These cinnamon sugar protein cake bars are exactly what you need when dieting! They’re low fat, packed with 8g of protein per bar and just 5g of carbs. The perfect high volume cake when you want to eat a lot of cake but don’t want all the calories that come with it. Plus since it’s so low calorie you have lots of room for yummy toppings!
If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I am all about volume eating when it comes to dieting. I love a good slice of cake, don’t get me wrong. But if I am dieting, I would much rather consume more physical food as opposed to a smaller, more calorie-dense piece of something. Maybe not all the time (like on holidays for example). But if it’s Tuesday night and I want dessert, I usually would much rather opt for something more macro-friendly and high volume.
So I came up with this cake recipe when I was in a dieting phase because I wanted to eat A LOT of cake without going way over my calorie goals for the day. And for a low fat, low carb, high protein cake, it turned out way better than I expected!
And let me tell you, this recipe along with some of my other favorite low calories recipes (like this Cookies and Cream Protein Shake and this Strawberry Protein Angel Food Cake) has been a huge part in helping me to reach my goals. Literally with this recipe, I CAN have my cake and eat it too! Y’all know I had to say that phrase at some point in this post right?
Besides being able to eat a good portion of it because of it’s stellar macro profile (I usually eat 1/3 the pan in one sitting for a snack). It also makes me feel good knowing it’s made with healthy ingredients too. Applesauce, egg whites, coconut flour and protein powder make the main components of this cake. Coconut flour has a lot less carbs than typical flour which really helps cut the calories and carbs down for this cake.
And since it is so low calorie (just 61 calories per slice!) you have plenty of room to add fun toppings!!! To really take it over the top, spread some whipped cream cheese frosting or some Nutella on top. Seriously who said dieting had to be boring?!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THESE PROTEIN CAKE BARS
- Low calorie, low carb, low fat, high protein – 61 calories, 5g carbs, 1g fat, 8 protein!
- Perfect dessert for dieting! Since they’re such high volume for very low calories. AKA more cake for less calories.
- Just takes 30 minutes to bake – although I do recommend letting these bars chill in the fridge for a few hours first, they’re so much better that way, texture and flavor wise!
- LOTS of room for yummy toppings – Nutella, whipped frosting, peanut butter, you can’t go wrong!
- Protein powder – I used PEScience (code Laurenfitfoodie to save!) Most protein powders should work though, I would just recommend a whey + casein blend or a vegan protein powder over a just whey protein powder for similar texture!
- Coconut flour – Coconut flour is what makes this cake so low calorie. I wish there was an equal substitute, but unfortunately coconut flour has different absorbent properties than all other flours. And for that reason, there is not an equal sub to it in recipes. You could use all-purpose or oat flour but you would need to use 3-4x as much.
- Butter extract – I like McCormick and Watkins. Both are great and oh my goodness I cannot tell you the difference this addition makes! Butter-flavored explosion. But if in a pinch you can use vanilla extract or another favorite extract.
- Butterscotch pudding mix – you can use any flavor but butterscotch is my favorite!
- Egg whites
- Unsweetened applesauce – brings a yummy sweetness to this cake! I haven’t tried, but you could try subbing with canned pumpkin, you may just need to add more sweetener. Mashed banana would probably work too!
- Pumpkin – I added a little bit of pumpkin to give it more depth but if you don’t want to open a new can, just add an extra 2 tablespoons of the applesauce!
- Sweetener – use your favorite sweetener here! I used monk fruit sweetener to keep calories down but normal sugar is great too when you don’t plan on adding much for toppings and want that extra good sugary crunch!
HOW TO MAKE PROTEIN CAKE BARS
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flour through baking powder).
- In a separate larger bowl, add the egg and egg whites. Use a hand mixer to combine. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix again.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and continue mixing until all ingredients are mixed well.
- Pour batter into the dish, and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sweetener.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let cool before slicing and enjoy!
PROTEIN CAKE BARS TOPPING IDEAS
This cake is totally good enough to eat straight up. But you are like me, you enjoy some a mix of flavors and textures when eating something. And with its low calories and macros, toppings are almost a must here 😉
There are so many routes you can go with toppings and I encourage you to get creative! I will share some of my favorites to get you started:
- Cool whip – so good!!
- Frosting – you could do store-bought or homemade like this Low Calorie Vanilla Maple Cream cheese frosting
- Whipped cream cheese – my go-to if I don’t have any of my cream cheese frosting made. Fluffier than the frosting, but the flavor combo is still yummy.
- NUTELLA – ENOUGH SAID!
- Peanut or almond butter – I mean these are good on anything right?
- PBfit peanut butter powder – I mix with a little water to make “peanut butter” when I need something lower in fats.
- Baking dish with lid – If you don’t already have a baking pan with a lid you need one! Not only does it make clean up easy because the food doesn’t stick, but it also makes clean up and storage a breeze. I recommend storing this cake in the fridge in an airtight container because that is what keeps the moisture in and keeps the cake MOIST!
- Mini spatulas – the best for mixing ingredients and ensuring no batter is left behind! Normal spoons just cut it for me now.
MORE LOW CALORIE RECIPES TO CHECK OUT
- High Protein Strawberry Angel Food Cake
- Skinny Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- 30 calorie Snickerdoodle Protein Cookies
WANT TO MAKE THIS RECIPE?
If you try these cinnamon sugar protein cake bars and love them, please rate this recipe!
You can also tag me on Instagram, @LaurenFitFoodie. It makes my day seeing your yummy recreations!
I love, love, love these, but I go through them so fast. Can they be frozen into individual portions? Thank you so much!
Hey Jamie! Thank you! Yes you can absolutely can! I have frozen for up to a month with no problem. Just put some more in the freezer recently to see how long they can freeze for and still be good so I will update this post on that when I find out!
First off, I absolutely love your recipes and cannot thank you enough. Can I sub the applesauce for pumpkin?
Thank you Rana! Yes you can sub!
Is there anything I can substitute for the butterscotch pudding mix? I have allergic reactions to the food coloring in all of the jello pudding powders.
Carol, check out simply delish pudding mixes. They are all natural:)
These are delicious! I have made these cakes a few times now and it’s one of my favorite sweet treats for dessert. The kids also love this one. My niece was actually asking me if we can make the “healthy cake” again because it was “yummy”!! Awesome to have healthy, yummy recipes on here that are also kid approved!
These are sooo good! Very voluminous and packed with flavor! Definitely a go to when I go back to cutting!
So good!! So much more moist than others protein cake recipes that I have tried!
Hey there! So you don’t mix the cinnamon and 1/4 a cup of sweetener in the mix and instead sprinkle that on top? Or top with extra?
Hey Katie! You top with extra on top – just a couple of sprinkles! Think you for pointing that out, I need to make that clearer in the recipe 🙂
Just made this and I’m so excited!! I used Lakanto monkfruit sweetener — it’s 0 calories but 8g of carbs per serving. Do I count those??
Hey Amy! So happy to hear you’re trying it! 🙂 If you are counting total carbs (not just net carbs), I would count it, as technically those carbs need to be accounted for. Companies are legally allowed to subtract fiber calories from total calories, so that is why it’s labeled as zero calories. But ultimately, they are still calories, so I always count all carbs (not just net carbs. Hope that helps!
These are amazing! I am definitely going to make these again!