Pumpkin-Almond Butter Cake: Off the Food Pyramid

Do you ever have one of those days where you just start thinking about the food pyramid and can’t stop?

I didn’t think so, but that’s okay because it takes a very…special…person to develop such strange obsessions. Leave the nerding out to me. I’ve got this.

What I was thinking about, though, is how my normal food pyramid does not resemble any kind of recommendation or standard — not even close. Mostly because the dairy group without fail takes the bottom (and parts of the middle, plus some of the top) of the pyramid by strong command. Yogurt, cheese, milk, ice cream, whipped cream, eggs, butter — guys, I’m a dairy freak. I’m from Wisconsin, after all. The creamier the better.

Upon realizing the extreme inversion of my pyramid, and after continually reading and being told how hard dairy can be on the digestive system, I decided to give my gut a break and do some pyramidic reprioritizing.

I haven’t had any cow’s milk, yogurt, butter, or ice cream for over two weeks. I’ve become a coconut milk and almond milk fiend, and have friended foods that lend that prized creamy texture, like bananas and avocados. I still eat eggs because I love me some protein, and cheese — well, we all know how that turned out. One cannot separate a cheesemonger from her cheese.

Have I bid milk adieu forever? Heck no. While I do enjoy a nice almond milk latte, the bliss a touch a top-notch whole milk allows me is exponentially higher, and a pleasure I wouldn’t dream of denying myself long-term. Don’t get me started about how much I miss ice cream or how I’m counting the days (11!) until I can and will top my Thanksgiving slice of pumpkin pie with waaay too much whipped cream.

But my gut deserves a break, and I enjoy how much better things taste when enjoyed in moderation anyway. Plus my inverted pyramid just really needed to be dealt with. Which is why I loved this recipe when I stumbled on it the other day. Grain free, dairy free, sugar-free but for a touch of honey — rid of all convention, but still oh-so-full of flavor. Seriously, bake this cake and you’ll wonder why you ever thought baking with flour and sugar was necessary. Dense, moist, sweet, protein and vitamin-packed. How do you like THAT, food pyramid?

Pumpkin-Almond Butter Cake

Adapted from The Clothes Make the Girl

Makes an 8×8 cake


1 cup canned or homemade pumpkin puree

1 cup almond butter

1/3 cup honey

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg, cloves, cardamom

Toasted coconut or almonds for garnishing


Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Pour into an 8×8 baking dish and bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Let cool thoroughly, cut, and garnish with toasted coconut or almonds. Yum.

P.S. Did I mention I made my pumpkin puree from my jack-o-lantern? I’m not sure if that’s normally culinarily acceptable but, um, it is now.

What’s at the bottom of your food pyramid?

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