Joyous Blog

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Oct 3, 2018 BY Joy McCarthy

You know how I was peach obsessed for most of August and September which turned into an apple obsession (did you try my Mini Apple Tarts )? Well now it's pumpkins!

The seasons are changing and I am enjoying everything the fall harvest has to offer. We have yet to go to a pumpkin patch as a family, but it's on my list! The pumpkin I used to make this cake with was from my local farmers market. It was a decent size so I actually got two recipes (including pumpkin chocolate chip muffins) out of it and I still have some leftover to make soup!

It smelled delicious when it was baking. You may want to skip this extra step to save time but I promise you, if you have the time, it's worth it to roast your own pumpkin. It's SO MUCH better than canned – more flavourful and nutrient-dense.

The colour of the pumpkin is totally different than canned too. Isn't it gorgeous? It's the colour of sunshine and we could sure use some more of that in Toronto. It's been sooooo grey here, waaah!

But of course, don't feel bad if you use canned. I totally get it! I roasted the pumpkin while I was in the office working one afternoon so it took me no time at all. While I worked way, the pumpkin roasted and before I knew it, I had beautiful, fleshy yellow pumpkin just begging to be turned into pumpkin cake. I've included the recipe instructions for roasting pumpkin below in case you're feeling like you'd like to do that. 

Pumpkins are incredibly tasty but not overpowering and they add a moistness to this cake that you really can't duplicate any other way. 

Just like all winter squashes, pumpkin is a nourishing superfood.

It's loaded with  immune boosting vitamin C and beta-carotene. 

Once you've got all your ingredients ready, you'll likely notice that it seems like you've got too little coconut flour. If you're a coconut flour virgin, you're gonna be like "Joy made a mistake with the amount". I promise you, it's 100% accurate! 

Coconut flour absorbs an insane amount of moisture and you can just see how fluffy this cake is. Coconut flour is an amazing flour if you use it in the right amounts in the right recipe, like this one! It's also very filling because as far as flours go, it has the highest amount of protein and fibre compared to nearly every other flour. 

Looking at this cake, you might be thinking it needs icing, but honestly it doesn't! It's got so much flavour all on it's own from those four wonderful spices I added (and yes you can use "pumpkin spice" – I just like doing it myself). However, if I was to make an icing, I would infuse the icing with orange zest. I feel like those flavours would go amazing together.

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I really wanted to make a coconut whipped cream, but I didn't have the right brand of coconut milk (this one from Cha's Organics is usually my go-to!). Coconut whipped cream is THE MOST FINICKY recipe ever so that's why it's not on my blog. But who cares when you have coconut milk vanilla ice cream and you can buy from six bucks from the store like I did!

Back to this recipe though ... you know how I was saying that coconut flour absorbs a LOT of moisture? Well, this is why you need to let the batter rest a few minutes before pouring it into your baking pan and tossing it in the oven. 

This is what it should look like before letting it rest ...

... and what it should look like after it's rested. See how much the batter changes in just a few minutes? This is key!

And see those clumps? Don't freak out! It's normal. That helps the cake be fluffy. It doesn't need to be perfectly smooth. I mean, look how perfect it turned out! 

I pretty much always use parchment paper. It just makes it easier to remove the cake from the pan and place it on the cooling rack. I always recycle or compost the paper and dependin on the recipe, sometimes I can reuse it!

Now for whatever reason, I couldn't get Vienna to try this cake. Mind you, she's had the stomach flu for 48 hours this week, so maybe she just wasn't in the mood, but she sure gobbled up these cookies we made together! Did you see our LIVE video making them on facebook? If you haven't, you must check it out. It's over on my private Joyous Detox Community but it's free to join!

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Anyhow, I will try again when she's feeling better because I think this cake would definitely be toddler-approved. It's holistic nutritionist/mama approved, that's for sure! I made it for my parents the other weekend and they LOVED it. I made it with canned pumpkin that time and the result was a much darker cake, but it was still super tasty. 

Are you ready for this recipe?

This recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar free and can be enjoyed by many!

