Pumpkin Snack Cake with Maple Pecan Frosting

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Pecan Buttercream by Jessie May

Few sweets get me more excited than a frosted sheet cake. One would be a loaf of pumpkin bread. Enter, a frosted pumpkin sheet cake with an extra festive maple pecan frosting. The benefits of this cake are so many. For one, it isn’t cloyingly sweet like the versions from my childhood. Which means that it makes a pretty wonderful afternoon snack with a cup of plant milk or tea. I’ll even venture to say it’s a nice weekend breakfast too, and once you see the ingredient lineup I’m sure you’ll agree.

Cashews are a pretty magical ingredient, and if you possess a high speed blender (such as a Vitamix) the consistency can be so smooth when blended that they can replicate cream really well. Here they are soaked alongside some buttery pecans for a super luscious frosting, naturally sweetened, and whipped into a fantastic buttercream without the butter. The cake is more like a light and fluffy pumpkin bread, made with a mix of oat, spelt, and almond flour. This means it isn’t completely gluten free, but is really low in gluten - and contains a more digestible version of it thanks to the beautiful ancient grain of spelt.

I highly recommend baking up this cake and storing in airtight containers in the fridge for the week. It’s so nice to grab for a snack or sweet bite for dessert, without getting the huge sugar swings. This recipe is also great for sharing. Tote it along to a fall gathering, share at the holiday table, or simply bring a square to a good friend. An extra perk is how quickly this cake comes together, and all in a single bowl too! If you make it be sure to let me know, I love hearing from you. Tag me on Instagram and leave a comment below if you feel comfy. Maybe include what you’re baking and loving this season too? Let’s all get our ovens going together :).

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Pecan Buttercream by Jessie May
Pumpkin Cake with Maple Pecan Buttercream by Jessie May
Pumpkin Cake with Maple Pecan Buttercream by Jessie May

Makes one 8×8 inch frosted cake. About 9 servings.

pumpkin cake
2 tablespoons ground flax
1/4 cup plus 5 tablespoons water, divided
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup coconut nectar (or maple syrup)
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 1/3 cup almond flour
1/4 cup + 1/3 cup oat flour
3/4 cup whole spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
a heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

maple pecan frosting
3/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raw pecans
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons pure soy milk (or other plant milk)
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 1/2 teaspoon extract)

Make the frosting ahead of time: soak the cashews and pecans together in a small bowl with enough purified water to keep them covered for 4 hours. Drain and add to a high speed blender. Add the remaining frosting ingredients and puree on low until smooth – using the tamper to push the mixture down towards the blade. Work the speed up to high slowly while continuing to use the tamper until the frosting is silky smooth without any bumps. Transfer to a small jar and place in the fridge until the cake is ready to frost.

Prepare the cake: Preheat the oven to 350F. To a medium mixing bowl, add the ground flax with 5 tablespoons of water. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow to thicken. Then add the remaining 1/4 cup of water, applesauce, pumpkin puree, coconut nectar, coconut sugar, and vanilla to the bowl. Whisk to mix well.

Place a stainless steel mesh strainer over the bowl, and add the dry ingredients to the strainer to sift over the wet batter (you may need to do the dry ingredients in batches depending on the size of your strainer). Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, being careful not to over-mix and stopping when the batter is just combined.

Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and transfer the cake batter to the pan, gently smoothing out evenly with the back of a spatula.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out completely clean (check after 50 minutes).

Lift up the sides of the parchment paper to remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool. When the cake is cool enough to handle, remove the pieces of parchment from the cake, using a large spatula shift the cake onto the rack as you slide the paper out from underneath. Once the cake has cooled, spread the frosting on in an even layer and sprinkle the top with extra chopped pecans if you’d like.

Slice and serve, storing leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Note: this frosting will begin to dry out if left in the open for too long. I recommend packing away any extra cake you have that is frosted as soon as you can.