This vegan pumpkin cake is moist, tender, full of pumpkin spice and perfect for fall. This recipe is completely gluten free and topped with a simple dairy free cream cheese frosting. Perfect for all of your Fall baking needs!
Vegan and gluten free cakes are not easy to develop. It can be difficult to get the texture right but flavors are always easy!
This vegan pumpkin cake is based slightly off of my vegan banana cake but with pumpkin puree in place of banana and a few additional tweaks and spices to round out the flavors.
This recipe is made in one bowl, requires just 10 or so minutes of prep time and is finished off with a simple vegan cream cheese frosting.
It’s perfect for a simple Fall dessert and I promise you’d never tell it’s both vegan and gluten free!
PUMPKIN. You need a full cup of pumpkin puree which will add a lot of moisture, flavor and even act as a binder for this vegan cake.
SUGAR. You will need granulated sugar as well as a small bit of maple syrup. You can try subbing the white sugar for coconut sugar for a refined sugar free option, but keep in mind the color will be much darker and the texture may be a bit different.
FLOUR. We need a mix of all purpose, oat and almond flours for this cake. Using a blend is really helpful with gluten free and vegan cakes, so I don’t recommend any subs here.
SOY MILK. I love using soy milk in vegan and gluten free recipes since the protein can help create that fluffier texture that you usually get from eggs.
OIL. Just 3 tablespoons of oil since the pumpkin is adding so much moisture! I suggest a neutral flavored oil like safflower or refined avocado.
SPICES. You will need pumpkin pie spice as well as some cinnamon to boost the flavor.
How to make pumpkin cake
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients.
Add in the dry ingredients, making sure to spoon and level the flour, don’t scoop from the bag. Whisk until you get a smooth batter, it will be quite thick.
Transfer to your prepared pan and smooth out the top.
Bake for 48-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then flip onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Meanwhile, prep the frosting. Add the softened butter and cream cheese to a bowl and beat together for about 2 minutes.
Beat in the powdered sugar, followed by the vanilla and salt. If it is too thin, add more sugar, if it’s too thick, add a few teaspoons of soy milk.
When the cake has cooled completely, frost and slice into 12 squares and enjoy! You can also omit the frosting for a slightly lighter and healthier version and serve with some whipped cream and cinnamon.
How to store and freeze
Once prepared and frosted, this gluten free pumpkin cake will keep for about 3 days. However, because of the nature of pumpkin as well as buttercream, it can get a bit too moist if left too long at room temperature
For that reason, I recommend keeping it covered and storing it in the fridge. That way, it will keep for up to 5 days.
You can freeze this vegan pumpkin cake once baked! Let it cool completely, then either wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and freeze or slice into squares, then wrap in plastic wrap and store in a freezer safe bag.
It will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months, just let it thaw before frosting and serving.
Can I use different size pans?
If you don’t want to do a snack cake, you can use two 6 inch cake pans instead. The bake time will be closer to 30-40 minutes, but check with a toothpick for doneness.
You can also double the recipe and make a 9 inch layer cake. Cupcakes will also work! This recipe should make about a dozen cupcakes. Follow all of the same instructions but bake for 20-25 minutes.
It’s important that you don’t over-mix or else the cake can end up being too dense, which is already a concern for vegan and gluten free baking, and definitely not something we want for cake.
Mix just until the ingredients are combined and no visible lumps remain.
Line your pan!
You may think you can get away with not lining your pan, but there’s nothing worse than baking a cake and then having it stick to your pan.
For best results, I suggest greasing your pan, then lining so the parchment paper sticks right in there.
This will ensure your cake slides right out when it’s time to remove and there’s no mess or frustration to deal with.
More vegan cakes you’ll love!
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Vegan Pumpkin Cake
by: claire cary
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ cup soy milk
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Cream cheese frosting
- 8 ounces dairy free cream cheese
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- 1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon or more, to taste
- pinch of salt about 1/8 teaspoon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease and line an 8×8 square pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients.
- Add in the dry ingredients, making sure to spoon and level the flour, don't scoop from the bag.
- Whisk until you get a smooth batter, it will be quite thick.
- Transfer to your prepared pan and smooth out the top.
- Bake for 48-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then flip onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Meanwhile, prep the frosting.
- Add the softened butter and cream cheese to a bowl and beat together for about 2 minutes.
- Beat in the powdered sugar, followed by the vanilla, cinnamon and salt. If it is too thin, add more sugar, if it's too thick, add a few teaspoons of soy milk.
- When the cake has cooled completely, frost and slice into 12 squares and enjoy!
- You can also omit the frosting for a slightly lighter and healthier version and serve with some whipped cream and cinnamon.