Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Every year, my grandma makes a pumpkin cake just like this one on Thanksgiving. I’ve made vegan versions a few times over the years, and I find that a modified version of the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World yields the best results. I double the recipe, leave out the chocolate, and throw some cream cheese frosting on top. Simple! While the pumpkin in autumnal recipes is usually shrouded with a spice blend, the actual pumpkin flavor really stands out in this recipe. Accented with a small amount of cinnamon, this vegan pumpkin cake shines in its simplicity.

Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Like my ugly, warty yellow pumpkin? It rules. Now make this recipe, then eat it for breakfast and dessert everyday.

Get the recipe:

Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Vegan pumpkin cake squares with dairy-free cream cheese frosting
Recipe type: Dessert, Seasonal
Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free
Serves: 1 9x13-inch cake
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 2⁄3 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream cheese frosting:
  • 8 ounces (1 tub) vegan cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup margarine
  • 2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Stir together pumpkin, oil, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Mix until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into a 9×13-inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray or coated with oil.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the center of the cake is firm and fully cooked (test with a toothpick, if necessary). Let the cake cool.
For the cream cheese frosting:
  1. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.
  2. Whip together the cream cheese and margarine in a stand mixer or large mixing bowl.
  3. Add 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add an additional 1/2 cup powdered sugar if the frosting is runny. It should be a little drippy, but not liquid.
  4. Frost the cooled cake. Store in the refrigerator.

Cake recipe adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

I found that the cream cheese frosting is excellent with fruit. Keep that in mind if you have any leftovers!

Do you jump on the pumpkin bandwagon this time of year? If not, is there another ingredient you bring out in the fall?

Kelly Peloza is the blogger and photographer at Seitan Beats Your Meat, and the author of two vegan cookbooks: The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, and Cheers to Vegan Sweets.

She lives in Chicago and runs a photography business called Kelly Peloza Photo.

7 Replies to “Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Sweet pumpkin treats do make me happy this time of year, usually just simple pumpkin squares. I like that these look light and pumpkin-y, not weighted down with raisins and nuts and chocolate chunks. Pears and figs are my other Fall weaknesses. I bet your cream cheese would be fabulous on a fresh Comice pear…thanks for the recipe!

  2. This looks sooo good! I have not made enough pumpkin stuff yet but this is making me think I need to get on it stat!

  3. Always game for more pumpkin – and this looks great!

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  5. Sure wish you had a print button! Looks delish.

    1. I’ve added a print button at the very end of the post, under “share this.” Otherwise, File > Print

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