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Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

A gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate pumpkin cake adapted from one of my favorite classic baking recipes to fit modern times.

Gluten-free chocolate pumpkin cake

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake

O, delicious chocolate cake, I will never have enough of you! But now I’m trying to eat less sugar and gluten, so changes must be made. I’m on a mission to adapt some of my old favorite recipes as well as develop some new ones — I feel more inspired in the kitchen than I have been in quite awhile, just in time for loads of wintry bakes and holiday cookies. Starting off, a chocolate pumpkin cake that is gluten-free, dairy-free, and naturally sweetened. Whew!

I reduced the sugar called for in the original recipe a bit and swapped in maple sugar and coconut sugar. I love coconut sugar’s deep undertones, similar to brown sugar but even more flavorful.  As I don’t have an issue with dairy, I would typically make this cake with butter but used Earth Balance baking sticks here, and you can’t really tell the difference taste-wise. In general, though, I like to keep to whole foods ingredients and the margarine, and even the darn coconut cream, has additives. SO in sum: simplest is best. In future, I will test this cake with olive oil in place of butter and work on a frosting alternative with more basic ingredients. In that spirit, if you use coconut milk, look for one that is guar-free (Native Forest brand does make a full fat coconut milk without guar gum).

If you’ve gotten through all of that explanation and still want to make this cake, I’ll give you a good reason to: the pumpkin is not the star here, but plays a strong supporting role, and the deep dark chocolate plays off the coconut sugar to make something really special. The coconut cream ganache is understated yet luxurious, a worthy complement to the sturdy cake with its surprisingly delicate crumb. You’ll want to cut thin slices as it’s quite rich, yet you won’t be left with a sugar crash later on and might even be able to go back for seconds.

I’m putting together a few cookie recipes that I will share next week for holiday cookie tin consideration — be sure to check back next Friday, they’re definitely not to be missed! I’ve also been working away at a site refresh, which I hope will be ready to go live by the end of the year. Fingers crossed …

Til next time – N x

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

Nicole Spiridakis
A nice Thanksgiving dessert option, pumpkin and chocolate complement each other in this gluten and dairy-free layer cake.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 344 kcal


  • 1 cup pumpkin puree use pure pumpkin
  • ½ cup coconut mik
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup/140 g sorghum flour
  • ½ cup/70 g arrowroot flour
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup 3/4 cup margarine or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup maple sugar or sugar
  • ½ cup 1/2 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 4 eggs large eggs

Chocolate Ganache

  • 2 cups coconut cream 1 can
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used 70%) chopped


Make Cake

  • Heat oven to 350° F. Grease 2 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Place the margarine and sugars a in a large bowl and, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add in eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated.
  • Add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the sugar mixture, alternating, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Continue beating on medium until incorporated.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan, place in the oven, and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven, place on a rack, and cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out to cool completely. Let rest in fridge at least 30 minutes or overnight, covered in foil, in the fridge.

Make Frosting

  • In a saucepan, heat the coconut cream until  almost boiling. Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate, let sit a few minutes, then whisk to combine.  Let mixture cool; you can place in the fridge to speed things up.
  • When cool, whip with an electric mixer as you would whip whipped cream. When the chocolate ganache is whipped, and cake is cooled, fill and frost the cake. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  • Cake will last 5 days, covered, in the fridge.


Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 344kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 5gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 285mgPotassium: 360mgFiber: 5gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 3265IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 3mg
Keyword gluten-free pumpkin chocolate cake
Did you make this recipe?Let me know in the comments how it went!

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