Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — a rich, not-too-sweet autumn cake topped with a classic cream cheese frosting and nutty, coconut-almond granola. Gluten-free.
Monday! Hope you had a good weekend, friends. We had friends in town for the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, after which we carved pumpkins for our own front porch and filled our bellies with crusty, grilled cheese sandwiches dunked in big bowls of my favorite Buttered Miso-Tomato Soup. This week I prep for an upcoming trip to Hong Kong (HK! I’m immensely excited for dumplings/toast/high tea/Hello Kitty cafes – please send recs for any/all!), so I’ll be spending lots of time snuggling Lana extra close and planning a few fun adventures for the two of us before I leave.
But before I do that, there’s cake to be had! A gluten-free pumpkin spice cake! Or, more specifically, a Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, adapted from the Chocolate Zucchini Cake in Alanna’s Alternative Baker cookbook, and easily our new go-to dessert for fall. It’s rich but not overly sweet, warmly spiced, and the perfect complement to a big harvest meal or a morning cup of coffee.
A Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Cake!
Thanks to Alanna’s (The Bojon Gourmet) expertise with gluten-free flours, this Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is completely gluten-free, made with sorghum and sweet rice flours that, together, offer a substantial texture and a tender crumb. In lieu of zucchini, I’ve used a full cup of pumpkin puree here, accented with warm cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and even a tiny hit of black pepper. And as for sweeteners, coconut sugar and molasses impart a subtle nuttiness that make the flavor profile of this particular gluten-free pumpkin spice cake seem decidedly sophisticated. A classic cream cheese frosting up top (the Alternative Baker recipe employs a Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting that is addictive and the perfect companion for the cake in its original form) and a crunchy scattering of our go-to Oat-Free Coconut Almond Granola and you’ve got the ultimate fall dessert.
Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for a #VirtualPumpkinParty
Following the theme of our pumpkin-filled weekend, today, I’m “bringing” this gluten-free pumpkin spice cake to Sara’s #virtualpumpkinparty. Be sure to check out the full page of pumpkin (and fall squash)-themed recipes here, and follow the #virtualpumpkinparty on IG for seasonal eye candy/inspiration. Oh, and in case you missed it, here are The Pig & Quill’s recipes from previous years’ celebrations:
- Salted Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Toast Crunchies
- Savory Pumpkin Canneloni with Candied Walnuts (Dairy-Free)
- Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes with Pumpkin Spice Caramel + Maple Whip (Dairy-Free)
Too much pumpkin? Never! 🙂
Hope you all had a lovely, autumnal weekend, friends.
- For the Cake
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1 T molasses
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup whole milk (non-dairy will work; I used homemade cashew milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¾ cup cacao powder*
- ¾ cup plus 2 T sorghum flour
- ¼ cup sweet white rice flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground clove
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp sea salt or pink salt
- For the Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 T salted butter, softened
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- For Topping
- Oat-Free Coconut Almond Granola
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8" round cake pan and coat with cacao powder. (Using one of the flours will work, as well, but the cacao eliminates any telltale white dust on the edge of the cake.)
- In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, coconut sugar molasses, eggs, oil, milk + vanilla. Whisk until well combined.
- To same bowl, add cacao powder, sorghum flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, clove, black pepper and nutmeg. Stir well to combine.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs, 35-40 mins. Let cake cool until it's comfortable enough to handle; then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.
- To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed, 2-3 mins.
- Place cake on a platter or serving surface and dollop frosting atop cake. Using a small offset spatula, spread frosting just to the edges of the cake, leaving sides bare.
- Top cake generously with granola. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 1 day, bringing cake to room temperature at least an hour before serving. Enjoy!
OH! before you go…
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I am loving aaaallll of this!! I usually don’t pair chocolate with pumpkin, but obviously I need to change that. Happy Pumpkin Day!!
Thanks Brandon! It is kind of an unexpected combo, but the pumpkin is actually pretty subtle. The fall spices and the chocolate are definitely the stars here, with the pumpkin adding interest and, uh, moisture (ugh, sorry). 😀
I love a good spiced chocolate cake, so sign me up for the pumpkin and cream cheese addition! Happy to join you for the #virtualpumpkinparty! xo
Chocolate and pumpkin cake? I am loving the sound of this! I also love the idea of topping a cake with granola for some crunch- I’ve never tried it before. Putting this on my to-make list for the season! x
This cake sounds amazing! Since I’ve been dabbling more in the GF life, I’ve been thinking I should just bake my way through Alanna’s book. I’m excited to experiment with all of those interesting flours! Thanks for bringing this beauty to my virtual pumpkin party. :-*
This cake looks amazing. From the photos alone it already looks like the perfect texture, can’t wait to make it!
It look delicious ? …
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Wondering if you have any suggestions on what I can use as an egg replacement for this recipe. Also, could I substitute regular powdered sugar for coconut sugar?
I haven’t tried this substitute with an egg replacement, but I’ve baked up other cakes with a chia or flax egg with great success, so I might advise starting there? And if you’re looking to avoid using the coconut sugar, I would replace it with regular, granulated sugar instead. Good luck!
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