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 6 large eggs*
  • 2/3 cup pureed pumpkin**
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180 C). Line an 8x8 inch square or round baking pan with parchment paper or grease it with coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, spices, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, then add in pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix completely and let batter rest for 3 minutes. Once batter has rested, mix again. This is a necessary step for the coconut flour to absorb all the water. It may seem thick and clumpy, this is normal.
  5. Spoon batter into cake pan. Bake for 25 minutes on convection setting or 30-35 on normal bake setting or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with coconut milk vanilla ice cream. EnJOY!
  7. Store in fridge for up to 5 days or tightly wrapped in the freezer for a month.


Serves 8-9.

*I've made this with 4 eggs before and it works, but it gets nice and fluffy with 6.
**You can use canned pumpkin, just make sure it has no added sugar. If you decide to roast your own pumpkin, then see my recipe below.

It's a very easy recipe too. No blender or mixer or food processor needed! Just a couple of bowls, a whisk and a spatula. 

Also in case you wanted to make your own pumpkin puree, here's my recipe:

  • 1 small pumpkin*
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Cut hole in the top of the pumpkin, around the stem. This will make it easier to handle the pumpkin and cut it into chunks.
  2. Clean out the pumpkin guts and seeds with a spoon by scraping the sides down.
  3. Place chunks of pumpkin, flesh side up on a baking sheet. Bake for 50-60 minutes until fork tender.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Scrape out pumpkin flesh and put into a high powder blender. Add water and blend until a very thick puree. I use the word puree loosely. Check out my photo and you'll see it's not overly wet.
  5. Freeze in an airtight container for future use, or use right away!


This pumpkin puree is meant for my pumpkin pie or pumpkin cake.
*The pumpkin should be small and they are usually labeled "Pie pumpkin".

If you're a Canadian reader, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Be sure to check back for my Thanksgiving recipe roundup for the most joyous Thanksgiving dinner ever!

Thank you for being a part of my community whether you're new to the blog or you've been here for years -- I truly appreciate you. And, I LOVE when you comment. So do tell me what you think!

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!


Oct 3, 2018 BY Joy McCarthy
Sarah   •   October 3, 2018

Just made your pumpkin muffins and have been devouring for breakfast. This recipe looks like a winner too! Can’t wait to try - Sarah

Joy McCarthy   •   October 4, 2018

Yay! This recipe is essentially the pumpkin muffins, enJOY!

Steph   •   October 4, 2018

Yum! I have a little pumpkin in my kitchen that wants to be this cake for Thanksgiving :). Thank you!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 4, 2018

Awesome! Glad you got the recipe just in the nick of time :)

Rebecca   •   October 4, 2018

Think I could sub whole wheat flour or almond flour for the coconut flour?

Joy McCarthy   •   October 4, 2018

Yes you could but you'd need to at least double the amount or more. I only used 1/2 cup coconut flour because it expands substantially. I would think 1.5 cups whole wheat, but don't quote me on that because I'm really not sure if it will work given that I haven't tried it. 

Deborah   •   October 4, 2018

If I were to use pumpkin spice instead of the spices listed what amount would u recommend? Thank u :)

Joy McCarthy   •   October 4, 2018

I would do about 2.5 tsp of pumpkin pie spice :)

Jenny Rose   •   October 4, 2018

In the oven as I write this! Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family xo

Joy McCarthy   •   October 4, 2018

Wonderful! Thanks so much Jenny, you too! :) 

Marla Tonon   •   October 4, 2018

Amazing alternative to traditional pumpkin pie! I made this with 1.5 cups of brown rice flour instead of coconut flour (which I thought I had but didn’t!). Turned out wonderful! Dense and fluffy all at the same time. Thanks Joy!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 4, 2018

Thank you so much for telling me that Marla! Always good to know it's been tested with other flours. Glad you loved it!

Whittney A.   •   October 5, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving, Joy! I am grateful for your incredibly validating comment regarding coconut whipped cream. I have tried so many times with disappointing results, so I’m happy to hear it’s not just me!!! 😜

Joy McCarthy   •   October 5, 2018

No it's not you at all. It only works with VERY few brands so there's almost no point in having the recipe on my site. I do have it in the "detox desserts" ebook, but it's such a hit and miss recipe. 

