All posts by Sarah Landau

Oh Baby, Oh Baby, Oh– Pumpkin Cake

pumpkin cupcake with cream cheez frosting and date caramel

Man, am I happy that Jesse’s birthday is right before Halloween! I took this opportunity to create a devilishly delicious cake with some seasonal bounty. I call it, Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheez Frosting and Coconut Caramel Date Sauce. It is every bit as fancy and finger-lickin’ as it sounds. It’s also pretty easy to make. I will say that it takes a bit of preparation… But we all know that good things come to those who wait!

Last year around this time I posted about the nutritional allure of pumpkins. If you didn’t get a chance to read it and you’re just DYING to find out why winter squash is way cooler (pun intended) than you ever thought, give it a read: O Pumpkin! My Pumpkin! At present, I’d love for you to join me in an adventure through the revelatory process of creating one of the best cakes ever.

This recipe will make one 10” cake, which you can totally double for a layered effect. I got super fancy and made a four layer cake by making two recipes and cutting each cake in half. It was glooooorious. Also– you’ll probably have left-over caramel sauce. How terrible.

Necessary Devices

large bowl                                rubber spatula or wooden spoon                                                                                of equal ability

smaller bowl                           10” cake pan(s) or enough muffin                                                                                 tin for 18 babycakes

small saucepan                      parchment paper or cupcake                                                                                         papers

whisk                                          3 c. tupperware container

sieve or sifter                             measuring spoons

baking sheet or pyrex                dry measure

sharp knife                                liquid measure

high speed blender                  food processor

Ingredients for the Cake

pumpkin cake ingr.

2 c. whole wheat flour                     ½ tsp. ground ginger

¾ c. coconut sugar                           2 c. pumpkin puree (1 sugar pie                                                                pumpkin will do the trick)                

1 tsp. baking powder                        1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda                            2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

½ tsp. salt                                         1 c. non-dairy milk (I use oat)

½ tsp. cinnamon                              ⅓ c. coconut oil, melted

What You Do

Here’s where the prep comes in. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Hack the stem off your pumpkin and then cut the thing in half. Place the halves cut-side down on the baking sheet or pyrex pan. Bake 30-45 minutes or until skin is bubbly and the pumpkin is soft to the touch. Once it has cooled, peel the skin off and give it to your dogs (they love that stuff). Then scoop the guts out and give them to your compost (they love that stuff). Rip the pumpkin into chunks and throw it in the food processor. Puree and set aside.

roasted pumpkinpumpkin puree


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your cake pan with parchment, cutting pieces to fit the bottom and sides, or paper you cupcake tins. In your large bowl, combine the wet ingredients, including the pumpkin puree. Whisk ‘em up good and set aside. In your smaller bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, including the sugar. Add the dry to the wet about a cup at a time, mixing well in between. Pour into cake pan or portion into cupcake tins. Bake your cake 30-45 minutes or your cupcakes 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and you’ve got a golden brown crust. Let cool completely before frosting.

pumpkin cupcakes

Ingredients for the Frosting

cream cheez frosting ingr.

1 ½  c. unsweetened coconut yogurt            3 tbsp. coconut oil

cream from 1 can of full fat coconut milk    pinch of salt

⅓ c. coconut sugar                                             1/2 tsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. lecithin granules                                   1 drop lemon essential oil (sunflower is my first choice)                  (optional)

What You Do

More prep… You’ll want to chill the can of coconut milk overnight so that the cream solidifies on top for easy scoopage.

Deposit all ingredients into your blender and kick it into high gear, baby. Yea. I know you’re first instinct will be to drink this heavenly concoction, but have some will-power! Pour it into your tupperware and put it in the fridge for a couple hours. You’ll know it’s ready when the consistency has transformed from liquid goo to cream cheese-like goo.

Ingredients for the Sauce

1 1/4 c. dates                                              ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla                                               1 tsp. cinnamon

remaining liquid from above-mentioned can of coconut milk

What You Do

Bring all ingredients to a boil in your small sauce pan, then turn down the heat so that it barely simmers. You’ll want to keep this going for about an hour, until the dates are very soft. Remember to check on it every once in awhile to make sure it’s not burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once this stage is complete, allow the mixture to cool. Then blend it all up on high speed until smooth.

Assembly… Dun Dun Dun!

If you’re going the cake route, what you’ll want to do is either just frost the darn thing or cut it in half horizontally to create two layers (or if you’ve made 2 cakes, 4 layers). This takes a bit of finesse. If you don’t feel like you’re there, that’s totally fine. We’re not judging… But I say go for it because you can always glue it back together with frosting… And what’s life without a challenge and some good old fashioned risk? Live life on the edge, cut your cake in half.

Anyway… If you’re doing cupcakes, frost away. Or do something creative that I haven’t thought of and let me know how it goes.

The next and final step is the most fun, in my opinion. There are tons of options as far as how to apply the caramel sauce. For Jesse’s birthday cake, I loaded it into a pastry bag and decorated the heck out of that thing. Another possibility is to drizzle it over the top of each slice or cupcake. Yet another would be to pour it all over the cake/cupcakes and call it a day. Endless.

dia de los muertos pumpkin cake with cream cheez frosting and date caramel

And now you are ready to enjoy some fancy cake. You made it, and it looks great.

J and S pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheez frosting


Nice work!

I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe! Let me know what you think.