I’m not really a dessert person. Who I am is someone who rummages through the freezer or the pantry around 3pm, with coffee in hand, looking for something sweet because I often enjoy a little sugar rush in the afternoon. Enter: this pumpkin cake. I fondly call this one a pumpkin snack cake – a little indulgence that’s ok to enjoy at any time of the day, because it’s just a “snack” after all.
My Pumpkin Cake Recipe Ingredients
This recipe is based on the Vegan Pumpkin Bread that I make every fall. Its texture is super moist, similar to that of the pumpkin bread. And while these pumpkin cake squares resemble the size and shape of a blondie, they’re not dense or fudgy… they’re just little cake squares that happen to not be tall. Here’s what’s in them:
- Ground flaxseed and water act as an egg replacer in this recipe – they thicken the batter and help it rise.
- All-purpose flour and almond flour combine to give this pumpkin cake recipe a delicious moist crumb. I love using this combo in baking – find it in my yogurt cake, zucchini bread, and banana bread, too!
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom add that essential warm pumpkin spice taste! A dash of pumpkin pie spice would work here too.
- Baking powder and baking soda make it nice & fluffy.
- Coconut oil adds moisture and richness.
- Maple syrup sweetens it up.
- Vanilla extract deepens the flavor.
- Pumpkin puree adds essential pumpkin flavor and moisture. Find it in a can, or make your own with this recipe!
- And a dash of salt highlights the sweet & spiced notes.
That’s it. Let’s bake!
Pumpkin Cake Recipe Variations
Below, I list 2 options for the frosting. The second option is a very delicious cashew-maple frosting with a tangy touch of apple cider vinegar. It tastes great on this pumpkin cake, but it is a little thinner (like a thick glaze), and the color is a not-as-photogenic light brown.
The first option (pictured here) is a more traditional cream cheese frosting, using vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, and powdered sugar. The cashew version is a tad healthier, while the cream cheese is more indulgent – so the choice is yours! If you have any leftover frosting (and you’re still in the mood for cake), it would be fantastic on my carrot cake (see here for a vegan version).
I love chocolate with any pumpkin dessert, so I topped my cake with chocolate chips. Some chopped pecans would be a delicious seasonal topping as well.
Happy snacking! I’m off to finish the last square that’s still in my fridge 🙂
If you love this pumpkin cake recipe…
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
- ¾ cup (90g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup almond flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- vegan chocolate chips, optional for sprinkling
- 4 ounces vegan cream cheese (I used Kite Hill plain)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1½ tablespoons vegan butter, slightly softened
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons almond milk, more as needed
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and the water and set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
- In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and the flaxseed mixture.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Spread into the baking dish (the batter will be thick) and bake for 20 to 23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before frosting or slicing.
- Frosting Option 1: For the cream cheese frosting: In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and softened butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, and mix until smooth.
- Frosting Option 2: For the maple cashew frosting: In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews, maple syrup, almond milk, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, vanilla, and sea salt. Blend until completely smooth. If necessary for blending, add more almond milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, adding as little as possible so that your frosting will not be too thin. Chill until ready to use.
The cashew frosting (option 2, not pictured) while very delicious, will not look as white and fluffy on your cake. The consistency is bit thinner, more like a thick glaze.