Hello! I’m casually popping in the day before Thanksgiving to share this pumpkin cake with you. Because with a toddler and a newborn, that is how I operate these days — last-minute and slightly frazzled. If you’re in need of a last minute T-day dessert, let this be a contender. It is quick and foolproof, with all of the satisfaction derived from layer cake but none of the fussiness. And, if you or your guests have dietary restrictions, this may fit the bill. If not for Thanksgiving, then make this on Sunday for a week of delicious snacking ahead. This is a “snack cake,” after all.
I created this recipe for my daughter’s school’s Halloween picnic. Her school serves vegan, plant-based food for lunch and snack-time and encourages nourishing treats at school functions (yes — this is not the preschool of my childhood!). While not vegan, this cake is gluten-free, dairy-free and naturally sweetened. But all of that is besides the point, because it is delicious. I used brown rice flour, almond flour and a little arrowroot powder for the base, but if you don’t have those on hand you are welcome to replace all three with two cups of whole wheat, spelt or all-purpose flour.
For the very simple vegan frosting, I use my favorite plant-based cream cheese by Kite Hill. It has the closest texture to regular cream cheese and all of the flavor. I’m sure other brands of vegan cream cheese or regular dairy cream cheese would work well, too. This frosting is not overly sweet and is more tangy than traditional cream cheese frostings, which I think pairs nicely with the sweet pumpkin cake. If you have a sweet tooth, by all means make a traditional frosting with powdered sugar and butter.
Oh, and I should acknowledge the fact that I am back after a long hiatus, because we welcomed our son Max into our family on September 7th! He is now almost 11 weeks old and is a chubby, smiley and easy-going little guy. I’ll share more updates on that soon. I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing and delicious Thanksgiving!
Spiced Pumpkin Snack Cake with Vegan Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - Gluten-free + Dairy-free
Yield 16 servings
For the cake:
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted, or olive oil
For the frosting:
- 1 8 oz package almond/ plant-based cream cheese (I like Kite Hill)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment and rub the sides with coconut oil.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a regular bowl and hand mixer or whisk), mix together the wet ingredients until well-combined and creamy.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet in thirds until fully incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading with a spatula to distribute evenly.
- Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. For my convection oven, it was 35 minutes. Place pan on wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting. Whisk together frosting ingredients until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until cake is completely cooled.
- When ready to serve, spread frosting on top, slice and serve. I like to garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and a dusting of pumpkin pie spice. Enjoy!