Paleo Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Frosting

This paleo pumpkin cake is wonderfully moist and fuss-free! Topped off with maple cream frosting and maple candied pecans.

I’ve gotten quite a few questions about converting my gluten-free pumpkin donuts into a cake recipe. I feel bad about not having a definite answer and just telling people, “I don’t know because I haven’t tried it, but here’s what I’d do…” so I just tried it out. :)

To convert that recipe into this cake, I used a 9″ springform pan lined with a piece of parchment paper (you can see the creases around the edges of the cake created by the parchment paper in the below picture). You’ll definitely want to make sure your parchment paper isn’t too close to the top of the oven.

This paleo pumpkin cake is nice and moist and super easy to make! Topped off with maple cream frosting and maple candied pecans.

You’d think I would have learned this basic principle by now since I basically line everything except for bundt pans with parchment paper! But nope. The first time I baked this paleo pumpkin cake, a fire was involved.

I think the parchment paper is necessary when using a springform pan so that the batter doesn’t leak and cause a smoky oven. If you have a round 9″ closed cake pan and don’t want the creases you see in my picture, then just line the bottom with parchment paper and then grease the sides of the pan with coconut oil (or whatever you usually use).

If you don’t have a 9″ round pan and want to use an 8″ or 10″ pan, you’ll have to adjust the baking time. I think using a 10″ pan would yield too thin of a cake, but if it’s your only option, it’ll still work!

This delicious paleo pumpkin cake is nice and moist and super easy to make! Topped off with maple cream frosting and maple candied pecans.

To top if off, I used the paleo maple cream frosting recipe I posted a few weeks ago. It’s so perfect on this cake!

I was kind of bummed when it came time for decorating this paleo pumpkin cake. The frosting’s way too soft to pipe (not that I wanted to do that, anyway) but the cake just looks blah with only the frosting on top.

This paleo pumpkin cake is super moist and easy to make! Topped off with maple cream frosting and maple candied pecans.

Then I came across the maple candied pecans I had recently used for something else. They’re handy. I made a half batch and have been using them to decorate everything! Like this paleo vegan pumpkin pie and these mini maple cheesecakes.

Just be sure to put them on the cake right before serving. Otherwise they kind of “melt.” Except melt’s not the right word. You know what I mean. :D Enjoy!

If cake’s not your speed, try this paleo pecan pumpkin pie fudge or these gluten-free pumpkin maple spice granola bars!

This paleo pumpkin cake is super moist and easy to make! Topped off with maple cream frosting and easy maple candied pecans.

And if you prefer a muffin version, try my paleo pumpkin muffins. It’s the same exact batter as this cake but the muffins have streusel on top. :)

Paleo Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Frosting (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Rated 4.9 by 9 readers
Paleo Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Frosting
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 8 slices


    For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup (64 grams) coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) almond flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs (50 grams each, out of shell), room temperature
  • 7 tablespoons (98 grams) coconut oil, melted1 (you can also use unsalted butter for a non-dairy-free / paleo version)
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:

  • 1 cup (132 grams) raw unsalted cashews, soaked2
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 teaspoon (62 milliliters) maple syrup (I recommend using the darker Grade B kind like this so that the maple taste is more intense)
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • For the topping:

  • 1/3 batch (or more) maple candied walnuts made with pecans


    For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (176 °C). Place a piece of parchment paper in a 9" springform pan, so that the bottom and sides are lined.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (coconut flour through salt).
  3. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (eggs through vanilla).
  4. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir just until combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan.
  7. For the frosting:

  8. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Drain the cashews and place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender jar (I don't think this would work in a food processor).
  9. Process on high speed for about 40 seconds or until totally smooth and no chunks remain.
  10. Add more lemon juice, vanilla and salt, if desired. Refrigerate for about 2 hours before frosting your cake.
  11. Spread the frosting over the cake. Refrigerate the frosted cake for up to 3 days. Top with maple pecans immediately before serving.


  1. I used refined coconut oil, which has no coconut taste / smell to it. If you use unrefined, this cake may have some coconut taste.
  2. To soak the cashews, place them in a large mug, small pot, or some kind of container that's safe to pour boiling water into. Pour enough boiling water over the cashews to cover them. Let them sit 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

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78 comments on “Paleo Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Frosting” — Add one!

