This pumpkin layer cake has a tangy cream cheese-like frosting and is moist, fluffy and delicious! It’s also vegan friendly with a gluten-free option included!
With only a couple of weeks left until Thanksgiving, I feel like I only have a few more days to enjoy all the pumpkin things until cookie season + Christmas takes over! Pumpkin has to be one of my favorite fall flavors. From pancakes and muffins, to cheesecake and pie, I love alllllll the pumpkin treats, including this pumpkin cake layered with a tangy cream cheese-like frosting!
I say “cream cheese-like” because cream cheese is one of those products my taste buds like but my body hates. I have a very particular sensitivity to certain dairy products, including milk and cream cheese, where I get migraines if I consume them.
The funny thing is, I usually just use dairy-free cream cheese in lieu of regular cream cheese in frostings like this, but I had the worst experience with my recent vegan “cream cheese” frosting, which made me scramble to come up with another alternative.
For some reason, when you beat vegan cream cheese, I’m not sure if the addition of sugar has anything to do with it, but it begins to get very soft and liquidy. No matter how much powdered sugar I added, it would not firm up, and I really wanted to pipe some decorations on top. Oh well, I gave up on fancy decorations and just frosted it casually, then popped it in the fridge to set.
Hours later, I took it out to photograph, and after cutting the cake, the loose frosting had the cake layers sliding all over the place and my cake ended up falling apart. In the middle of my photoshoot. And I didn’t get any good photos to show for all of that hard work. Waaaaaaaahhhhhh!!! 😫😭
Oh well, you live and learn. No matter how long you’ve been baking or how many cakes you’ve made, it still doesn’t make you exempt from failing. I had to remind myself of that as I picked up the pieces of my fallen cake and wiped away my tears of frustration.
I stepped away from this recipe for a few days, then came back determined to figure out an alternative. I’ve made a cashew “cream cheese” frosting before (recipe here), but I wanted to come up with something more simple and less costly than buying a few pounds of cashews. I thought I’d try using just butter and the tangy ingredients from the cashew frosting, like apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.
It turned out better than expected! So much so, that this will be my dairy-free frosting go-to when I want that traditional cream cheese frosting flavor.
This pumpkin cake is vegan friendly and can be made gluten-free, but it’s so delicious, your dairy & gluten loving friends won’t even know it. Because of that, it’s a great dessert choice when you have people both with and without food sensitivities. I even included naturally sweetened options for the cake and frosting as well.
So now the only issue you’ll have is deciding whether to make a single or double batch of frosting! If you like lots of frosting or would like to decorate the top, I suggest making 1.5–2x the recipe! Enjoy!😋Print