Vegan pumpkin cake with maple pecans and cinnamon buttercream – this easy to make, fluffy, moist and perfectly spiced cake is perfect for Autumn; you would never guess that it’s vegan!
I’m excited about this recipe; pumpkin cake is one of my absolute favourites and is one that I have been eager to veganise. Happily it worked out perfectly, the cake is fluffy, moist, wonderfully spiced and absolutely addictive!
This vegan pumpkin cake is a perfect cake for Autumn. It is full of warming spices and seasonal pumpkin, and the maple pecans really turn it into something incredibly special.
They are really easy to make but taste amazing, and the contrast between the crunchy, slightly salty nuts and the soft cake is so, so good!
The cake is made with tinned pumpkin puree, which is a common, everyday ingredient in the US, but can be tricky (and expensive) to find in the UK. I get it from Sainsbury’s (in the American section of the foreign foods aisle), but it can also be found in some Tesco’s, Waitrose and on Ocado and Amazon.
If you can’t find it however it is also really easy to make your own; you just need to roast and puree a pumpkin or butternut squash – here’s a helpful guide on how to make pumpkin puree.
Making this cake is a simple matter of whisking together pumpkin puree, sunflower oil, sugar (brown for flavour!), almond milk and vinegar, then folding it in to sifted flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.
I like to add the spices individually so that I can balance the flavour to suit me, but you can just use mixed spice/pumpkin spice instead if you prefer; about 2 1/2 to 3 tsp should do it, depending on how spicy you want the cake to be.
The cake is iced with a fluffy cinnamon buttercream; I find that vegan buttercream is best is it is made using half vegan spread (the solid kind in a stick rather than the spreadable kind in a tub is best – I use Stork), and half vegetable shortening (such as Trex). This helps to stop it from splitting.
I’ve kept the quantity of cinnamon variable – just add it to taste; I like to keep it mild so that it doesn’t overpower the cake.
More Pumpkin Recipes:
Vegan sweet potato bread with pecan streusel (ok, so not technically pumpkin but pretty close!)
Can I make it in advance?
The cakes can be baked a couple of days in advance, wrapped well and stored at room temperature. They can also be frozen (well wrapped) for up to a couple of months.
The pecans can be prepared up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container (once completely cool).
The buttercream can be prepared up to two days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Re-whip once you are ready to use it.
The assembled cake will keep for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature.
The cakes can either be baked in three 15cm/6in tins (as pictured), or in two 20cm/8in ones.
Vegan Pumpkin Cake Recipe:
Vegan Pumpkin Cake With Maple Pecans & Cinnamon Buttercream
Vegan Pumpkin Cakes:
- 320 g (1 1/3 cups) pumpkin puree
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) sunflower oil
- 90 ml (6 Tbsp) unsweetened almond milk (or other plant milk)
- 135 g (3/4 cup) light brown soft sugar
- 100 g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 280 g (2 1/3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 200 g (2 cups) pecans
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp demarera/coconut sugar
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 90 g (6 Tbsp) vegan butter (I use Stork)
- 90 g (6 Tbsp) vegetable shortening (such as Trex)
- 360 g (3 1/2 cups) icing (powdered) sugar sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 - 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Vegan Pumpkin Cakes:
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease and line three 15cm/6in round cake tins (or two 20cm/8in ones).
In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, milk, sugars and vinegar.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry (or tip the dry into the wet, it doesn't matter which way round) and fold gently until well combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter however.
Divide the batter between the prepared tins and spread level. Bake for around 25-30 minutes until well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 15 minutes then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Turn the oven down to 160C/320F/gas mark 3. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
In a bowl, toss together the pecans, cinnamon, salt, sugar and maple syrup. Make sure that the pecans are well coated.
Spread the pecans out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven, give them a good stir and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, until they feel dry to the touch.
Leave to cool on the tray then transfer to an airtight container.
Place the vegan spread and vegetable shortening in a large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until very smooth.
Add the sifted icing sugar and the vanilla extract. Mix on a low speed until combined then turn the mixer up to a high speed and whisk for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy.
Whisk in the ground cinnamon to taste.
Trim the tops of the cooled cakes to level them. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving platter and spread over some of the buttercream.
Place another layer on top and spread with more buttercream. Place the final layer on top upside down (to give a perfectly flat and crumb free surface).
Spread buttercream over the top and sides of the cake, using a bench scraper to get it as smooth as you can. If you are struggling to get it smooth; place the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up then try again.
Place the remaining buttercream in a piping bag fitted with an open star nozzle and pipe blobs around the edge of the cake.
Stick a ring of pecans around the bottom of the cake.
Roughly chop a couple of handfuls of the pecans and scatter them over the top of the cake inside the ring of buttercream.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a couple of days.
The cakes can be baked in either three 15cm/6in tins (as shown in the images), or in two 20cm/8in ones.