  • Chrissy says
    July 16, 2020 @ 1:18 am

    Hi! I unfortunately can’t do almond flour :( would you recommend subbing with more coconut flour? I can also do oat, tapioca, buckwheat, walnuts, pecans, etc. what are your thoughts?

    • Erin replies to Chrissy
      July 17, 2020 @ 10:35 am

      Hello! Coconut flour can’t be subbed for anything else as it’s so absorbent but walnut, cashew or pecan meal should work. :)

      • Chrissy replies to Erin
        July 18, 2020 @ 2:14 pm

        Made this with the pecan flour instead of almond and it was incredible! Now going to search your site for a similar muffin recipe!!

        • Erin replies to Chrissy
          July 20, 2020 @ 8:09 am

          I’m so glad that it worked out well! Thanks for coming back to let me know. :) The muffin version of this recipe is linked to at the bottom of the post. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

  • Natalie says
    November 27, 2019 @ 8:01 am

    So my batter was not “pourable”. I had to scoop it into the pan and use my hands to flatten it out. Almost like a moist cookie dough. Not sure why but I think it still turned out ok. Wondering if anyone else had this issue.

    Freezing the frosting works great btw.

    • Erin replies to Natalie
      November 27, 2019 @ 1:15 pm

      Great to know that freezing works well! Thanks for the tip. Did you weigh the flour? If not, it could be that you packed the almond flour / coconut flour, which would cause that exact problem. Or was your coconut oil cold / not melted?

    November 21, 2019 @ 12:16 am

    I will be taking a dessert to a Thanksgiving gathering and wonder if there is a substitute for egg? The person who will be enjoying this cannot tolerate eggs, either

    • Erin replies to PATTI REYNOLDS
      November 21, 2019 @ 7:47 pm

      Egg subs in grain-free cakes are tricky. It often makes them weird and spongey. I think (but I’m not totally sure) that I tried a chia egg in this cake and it didn’t work well. I have an egg-free vegan pumpkin cheesecake and vegan pumpkin pie that might work for your guest. Both are also paleo. :)

  • Sheree says
    October 24, 2019 @ 5:07 pm

    So I’m planning on making this in the near future. Just wondering – can I freeze it after I bake it? Thank you!

    • Erin replies to Sheree
      October 24, 2019 @ 9:05 pm

      Definitely! But I recommend not freezing the frosting. I haven’t tried it so I’m not positive it’d work. I’d love to hear how it comes out. :)

      • Sheree replies to Erin
        October 24, 2019 @ 9:07 pm

        Great! Thanks so much for the quick response. I won’t frost it until I’m ready to serve it. And…I’ll let you know how it turns out :)

        • Erin replies to Sheree
          October 24, 2019 @ 9:16 pm

          You’re welcome! And sounds good. Thanks! :)

  • Laura says
    November 15, 2018 @ 12:49 pm

    Hi, excited to try this for Thanksgiving since we so rarely eat dessert these days. If I sub grass fed butter for the coconut oil would I melt or just soften it? We’re good w coconut oil but for a holiday would like to amp up the dessert factor a bit :) thanks!

    • Erin replies to Laura
      November 15, 2018 @ 7:18 pm

      Hi! I’d melt it so that it’s easier to combine with the other ingredients. I’d love to hear how it comes out. :)

      • Laura replies to Erin
        November 21, 2018 @ 2:56 am

        I made this last weekend to test before Thanksgiving…so good! I used 4 tbsp butter and 3 of coconut oil and melted both. I also made it without the frosting so I could save the expensive cashews for the holiday! (Also left out the extra 2 tbsp of sugar and the vanilla because it turns out I have an allergy. Seriously, who is allergic to vanilla?!) Anyway thanks for the recipe!! We loved it and look forward to round 2 this week!:)

        • Erin replies to Laura
          November 25, 2018 @ 7:43 pm

          You’re welcome for the recipe! I’m happy that you enjoyed it and I hope it was a hit at Thanksgiving! Thanks for your comment. :) Oh and my son… also allergic (or really just intolerant) to vanilla. You’re not alone!

