationship with food.
This is actually the reason why I don’t like the idea of ‘cheat foods,’ ‘cheat meals,’ or ‘cheat days’ either: because labeling foods this way adds legitimacy to the existence of a kind of moral opposition whereby certain foods are seen as ‘good’ and others seen as ‘bad.’
The only thing this achieves is making people feel anxious about their dietary choices by imbuing foods with a kind of power that, in my opinion at least, they really don’t deserve. I actually think that the categorization of foods into these kind of dichotomies (‘clean’ vs ‘dirty’, ‘allowed’ vs ‘forbidden’, ‘good’ vs ‘bad’) is the reason why most diets fail and why so many people go on to develop detrimental relationships with food during – and especially after – they go on a diet: because restriction wreaks havoc with people’s long-term perception and appreciation of different foods (and sometimes even entire food groups!)
For me, the best diet is the diet that you can maintain – day in and day out – without feeling deprived, restricted, or ever ‘sinful’ or ‘guilty’. It’s the diet that doesn’t make you want to ‘cheat’ or even consider ‘cheating’ a logical idea. It’s the diet that can provide you with the most amount of nutrients to perform and feel your best without feeling like you have to sacrifice your tastebuds, social life, or psychological wellbeing in the process. It’s the kind of diet that satisfies your health goals and energy needs while enabling you to eat food that you enjoy, not because you HAVE to but because you WANT to. It’s having the choice and recognizing that if you wanted to eat something outside of your regular diet plan, you can (in moderation, of course), just as you can choose not to. There’s a certain element of freedom in that.
That’s actually the philosophy behind all the recipes here at Protein Pow. They’re recipes designed to cater to our tastebuds, our health, our fitness, and our wellbeing – without making us feel deprived or somehow limited in what we can and cannot eat. Everything here pays homage to easy, fun, tasty, and nutrition-dense cooking. Which brings me to this cake:
This cake isn’t ‘sinless’, just as much as it isn’t ‘sinful.’ It’s a nutritional powerhouse, yes! And that’s how I’d like for you guys to see it: not as something you can have because you can by no means eat a traditional sugar-packed chocolate cake (because you can, in moderation, you can eat anything you want without feeling ‘guilty’ or feeling as though you ‘cheated’), but as something you choose to satisfy your sweet tooth with if you love or are cravings a delicious, rich, and decadent-tasting chocolate cake that happens to also be packed full of nutrition… and fuels your body with POW!
1 can of pumpkin puree (425g)
3/4 cup of 100% cocoa powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
3/4 cup of coconut sugar or nectar
1/4 cup of unflavored pea protein powder (see Note 1 for subs)
3 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup of liquid egg whites
1. Chuck all of the above ingredients in a bowl and blend them.
2. Pour the mix onto a nonstick baking pan (ideally a small silicone one) and, if you want, throw in some squares of dark chocolate into your batter; they will melt as your cake cooks creating this gorgeous chocolate goo when you slice into them and eat them hot.
3. Bake at 180 C (356 F) for about 40-50 minutes or until, when poked with a knife, your knife comes out clean.
4. Once baked, slice into ten squares. The brownies are a bit mushy.
Macros per square (out of ten): 123kcals, 11g carbs (out of which 5g is fiber so net carbs: 6), 6g protein and 6g fat. Vitamin A: 67%, Vitamin C: 1.3%, Iron, 1.3%, Calcium: 1.7%
Note: If you’d like to sub the pea protein powder, you can by using chocolate casein protein powder (my two favorites are this one and this one) or chocolate rice protein powder (this one, hands down – it’s available here if you’re in the UK).