Pumpkin Cake with Ginger Buttercream Frosting

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Cakes, Desserts, Fall, Holiday, Seasonal, Thanksgiving | 0 comments

… No Halloween Tricks from this Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake Recipe … Just a Treat!

Pumpkin Cake with Ginger Buttercream Frosting

This cake bakes up moist and flavorful with no surprises. The texture is similar to a muffin, tender and light, but not so airy that it becomes difficult to frost. I love how the ginger in the buttercream frosting pairs so well with the pumpkin. Usually I find most of my autumn flavors in pumpkin pie and pumpkin butter. But this year I’ve branched out and have discovered (maybe you’ve already known this) that getting those great seasonal pumpkin flavors is not that difficult in cake, muffins, or even bars. I’m having so much fun experimenting with pumpkin.

I love cream cheese frosting with pumpkin cake, but wanted to do something different this time and avoid the soy that comes in dairy-free cream cheese. I decided to make this buttercream frosting and use carrot juice as the liquid. Wow, did it add a vibrant yellow color! If you want to do a white buttercream frosting, you can use coconut milk instead. If you like the bright color, know that there’s no carrot flavor in this recipe, just it’s bold, beautiful natural food coloring comes through.

If you’re not familiar with using pumpkin in a variety of ways, I hope you join me in my pumpkin explorations.


Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pumpkin Cake with Ginger Buttercream Frosting


No Shellfish BugNo Fish BugNo Peanut BugNo Soy BugNo Dairy BugNo Gluten BugPrep time: 10 minutes

Baking time: 19-23 minutes, ovens vary

Oven temp: 350ºF

Makes: Triple layer cake equal to a standard double layer cake


Ingredients for Pumpkin Cake:

2 cups + 1 1/2 Tablespoons (250g) gluten-free all-purpose flour – I use Authentic Foods Bette’s Gourmet Four Flour Blend

1 1/2 teaspoons guar gum (or xanthan gum), omit if your flour already contains xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon homemade pumpkin pie spiceMcCormick’s spices are also gluten free

1/3 cup grapeseed oil or cooking oil

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract, can be substituted with vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature preferred

1 1/3 cups canned pure pumpkin – Libby’s is gluten free and works consistently well


Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Ginger Buttercream Frosting:

6 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup dairy-free margarine – I use Earth Balance Naturally Buttery Spread – soy free

5-6 Tablespoons carrot juice or coconut milk – such as So Delicious Unsweetened

3-4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger


Directions for cake:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare pans (you’ll need 3 8-inch cake pans for triple layer or 2 9-inch for double layer cake) by spraying with cooking spray or lightly oiling. Place parchment paper (cut out circles to fit just the bottom of the pan) in pans. Set aside.

Combine flour, guar gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Stir well and set aside.

Beat together oil, sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed with electric mixer or in a stand mixer. Mixture will be grainy.

Add almond or vanilla extract and eggs. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.

Add pumpkin and beat on low until smooth.

Sprinkle in the flour mixture, slowly, then mix on medium speed until well combined and there are no lumps.

Pour batter into prepared pans, making sure they have equal amounts. I like to use my scale for this.

Bake at 350ºF for 19-23 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Center of cake top should spring back when pressed lightly.

Cool pans on cooling racks for about 10 minutes, then remove cakes from pans and continue cooling on racks.


Directions for Ginger Buttercream Frosting:

Combine all frosting ingredients in a high-sided bowl. Beat with electric mixer (on low speed) until all ingredients are moist, then turn to high and beat until frosting is smooth. It will be thick and grainy in the beginning, but will smooth out as you continue beating. If texture needs adjusting for easy spreadability, do so accordingly by adding either a bit of powdered sugar (to stiffen frosting) or a bit of liquid (to soften). Always adjust in small amounts.

To frost cake, trim cake layers to make them flat, if necessary. Place a dollop of frosting on center of cake plate, then place one layer on plate. The frosting holds the cake in place. Add some frosting to the layer and smooth out to the edges of the cake. Repeat with next layer. Add top layer for cake. If the cake wants to shift, cut three skewers the appropriate length (just shorter than the height of the cake) and insert into the cake top to bottom to keep layers from slipping. Frost around the side of cake and make smooth. Frost top of cake last. Set aside to allow frosting to firm up and set a bit. Serve.

 Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™

Other recipes you might enjoy:

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

Chunky Apple Butternut Squash Pie

Gingered Orange Cranberry Relish with Bitters

Sweet Potato Yam Biscuits

Apricot Sweet Potato Bars

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