Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake

This is the most amazing gluten-free pumpkin cake recipe (if I do say so myself) for the holidays. It’s soft and moist with just the right amount of sweetness and pumpkin flavoring. And the luscious cream cheese frosting really takes it over the top.

A slice of gluten-free pumpkin cake on a plate

This Fluffy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake Is What Holiday Desserts Are All About

Don’t be fooled by the word gluten-free, because this pumpkin cake is anything but dry and bland. Instead, it’s a pumpkin riff on everyone’s favorite paleo chocolate cake that’s incredibly light, airy, and SO moist. I’m swapping cacao powder for creamy pumpkin puree, gliding a cream cheese frosting across the top, and sprinkling chopped pecans for a nutty, festive touch. Trust me when I say this tastes just as good as it sounds.

It’s also a lot easier to make than you think! Just whip up the cake batter, pour it into a pan, pop it in the oven, and make the frosting while you wait for it to cool.

If you’ve got pumpkin lovers at any holiday festivities, I guarantee this gluten-free pumpkin cake will steal their hearts. AKA – this belongs on your list of must-make Christmas and Thanksgiving desserts.

Gluten-free pumpkin cake ingredients on a counter.

What’s In This Pumpkin Cake?

This gluten-free pumpkin cake has my usual triumvirate of flours, plus a few extra ingredients you might need to pick up – such as pumpkin puree, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Here’s what you’ll need.

For the base of the cake, you’ll need:

  • My infamous flour trio: After much recipe testing, I’ve found that a blend of almond flour, tapioca flour, and coconut flour results in the most soft and moist cake ever.
  • Coconut Sugar: Coconut sugar is ideal for this recipe because the sugar crystals allow for small air pockets to help give it extra fluff.
  • Pumpkin Spice: Just a tablespoon for the perfect amount of pumpkin goodness!
  • Baking Soda + Apple Cider Vinegar: My go-to blend to help any baked goods rise. You could always sub with baking powder.
  • Eggs: This recipe calls for 4 large eggs to add into the wet mixture.
  • Pumpkin Puree: To make it easy, grab a can of pumpkin puree (and not pumpkin pie filling). But if you’re feeling ambitious, feel free to whip up your own puree with fresh pumpkin!
  • Coconut Oil: You can use refined or unrefined – either way you won’t taste the coconut flavor. You could also use a light-flavored vegetable oil.
  • Vanilla Extract: You’ll need just a touch of sweet vanilla flavor.
The frosting ingredients for gluten-free pumpkin cake on a counter.

If the cream cheese frosting looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same recipe used in my gluten-free carrot cake. Here’s what’s in it.

  • Cream Cheese: I love using cream cheese for a thick, luscious texture with a slight tang. Perfect for a frosting!
  • Butter: You’ll need just one stick of unsalted butter, but you can also use ghee.
  • Vanilla Extract: One teaspoon of this to give the frosting a little oomph.
  • Powdered Sugar: Make sure to use confectioner’s sugar! Alternatively, you can make your own right at home with my easy powdered sugar recipe.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How To Make The Best Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake

For this gluten-free pumpkin cake, I’m using a 9×13-inch pan (23×33 cm) pan instead of a round one. This makes it much easier to slice into squares and serve at a party. But before we start baking, grease the pan with butter or coconut oil and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).

Mix the dry ingredients. Add everything to a large mixing bowl and use a whisk to mix it all together.

Mix the wet ingredients. Make sure to do this in a separate bowl! Then add the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together for 1 to 2 minutes, until it’s nice and smooth.

Make the batter and bake! Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 38 to 42 minutes. Since the timing will vary, keep a close eye on your cake and do the toothpick test to triple check the texture.

Let the cake cool. Leave it on a wire rack for about 45 minutes until it’s fully cooled. If there’s any residual heat, the cream cheese frosting will melt faster – and we don’t want that!

