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Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting – This fluffy, perfectly-spiced pumpkin cake is what fall dreams are made of. It’s the best pumpkin cake I’ve ever tasted! (Gluten Free, Paleo-Friendly)

Slices of Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting on a white background

It wouldn’t be fall at my house without a new pumpkin recipe and this one is my current favorite. (At least until tomorrow, when I share another favorite…and the day after that when I share another favorite….)

We’re talking about GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN CAKE!

Fluffy pumpkin cake laced with the perfect blend of warm spices and topped with a dreamy cinnamon frosting you’ll have daydreams about. It’s THE BEST pumpkin cake I’ve ever had (with or without gluten).

Milo (6) already wants it for his birthday in January.

It’s the real deal–the perfect fall treat or non-pie addition to Thanksgiving!

Here’s what makes it so amazing…

A white pan of Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting from One Lovely Life Slices of Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting on a white background

WHAT MAKES THIS GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN CAKE AMAZING:

THE WARM SPICE BLEND. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom along with a kiss of vanilla is just what fall dreams are made of.

THE FLUFFY TEXTURE. The cake is almost impossibly light and fluffy. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had a better pumpkin cake. The combination of pumpkin with almond flour and arrowroot means you get a moist, fluffy pumpkin cake.

THE CINNAMON FROSTING. This light cinnamon frosting is so dreamy you’ll be thinking about it long after your last bite. It feels like the perfect way to top this gluten free pumpkin cake. (If you’re paleo or need a naturally sweetened option, see the FAQ for some suggestions!)

IT’S PALEO FRIENDLY. The cake itself is just a quick swap away from being 100% paleo, and I’ve got a few paleo frosting options below you’ll love if you need a refined sugar free option.

Close up view of Cinnamon Frosting with text overlay that reads "The Best Cinnamon Frosting"
Spreading cinnamon frosting on a gluten free pumpkin cake from One Lovely Life

THE BEST WAY TO TOP THIS GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN CAKE? DREAMY CINNAMON FROSTING.

You know I love a good naturally sweetened frosting or glaze (see this amazing chocolate frosting, for instance). BUT. I really wanted a good, old-fashioned cinnamon frosting like the kind my grandma used to make. This is it. It’s just a few ingredients, but whipped together (a hand mixer makes it so easy!), they become light, soft, and the perfect combination of sweetness and spices.

  • Organic Powdered Sugar (Again, see the FAQ for a naturally sweetened option!)
  • A little butter or vegan butter
  • A drizzle of milk (I use almond–use whatever you drink!)
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • A *tiny* pinch of salt (optional–but does great things for balancing the flavor!)

A QUICK TIP FOR YOUR FROSTING: I like to look for powdered sugar that ONLY contains sugar (Safeway’s organic store brand has a good one!) for the best taste, but otherwise, I look for organic powdered sugar as I find there’s often less of the starch (cornstarch, arrowroot, tapioca starch) in it than in some of the less expensive brands. Less starch = better taste! Similarly, the better quality vanilla, the better the frosting. 

Fork taking a bite out of Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting
Fork lifting up a bite of Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting

FAQ + TIPS & TRICKS FOR THIS GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN CAKE:

HOW TO MAKE IT PALEO. If you’re strictly paleo, you’ll want to use paleo-approved baking powder (or an additional 1/8 tsp. Baking soda + 1/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar. The rest of the cake is 100% paleo approved! As for the frosting, here’s what I recommend…

NATURALLY SWEETENED FROSTING OPTIONS. If you’re paleo, avoiding refined sugars, or simply want a different frosting option, you might like one of these:

CAN I SUBSTITUTE THE ALMOND FLOUR FOR SOMETHING ELSE? Not if you want the same result. I tested it with gluten free 1:1 flour, and even when I played with the amounts, the cake was dense and more dry. Also, you absolutely CANNOT substitute coconut flour for the almond flour. Coconut flour absorbs several times its own volume in liquid, so unless you adjust the amounts of flour and/or wet ingredients, it will not work. Swapping coconut flour 1:1 will give you a dry, crumbly, crusty cake. No bueno.

CAN I MAKE IT VEGAN? I haven’t tried this without eggs, but I’d LOVE to know how it goes if you try it with flax eggs, additional pumpkin, or a powdered egg replacer!

HOW TO STORE YOUR GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN CAKE. We keep ours covered in the refrigerator, and it’ll last 3-4 days in the fridge. You can also freeze it for about 1 month in a freezer-safe bag.

