Maple Pumpkin Spice Cake

Vegan, gluten-free


Recently, one of my best friends asked me to make her a dessert for thanksgiving. But there was a catch, her little daughter is allergic to eggs. Since I adore that little lady, I wanted to make something that the whole family would love, but that would be safe for that little lady to eat.  

Bye-bye Butter

Butter is usually the starting point for cakes and, well, pretty much all baked goods. But butter is not always better. The moisture in butter can evaporate if baked for too long, meaning you end up with a dry cake. Not good. However, oil sticks around longer, providing more moisture to a cake and a more tender crumb. 

When it comes to replacing the butter in this recipe, it was pretty easy to swap the butter for oil. I tend to use olive oil in my veggie cakes, but you can use walnut or avocado oil. These oils all have a pretty neutral flavor, but I do love the slightly fruity flavor that olive oil brings to this cake. 

Not so egg-cellent

Replacing eggs seems daunting, but it is not so hard. I will say that flax eggs are probably the most reliable. The protein and fat in flax seeds minis the yolk and white of an egg, which is exactly what you need in the chemistry of baking for a good rise and texture. 

There are two types of flax meal that you can use: brown or golden. Both will get the job done, but I do prefer the golden flax meal just because the flavor is a little milder. 

My My Maple

I have what could be considered an obsession with maple. I think growing up in New England, it just becomes part of your fall and winter lives. When I was in the 5th grade, my class at school tapped the maple tree in the school courtyard, harvested the sap, boiled it down and then had a maple-themed feast. I still remember that intoxicating smell of the maple boiling down. 

So it was a no brainer to put maple in this fall favorite. I tried both maple syrup and maple sugar. Maple sugar is made like regular cane sugar, where the liquid is evaporated and the remaining solids are the sugar. This is exactly why I love using maple sugar in this recipe. Pumpkin is a very wet ingredient already so adding maple syrup would make things way too moist. Maple sugar gives you that maple flavor, but with a little less moisture; it is a good substitute for brown sugar. 


3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour*

3/4 cup superfine almond flour*

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tips ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp each of ground nutmeg, allspice, cloves an cardamon 

Pinch of ground turmeric 

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flax meal and 6 tbsps of warm water)

1/2 cup canola or avocado oil

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup maple sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup + 2 tbsps chopped pistachios

2 tbsps cup cane sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line a large loaf pan with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, combine the flax meal and warm water, let sit for 10-15 minutes. 

In another medium size bowl, whisk together the oat flour, almond flour, spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 

In the bowl with the flax eggs, add the pumpkin, oil, coconut sugar, maple sugar and vanilla. Whisk together until fully mixed and smooth. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and fold until almost fully combined. Add the 1/3 cup of chopped pistachios and continue folding until the flour is fully incorporated. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and top with remaining chopped pistachios and cane sugar. 

Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick to the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool for another 40 minutes. 

* I like using these flours in baking because they add a bit more nutrition to this cake (justifying cake for breakfast), but you can use a measure-for-measure gluten-free flour. You could use all almond flour too; I haven’t tested it, so try at your own risk!