Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Frosting — This is a fast, easy pumpkin cake that you’d never guess is vegan! I topped it with a spiced buttercream frosting for even more pumpkin flavor!
Ultra Moist Pumpkin Cake
I’m not into complicated, fussy, layer cakes that dirty 10 bowls, only to create a cake that’s so huge it goes stale before it’s finished.
I’m all about one layer, one bowl, no mixer, smear some frosting on it, and dig in. That’s this cake.
And now, I turned it into a cake. The recipe that keeps on giving.
The vegan pumpkin cake is so soft and moist, comforting, and if you didn’t know it, you’d think it was made with eggs and butter. But it’s not, and you won’t miss them one bit.
Certain ingredients like pumpkin, bananas, and avocado are great in vegan baking because they’re thick, creamy, fluffy, or fatty, and are great for replacing eggs and butter.
Since bland pumpkin desserts aren’t worth eating, all my pumpkin recipes are nicely spiced without being over-powering, and this cake is no exception.
It’s pleasantly spiced with pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and has molasses and vanilla for extra depth. If you’re more sensitive to cinnamon or a certain spice, dial them down, to taste.
The spices in the cake are complemented by the pumpkin spice buttercream frosting. I wanted to eat this by the spoonful. And did.
I used the Sugarfree Coffeemeate in the frosting because that’s what I use in my coffee. I’m a person who likes a little coffee with my cream, and this is my dream creamer. It’s only available September through December, and I’ve been hoarding it.
It was splendid in the frosting. It added extra creaminess and boosted the overall pumpkin flavor. It helped the frosting to not set up ‘crunchy’, which can happen with buttercream frosting that’s been exposed to air. It does firm up, but not in a crunchy way. Crunchy cake is never good.
The cake is supremely soft, moist, springy, and bouncey. There’s just enough satisfying density, without being overly heavy, a curse that tends to plague vegan baked goods.
I love it when I can keep a recipe vegan and on the healthier side as cakes go, without making any sacrifices in taste.
It’s some of the best pumpkin cake I’ve ever tried, vegan or otherwise.
What’s in the Vegan Pumpkin Cake?
To make the vegan pumpkin cake itself, you’ll need:
- Pumpkin puree
- Granulated and brown sugar
- Coconut oil
- Vanilla almond milk
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
And for the frosting, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter (sub vegan butter, if desired)
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Pumpkin spice coffee creamer (or milk)
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Cake
The cake is very fast and simple to make. Just combine all the ingredients (except flour and baking powder) in one bowl, and whisk together in mere seconds, before being turned out into a pan and baking.
While the cake cools, you can make the pumpkin spice frosting. See my notes in the “Tips” section below on how to make the frosting vegan as well.
Then, simply slap on the frosting and dig in!
Can I Substitute the Coconut Oil?
The bread doesn’t taste like coconut, and even if you don’t like coconut, I recommend using it. It adds a subtle, very understated flavor you can’t put your finger on. Substitute with canola or vegetable oil if you must.
Can I Double This Recipe?
I’ve never doubled this recipe, but I imagine you can do so without issue. Bake the cake in a 9×13-inch dish.
Tips for Making This Easy Pumpkin Cake
Although the cake is vegan, the frosting is not vegan because I made it with Coffeemate’s seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte non-dairy creamer. If you want to keep the frosting vegan, use vegan-friendly butter and milk alternatives. Easy swaps.
Note that this recipe calls for pure pumpkin puree and NOT canned pumpkin pie filling. They’re two different products!
I personally am comfortable storing buttercream-frosted items at room temp, but if you prefer to store in the fridge, that’s fine, but note the fridge will dry the cake out more quickly.
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Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, other milks may be substituted including coconut, soy, rice, cow, preferably at room temp
- 2 tablespoons mild or medium molasses
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened (half of 1 stick; use vegan butter to keep recipe vegan)
- about 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Pumpkin Spice Latte coffee creamer, or sub non-dairy milk
- pumpkin pie spice, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 9-by-9-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients through optional salt, and whisk to combine. Using room temp milk will prevent coconut oil from re-solidifying, but if it does, a few small white clumps are okay.
- Stir in the flour and baking powder until just combined, don’t overmix. Batter is quite thick.
- Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
- Bake for about 27 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
- Allow cake to cool in pan, on top of a wire rack, for at least 30 minutes before turning out onto the rack to finish cooling completely. While cake cools, make the frosting.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine (vegan) butter, 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons creamer, and beat with an electric mixer on medium high speed until smooth. As needed, drizzle in more creamer until desired frosting consistency is reached. If frosting is too loose, add a bit more confectioners’ sugar, playing with the sugar and creamer ratios until desired consistency is reached.
- Turn frosting out onto cooled cake, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. If you have extra frosting, it will keep airtight in the refrigerator for many weeks, and can be used at a future date.
- Sprinkle pinches of pumpkin pie spice over the frosting before slicing and serving cake.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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More Vegan Fall Recipes:
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies— (Vegan if you substitute the butter for margarine). These pumpkin oatmeal cookies are bursting with chocolate chips in every bite! They’re thick, hearty, perfectly chewy, and not at all cakey.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies— (Vegan if you substitute the butter for margarine). Between the molasses, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin pie spice extract that I used, these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies beautifully showcase the flavors of fall!
Soft Vegan Pumpkin Bread — If you want to make a believer out of anyone who doubts that vegan baked goods can taste amazing, this recipe will change their mind!
Chocolate Chip Vegan Pumpkin Muffins — These vegan pumpkin muffins are studded with mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. Plus, they’re packed with five different warming spices, which makes then extra flavorful!
Vegan Apple Cinnamon Muffins— These apple cinnamon muffins are studded with BIG chunks of apple! They’re so easy to make and are perfect for a quick snack or breakfast to-go.
Sweet Potato Muffins — The muffins are super soft and tender in the interior with slight chewiness around the edges. They’re springy, moist, fluffy, light, and accidentally vegan but you’d never guess it.
I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, however all content and opinions expressed here are my own.