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.
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.
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.
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
If you only have a problem with almonds, you could substitute the almond flour with hazelnut flour.
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.
- Paleo Lemon Blueberry Cake
- Vegan Caramel Cheesecake
- Berry Sheet Cake
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Mug Cake
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!
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake
- 2 cups almond flour
- ⅔ cup tapioca flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1 ½ cups coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 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
- 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.
- Add all of the wet ingredients to a separate mixing bowl and whisk together.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together for 1 to 2 minutes, to create a smooth cake batter.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.