Pumpkin Cake

I make this spiced pumpkin cake recipe when I'm craving a sweet fall treat! It's super moist, easy to make & full of delicious pumpkin spice flavor.

Pumpkin Cake

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.

Pumpkin Cake Recipe ingredients

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 batter Frosting pumpkin cake

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).

Pumpkin cake with frosting

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 🙂

Best pumpkin cake (vegan)

If you love this pumpkin cake recipe…

Try my favorite pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin French toast, or pumpkin cookies next! Want more easy cake recipes? Try this lemon cake, this vegan chocolate cake, or this chocolate zucchini cake!


5.0 from 5 reviews
Pumpkin Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This easy, healthy vegan pumpkin cake is lightly sweet & full of pumpkin spice flavor! The perfect fall snack or dessert.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, snack
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 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
frosting option 1: Vegan Cream Cheese (pictured):
  • 4 ounces vegan cream cheese (I used Kite Hill plain)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons vegan butter, slightly softened
  • ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
frosting option 2: Cashew Maple Frosting: (makes extra)
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and the water and set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and the flaxseed mixture.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
Notes
note: if you're not vegan, you can use regular cream cheese and regular butter.

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.

 

40 comments

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  1. Colleen
    10.11.2018

    can you use all almond flour so it is gluten free?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.11.2018

      Hi Colleen, I haven’t tried it that way, so I can’t say for sure. I think it might be too dense and not cake-like without altering the other ingredients as well.

      • Wendy
        10.12.2018

        You might try replacing Bobs Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend. It works really well for things like this. 😊

      • Ellen
        10.16.2018

        Hi, I made this gluten free by using the stated amount of almond flour and using Bob’s Rrd Mill gluten free for the other flour, and it was terrific!

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          10.17.2018

          Hi Ellen, thanks for sharing! I’m happy they worked out with Bob’s GF flour mixed in.

  2. Mari Barnes
    10.11.2018

    I love the photos, especially the ones in which you label the ingredients. Thanks for beautiful pictures and recipes!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.17.2018

      thanks Marni!

  3. Natalie from workovereasy.com
    10.12.2018

    We unfortunately don’t really have pumpkin puree here in the UK, is it just what it sounds like (cooked blitzed pumpkin) if I had to make my own or is there something more to it? Thanks!

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

    • Christine
      10.12.2018

      I used a baked sweet potato i had in the fridge and it turned out great!

    • Jaclyn
      10.21.2018

      In the UK any large Tesco or Sainsbury’s will stock it in the American section of the world food aisle, or you can buy online from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose or Ocado.

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        10.21.2018

        thanks Jaclyn, that’s great to know!

  4. sabrina from newkitchenlife.com
    10.12.2018

    great recipe, fun to make too, also a great recipe to share, thank you for sharing it!

  5. Colin Matthews
    10.14.2018

    Hard to believe this is really vegan! It looks soo amazing.

  6. .abby.
    10.14.2018

    Would the consistency be thrown off if I used only all-purpose flour? I’ve never worked with almond flour before since we have nut allergies in the house.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.17.2018

      Hi Abby, I would probably add more oil so that they don’t turn out too dry (since almond flour is fatty). I can’t say for sure without trying it myself, but I think 2 additional tablespoons coconut oil might do the trick.

  7. Leah from leahgauthier.com
    10.15.2018

    This is cake is super yummy. I made it gluten free by substituting the regular flour with Minimalist Baker’s diy gf flour mix. Came out perfect. Thank you so much!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.15.2018

      I’m glad you loved it! Thanks for the gluten free tip!

  8. CSB
    10.15.2018

    If we’re an egg eating household, is it safe to assume I can sub in 4 eggs for the flax?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.15.2018

      Hi, I would try 2 eggs… but know that I haven’t tested this with eggs so I’m not sure exactly how it will turn out. It’s not always a direct swap. Hope that helps!

  9. Ellen
    10.16.2018

    So good, but so hard to cut into 24 squares and eat just one! And why did I never think of making a vegan cream cheese frosting? Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.16.2018

      Ha, ha, I’m glad you loved them!

  10. Terri
    10.20.2018

    I love your website and recipes! I’ve never used as many recipes from one site as I do from yours. I’m a fairly new follower, about 2 months now.
    This pumpkin snack cake sounds amazing.
    I sincerely hate to be one that can’t eat something in a recipe, but I seem to be allergic to all seeds (hemp, flax & sunflower are the worst). So weird and I’m not liking this at all. Nuts are fine.
    Is there a substitute for flax seed? I really want to make these snack cakes and will if I can find a way around the flax seeds.
    Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.21.2018

      Hi Terri, I’m so glad to hear that you’ve been loving the recipes! I haven’t tried making this with an egg, but I’m sure it can be done. I would probably try 1 egg with 2 tablespoons water (omitting the 1/4 cup flax and 1/4 cup of water). I can give it a try sometime later this week and let you know!

      • Terri
        10.21.2018

        Now that you mention it, it seems that I have heard you can sub an egg for flax seed and vice versa. Sorry I didn’t think of that. Thank you for the suggestion of adding 2 T of water with the egg also. I wouldn’t have thought of that. I’ll try it too and let you know!

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          10.21.2018

          Yep, exactly, the reason for the flax is to substitute the egg… it’s not always a 1:1 swap, although it’s usually easier to go from flax to egg than vise versa. Let me know how it goes!

  11. Laurina
    10.23.2018

    I made this cake the day the recipe showed up in my inbox. It was delicious. Light, not to sweet, easy to make and stayed fresh tasting for days. I didn’t have any canned pumpkin so substituted some winter squash purée I had cooked up earlier. Thank you for your great recipes.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.27.2018

      Hi Laurina, I’m so happy to hear that it worked so well with the fresh squash puree! Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  12. Bridget
    10.27.2018

    This recipe is so good, Jeanine! I’ve already made it twice and have no plans to stop.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.27.2018

      Ha ha, I love hearing that! Thanks for taking a sec to come let me know 🙂 xo

  13. Amy
    10.28.2018

    Planning to make this today, looks delicious. Can I sub whole wheat all-purpose four for the white or will that change the consistency?

    Thanks.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.28.2018

      Hi Amy, it’ll be a little bit more dense but I think it’ll still be tasty. I often like to use whole wheat pastry flour over regular whole wheat because it’s a bit lighter. Hope that helps!

      • Amy
        10.29.2018

        Didn’t have ww pastry flour, so used white all-purpose flour per the recipe, came out great! Easy and delicious.

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          10.29.2018

          ooh, yay, I’m so glad you loved it!

  14. Andy
    11.15.2018

    Hi,
    Came across your site recently and thought I’d give this recipe a try. Followed instructions to the letter and it worked a treat. Loving this site. keep up the good work.
    Andy

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.17.2018

      Hi Andy – welcome!! I’m so glad you loved the recipe.

  15. Katie from simplybykate.com
    12.21.2018

    Love this recipe! I need to try this out.

  16. Kiara
    01.05.2019

    I’ve made this twice now, and it’s SO delicious! Cake is super moist, and the cashew maple frosting has the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. Loved it, thanks for the amazing recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.06.2019

      Hi Kiara, I’m so so glad you loved the cake!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.