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract. Then add the powdered sugar, and beat on slow speed until the sugar is blended in. Then increase to high speed and beat until fluffy.

Add the finishing touches. Use a spatula to evenly spread the cream cheese frosting on top. And if you’ve got chopped pecans on hand, sprinkle them across the top.

A Few Questions Answered

Is there an alternative to almond flour?

If you only have a problem with almonds, you could substitute the almond flour with hazelnut flour.

Can I swap honey or maple for the coconut sugar? 

Unfortunately no. The coconut sugar crystals are what helps to provide all those mini air pockets that make this cake so delicious. Honey or maple syrup would create a much more dense cake.

Storage & Make-Ahead Options

It’s highly unlikely there’ll be leftovers (yes, it’s that yummy). But, leftovers can be stored just fine in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to one week. If you’re thinking about making this ahead of time – here’s a few options…

To Store Unfrosted: You can make the cake itself without the frosting several days in advance. Once it’s completely cooled, tightly double wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Alternatively, you can freeze it for 3 months. Then, when you’re ready to serve the cake, let it defrost completely and layer on fresh cream cheese frosting.

To Store Frosted: If you want to get even more ahead, you can store the cake frosted (covered) at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. But if you’re worried about storing at room temp, freeze it for up to 3 months! Leave it uncovered to allow the frosting to harden, then cover it with plastic wrap. When you’re ready to serve, bring the cake to room temperature and enjoy!

More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes

A decadent cake is the perfect way to gather friends and family together. No matter what time of year it is, here’s a few reader favorites that I know your loved ones will appreciate.

Slices of this gluten-free pumpkin cake are just what you need for a holiday party. If you make it – let me know what you thought about it in a comment below!

A plate with a slice of gluten-free pumpkin cake

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake

5 from 20 votes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Cool Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Servings: 15 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
The most amazing gluten-free pumpkin cake recipe ever for the holidays! It's soft, moist, and topped with a lavish cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 ½ cups coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce can) pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup butter , room temperature (usually one stick)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar)
  • Optional: chopped pecans for the top

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13-inch pan (23×33 cm) with butter or coconut oil. Add all of the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
    Whisking dry ingredients in a bowl for gluten-free pumpkin cake
  • Add all of the wet ingredients to a separate mixing bowl and whisk together.
    Whisking wet ingredients in a bowl for gluten-free pumpkin cake
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together for 1 to 2 minutes, to create a smooth cake batter.
    Stirring gluten-free pumpkin pie batter in a bowl.
  • Pour the pumpkin cake batter into the greased pan and bake for 38 to 42 minutes. Baking times can vary, so keep an eye on it, and remove the cake when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
    Gluten-free pumpkin pie batter in a baking dish
  • Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack (about 45 minutes). Any residual heat will melt the frosting, so make sure it's fully cooled.
    Gluten-free pumpkin pie cake in a white baking dish.
  • Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract. Use a hand mixer on medium speed and beat until well mixed. Add the powdered sugar, and beat on slow speed, until the sugar is incorporated, then increase to high speed and beat until fluffy.
    Cream cheese frosting for gluten-free pumpkin cake in a bowl.
  • Add the cream cheese frosting to the top of the cake and use a spatula spread it across. Optionally, you can add some chopped pecans to the top.
    Gluten-free pumpkin pie in a dish with frosting on top.

Lisa’s Tips

  • My oven bakes a little cool, but 40 minutes was the perfect amount of baking time for me. Because this cake is so moist you do want to make sure that it’s fully cooked through. 