  • Jennifer Soto says
    November 13, 2018 @ 2:58 am

    I made this tonight for my birthday. I wanted my hubby who is newly diagnosed with major allergies to be able to eat something. I made it as directed, but subbed molasses for maple syrup and just did a coconut milk and powdered sugar glaze. I made it in mini fluted pans – it was the perfect amount for the 6 mini cake wells in the pan. Cooked for 25 minutes as directed. The cake was so moist and way better than I expected! Total win! Thank you for sharing. Sharing pics tonight on IG.

    • Erin replies to Jennifer Soto
      November 14, 2018 @ 12:54 pm

      I’m happy that you found something your husband could eat, too! I’m glad to hear that it worked well in mini fluted pans. Thanks for sharing the baking time! I’ll have to try that, too. Thanks for your feedback and for sharing on IG!

  • Jamie says
    November 6, 2018 @ 12:56 am

    Hi. Thanks dearly. The recipe is wonderful. I substituted flour with rice and tapioca. It was such a success at our lantern walk gathering. My family loved it so much and my six year old grew the pumpkins. Also baked it in a bundt pan. My boy called it a giant pumpkin donut. You rock.

    • Erin replies to Jamie
      November 6, 2018 @ 7:49 pm

      Oh, nice! How long did you bake it for? And what amounts of rice and tapioca did you use? I’d love to try that myself! I love that your kid grew the pumpkin himself. Very awesome. :) Thanks a bunch for your comment!

  • Darla
    October 15, 2018 @ 8:27 pm

    I just made this last night. I’m somewhat of a newbie with Paleo baking, but my son in law has Crohn’s disease so Paleo recipes usually work for his die – sometimes with minor changes. (He gets really, really sick from gluten and dairy…) This cake turned out wonderful for me! I baked it in a small rectangular glass baking dish greased with coconut oil. I also made the candied walnuts – yum!!!! Today I’m going to try to make “whipped cream” from coconut milk to top the cake and then sprinkle the candied nuts on top of that. Thanks for all your trial and error with this recipe! I really appreciate it!

    • Erin replies to Darla
      October 21, 2018 @ 2:20 pm

      I am so sorry for just now seeing your comment! We just got back from a vacation where I had internet reception very infrequently. That’s so nice of you to bake paleo recipes for your son-in-law. I hope he enjoyed the cake, too! You’re very welcome for the recipe. :) Thanks for your comment!

  • Amy says
    October 4, 2018 @ 5:17 am

    Hi Erin,
    You are my favorite pastry chef! I have loved everything I had made from your recipes. You really are amazing! Here is my question– What can I sub out the coconut flour with?
    I have issues with coconut flour. Could I just use more almond flour or any of the other flours –arrowroot, tapioca, potato starch etc. No Gluten for me either… Thank you!!! I can tolerate a little starch but not gluten. Thank you!

    • Erin replies to Amy
      October 4, 2018 @ 9:12 pm

      Aww, thank you! What a nice thing to say. I’m very happy to hear that. :) Unfortunately there’s not a good sub for coconut flour. It absorbs so much more liquid than other flours. Some commenters have said they’ve subbed oat flour in a few of my recipes that call for just a little coconut flour but I’ve never tried it. The problem is that this recipe calls for a lot of coconut flour. :/ I’d have to recommend trying a different recipe. Sorry about that! I wish I had a better answer for you.

  • Aundrea
    September 4, 2018 @ 6:01 am

    THIS is INCREDIBLE. The perfect taste of fall- warm, comforting, and spicy- without the heaviness that typically goes along with fall treats- this cake is light, bright, and refreshing. I subbed Kite Hill almond milk cream cheese for the cashews in the frosting and it worked so well. I would go on and on about how wonderful this cake is, but I want to go to bed so I can be that much closer to another slice.


    • Erin replies to Aundrea
      September 6, 2018 @ 9:22 pm

      Almond milk cream cheese?! Oooh. That’s new to me! Thanks for the tip. I’m happy that you enjoyed the cake so much. Hope you got that slice in the morning. ;) Thanks a bunch for your nice comment!

  • Laura
    August 16, 2018 @ 6:56 pm

    I made this cake exact with the exception of lemon juice in the frosting as I did not have it on hand.. Beautifully delicious. I am making again today and making it sugar free for my father’s birthday. Thank you for the recipe ❤️❤️❤️.. I can’t get enough of it.