A slice of Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting on a white plate with a glass of almond milk in the background

LOVE THIS PUMPKIN CAKE? YOU MIGHT ALSO LOVE:

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Slice of Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting from One Lovely Life

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting


  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 40 minutes hands-on
  • Yield: 1 (8×8) cake (16 slices) 1x

Description

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting – This fluffy, perfectly-spiced pumpkin cake is what fall dreams are made of. It’s the best pumpkin cake I’ve ever tasted! (Paleo-Friendly) 


Ingredients

Scale

FOR THE GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN CAKE: 

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot or cornstarch

FOR THE CINNAMON FROSTING:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, vegan butter, or ghee (softened)
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 12 Tbsp. milk (I use almond milk–use whatever you drink)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/41/2 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch salt (optional)

Instructions

FOR THE GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN CAKE:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8″ or 9×9″ square pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, maple syrup, avocado oil, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Sprinkle over almond flour, arrowroot, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and smooth the surface with a spatula.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs.
  6. Allow cake to cool completely before adding frosting.

FOR CINNAMON FROSTING: 

  1. Add powdered sugar, softened butter, syrup, 1 Tbsp. milk, cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Whip with a hand mixer until completely smooth, adding more milk as needed. (Add milk about 1 tsp. at a time. so you don’t thin it out too much.)
  3. If your frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick to be smooth and spreadable, add milk 1 tsp. at a time.
  4. Spread frosting over cooled cake. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

NUTRITION FACTS = CAKE ONLY (since I know many of you will want to make it with a naturally sweetened frosting.)

CINNAMON FROSTING NUTRITION FACTS. If you’re adding the cinnamon frosting, you’ll add approximately 93 cal + 1.5g fat + 0g protein + 20.5g carbs + 20.2g sugar + 147mg sodium per serving

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Dessert, Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: gluten free pumpkin cake, pumpkin cake with cinnamon frosting, cinnamon frosting, gluten free pumpkin cake with cinnamon frosting, gluten free pumpkin cake with cinnamon icing, pumpkin cake with cinnamon icing, cinnamon icing, paleo pumpkin cake, paleo friendly pumpkin cake

26 Comments

  1. Made this cinnamon icing with another paleo pumpkin cake recipe! Made it with earth balance vegan butter. Best icing ever for the fall. My husband has already requested it for his birthday cake next month.

  2. This was a hit at my Thanksgiving table! My family couldn’t believe it was gluten free and dairy free. I used 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice instead of nutmeg and cardamom and I loved the taste. I also used a round pan instead of square. Still came out tasty!

  3. This sounds delicious! I cannot have almond flour due to nut allergies. Can I use different flour with the same results?

    1. I’m so sorry, I don’t think so. I tried it with gluten free 1:1 flour and it was more dry and wasn’t tender. I don’t recommend flour substitutions for this recipe, but if you can tolerate regular white flour, you might like this recipe from our pre-gluten-free days!

  4. Hi! I am trying to make this cake for my daughters first birthday in November! Do you think it would be possible to use 3 bananas and only 3 Tablespoons of maple syrup and then do away with the avocado oil? Thank you!

    1. Angelica – You might prefer to make my Almond Flour Banana Cake instead! (It doesn’t use oil, has 3 bananas, and has only 3 Tbsp. of syrup.) You could certainly add the spices from the pumpkin cake recipe to the banana cake recipe if you want those flavors.

  5. This is absolutely AMAZING :)! I am recently dairy free and gluten free and I’ve been craving a good fall dessert. This is perfect! I made a double recipe and am planning to freeze some, to enjoy whenever I’m craving pumpkin. I’m so glad I found your website… SO many delicious recipes. Thank you!!

    1. Hi! You can definitely substitute it. I recommend a neutral-tasting oil, like grapeseed, sunflower, canola, etc. (rather than coconut, which adds coconut flavor), or you can use melted butter or vegan butter, depending on your dietary needs.

    1. Emily – You might be able to get away with it, but it will definitely impact the texture. Almond flour runs moist as it is, so applesauce might make it a bit more spongy and dense. If you don’t mind that, you’re probably ok to try! 🙂

  6. Hi! Would i be able to make cupcakes with this recipe? and can I use gluten free baking flour instead of almond flour?

    1. Hi! I haven’t made this one as cupcakes yet, but you could certainly give it a try. I wouldn’t recommend using gluten-free flour instead of almond flour because it yields a much drier, denser cake. I’d stick with almond flour for the best results! 🙂

  7. I made this for my bf’s 40th b-day. He loved it! My only concern is that it tastes more like a spice cake than a Pumpkin cake. How would I be able to incorporate more pumpkin flavor? 🤔 Also, I would like to add walnuts but not sure how much. Any recommendations would help. Thank you!

    1. Veronica – You could certainly reduce the spices if you want the pumpkin flavor to shine through more. And I think you could easily fold in some walnuts. I think 1/2-3/4 cup would be plenty!

  8. This cake is fantastic! My husband can’t believe how much it is like ‘real’ cake (aka cake with wheat flour.) This is a keeper!

  9. I always try to bake something for my daughter in law when we are all having a special dessert. She can’t have dairy or gluten and tries to use little sugar. This filled the bill as a replacement for pumpkin pie for her and she loved it. I made half a batch in a bread loaf pan and it worked great. For the frosting I just used the tum margarine that she uses and needed no milk.I saw some others snitching on it as well with positive comments! Thanks for the great recipe!

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