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Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake

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This vegan pumpkin spice cake features two layers of moist, dairy-free pumpkin cake sandwiching a generous helping of date caramel sauce, and topped off with a fluffy and tangy cashew “cream cheese” frosting. This is autumn in cake form!

A vegan pumpkin spice cake sat on a white table with a shiplap background. White flowers in a vase and linens around the cake stand.

Once again cake proved my nemesis this month! Despite my love for them, I really do struggle to develop cake recipes from scratch. I almost always do something wrong. And most of the time I have NO IDEA what I did, so each failure is followed up by a lot of Googling.

However, I am pleased to say that this Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake with cashew cream cheese frosting only took me four attempts, rather than the usual six or seven! Hooray!

Cutting a slice of vegan cake with cashew cream cheese frosting away on a white cake stand.

How to make vegan pumpkin spice cake from scratch

Making a pumpkin spice cake from scratch is super simple. Don’t be tempted by the boxed versions you see in stores. I know they seem easier, but they’re also full of bleached flour, refined sugars, and unpronounceable additives and stabilisers. You don’t need all that in your life!

To make the cake:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients
  2. Mix together the wet ingredients
  3. Fold the dry into the wet.
  4. Divide, tap, bake!

The main specialty ingredient you’ll need for this Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake is a tin of pure pumpkin purée – not pumpkin pie filling. Not too hard to find if you’re in North America, but you will probably have to order it online if you live in the UK. I had to get mine from Ocado.

Other than that, you’ll need coconut sugar to sweeten, pumpkin pie spice for flavour, and your favourite neutral vegetable oil. I use cold-pressed rapeseed oil because it’s unrefined and has the lowest saturated fat content.

Side shot of a naked refined sugar free cake with white frosting, and nuts and seeds for decoration.

Cashew cream cheese frosting

I’ve only used cashew cream cheese frosting once before in my Gingerbread Cake recipe last Christmas, but I thought it would pair perfectly with this Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake too! The slight tang goes brilliantly with the warm spices and moist cake layers. You’ll love it!

The only issue I have with vegan baking is that it often does require a bit of expensive kit. You can’t make this frosting without a blender, and it would help to have a high-powered one. I bought this blender/food-processor combo when I first moved to the UK a few years ago. It works well for this recipe, but you have to blend and scrape for a good while to ensure a smooth frosting.

Soaking your nuts before hand is also a must. I find it works best to use boiling water instead of soaking overnight, because a) it’s faster and b) I really think the hot water makes the nuts softer. But feel free to soak the nuts overnight if you prefer!

On the plus side, once you’re finished soaking your nuts, the rest is easy! Simply add everything to your blender and whizz it up.

To make the cashew cream cheese frosting fluffy like buttercream, I decided to freeze the frosting a bit and then whip it. The coconut oil in the frosting helps it solidify and then we can whip the air into it using a hand mixer. It turned out so lovely that I think I’ll try this method again for a non-vegan cream cheese frosting!

Top down shot of three plates of refined sugar free cake with pepitas scattered around on a grey background.

Vegan date caramel

The final piece of this Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake deliciousness is the date caramel filling. While this is a completely optional step, I really do think the caramel adds a little something-something to take the cake over the top!

All you’ll need for this vegan date caramel is:

  • Medjool dates
  • Non-dairy butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sea salt

This isn’t your regular ol’ date caramel. I actually don’t like date caramel all that much. But when you add a little non-dairy butter, a splash of vanilla, and a bit of sea salt? Yeah, I’ll eat this by the spoon! The butter lifts the flavour of the dates and makes the caramel creamy and super smooth – very similar to a dulce de leche.

A vegan cake recipe featuring moist layers of pumpkin spice cake, a thick helping of date caramel sauce, and a fluffy dairy-free cashew frosting. Perfect for autumn baking! Get the recipe at naturallysweetkitchen.com. #vegan #baking #cake #pumpkinspice #dairyfree #refinedsugarfree

Whether you’re vegan or not, you are going to LOVE this cake. The cake layers are perfectly spiced, moist from the pumpkin and oil, and slightly caramelly from the coconut sugar. Together with the caramel and cashew cream cheese frosting, it makes the perfect autumn cake!

