Pumpkin Cake with Maple Icing: Gluten-Free and Mostly Vegan

by Maggie on October 6, 2009

The Gluten-Free Goddess, Karina Allrich, is my latest obsession!!!  If you haven’t checked out her blog, please do.  Her recipes are amazing and her writing is somehow as comforting as her baked goods! 

So Saturday night Pete asked if we could bake the rest of the Quinoa Brownies
Sunday morning.  I could totally relate to this request; they were so amazing and he simply wanted MORE!  But I wanted to bake something new.  I’m on this mission to learn more, and share my knowledge with my beloved fans (haha).  So I presented some options, and Karina’s Pumpkin Cake won.

I really changed things up with this recipe, as I wanted to make it a healthy cake.  I feel no-guilt when I eat healthy treats and I wanted Sunday morning to start guilt-free.  I’ve included the link to Karina’s recipe and here’s what I did.  I hope you’ll try it in honour of Fall and Thanksgiving and all things orange and rusty red…  Here’s Karina’s recipe

My recipe combined with Karina’s instructions:

3 teaspoons egg replacer mixed in 6 tbsp of water (mix until fully dissolved)

1 ½ cups sucanat

¼ cup of agave

¼   cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 ¾ cups cooked pumpkin (don’t think I cooked a pumpkin, I bought a can!)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups gluten-free flour mix (I used Bob’s but Karina has a mix-your-own)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 pan.
NOTE: This recipe is enough for a 10 x 13 pan but I only use half of the batter and freeze the rest for another day.

Mix the egg replacer in a large mixing bowl till light and frothy; add the sucanat and the agave, beat till smooth; add the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla; beat to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (the GF flour mix through sea salt). Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture a little at a time and beat to combine- for two minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until the cake is firm and a wooden pick inserted into the center emerges clean.  My mom bought me a cake tester a few years ago and I’m finally using it!!!   Thanks mom!

Cool on a wire rack while you make your frosting.


I wanted to add less sugar so I used the agave.  When adding agave, because it is a liquid, you have to lower the amount of liquid added elsewhere.  I used ¼ cup less olive oil.

Icing Sugar-Free Icing!

(I halved Karina’s recipe since I froze half of the cake batter)

I was most excited about this part as I always cringe when I’m making icing.  Icing sugar just makes me shiver.  It’s so so so so refined.  This icing was a HIT!  Even Callum liked it and boy is he an icing man (runs in the family).

4 oz. softened cream cheese

¼ cup vegan margarine

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Beat until the cream cheese and margarine until fluffy. Add 3 tablespoons of the maple syrup.  This icing isn’t very thick (obviously) and next time I think I would double it so it covers the cake better.  Yay!! I have a new icing recipe.  Damn you icing sugar.

When the cake is cool, frost with the Maple Cream Cheese Icing. My pictures didn’t exactly turn out as I had hoped! Karina’s are much prettier. However, I did apply some of my learning from the Calphalon Center!! Instead of slicing into squares, I sliced into triangles and dolloped the icing on. Much prettier presentation, non?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Karina October 6, 2009 at 8:03 pm

I’m so glad you liked the cake recipe! Hope to see some photos soon. Take care, Karina


sandy October 7, 2009 at 10:20 am

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!!! I loved this cake…the moistness, the pumpkin flavour and of course the yummy icing!!!! Don’t tell your dad that I ate his share!!!!


Annie October 12, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Looks so good Maggie. I actually made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with cream cheese icing for thanksgiving. They were not even close to gluten free and although they were scrumptious and went over well with the fam they succeeded in giving me a terribly sore belly almost immediately. Next time I get a craving for baked goods I’ll be sure to try out one of your recipes.

P.S. Look who’s using the internet after all?!? haha


Christa October 13, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I feel the same way about icing sugar Maggie, scary stuff. thanks for the alternatives in this one… I made Karina’s impossible pumpkin pie for thanksgiving which left me wondering about your thoughts on buckwheat – she really likes it but I find it has such a distinct flavour and makes everything so dark. Is there a trick to it or a lighter version or is it just an acquired taste?


MaggieSavage October 13, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Definitely an acquired taste there. Soooo dark. I would try substituting next time? Play around. Maybe amaranth. She uses it to get that crust taste, the wheat-y taste. So I think a sub would be fine. Really, who ever liked buckwheat pancakes anyway. High in protein, so…good for you. What about quinoa flour? Did everyone like it? Did they know it was GF or vegan? Or since it comes from you, was it too obvious 🙂 I hate that part about bringing dessert. I think some people go into it thinking, “Oh this won’t taste good.” But it’s fun when they’re so surprised! Try my rolls. Easily replace the eggs and definitely try them savory. So fast. Hey, what chocolate do you use when baking?


Gerri Eisenberg November 28, 2009 at 7:35 pm

This was the absolute biggest hit at the Thanksgiving goody table. It matched up against many gluten brownie and other recipes of all kinds and won as a “hands down ” favorite. It is now in my baking repetoire.


MaggieSavage November 29, 2009 at 9:00 am

Oh that is such good news!! Thanks for commenting and sharing your success. I love it when a healthy (and gluten-free) dessert makes everyone happy. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Maia September 21, 2013 at 10:17 am

I never got around to making the icing, so I’ve been enjoying this heated, with a little vegan marg and a splash of maple syrup. Reminds me of those dark syrupy British desserts. So delicious.


Maggie September 22, 2013 at 8:32 am

I love this Maia – those British desserts totally rock! Toffee pudding and the like. Mmmmm. Thanks for sharing your dreamy ideas.


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