Grain-Free Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon-Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Serves: 8-12
  • 2 cups fine blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
  • ½ cup cassava flour, arrowroot powder, or tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder (look for grain-free baking powder if necessary)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon*
  • ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ cup melted unrefined virgin coconut oil or olive oil + more for greasing the pan
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) or half a 15-ounce can
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup or honey
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional add ins: currants, raisins or diced dates, chopped pecans
  • Frosting:
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature (dairy or dairy-free such as Kite Hill)
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (omit for a basic frosting)
  • Candied Pumpkin Seeds:
  • Unrefined coconut oil or unsalted butter for greasing
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ cup hulled pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch or 9-inch cake pan, preferably a springform pan. Line the bottom with a piece of unbleached parchment paper, if desired.
  2. Place all cake ingredients, except optional add-ins, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the standard metal blade or in a blender. Process until well combined and smooth. Or do this with an electric mixer.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
  4. Bake in the middle of the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Baking time will depend on your oven as well as the size pan you use. Cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan, remove the cake and cool on a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting. Cake can be made several days ahead and kept in the refrigerator, well-wrapped. Bring to room temp before serving.
  5. Prepare the frosting: beat together cream cheese, syrup and cinnamon until smooth. If using dairy cream cheese, it is helpful to use an electric mixer. You can use a whisk for dairy-free cream cheese. Frosting can be made a few days ahead and kept refrigerated.
  6. Prepare the candied pumpkin seeds: Preheat oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and lightly grease the paper.
  7. In a small saucepan, whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar and salt over medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook until mixture is foamy, about 2 minutes. Stir in pumpkin seeds and toss to coat. Quickly spread out mixture on prepared parchment. Bake for 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. (Check early if your oven runs hot.) Remove from the oven to cool at room temperature where they will harden. Candied seeds can be prepared several days in advance.
*Or use 2 ½ teaspoons of your favorite pumpkin pie spice instead of all four individual spices.
Recipe by Pamela Salzman at