Pumpkin Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting (gluten-free, whole grain, all-purpose flour options)

This pumpkin cake is light and moist and has a lightly sweetened maple syrup mascarpone whipped cream topping! Can be made gluten-free, 100% whole wheat or with all-purpose flour.

I don’t make many cakes because I think they’re too fussy, but this? This is the perfect cake for those of us who can’t decorate or have issues in general with layer cakes! Out of all the cakes I’ve posted, this is definitely my favorite. The pumpkin cake is light and flavorful and the frosting… it’s just perfect.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting – can be made gluten-free, 100% whole wheat or with all-purpose flour.

I had a tub and a half of mascarpone cheese leftover and I knew I wanted to use it with pumpkin. Mascarpone isn’t the cheapest ingredient out there and I didn’t want to waste it by mixing it into something that’d yield just a slight mascarpone flavor. I wanted the mascarpone to be really obvious. At first I tried these pumpkin mascarpone muffins, which were lovely, but the mascarpone filling was a little strange.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting – so light and wonderfully flavorful! Can be made gluten-free, 100% whole wheat or with all-purpose flour.

So I decided on this maple mascarpone whipped cream frosting which is now my favorite frosting ever. It’s entirely maple syrup sweetened, not too sweet and you can actually taste the maple syrup in the frosting, which I love. I often use maple syrup as a sweetener but it’s rare that you actually taste it (unless it’s in a glaze or something like that). So here. A perfect use of maple syrup and mascarpone!

Contrary to the picture above, the cake doesn’t collapse when you dig in. Here’s a picture to prove it!

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting – can be made gluten-free, 100% whole wheat or with all-purpose flour.

The frosting gets its light and airy texture from the addition of whipped cream. If you have heavy cream on hand, I’m assuming that’ll work just fine here.

I used coconut sugar in the pumpkin cake and that’s why it came out a little browner and less orange than most pumpkin cakes. It didn’t affect the taste, though!

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting - can be made gluten-free, 100% whole wheat or with all-purpose flour.

To decorate, I used these healthier maple candied walnuts that I posted the other day. The cake absolutely doesn’t need the nuts – it tastes amazing without them! They were just for decoration. Only add them immediately before serving, though, as they’ll sweat otherwise.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting (gluten-free, whole grain, all-purpose flour options)

Rated 5.0 by 7 readers
Pumpkin Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting  (gluten-free, whole grain, all-purpose flour options)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 12 pieces


    For the cake:

  • 1 cup (125 grams) whole wheat flour, whole spelt flour, all-purpose flour or 1 cup (134 grams) 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour for a GF version
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup (228 grams) canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup (200 grams) unrefined, coconut or brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) olive oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • For the mascarpone whipped cream frosting:

  • 8 ounces (225 grams) mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a dash of salt
  • maple candied walnuts, as garnish, optional


    For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line an 8" x 8" (20cm x 20cm) pan with parchment paper or spray with baking spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg).
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining cake ingredients (eggs through oil).
  4. Add the dry mix to the wet and stir just until combined. Do not overmix!
  5. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Let cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the frosting:

  8. In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the mascarpone and whipping cream until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
  9. Fold in the maple syrup, vanilla and salt.
  10. Spread onto the cooled cake.
  11. Top with candied walnuts immediately before serving, if desired.
  12. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 4 days.

Cake part adapted from Ina Garten's Pumpkin Cupcakes

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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36 comments on “Pumpkin Cake with Maple Mascarpone Frosting (gluten-free, whole grain, all-purpose flour options)” — Add one!

  • Dharunya says
    February 9, 2020 @ 4:34 pm

    Hello, planning on making this for a friend’s birthday. He doesn’t eat eggs. What can I substitute the eggs with.?

    • Erin replies to Dharunya
      February 13, 2020 @ 1:22 pm

      Sorry for just now seeing your question! I haven’t tried it but I imagine flax eggs or chia eggs would work.

  • Paula
    June 3, 2018 @ 10:54 pm

    I’m making this cake for muy dad”s birthday, I’m dure it’ll be a success just as allí your other recipes I’ve tried. I wanted to ask for your opinion about adding some cocoa and making this into a chocolate cake, what do you think? Maybe decrease the amount of flour?

    • Erin replies to Paula
      June 5, 2018 @ 8:25 pm

      Sorry for just now seeing your question! I’m happy to hear that you’ve had success with some of my other recipes. :) Unfortunately I have no idea. It’d require reworking the recipe quite a bit. You’re right about needing to decrease the amount of flour, but I have no clue as to how much cocoa powder you’d need to add and how much flour to decrease without trying it myself. So sorry I couldn’t be more helpful! Hope your dad has a great birthday. :) I have a super delicious chocolate cupcakes recipe that would be great in cake form, if that helps!

      • Paula replies to Erin
        June 6, 2018 @ 3:29 pm

        Thank you! Yes, I’ve made your delicious chocolate cupcakes on more than one occasion. They are always a hit.

        • Erin replies to Paula
          June 7, 2018 @ 8:15 pm

          Oh, ok! Glad to hear that. :)

  • MP says
    December 28, 2017 @ 10:31 pm

    Does the frosting recipe make just enough for the 8×8 cake? How many cupcakes would you say this amount of frosting would frost? Thank you.

    • Erin replies to MP
      January 4, 2018 @ 4:20 pm

      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment! Things have been chaotic around here lately. The frosting makes enough to just frost an 8×8, but with a thick layer like you see in the pictures. I’m guessing it’d be enough for 12 cupcakes, but it’s really just a guess. Note that it’s too soft for piping, though!

  • Lauren
    October 30, 2016 @ 3:14 am

    Just made this for the millionth time! It’s truly a no-fail recipe. And I didn’t quite have enough pumpkin so I subbed a little mashed up sweet potato. Thanks Erin!

