The Great Cake Debate

Jodi’s dad is one of the hardest people to win over to the whole wheat camp. He hates everything that Grandma Lori makes with whole wheat which makes her a little hesitant to keep cooking with it. He’s typically not even willing to try something if he catches on that there might be whole wheat in it.

So this Thanksgiving we concocted a sneaky plan …

Two Innocent-Looking Pumpkin Cake Batters

One is made with 100% fresh ground whole wheat flour, the other is made with store-bought white flour. (Hint, white flour is on the left)

Can You Tell the Difference?

The whole wheat cake (right) was a little darker. The white flour cake (left) rose a little higher. We are thinking we could probably add a little more leavening to the recipe to get the whole wheat to rise equally.

The Finished Products!

Our beautiful cakes were a hit at our Thanksgiving party at our Aunt Irene’s house, even though we somehow ended up with about 8 different desserts there. Gotta love Thanksgiving!

The Results???

Jodi made sure to serve up a slice of the WHOLE WHEAT CAKE to her dad. He commented that the cake was really delicious. We asked him if it tasted different and he said no. He wasn’t too happy when we gleefully told him it was made with whole wheat flour. Everyone else in the family raved over it too. This is a family favorite recipe so they would have known if something was off. We both tested a small piece of each of the cakes and felt like we could MAYBE taste a slight difference but if we weren’t eating them side by side you would NEVER know. Yay!


The Pumpkin Cake Recipe

4 eggs
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 c. cooking oil
1 large can pumpkin
2 c. flour (whole wheat works GREAT)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp. soda

6 oz. cream cheese
3/4 c. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. Stir in dry ingredients. Mix well. Bake for 30-35 minutes in a 9×13 ungreased pan. Mix together frosting ingredients and pour on top. EAT AND ENJOY!

p.s. Just for fun, check out the disaster that occurred at Jodi’s house during the event. Gotta love little “helpers”!


  • kguthrie

    I love that you have recipes that incorporate wheat. I’ve recently been using spelt flour to make our family favorite c.c.cookies and everyone loves them even more than before. It comforting knowing there is at least some nutrition in all that sweetness.

  • We do our own gardening, what changes should I make if I’m using fresh pumpkin and not the canned variety?

  • Teri

    How big is a “large” can of pumpkin?

    • Sorry I never knew the ounces, but at the grocery store is a skinny can and a large fat can and I use the fat can. I just found this on their website: A 15-ounce can of LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin contains 1 ¾ cups of pumpkin. A 29-ounce can of LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin contains 3 ½ cups of pumpkin. Buy the 29 ounce can! And this cake is soooooo delish!

  • Treebabys

    Do you think that powdered eggs would work well in this recipe?

    • Treebabys

      So I made it tonight with 4 TBSP of Powdered egg added to the dry ingredients and 1/2 cup water added to the liquid ingredients. It turned out great. Granted I’ve never made the original but you really couldn’t taste the wheat flour. It was very moist and a little spongy. Perhaps a little less water added would make it a bit more bready, but I loved every bite (all 3000 of them) lol

  • AnneB

    I don’t know if you were using hard wheat or soft wheat in the recipe, but I should think that a cake made with soft wheat would rise sufficiently with the amount of leavening in the original recipe. When using freshly ground soft wheat flour, you should add about 1/4 cup more flour per cup called for in the white flour recipe. Works great! I now use freshly ground soft whole wheat in almost all my baking.

    • I have never tried soft white wheat. Seemed easier to just store one variety. But now you have got me curious!

      • Ronda Barnhurst

        It has less protein, therefor a more tender baked product. It is what is used in all pastry flours.

    • Kim

      I use soft wheat for cakes, quick breads, cookies, etc, but I have never increased the amount of flour called for because of it.

  • Vmfisher

    I thought the rule was, you don’t TELL people there is whole wheat in their desserts! lol My husband is just like that, he won’t touch whole wheat. I need to make more desserts with it, but he can’t know it’s in there or he won’t touch it. I do make stuffing with mostly whole wheat bread cubes, and I don’t think he realizes it. The funny thing is all my neighbors rave about my whole wheat bread, and can’t believe my husband won’t eat it! Stubborn man!

  • Cobbsmom

    If you add 2 tablespoons of wheat gluten for each cup of whole wheat flour, it will help the cake to rise more.

    • Rose

      I’m surprised about the wheat gluten because the reason I thought you used soft wheat was the protein and the gluten content is lower. And you don’t mix batter too long so you don’t work gluten content up. I grind barley and use it as part of the flour as it has less gluten and is more like cake flour. Soft wheat don’t have as much protein and even thou it stores well, it’s usually say to have your storage wheat with so much protein. I forgot recommendation- is it at least 10 or 12% protein. The reason for the high protein is so in an emergency you can get enough protein. I like the Barley because I can rotate my supply in soups etc.

      • Ronda Barnhurst

        I also use barley flour 50% in most recipes. Using coconut oil and barley flour in my carrot cake recipe made a world class cake!

FREE checklists to make your life easier

Start today and get our 4 favorite downloads to help you build and use your food storage!