    • Erin replies to Laura
      August 17, 2018 @ 10:59 am

      You’re welcome! I’m happy that you liked it so much. :) I hope the sugar-free version goes well! I’d love to hear what sweetener you use and how it comes out. Thanks so much for your comment!

  • De says
    November 24, 2017 @ 8:47 pm

    I made this yesterday and just wanted to tell you, hands down, my favorite pumpkin dessert since I started eating this way three years ago!! Thanks for a great recipe!!

    • Erin replies to De
      November 25, 2017 @ 3:03 pm

      Wow, thanks! So happy to hear that you enjoyed it so much. :) Thanks a ton for your comment!

  • Kimmi
    November 24, 2017 @ 7:30 pm

    This was literally the best thing I’ve ever made! Thank you so much for sharing!! I actually mixed it up, substitutes 1/2 of the coconut oil for Nikki’s coconut butter (honey pecan flavor). Any chance you have the nutritional info for the original recipe?

    Thank you again!

    • Erin replies to Kimmi
      November 25, 2017 @ 3:07 pm

      The coconut butter sub sounds interesting! I’ll have to try that. :) And I was so happy to read that it’s the best thing you’ve ever made. Yay! :) Thanks a bunch for your feedback. I unfortunately don’t have the nutritional info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for that info!

  • Melissa Mcaughty says
    November 20, 2017 @ 10:02 pm

    Could a melted cashew butter work in place of the raw cashews?

    • Erin replies to Melissa Mcaughty
      November 21, 2017 @ 11:24 pm

      I’m guessing so but I haven’t tried it so I can’t be sure. I’d use the same amount by weight (132 grams).

  • Gina says
    November 8, 2017 @ 9:17 pm

    I’ve never baked with almond flour until I tried this recipe. It turned out perfect. I didn’t have cashews and honestly couldn’t be bothered with making the frosting, so we ate it without. It’s plenty sweet enough and we didn’t feel we were missing anything. Less calories, too! But maybe next time I’ll try the frosting. Oh, and I made it in a glass pie plate. Thank you for this recipe.

    • Erin replies to Gina
      November 9, 2017 @ 9:02 pm

      Awesome! I’m happy to hear that you liked it and that it worked out well in a pie plate (and without the frosting!). :) Thanks for your comment.

      • Gina replies to Erin
        November 13, 2017 @ 9:44 pm

        Is it important to refrigerate it afterward so that it doesn’t spoil, or is that just to keep the frosting solid?

        • Erin replies to Gina
          November 13, 2017 @ 11:09 pm

          Both! So if you want to leave it at room temp, just leave it unfrosted until closer to serving time. The unfrosted cake is fine at room temp.

  • Emily says
    November 2, 2017 @ 5:35 pm

    Wow this looks great! I’m trying to avoid dairy and my dad’s allergic to gluten so this sounds perfect for thanksgiving! Life saver!!

    • Erin replies to Emily
      November 3, 2017 @ 7:11 am

      Thank you! I hope you’ll get to try it out. I’d love to hear how it goes. :)

      • Emily
        replies to Erin
        November 10, 2017 @ 4:54 am

        Tested this cake out over the weekend and it was a big hit! My family loved it and I loved the flavor, the frosting was good too but I added a little more maple and even some cinnamon to spice it up. Planning on making a double layer for thanksgiving this year so thanks for the great recipe!

        • Erin replies to Emily
          November 20, 2017 @ 7:10 pm

          I’m happy to hear that it was a big hit! I hope the double layer cake will also come out well. Thanks for your comment and sorry for my slow reply. I just got home from the hospital after giving birth (it was a long stay!).

  • Jessica says
    October 30, 2017 @ 4:03 am

    This looks so tasty, I’m excited to try it! Do you think this will work well for cupcakes?

    • Erin replies to Jessica
      October 30, 2017 @ 6:53 pm

      I think it would! I’m guessing it’d make 16 cupcakes and that you’d bake them at 350F for about 12-16 minutes. I’d love to hear how they come out! :)

      • Jessica
        replies to Erin
        November 1, 2017 @ 7:12 pm

        Thank you! I baked them for 17min at 350, and they came out perfect!! I’m planning to try and make a “keto” version with swerve instead of maple syrup too.