Laura   •   October 5, 2018

Definitely going to bake this cake for Thanksgiving this weekend. Thank you for sharing! Also, what brand of coconut milk ice cream do you use?

Joy McCarthy   •   October 5, 2018

I use a couple of different brands but my favourite is definitely Coconut Bliss ice cream. I buy it from my local health food store, although I've seen it in big box grocery stores too. 

illy   •   October 5, 2018

Can we use 2 tsp of pumpkin spice powder instead of the individual spices listed?

Joy McCarthy   •   October 6, 2018

Yep for sure! Enjoy!

Julie   •   October 7, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving! I will try this recipe today, thanks!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 7, 2018

Wonderful, enjoy!

Laura   •   October 8, 2018

Made this yesterday for Thanksgiving and it was amazing. Followed the 6 egg recommendation and it literally came out tasting like the filling of a pumpkin pie. Had to bake it for more like 30 mins, but was using the toothpick test. Will be making these into muffins this week. Thanks

Joy McCarthy   •   October 9, 2018

Oh strange! Sorry to hear, that's the first I've heard of that happening but you can get so many different results with varying oven temps and such. Hope you have better luck with muffins!

Sonya-Alicia T.   •   October 9, 2018

Thank you for another successful and delicious recipe! The family and I enjoyed it. Thanks for everything you do !

Joy McCarthy   •   October 9, 2018

You're most welcome Sonya-Alicia! Glad you and your family loved it :)

Joanne   •   October 9, 2018

Delicious! I too used brown rice flour, and also coconut butter instead of oil, and it is so good. The coconut butter maybe made it a little denser, and not as fluffy, but I was trying to entice my hubs to try it as he's not big on coconut flavour. A winner! I have leftover purée so I'm going to make some mini cupcakes, with coconut oil this time. Thanks Joy for another fab recipe! 😋

Joy McCarthy   •   October 9, 2018

Interesting! I would not have thought coconut butter would work so thanks for letting me know. Sounds like a delicious alternative!! 

Killeen   •   October 9, 2018

Going to make this for my dad's birthday this year. Thanks for sharing this delicious-looking recipe!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 9, 2018

Great idea! ENJOY!

Samantha   •   October 9, 2018

It's only Tuesday and now I am soooo ready for the weekend so I can try this recipe. I LOVE PUMPKIN and I know I will love this cake. Thank you, Joy!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 9, 2018

Yay! Awesome, enjoy Samantha!

Mary   •   October 9, 2018

I just made this—so excited!—but it didn’t bake properly, even though I kept it in the oven for a long time. I did use flax eggs as my son is vegan—could this have been the problem? It never set. I love all your recipes and want this to work! Any advice?

Joy McCarthy   •   October 9, 2018

Hi Mary, Sorry to hear that! not sure if you saw in the comments but unfortunately coconut flour is not a flour that works well without eggs, especially when the recipe has as many eggs as this one. You could try making it with brown rice flour instead and then try the flax egg. I think you'd have better luck with that! Hope that helps :)

Rebecca   •   October 12, 2018

Can you roast the seeds from a pie pumpkin? Do they provide any nutrition or just a fun snack?

Joy McCarthy   •   October 13, 2018

I didn't this time but I absolutely recommend it! Yes, they are a source of fibre, vitamin E and good fats. I would roast at a low temp with some olive oil and sea salt :)

Lisa   •   October 14, 2018

How could i make a sugar free version? For a Candida diet.

Joy McCarthy   •   October 15, 2018

That's a tough recipe to make sugar-free. I would suggest stevia, but the challenge is you need the liquid from the maple syrup to add moisture to the recipe. Sorry Lisa, but I don't think this recipe can be made completely sugar-free. 

Sharon R   •   October 16, 2018

I made your Pumpkin Spice Cake yesterday and wanted to thank you for such a yummy recipe! I love that it's gluten-free

Joy McCarthy   •   October 16, 2018

Glad you love it Sharon!

Jackie   •   October 16, 2018

Another amaaaaazing recipe Joy! This cake is so yummy!! Thank you so much :)

Joy McCarthy   •   October 17, 2018

Yay! Glad to hear it. My pleasure, enjoy!

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