Looking for more refined sugar free vegan desserts?

Pumpkin Pie Protein Truffles
Gingerbread Cake
Frozen Margarita Tart
Cookie Dough Protein Truffles

If you make this recipe, let me know by snapping a picture and tagging me on Instagram @naturallysweet_kitchen. I love seeing your creations and sharing them in my Stories. Or let me know you love this Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake by leaving a comment and rating below!

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake

Layers of moist vegan pumpkin spice cake sandwich a generous helping of date caramel sauce, topped off with a fluffy and tangy cashew “cream cheese” frosting.

Category Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword vegan pumpkin spice cake
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Author Amanda | Naturally Sweet Kitchen

Ingredients

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake

  • 280 g unbleached cake flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (see notes)
  • 320 g pumpkin purée
  • 300 g coconut sugar
  • 120 ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • 6 tbsp dairy-free milk room temperature
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cashew “Cream Cheese” Frosting

  • 250 g raw cashews
  • 6 tbsp dairy-free milk
  • 60 ml coconut oil melted
  • 60 ml pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

Vegan Date Caramel

  • 6 Medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free butter melted and cooled
  • 3 tbsp water from soaking the dates
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

Method

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and grease, line, and flour two 20cm (8 inch) round tins.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the pumpkin purée and coconut sugar until well combined. Add the oil, milk, vinegar, and vanilla and mix everything together on a medium-low speed.
  4. Sift in half of the dry ingredients and stir on a low speed just until the flour disappears. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and mix until all the lumps are gone. The batter will be quite thick.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared tins, then tap them on the counter to remove any excess air and to distribute the batter.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Cashew “Cream Cheese” Frosting

  1. Tip the cashews into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to soak for 1 hour to soften. Drain.

  2. Add the cashews to a high-speed blender along with the milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, vinegar, vanilla, and salt.

  3. Blend until very smooth. You may have to stop the blender a few times and scrape the sides and stir a bit. This mixture will be very thick.
  4. Once the mixture is completely smooth, decant it into a freezer-safe bowl and freeze for 1 hour.
  5. Remove the bowl from the freezer and whip the frosting for 5-6 minutes with a hand mixer on high speed to fluff it up. The texture should resemble a fluffy buttercream.
  6. Keep the frosting refrigerated until use. If it becomes too stiff to frost with, leave it out at room temperature for 10 minutes and whip it once again until it reaches spreadable consistency.

Vegan Date Caramel

  1. Tip the dates into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to soak for 1 hour to soften.
  2. Drain and pit the dates, reserving the soaking water.
  3. Add the pitted dates, non-dairy butter, 3 tablespoons of the date water, salt, and vanilla to a food processor. Blend until completely smooth. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the mixer a few times.
  4. Decant the caramel into a bowl and set aside for assembly.

Assembly

  1. To make the naked cake, place one layer of cake onto a cake stand and add half of the frosting on top. Smooth the frosting out to the edges of the cake.
  2. Spread the date caramel on top of the frosting, keeping a ½ inch border of naked frosting around the edge.
  3. Place the second layer of cake on top and add the remaining frosting to the top of the cake. Smooth the frosting out to the edges.
  4. Decorate with pumpkin seeds, pecans, and extra vegan caramel sauce if desired.

Notes

  • Get my recipe for pumpkin pie spice here.
  • This cake is best served the day it is assembled. If made in advance, keep it refrigerated to ensure the frosting doesn’t become too soft.
  • The pumpkin cake layers can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept wrapped in the refrigerator until use.
  • The frosting and date caramel can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept sealed in a container in the refrigerator until use.
  • Keep any leftover cake sealed in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh up to 2 days.

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