Paleo Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon-Vanilla Frosting

Here’s another seasonal favorite made paleo and gluten-free…a moist and delicious pumpkin cake using real pumpkin…

Oh yes, it’s that time of year…and right now I love everything pumpkin!

To me it’s the one flavor that represents everything that’s great about the season, from the crisp autumn days to the family coming home for Thanksgiving – all rolled into one.

This is a very easy cake recipe that comes with a super-simple, light and creamy frosting. Sprinkle a few dark mini-chocolate chips on top for a little extra wonderful.

It’s a fairly dense and moist cake I think you’re really going to like…with a texture somewhere between a pie and a cake. And while it may look like a sugar high on a plate, it’s really not an overly-sweet paleo dessert – I wanted that rich pumpkin taste we all love to be the star of this one!

And like almost all my paleo dessert recipes with a few more carbs, I try to keep the servings on the small side. Portion control! So you should get about 9 tasty squares that are about an inch-and-a-half high (including the frosting) from an 8″ x 8″ pan.

But if you have more self-control than I do, or you’ve got a crowd coming over you want to treat, then go ahead and double the recipe!

Here are just a couple of baking tips for you before you get out the mixing bowls…

First, I lined the bottom of the pan with a square piece of parchment paper just in case the cake decided to stick…it lifted right off the parchment with no problems so I suggest you do that too.

And second, after you’ve let the cake cool and layered on the cinnamon-vanilla frosting, stick it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so – you just want to give the frosting a little extra time to set up before you serve it.

Hope you enjoy this little paleo and gluten-free pumpkin cake recipe, and as always, let me know what you think!


Paleo Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon-Vanilla Frosting Recipe

by Trina
Easy paleo and gluten-free pumpkin cake recipe with a light and creamy vanilla frosting
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9 squares


Dry Ingredients (Mix together in one bowl)

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond four
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice + 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice

Wet Ingredients (Mix together in a separate bowl)

  • 4 eggs whipped slightly
  • 1/3 cup of pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup of canned or puréed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1/2 cup of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

Cinnamon-Vanilla Frosting

  • 1/2 cup of palm shortening
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey
  • 3 tbs of tapioca flour
  • 1 tbs coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


Cake Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350º F
  • Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl
  • Whisk together throughly to form a batter
  • Line the bottom of an 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper (recommended to prevent sticking)
  • Pour the batter into the cake pan and even out into a layer
  • Place on center rack of 350º F oven
  • Bake approximately 25-30 minutes (IMPORTANT: Oven cooking times and temperatures always vary. Just be sure and stick a toothpick into the center of cake to test doneness…if the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready.)
  • Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the frosting

Cinnamon-Vanilla Frosting Instructions

  • Simply combine all the frosting ingredients and mix well – I used a stand mixer to make sure it comes out nice and smooth
  • Layer frosting on top of cooled cake
  • Sprinkle with a few dark chocolate mini-chips if desired
  • TIP: Place frosted cake in refrigerator for about 15 minutes to allow the frosting to harden a bit before serving.
  • Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator
Keyword pumpkin, cake, paleo, gluten-free, frosting, cinnamon, vanilla

Join the Conversation

  1. Did you use the canned coconut milk?

  2. Hi, I am wondering what the substitution would be (just a guess?) if I wanted to leave out almond flour (can’t have nuts or seeds). I usually have good luck with muffins/cakes with a 50/50 of coconut and tapioca flours…but not sure what a good guess is for measurements. Anyone? Thanks!

  3. Do you know if you could use coconut oil instead of palm shortening? I’d like to make this tonight but don’t have it…

    1. I don’t think you would get the same texture. You could try grass fed butter if you allow dairy in your diet.

  4. What can I substitute for palm shortening? I can’t find it in any stores. Spectrum vegetable shortening (which is palm) is $140 online for a 24 ounce can !

    1. Hi Leslie…there’s not really a good substitute for palm shortening that’s paleo. I buy mine online from Tropical Traditions – about $30 for a gallon…and it stores well unrefrigerated for a really long time. Here’s our affiliate link that’ll also get you a free book from them: Tropical Traditions. (Once on their site, go to the menu on the left and look under “Healthy Oils” for the palm shortening page :)

      1. Fabulous! Thank you so much for that information. I have tried several of your recipes and all are amazing. You are the best!

        1. Awww, thank you Leslie! I appreciate you saying so. :) I do this for people like you.

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