Nutrition

Calories: 417kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 77mg, Sodium: 455mg, Potassium: 100mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 36g, Vitamin A: 4868IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 62mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Cake
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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51 comments on “Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake”

  1. So easy and delicious.  Everyone loved it and had requests to make it again next year for Thanksgiving.  5 stars

  2. In a word this recipe is amazing!  I made it for the first time and was a little unsure about how it would turn out because the texture was thicker than most cake recipes I’ve tried and I was low on tapioca flour and made up for difference with extra coconut flour and arrowroot flour. I also used Monk fruit and erythritol sweetener instead of coconut sugar. despite these changes the recipe came out great The Thanksgiving host even asked if I could share the recipe. for the frosting I only used one cup of powdered sugar and I did also use the Monk fruit and you were through those sweeteners in the powder form.  The frosting also came out great and was plenty sweet. This is going in the make again pile for sure. Thanks for creating wonderful and healthy recipes, Lisa 

  3. This cake is ah-mazing. Made it for the first time on Thanksgiving and it was the star of the meal. Had tons of leftovers so I brought pieces of it to all of my building’s doormen throughout the day. They loved it. Will make this again.5 stars

  4. I made this wonderful Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake yesterday and it is a crowd pleaser (for non GF folks too!!)! I try to eat as little sugar as possible so read the reviews and only one suggested reducing the powdered sugar in the frosting so I reduced it to 2 cups instead of 3 and it was perfect for my desired sweetness level. In the cake, I reduced the coconut sugar to 1 1/3 cups vs. 1 1/2 so not by much and it was good. I might increase the amount of pumpkin spice next time as I like to taste it (possibly more than other people)! Thanks for another VERY RELIABLE recipe!5 stars

  5. In your opinion, would I be able to use this recipe to make into a pumpkin roll?

  6. Wonderfully moist and delicious! I followed the recipe for the cake but rather than using the 9×13 pan, I used a bundt pan for better presentation, and instead of the cream cheese icing, I drizzled the cake with a maple caramel glaze and sprinkled with chopped toasted pecans. It was a huge hit, and I will definitely make it again.5 stars

  7. I made this cake for our gals’ get-together this past weekend. The guys joined us for dinner and one needed gluten-free. Everybody raved about this cake. I made a double-layer round cake. They all wanted the recipe so I shared your site URL with everyone and let them know that everything I try on your site is absolutely WONDERFUL!

    My husband and I do not have to eat gluten-free but I have found I love your recipes far more than any other and I feel they are much healthier for us. Thank you again for your wonderful recipes. I look forward to trying more.5 stars

  8. I made this tonight (exactly as written) and it was phenomenal. My husband is not GF like me and is wary of most GF baking, but he adores this cake. I don’t eat much white sugar these days so the icing was very sweet to me (but don’t get me wrong, still delicious). Will definitely make this for my next book club meeting and will be part of the fall recipe rotation in this house for years to come! Thanks, Lisa, for yet another delicious and family fave recipe. Seriously can’t wait for your cookbook!5 stars

  9. The best & easiest gluten free pumpkin spice cake❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️5 stars

  10. Very good recipe. I tweaked it a little. I used Whey Low sweetener and added walnuts. Served it without the frosting. Thanks for the great recipe. I will be trying others.5 stars

  11. Can I use this recipe for cupcakes?

  12. I Love pumpkin! And this cake TOPS my list of favorites now! It is incredibly moist and delicious! My bake time was 35 minutes -Perfect! So it must vary from oven to oven plus climate (eastern US). I didnt want icing, so I topped it with chopped pecans and dairy free dark chocolate chips! Tasty combo and pretty enough to serve company. Top with dollop of whipped coconut cream if need some extra splash. Delicious either way. I want to try substituting with bananas as I loved my previous banana cake that was not gf. Your recipes have helped me regain my love for cooking and baking! Thanks.5 stars

    • How funny to see your comment, Fran – we literally just made this recipe, and substituted bananas for the pumpkin (omitting the pumpkin pie spice). It was EXCELLENT, and I cannot thank Lisa enough for this recipe, and you for your ideas!

