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A random day in early October I woke up with the words snack cake stuck in my head. As in, I could really go for a slice of snack cake…for breakfast! Oddly enough, I wasn’t really sure what snack cake is, only that I wanted some, stat.

I knew I had to make it happen.

So first I Googled “snack cake” to find out exactly what it is.

I was way off. Turns out, it’s not even the slicing kind of cake.

According to Wikipedia, it is things like Twinkie, Ho Hos, Ding Dong, Ring Ding, and Devil Dog. (Speaking of Hostess treats like Twinkie and Ho Hos, did you see that Hostess announced that they were forced by a Bakers Union strike to shut down all operations and sell all company assets?! I was floored when I read that earlier this week. With an American icon like that shutting down, it feels like the end of an era…even though I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought one of those treats. More than anything else, my heart truly goes out to the employees and their families who have been affected by this.)

Anyway, the usual snack cakes aren’t very healthy, are they?

You know I had to work on that.

I came up with a much healthier (perhaps even breakfast-friendly, if you swap out the chocolate chips for chopped walnuts!) snack cake with banana, pumpkin (yes, I’ve been a bit of a pumpkin-crazed baker this year!), and whole wheat pastry flour…and a lot less sugar than the usual snack cake. While I’m sure traditional snack cakes will be missed, for me, I can see this recipe becoming my go-to snack cake for years to come. Since the first time I made it early last month, I’ve made it again four times, which says a lot (repeats are a rarity in my kitchen!). Hope you enjoy it too.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Snack Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 (8 by 8-inch) pan; about 9 servings
  • Butter, to grease the pan
  • ¼ cup canola oil (or 2 tablespoons canola oil + 2 tablespoons plain, unsweetened yogurt)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium bananas)
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice mix
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F; grease an 8 by 8-inch baking pan with butter.
  2. Whisk together the oil, egg, and brown sugar in a large bowl, then whisk in the banana, pumpkin, and vanilla. All at once add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and chocolate chips, and stir just to combine, being careful not to over-mix.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool before cutting and serving.
Muffins: This recipe also makes 12 muffins; cook them at 350F until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Lauren!! It’s one of my favorites this time of year. :)

  1. How weird! I seriously remember having a similar day where I couldn’t get the idea of a snack cake out of my mind. Although I’m totally with you on traditional snack cakes not being as healthy as I picture my ideal snack cake being…. Your snack cake looks awesome though! Love it!

  2. Snack cake~~~~ The first photo in your post is exactly the definition of the snack cake I grew up with, something eaten straight from the pan, no frosting necessary. I think you hit the nail on the head with this and I can’t wait to try it!

  3. Love pumpkin and chocolate together. Sounds yummy, Faith!

  4. Pumpkin and chocolate chips are so lovely together. I adore how you come up with less guilty treats. A classic snack cake here is called a Joe Louis…named after a Montreal boxer.

  5. Looks and sounds delish…I too have been dreaming of snack cake/coffee cake these days. I think I will try this with some cinnamon this weekend, and maybe some nuts. Thanks for the lovely inspiration!

  6. Snack cake for breakfast, I’m in! That sounds really good and I like that you made it healthy.

  7. This is nice Faith and so much lighter than any snack cakes I’ve traditionally seen. I would love a piece of that right now with my coffee! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving :)

  8. Yum!! Love how you healthified it :) I just wish I saw this a couple of days ago…I had 1/2 cup of pumpkin in the fridge and I was searching for something to make with it. Last night made pumpkin doughnuts…I’m pinning this so next time I’ll give it a try!

  9. SO good! I make a vegan version from little veggie patch and it is one of my most favorite special snacks. Hope you’re having a great day

  10. A divine looking and sounding cake! That is a wonderful combination.



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