A week of balmy weather here in the DC area has been whispering "fall," setting off a craving for something sweet, pretty and orange. And what can be more sweet, pretty and orange than this scrumptious Vegan Pumpkin Cake with chai spices?
This is my favorite pumpkin cake recipe and one I always make this time of year. The crumb of this cake is soft, moist and tender, and the color is to die for. There is pumpkin flavor infused in each bite without being overwhelming. But what makes this cake even more special is a medley of delicious chai spices that play perfectly with the pumpkin: cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
Bundt cakes are among my favorite cakes to bake because I am not a whiz at frosting and making things look pretty. But with bundt cakes the pan does all the work: they look so elegant right out of the oven with almost no effort on your part.
Still, if you want to make the cake even prettier and add another subtle layer of sweetness, especially if you have kids, I have for you a dreamy vegan cream cheese glaze that you can drizzle on top of the cake. It takes under five minutes to make and you can use this glaze for so many other breakfasts and desserts, including vegan cinnamon rolls, vegan carrot cake and more.
Why you'll love this Vegan Pumpkin Cake
- It's delicious. The best pumpkin cake ever, vegan or not. The crumb is so delicious with the pumpkin and spices, and the vegan cream cheese glaze makes this one of the most sublime desserts you will eat.
- It's one-bowl. This is a no-fuss, no-mess recipe. Everything comes together in one bowl and you can rinse out the bowl and use it to make the frosting.
- It's quick. The pumpkin cake batter takes 15 minutes or even less to put together, and the cream cheese glaze takes under 5 minutes.
- It's pretty. The wonderful thing about bundt cakes is they are so pretty out of the pan. Mine is a classic bundt shape, but you can get all sorts of decorative bundt pans now that produce beautiful cakes. And this cake unmolds easily (so long as you remember to oil and flour it), so no worries about half the cake remaining stuck to the pan when you try to flip it into a plate.
- It's perfect for the season. Goes without saying, but fall + pumpkin = bliss.
- Unbleached all-purpose flour. This is what I used this time, but if you're looking for something healthier you can easily use whole wheat pastry flour instead of the APF, or swap out half the APF for regular or white whole wheat flour. This cake tastes great with whole wheat flour.
- Chai spices: ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground cardamom, ground ginger, ground nutmeg. You can use jarred spices, or grind up your own in a spice grinder. If you make your own, make sure you don't leave any big pieces of spices: everything should be finely powdered. For the cardamom, always use green cardamom sweets in desserts.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Vegan yogurt. You can use storebought or homemade vegan yogurt. Coconut yogurt or cashew yogurt are both great in this.
- Nondairy milk. I used oat milk but any nondairy milk is fine, including almond, soy and coconut.
- Apple cider vinegar. This helps make the crumb airier and lighter. You need just a tiny bit.
- Vegetable oil. I use avocado oil for most of my baking and cooking. Any oil, including coconut, would work here.
- Sugar. You can sub with maple syrup for a healthier take. Maple and pumpkin are an addictive combination.
- Pure vanilla extract. I love vanilla in pumpkin desserts, it helps round out the slight astringency of the pumpkin puree.
- Pumpkin puree. I use the canned version, although make your own if you'd rather, by all means.
Chai Spice Vegan Pumpkin Cake: How to make
Yes. A springform pan or a regular cake pan would be great. You can divide the batter between two 8-inch cake pans, or bake in a single rectangular 9 X 13 inch (approx) pan.
You absolutely can, but the glaze adds a lovely layer of sweetness and texture.
You can refrigerate the cake for up to a week. For longer storage wrap the cake tightly with cling wrap, place in a freezer safe container or bag and freeze. If storing in the freezer, freeze glaze separately and glaze the cake before eating.
More tasty vegan cake recipes
- Vegan Cinnamon Cake
- Vegan Zucchini Cake with Orange Marmalade Glaze
- Gluten-Free Vegan Skillet Cornbread Cake
- Gluten-Free Vegan Almond Cake
- Vegan Gingerbread Cake
Chai Spice Vegan Pumpkin Cake
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegan yogurt
- ⅓ cup nondairy milk (I used oat milk but any nondairy milk is fine)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- 1½ cups sugar (use a bit more if you like your cake sweeter. Taste the batter and add more if you want to)
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 15 oz pumpkin puree
For vegan cream cheese glaze
- 4 oz vegan cream cheese (at room temperature)
- ¾ cup powdered sugar (I don't make the glaze overly sweet, but you can add more powdered sugar if you like it sweeter)
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare a bundt pan by oiling and flouring it thoroughly.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flours, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Dump in the rest of the ingredients: vegan yogurt, oil, pumpkin puree, sugar, nondairy milk, pure vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar. Mix well using a spatula until there are no dry streaks of flour, but don't overmix.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top, if needed, with a spatula.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick near the center comes out clean.
- Set the bundt pan on a rack to cool for 30 minutes, then unmold and continue cooling the cake on a rack.
Make the vegan cream cheese glaze
- Place the room temperature cream cheese in a bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy.
- Add the cardamom and vanilla and half the powdered sugar. Beat in, then add the rest of the sugar and the milk and beat in until smooth. You can add a little more milk if you want to make the glaze runnier.
- Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. Slice and serve.
- If you don't want to bake this in a bundt pan, a springform pan or a regular cake pan would work too. Divide the batter between two 8-inch cake pans, or bake in a single rectangular 9 X 13 inch (approx) pan.
- You can skip the glaze for a healthier cake, or make it with whole wheat pastry flour. If using regular whole wheat flour, use half whole wheat and half all purpose flour.
- You can sub maple syrup for the sugar. The batter may appear runnier, but it will bake up fine.
- You can refrigerate the cake for up to a week. For longer storage wrap the cake tightly with cling wrap, place in a freezer safe container or bag and freeze. If storing in the freezer, freeze glaze separately and glaze the cake before eating.
- Fresh ground spices are always best in any recipe, but if you grind up your own spices make sure no large or gritty pieces remain and you have a fine powder.