      Lisa, I cannot wait to purchase your cookbook. Your approach to food is so refreshing. Thank you for all of your delicious recipes, posts, and emails.5 stars

  13. This cake was absolutely amazing, you did it once again Lisa, hats off to you!👏👏👏🌹5 stars

  14. Looks amazing. Question: Bob’s Red Mill makes a Grain Free Paleo Baking Flour with almond, tapioca and coconut flours along with Arrowroot starch. Could I use it instead of having to purchase each of the flours seperately? Will be making for Christmas.5 stars

    • Hi Donna – I’m using certain ratios for this recipe to create the perfect fluffy texture, so it’s best to stick with the ingredients listed! But, you can sub tapioca flour with a gluten-free flour blend if you’d like.

  15. This recipe was sooooo delicious!!!! Our nephew-in-law must have gluten free foods and so I made this dessert for and the rest of the family and they all loved. My husband thought it was soooo good! My best friend, who is not a pumpkin pie lover, thought this cake was delicious. Thank you for sharing it with us!5 stars

  16. Ok…it’s amazing.I made some healthy adjustments and it came out perfect. I used Swerve Confectioner Sugar for frosting sugar and cut back to 2 cups from the 3 in the recipe. I think that makes it truly KETO. This was crazy easy to make and great for a large crowd. You are correct Lisa, the cake is super moist! If there was a 6 star choice I would vote that!5 stars

  17. Another hit! I can count on your recipes to delight my family and friends. This cake is so fragrant while baking my husband could hardly wait for it!
    My friends are gluten-free and dairy-free folks so I just used a non-dairy whipped cream on top. My husband nor I have a problem with dairy or gluten but I have switched my way of cooking/baking because of your wonderful recipes. I feel we are eating healthier now.
    There is not one recipe I have tried so far that I won’t be making again and again! Thank you so much for providing such healthy and wonderfully tasty recipes! Happy Holidays to you and yours!5 stars

    • Thrilled to hear you enjoyed this pumpkin cake, along with many other Downshiftology recipes Nancy :) Hope you and your family have a great holiday season as well!

  18. This looks amazing! Can I bake it in bundt pan? If so, would it be at the same temperature and for the same amount of
    time?

  19. I have never written a comment on any site so this will be my first.  OMG what an amazingly moist and delicious cake! It was a big hit with my family, and I will definitely be making it again. I am also very excited for your cookbook!5 stars

    • Hi Becky – thanks so much for taking the time to reply! I’m thrilled you loved this recipe, it’s definitely been a favorite this year! And I can’t wait until my cookbook comes out next year as well. It’ll be here before you know it! :)

  20. Sounds fabulous, but is there a good egg substitute you recommend? 

    • I haven’t tried this recipe with any egg substitutes, but usually recipes with 4 eggs are harder to sub and still achieve the same results (1 to 2 eggs is much easier). If you try something and it works, let us know how it turns out!

  21. Made this just as it said. No changes. Super delicious!!! My kids had no idea it was gluten free. My older son considers himself a dessert connoisseur, and just last night we went to someone’s house and everyone brought desserts…. He sampled them all and said mine was the tops! “ Basically, that’s all there needed to be on the counter!” ;)  I’ll be making it again! Thanks!!! ❤️5 stars

  22. This cake was absolutely delicious!  It was so easy to make and the cake by itself tastes phenomenal. Definitely going to make again!  5 stars

  23. Do you think this recipe could be made as cupcakes instead of one big cake?

  24. I am going to make this soon.  Do you have a recipe for pumpkin spice?  Someone said you have a good one.  

  25. Is it possible to reduce the amount of sugar? It seems quite high.
    Or will an alternative sweetener like Lakanto golden work?

  26. I’m Gluten Free but allergic to coconut ? Idea!

    • Hi Barbara – you could use vegetable oil to replace the coconut oil and try to add just a little bit more almond flour to replace the coconut flour. Hope it turns out for you!

  27. Can’t wait to try this, Lisa. I know it will be amazing. I have used so many of your recipes and loved them all. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful ideas with us. Whenever I need a recipe, you are the go to person for me.
    God Bless You!5 stars

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