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Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake (Oil-free!)



INGREDIENTS:

  1. One cup + two tablespoons (144g) of superfine oat flour.

  2. Six tablespoons (48g) of cornstarch.

  3. One tablespoon of baking powder.

  4. Two teaspoons pumpkin spice.

  5. Scant 3/4 teaspoon fine ground sea salt

  6. 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (135g) canned lite coconut milk (See notes!). Shake well. 

  7. 1/2 cup + one tablespoon (180g) of pure maple syrup.

  8. Two tablespoons (40g) of regular molasses, not blackstrap.

  9. 1/2 cup (120g) of pumpkin puree.

  • Optional: Vegan vanilla buttercream frosting, freshly ground nutmeg, and cinnamon (only do a half recipe).

  • Oat flour: This flour makes this cake gluten-free, and what makes this cake so soft? A fine ground Oat flour so that the cake is nice, fluffy, and not dense. I use Bob's Red Mill gluten-free oat flour.

  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch works with the oat flour to make the cake fluffy. Using all oat flour results in a very dense cake, and nobody wants that. The cornstarch replaces the eggs and gluten and works beautifully here.

  • Baking powder

  • Pure maple syrup: This keeps the cake refined and sugar-free.

  • Pumpkin or Squash

  • Pumpkin spices: I use my homemade pumpkin spice blend, but I have also provided a short throw-together blend on the recipe card below if you still need to get a batch of my blend made up.

  • Lite coconut milk: This is the ONLY fat in this cake, so since the cake is oil-free, this milk is very crucial to the moisture and texture being light and fluffy. You do not want to use low-fat or thin milk like almond, cashew, rice, or soy. This cake is made with oat flour, which can be dense and chewy, so using soy milk, which is high in protein, would make this cake excessively chewy. If you are allergic to coconut, try homemade cashew milk instead, as store-bought cashew milk is filled with fillers and will NOT yield the same results. To make homemade cashew milk, look out for my recipe. Please note I have not trialed this personally, but I suspect it will work very well, similar to the coconut milk. FYI, you do NOT taste any coconut milk in the cake. That is why I use the canned lite milk, as it's creamy but doesn't taste like coconut in the finished product as full-fat would. I use the Sprouts brand "lite coconut milk," another brand that works well is the Thai Kitchen Lite. Please do not use the Polar brand; it is fillers and tiny actual coconut and will ruin the texture of the cake.

  • Molasses: This is another magical ingredient in this cake for depth of flavor and moisture. I use regular molasses, not blackstrap, as regular is sweeter and milder in flavor. You can find regular molasses at most grocery stores. You do not want to use the blackstrap, as it's very bitter and much darker.


STEP BY STEP:

Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk well.

Step 2: Mix the wet ingredients until smooth in a separate medium bowl.

Step 3: Pour over the dry ingredients and whisk gently until smooth and combined. Do not overmix - It should be smooth and pourable.

Step 4: Pour the batter into an 8×8 baking dish (I used stone) + nonstick spray.

Step 5: Bake at 400° for 23 minutes or until a toothpick is clean from the center. A few dry crumbs are okay, but there should be no batter. Cool 1 hour before frosting (if using) or decorating with powdered sugar/spices. Slice and serve.

PS: Gluten-free cakes need to be cooled so that they finish cooking, or they can have an unbaked texture if sliced too early.

  • I always recommend using a scale for accuracy when baking. It improves your chance for success and lessons room for error. Use the scale and bowl to hit zero before adding each ingredient. 


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Yes, this cake bakes at 400°F instead of the traditional 350°F. It makes a difference!

  2. Lightly spray an 8x8 baking dish (I used stone) with nonstick spray. The cake releases easily and beautifully this way. Otherwise, the cake will stick without it.

  3. Add the oat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, pumpkin spice, and salt to a large bowl. Whisk well.

  4. Combine the milk, syrup, molasses, and pumpkin in a separate medium bowl until completely smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients and whisk gently just until smooth and combined. Refrain from over-mixing. Oat-based batters can cause dense results if they are over-mixed. 

  5. Pour the batter into the dish and shake it from side to side to even out the top.

  6. Bake for 23 minutes or until a toothpick is clean from the center. Each cake I tested was perfect at this time. A few dry crumbs are okay, but no wet batter should exist. 

  7. Cool 1 hour before frosting (if using) or decorating with powdered sugar/spices. Slice and serve. Gluten-free cakes need to be cooled so that they finish cooking, or they can have an unbaked texture if sliced too early. So be patient!

  8. To decorate the cake to make it extra fancy, I topped it with my vegan vanilla buttercream frosting, freshly grated nutmeg, and freshly ground cinnamon! But if you want to skip the frosting, a good dusting of powdered sugar, fresh nutmeg, and cinnamon is still just as delicious! Or you could add my simple cream cheese glaze! Store this cake at room temperature and seal it well to stay moist. It keeps well for up to 3 days.

PS: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost.

XOXO

Gabriela Dias

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