Gluten-free and Dairy-free Maple Pumpkin Cake – Autumn on a plate

The thing I love most about living in New England is the way pumpkin spice flavors return every fall. They are introduced every year like an announcement: Fall is here! It’s a season ritual no different from Halloween or Thanksgiving.  Then the momentum builds, and pumpkin spice coffees and pastries appear everywhere from farmers markets to supermarkets. Our friend Carolyn marks the occasion with a Facebook post of her first pumpkin spice coffee of the season.  I marked the occasion myself this year, with this layered gluten-free and dairy-free pumpkin cake, inspired by a post by Olivia of liv for cake. My husband – a lifelong New Englander – calls it “autumn on a plate.” 


Gluten-free and Dairy-free Maple Pumpkin Cake

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Recipe by Simona Gluten-free Course: RecipesDifficulty: Medium
Prep time




Cooking time




  • For the pumpkin cakes
  • 6 oz 6 Spectrum vegetable shortening – 3/4 cup

  • 10.5 oz 10.5 Granulated sugar – 1 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Vanilla extract

  • 3 Tbsps 3 Vegetable oil

  • 3 large 3 Eggs

  • 1 large 1 Egg white

  • 14 oz 14 Simona’s Flour Mix – 2 1/2 cups

  • 2 tsps 2 Baking powder

  • 1 tsp 1 Baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Salt

  • 1 1/2 tsps 1 1/2 Ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp 1 Ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Ground nutmeg

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 Ground cloves

  • 15 oz 15 Pumpkin puree – 1 can

  • 3 Tbsps 3 Vegetable glycerin

  • For the maple cinnamon frosting
  • 16 oz 16 Spectrum vegetable shortening – 2 cups

  • 34 oz 34 Confectioners’ sugar – 8 cups

  • 1 1/2 tsps 1 1/2 Ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Maple extract or 1 Tbsp of Maple syrup

  • 2 Tbsps 2 Water or non dairy milk at room temperature

  • For the candied pecans
  • 2 cups 2 Pecan halves

  • 3 oz 3 Granulated sugar – 1/3 cup and 2Tbsps

  • 1 tsp 1 Ground cinnamon

  • 2 Tbsps 2 Water

  • 1 tsp 1 Vanilla extract


  • For the pumpkin cakes
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease three 8″ cake rounds, and line the bottoms with parchment.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer beat the vegetable shortening until smooth. Add sugar and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (2-3mins).
  • Reduce speed and add eggs and the egg white one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add oil and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  • Mix the pumpkin puree with the glycerin. Alternate adding flour mixture and pumpkin puree mix, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of pumpkin). Mix well.
  • Spread batter evenly into prepared pan and smooth the tops with a spatula.
    Bake for 20-25 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the candied pecans
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  • Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add pecans and toast for approx. 3 mins, stirring often.
  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine sugar, cinnamon, water, and vanilla. Stir well.
  • When the pecans are fragrant, add sugar mixture into the pan. Stir constantly over medium heat for 5-10mins.
  • Spread onto parchment lined baking sheet to cool. Separate them as best as possible with the spatulas. Once cooled, reserve 20 or so best looking halves and chop the rest.
  • For the maple cinnamon frosting
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer beat the shortening until smooth.
  • Slowly add 17 oz (4 cups) of powdered sugar, fully incorporating after each addition.
  • Add the maple extract – or maple syrup, cinnamon, and water or non dairy milk and mix until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Add more liquid if necessary. Mix thoroughly until smooth.
  • Assemble the cake
  • Place one layer of cake onto a serving plate or cake stand. Top with frosting and spread evenly. Sprinkle chopped candied pecans over the top of the frosting. Repeat with next layer.
  • Place final cake layer on top and crumb coat the cake. Chill for 30mins.
  • Use the remaining frosting to cover the outside of the cake. Decorate the top and sides using whole candied pecans.

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