Why do you need to make this Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Cake? It's moist and fluffy, full of subtly spiced pumpkin flavour and slathered with a delicious "cream cheese" frosting!
Why you'll love this Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Cake:
- it's undetectably vegan and gluten-free
- it's moist and fluffy
- it's subtly spiced
- it's perfectly sweet
- it's covered in a tangy frosting
- it's refined sugar free
- it comes together in one bowl
- it requires just a handful of simple ingredients to make!
How to make this Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Cake
Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe.
- Mix together all the ingredients in a glass mixing bowl.
Tip: Use a measuring jug to measure out the plant-based milk.
- Transfer between two 18 cm / 7 inch sandwich baking tins.
Tip: Line the tins with greased baking paper to make the sponges easier to extract afterwards.
- Leave the sponges to cool on a cooling rack before applying the frosting.
- Use an electric whisk to whip up the coconut milk to make the "cream cheese" frosting.
- Apply the frosting to the sponges using a palette knife for frosting.
- Decorate however you want - I went with edible flowers, but other great toppings would be rose petals, desiccated coconut or chopped nuts!
How long does this Pumpkin Cake keep for?
This cake does taste best when fresh but keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days.
Substitutions you can make to this recipe:
- you can use any type of oil: coconut oil, olive oil or vegetable oil
- you can use any type of plant-based milk: almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, cashew milk, oat milk etc
- you can use any type of liquid sweetener: maple syrup, agave syrup, brown rice syrup, date syrup etc
- you can substitute the ground almonds with ground walnuts
- for a nut-free version: substitute the ground almonds with ground sunflower seeds
- you can use plain flour, wholemeal (whole wheat) flour or spelt flour instead of the gluten-free flour if you’re not gluten-free
- you can use either shop-bought pumpkin purée or make our own
- the pumpkin purée can be substituted with sweet potato or butternut squash purée
- the mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice) can be omitted.
More pumpkin recipes:
- Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Hummus
- Creamy Pumpkin Chestnut Pasta
- Pumpkin Quinoa Salad
- Chickpea Pumpkin Biryani
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d really love to hear any feedback! Please give it a rating, leave a comment, or tag a photo @rhiansrecipes #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! Thank you.
Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Cake
For the cake:
- 60 g (¼ cup) coconut oil (or sub olive or vegetable oil)
- 150 ml (⅔ cup) unsweetened almond milk (or any other plant-based milk)
- 225 g (1 cup) pumpkin purée
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- 8 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 150 g (1 ¼ cup) ground almonds (almond meal) *
- 150 g (1 ¼ cup) gluten-free flour blend (or sub plain flour if not gluten-free)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice) to taste (or a mixture of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon)
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 400 g (14 oz) tin of full-fat coconut milk **
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Place the coconut oil in a large bowl and melt over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave (skip this step if not using any other oil)
- Once melted, add the milk to the same bowl along with the pumpkin purée, vinegar, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and ground almonds
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice
- Divide mixture between two greased baking tins lined with baking paper (I used two 7inch/18cm baking tins)
- Bake in oven for around 15 minutes until risen slightly and an inserted skewer comes out clean
- Once out the oven, transfer cakes from baking tins onto a wired rack to leave them to cool completely before applying the frosting
For the frosting:
- You’ll need to keep your tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight for the rich creamy bit to separate from the watery bit at the bottom. Make sure it is full fat coconut milk, otherwise this separation won’t happen and you won’t be able to make this cream!
- Open the tin upside down – the coconut cream will be at the bottom and you can just pour off the watery liquid (save this for adding to soups or smoothies)
- Place the thick, creamy part into a bowl
- Add the lemon juice, maple syrup and vanilla extract
- Use an electric whisk (or a manual one and a lot of elbow grease) to whip up the coconut cream until light and fluffy
To frost and decorate the cake:
- Place one half of the cake onto a plate or cake stand, and spread half of the frosting onto it
- Place the other half of the cake on top of that and use rest of the frosting to spread on top
- Best when fresh, but keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days
Disclosure: This posts contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase any of these products, a small percentage will come to me with no extra cost to you! This income will go towards the running of this blog – thank you.
Would you say the frosting tastes strongly of coconut? It’s my husbands birthday soon and the cake looks lovely but he really doesn’t like the taste of coconut 🙁
Hi! I personally can't really taste the coconut at all, but I guess it depends how much your husband dislikes coconut haha. You could alternatively use the cashew-based frosting in this recipe here, and substitute the coconut yogurt with any other type of yogurt or any kind of milk: https://www.rhiansrecipes.com/2017/10/14/gluten-free-vegan-white-chocolate-lemon-cake/ hope that helps!
This was super moist! Added some pecan nuts.
Please could you tell me another alternative for ground sunflower seeds, that is nut free. Or if this is an ingredient that could be omitted?
You can use coconut flour, but just use a fifth of the amount!
Hi Rhian! I'm excited to make this for a gathering that includes my vegan sister-in-law. One question - I was confused on the spice measurement, where it says "2 teaspoons (1 teaspoon )" - I'm planning to use store-bought pumpkin pie spice, so which measurement do you recommend? Thank you so much!
Hi Shelley! Thank you - I'm sorry about that, it was a technical glitch on my site. It should be 2 teaspoons, though you can use less to taste if you prefer less spice. I have fixed it now. Thank you so much for letting me know!
Thanks bunches for the quick response, Rhian! I'm really excited to make your cake this week, and I'll be including it in a roundup on my site that I'm publishing this week, too! It's a gorgeous cake, and sounds so easy - I can't wait to share it with my family, and with my readers, too! 🙂
Thank you so much, hope you'll love it!! And thank you so much for including it in your roundup, really kind of you!
Just wanted to pop back and tell you how much my vegan sister-in-law enjoyed and appreciated this cake! And, I was thrilled at how many other (non-vegan) dinner guests also wanted to try it (and enjoyed it, too)! I didn't have lovely edible flowers to decorate the pretty way you did in your photos, but I really appreciated your other decorating suggestions - I went with a simple pattern of pecan halves, which was still lovely and looked very Thanksgiving-y. Thank you again! Happy holidays, Rhian! 🙂
Thank you so much, so happy to hear that! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!!