        • Erin replies to Jessica
          November 3, 2017 @ 7:13 am

          Awesome! I’m happy to hear that they came out well. If you make the keto version, I’d be super interested to hear how that goes! Low-carb baking is always a bit of a mystery to me. ;) Thanks for your feedback!

  • Maria says
    October 29, 2017 @ 1:16 am

    Looking forward to making this! Any suggestions for a vegan substitution for the eggs?

    • Erin replies to Maria
      October 29, 2017 @ 7:30 am

      Unfortunately not. :( I think 4 eggs is a bit too much to use a sub for, but I could be wrong! If you try it out, anyway, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  • L Kotara says
    January 5, 2017 @ 5:59 pm

    I made this for Thanksgiving and doubled it up for a 2 layer cake for Christmas. My Gluten free husband and Crossfit/Paleo daughter both thought it tasted so good it had to be bad for you. They were delighted when I read them off the list of ingredients.

    • Erin replies to L Kotara
      January 5, 2017 @ 9:32 pm

      Aww, yay! I’m thrilled that everyone enjoyed it. :) How did the frosting hold up to the layers? Thanks a bunch for your comment!

      • Lorna Kotara replies to Erin
        January 28, 2017 @ 8:06 pm

        I tripled the frosting recipe so I would have enough to cover the 2 layers and have a frosting layer in between. It held up great. I let the cake layers cool completely before frosting.

        • Erin replies to Lorna Kotara
          January 29, 2017 @ 9:36 pm

          That’s great! Thanks for the tip. I’ll definitely try that myself!

  • Celina Taylor
    December 7, 2016 @ 10:04 pm

    My mom made this for me for Thanksgiving because I am allergic to dairy and gluten! It was absolutely delicious.

    • Erin replies to Celina Taylor
      December 8, 2016 @ 9:25 pm

      I’m so happy you liked it! And nice mom. :) Thanks for your comment!

  • Cindy says
    November 22, 2016 @ 1:52 am

    Oh my!! I can’t wait to make this & dive in!

    • Erin replies to Cindy
      November 22, 2016 @ 7:35 pm

      I hope you’ll enjoy it! :)

  • eat good 4 life says
    November 16, 2016 @ 3:47 pm

    This looks plain sensational. I could probably eat the entire thing all by myself. I miss baking lately!!

  • kellie @ the suburban soapbox says
    November 15, 2016 @ 4:31 pm

    This is such a beautiful cake, perfect for Thanksgiving!

  • Julie | This Gal Cooks says
    November 15, 2016 @ 2:45 am

    This cake looks incredible, Erin! I’m not big into sweets until the holidays arrive and once they arrive, I’m a sweets maniac. I need to make this cake because then I can enjoy some sweets without the guilt. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Cathy | Lemon Tree Dwelling says
    November 11, 2016 @ 10:51 pm

    I am DYING over the frosting on this! Looks so good!!

  • Amanda | The Chunky Chef
    November 11, 2016 @ 3:12 am

    This cake is SO gorgeous!!

  • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet says
    November 11, 2016 @ 2:29 am

    The combination of coconut and almond flour sounds wonderful – this cake looks perfect!

  • Charlotte Moore
    November 11, 2016 @ 1:18 am

    It sure looks yummy. The pecans on top look very good too.

  • Renee - Kudos Kitchen says
    November 11, 2016 @ 1:12 am

    This completely looks like the perfect dessert to top of the big Thanksgiving meal. It looks so moist and flavorful, and that frosting….*swoon*

  • Alyssa | EverydayMaven says
    November 11, 2016 @ 12:48 am

    This is a delicious looking cake!

  • Michelle | A Latte Food says
    November 10, 2016 @ 11:17 pm

    Oh my gosh, I’ve totally started a fire in the oven too because of a leaky springform pan! Not my finest moment…lol. This cake is SO beautiful!

  • Joanie @ ZagLeft says
    November 10, 2016 @ 7:37 pm

    This is such a pretty cake, Erin. It looks so moist and would make such a pretty showing on our Thanksgiving table.


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