    • Erin replies to Lauren
      October 30, 2016 @ 11:46 am

      Yay! That’s great. And good to know that a little sweet potato works well! You got me thinking that maybe I should try a sweet potato version of this cake. :) Thanks as always for your feedback!

  • Patti says
    July 2, 2016 @ 12:21 am

    Oh this sounds so yummy. I need to be gluten free. Is there another flour I can use. Oh I hope so I’m dying to make this.


    • Erin replies to Patti
      July 2, 2016 @ 10:13 pm

      I haven’t tried it here but I think Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour might work. I’ve had good luck with it! Let me know how it goes if you try it out. :) Enjoy!

  • lauren
    April 29, 2016 @ 6:05 pm

    I want to make this frosting to go on (your) chocolate cupcake recipe. Any idea on subbing the maple syrup? Not sure how that will taste with a chocolate cake.

    • Erin replies to lauren
      April 29, 2016 @ 9:28 pm

      Oooh, that’d be delicious! I love this frosting. The paleo frosting I recently posted would also go well (there aren’t any weird ingredients in there, by the way). You could use powdered sugar instead of maple syrup. Just add enough to taste! I don’t think you’ll need much.

      • lauren
        replies to Erin
        April 29, 2016 @ 11:32 pm

        It worked well; I subbed marshmallow creme for the syrup :)

        • Erin replies to lauren
          May 1, 2016 @ 8:23 pm

          That’s an interesting sub! I would have never thought of that. I’m so happy it came out well! :)

  • lauren
    October 31, 2014 @ 12:43 am

    Made it for myself, my kids and husband ate most of it! I used equal parts freshly ground spelt and whole wheat flours. This was my first time baking a cake with coconut sugar and the texture was just as good as if I had used real sugar.

    • Erin replies to lauren
      October 31, 2014 @ 11:36 pm

      I’m so happy that your kids and husband enjoyed it! I bet this would be even better with spelt. I’m going to try that next time! And awesome that you tried coconut sugar and liked it. I love using it in spicy or chocolate goodies! Thanks so much for the feedback and for all your other comments (I replied to those, too!)

  • Rose | The Clean Dish says
    October 21, 2014 @ 6:40 pm

    Mascarpone is a little pricy indeed! I buy mine at Trader Joe’s sometimes – it’s affordable there (but sadly, not organic). Your pumpkin cake is a dream!! I’m taking a break from baking this week but THIS is on my list for next week :)

    • Erin replies to Rose | The Clean Dish
      October 24, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

      Are you serious?! Why are you baking a grain-containing cake? I’d be so happy if you made this!

  • Sheila
    October 20, 2014 @ 4:45 am

    I made this cake on the weekend and it was a complete showstopper. I made a double batch and baked it in a Bundt pan for 1 hour and 10 minutes. I made it gluten free and used Bob’s Red Mill GF mix. I also used brown sugar instead of coconut sugar. It worked fabulously. The cake was moist with the perfect density. I used goat cheese instead of marscarpone with the result being a creamy not so sweet spread. I added the carmelized walnuts for the topping. The mixture of sweet, tart, pumpkin and spice was truly memorable. Just enough flavour, with the cake being not too heavy and not too light. As I said the cake looked beautiful and my guests raved about it. Again Erin you provided us with a winner. Keep them coming. Sheila from Ottawa

    • Erin replies to Sheila
      October 20, 2014 @ 2:14 pm

      Oooh… this cake in a bundt pan sounds great! I’m so happy it came out well for you. And it’s great to know that a GF mix worked well here! Hopefully that’ll help some others. Thank you very much for your feedback! It’s comment like this that make me keep going with blogging. :)

  • Lisa | Mummy Made.It says
    October 16, 2014 @ 12:37 pm

    I love baking with vegetables. Pumpkins are so moist and an easy way to hide veggies. I make my own DF mascarpone and I love mascarpone frosting!

    • Erin replies to Lisa | Mummy Made.It
      October 17, 2014 @ 5:38 pm

      OH! Do you have a link to the DF mascarpone?! I had a DF reader asking for a DF frosting recipe after this recipe went out. I would really appreciate it! :)

  • holly waterfall says
    October 15, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

    Holy marscapone! I never buy it because it’s so pricey, but I’m really thinking I need to try a marscapone frosting!

    • Erin replies to holly waterfall
      October 17, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

      Exactly! It’s one of the only ways that mascarpone is prominent enough to warrant the cost. :)

  • Medeja says
    October 15, 2014 @ 11:25 am

    This cake looks so perfect and so delicious!

    • Erin replies to Medeja
      October 17, 2014 @ 5:55 pm

      Thank you, Medeja! :)

  • Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies says
    October 14, 2014 @ 7:33 pm

    OMG mascarpone frosting! I’m dying. Dying because I want this and dying because the only place that sells mascarpone here is Walmart and they only have it about 33% of the time. :'(

  • Petra says
    October 14, 2014 @ 4:27 pm

    Oh! This both looks and sounds incredible! We don’t have canned pumpkin puree in Sweden, does it contain something other than pumpkin, like added sugar or something like that? Otherwise I think I could just make my own puree and use that. What do you think?

    • Erin replies to Petra
      October 14, 2014 @ 4:48 pm

      Tjena! :) Canned pumpkin is pure pumpkin puree so homemade will work. The only thing is that you may need to strain it to get rid of some of the water. I found this picture which compares homemade (left) and canned (right) so that you’ll know about how thick it should be. I hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by. :)

  • Charlotte Moore
    October 14, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

    Oh boy, another recipe I am sure our oldest grandson will love. I have never used mascarpone cheese.

  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl says
    October 14, 2014 @ 3:50 pm

    Holy smokes!!!


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