Enjoy this 3-tier Vegan Pumpkin Cake any time of day! It's incredibly moist, made with easy-to-find ingredients and topped with the most delicious cinnamon buttercream icing.
This vegan pumpkin cake is insane and I'm pretty positive you won't know it's vegan! It's also made with easy ingredients, like all purpose flour, almond milk and canned pumpkin, which I think is important if you're at all intimidated by vegan baking.
You should know by now that I'm a huge fan of pumpkin. I like it for breakfast, like in these pumpkin overnight oats or my favorite pumpkin smoothie bowl, and I even made a cake for my dog (helloooo pumpkin dog cake recipe!). What can I say? It's just the BEST fall flavor.
- The cake is just the right amount of pumpkin and spice, and is incredibly moist (nothing worse than a dry cake!)
- It's topped with cinnamon buttercream, which may or may not be the icing of my dreams
- It'll 100% get you in the mood for fall (if you aren't already!)
Unfortunately, there aren't many substitutions available for this cake recipe. The two that I can think of are listed below.
Almond milk - can use any dairy free milk
Coconut oil - you can probably get away with using any kind of oil. I tend to use coconut oil in my baking because I like the flavor of it, but I'm sure olive oil would work too
Step 1: Melt the coconut oil. I almost always use coconut oil in baking, simply because I like the flavor. But, you have to melt it first so it can cool to room temperature before mixing with the other cold ingredients. Otherwise, it solidifies. So, do this step first, then set the oil aside.
Step 2: Mix dry ingredients, then wet. In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, pumpkin and vanilla together, then combine the wet and dry ingredients. Last, stir in the melted coconut oil.
Step 3: Add batter to pans. Evenly distribute the cake batter into three lined cake pans, using a spatula to smooth the batter out.
Step 4: Bake, then slice tops off of cakes. Bake the cakes for 33-38 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait 10 minutes and then carefully invert the cakes onto a cooling rack. Once cakes have have cooled, slice the "domes" off the top of them so you can easily layer the cakes.
Tips and FAQs
- Mix the ingredients, but don't over-mix: When baking, I like to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately, then mix them together until the batter is smooth. However, it's important that you don't over-mix or else the cake can end up being too dense in texture, which we don't really want for cake!
- Line your cake pans: This step may seem a little tedious, but there's nothing worse than baking a cake and then having it stick to your cake pan. Place one of the cake pans on parchment paper, then trace a circle around it three times, cut out three parchment circles and place them on the bottom of the cake pans.
- Use a serrated knife: If your cake has a bit of a dome on top (mine usually do), it's important to use a serrated knife to carefully slice the dome part off. Simply place the knife on the cake where the dome starts, then rotate the cake while running the knife along the edge of the dome. Once you make a full circle, the dome should come off easily.
Should I add the caramel sauce?
The original recipe called for a drizzle of my homemade (vegan-friendly) caramel sauce over top. Recently, I decided it's not totally necessary, but you're more than welcome to include it if you want!
Can I use a different size cake pan?
This cake is a 3-layer cake made in three 6" cake pans. But, you can use two 9" cake pans instead if you prefer.
More vegan cake recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Vegan Pumpkin Cake
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups raw cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon all spice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups almond milk or any dairy free milk
- ½ cup coconut oil melted
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the buttercream:
- ½ cup dairy free butter softened
- 3 tablespoon almond milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- homemade caramel sauce optional
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Heat coconut oil in a microwave safe dish or over the stove until melted and then set aside so that it cools a bit.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine milk, pumpkin, vinegar, and vanilla; stir well and then pour in coconut oil.
- Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to combine, but be careful not to over mix.
- Line three 6" pans with coconut oil (or parchment) and then pour batter evenly into the pans, pounding them down on the countertop a few times to even out the batter.
- Bake cakes for 33-38 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove cakes from the oven and allow them to sit for 10 minutes before inverting them onto cooling racks. Wait until cakes are completely cooled before icing.
- For the icing: cream all ingredients together in a stand mixer, or with a hand electric mixer. The icing should be on the thicker side, but still spreadable.
- To assemble: slice the "dome" off of each cake layer. Place a large spoonful of icing on the top of one cake, using a spatula to smooth it out before placing the second cake overtop of the first layer, repeating this process for the next layer. Use the rest of the icing to ice the sides of the cake. Top it off with some of the caramel sauce (optional).
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in September 2016. It was updated with new text and photos in September 2020.
This cake is delicious. Now to find more of your cake recipes.
Thanks Annette -- I'm glad you liked the cake!
Holy S***! I just made this cake for my newly-vegan husband and he is OBSESSED! I've never had anything so moist! Absolutely delicious. Nobody would ever know it was vegan. This is now our go-to cake. Thank you SO MUCH!!!
Best comment ever!! I'm so happy you and your husband enjoyed the cake 🙂
you can substitute any vegetable oil for the coconut oil, including a mild olive oil. Cake always came out great
Amazing! I made this for a work bake off and I won! And no one knew it was vegan.
Woohoooo! Isn't that the best? Thanks for the comment, Maureen!
This pumpkin cake was so delicious! My wife is vegan and we absolutely engulfed this cake in 2 days!!
Susan Maxey Townsend says
Have you tried substituting with gluten free flour?
Best ever recipe.