Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting

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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! 

Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting - Fast, easy cake you'll never guess is vegan. Recipe at averiecooks.com

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.

It’s the same recipe that I used when I created the Soft Vegan Pumpkin Bread, which was just barely adapted from the Vegan Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins.

And now, I turned it into a cake. The recipe that keeps on giving.

Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting - Fast, easy cake you'll never guess is vegan. Recipe at averiecooks.com

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.

Because there’s no butter in the cake, you need to replace the fat from another source. I used Nutiva Coconut Oil from iHerb.com

Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting - Fast, easy cake you'll never guess is vegan. Recipe at averiecooks.com

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.

Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting - Fast, easy cake you'll never guess is vegan. Recipe at averiecooks.com

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.

Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting - Fast, easy cake you'll never guess is vegan. Recipe at averiecooks.com

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 
  • Molasses
  • Vanilla extract
  • Spices 
  • 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) 

Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting - Fast, easy cake you'll never guess is vegan. Recipe at averiecooks.com

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.

Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting - Fast, easy cake you'll never guess is vegan. Recipe at averiecooks.com

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. 

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! 

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.

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! 

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4.88 from 8 votes

Soft Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream Frosting

By Averie Sunshine
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! 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
Servings: 12
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Ingredients  

Cake

  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 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

Frosting

  • 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

Instructions 

Cake:

  • 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.

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. 

Notes

Storage: Cake will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days. 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. Unfrosted cake will keep airtight in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Adapted from Soft Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Brown Sugar Streusel Crust.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 190kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 97mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 36g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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!

Soft Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Brown Sugar Streusel Crust - You won't miss the eggs or the butter in this fast & easy bread from averiecooks.com

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 Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins - Easy Recipe at averiecooks.com

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.

Vegan Chunky Apple Cinnamon Muffins - Easy, No-Mixer Recipe for Soft Muffins at averiecooks.com

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.

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating




Comments

    1. I would just omit it if you don’t have it or don’t like it. BUT if you have it on hand, I encourage you to use it because it moistens the cake and adds nice flavor.

  1. 5 stars
    EASY to prepare, doesn’t use up my egg supply, gets rave reviews from all family members- this is definitely a Five star dessert. It’s so moist and packed with flavor, it doesn’t even need frosting! My peeps ate it all up and clamoured for more, so this is my second time making it in the past 24 hours! My new favorite GO-TO dessert recipe; thank you!

    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad it’s your new favorite go-to dessert! And I love that you’re making pumpkin cake in ‘non pumpkin season’ :)

  2. 5 stars
    EASY to prepare, doesn’t use up my egg supply, gets rave reviews from all family members- this is definitely a Five star dessert. It’s so moist and packed with flavor, it doesn’t even need frosting! My peeps ate it all up and clamoured for more, so this is my second time making it in the past 24 hours! My new favorite GO-TO dessert recipe; thank you!

  3. The use of molasses is so awesome! Along with the spices, it gives the cake a gingerbread feel. I just tried the recipe and its amazing! I looked for a lot of vegan pumpkin cake recipes online and chose this one because it was so complex :)

  4. Oh my! I have newly acquired gluten and egg allergies and made these w gluten free flour! Amazing!!!! Doesn’t even taste gfree! U rock!!!! (FYI, I used Krusteaz gfree flour blend!) I had been craving pumpkin bars!

  5. Hi Averie :) hope you are doing well and enjoying the summer. My mum has alot of health issues that restrict her from eating so many things including oil. I’ve been searching online for recipes to make for her and I’d like to make something with pumpkin, when I saw this from you’re blog I got super excited because I adore your blog and I’ve made tons of recipes from it so yay :) my question is if I can sub the oil with mashed banana or applesauce? I’m new to baking with pumkin and all that so I’d like to hear your thoughts about how you think it may turn out.

    Thank you and lots of love ?

    1. I would probably go with banana rather than applesauce but it’s up to you. I am just guessing since I have never made these without oil. LMK how it goes.

  6. Such a lovely cake. I made this for a friend’s party and I left the last four pieces for her. She texted me this morning demanding the recipe as it was just as good cold out of the fridge for breakfast with a cup of hot coffee.

    It’s so moist and soft and everyone at the party had at least two pieces. Will definitely make it again and again.

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad your friend loved it and that you’ll make again and again!

  7. Just made this cake and devoured a whole piece! It was so delicious! Definitely saving this recipe and making it lots of times this season!

  8. Hi there! I made this cake today and it is AMAZING. My daughter is vegan and I am always looking for recipes to make for her. I will definitely be making this cake during the holidays. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad that your daughter can enjoy it and that you’ll make it over the holidays!

  9. Hello I have used a couple of your recipes before and I love them. Your site is awesome as its very easy to find recipes and your photos are beautiful. I am very excited to try some of you vegan ones now especially this Vegan Pumpkin Cake, I am just wondering though if you have tried using any other types of sugars in your recipes such as coconut, stevia or agave in replace of the white and brown? Thank you.

  10. Best vegan pumpkin cake I’ve tried so far! Definitely a keeper. Turned out just like the pictures. Amazingly spongy and moist! I just forgot to add walnuts. And vegans, don’t feel down about missing out on the Pumpkin Latte Creamer, I used almond milk and added a little pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, and spices and it was to die for! Plus there’s all the spice sprinkled on top. Mmmmmmmm….you must try!

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And it’s the best vegan pumpkin cake you’ve had!