Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks Recipes: Pumpkin Desserts

When it comes time for dessert how about celebrating the day with what's perfectly in season....pumpkins! I have a relatively new recipe to share with you that is super easy to prepare and always a crowd pleaser. A Pumpkin Spice Cake, cooked to perfection in a bundt pan.

Other great recipe ideas from the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook include, my delicious vegan, gluten-free, soy-free Pumpkin Pie. Also, a simple Pumpkin Pudding made from tapioca pearls, maple syrup, and cashews (and a few spices). Or how about my Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies, those also have pumpkin in them. Mmm delicious, I just love pumpkin anything!

I normally don't bake things with a lot of sugar, but when creating this recipe my gut feeling was that it needed this amount. Be sure to have all of your ingredients at room temperature. If your shortening is too cold it won't cream with the sugar and pumpkin puree. And last but not least, please use an electric mixer. It will whip air into the batter resulting in a lighter cake.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

The rich flavors of autumn come together beautifully in this warming, spicy, pumpkin cake. It is baked in a bundt pan to make sure it cooks evenly.

1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 cup organic palm shortening
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
1 ½ cups coconut sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a bundt pan with a little shortening. I use a natural stone bundt pan (no toxic non-stick pans in my kitchen)!

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In another large bowl beat together with an electric mixer the shortening, pumpkin, sugar, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and continue to beat. Slowly add the cup of milk as you are mixing. Continue to beat for another 60 seconds or so.

Scoop batter into prepared bundt pan and spread it evenly throughout.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Let pan cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before flipping cake out onto a plate or cake platter.

After the cake is completely cool you can drizzle a glaze over the top of it made from powdered coconut sugar and a little non-dairy-milk.

Tips for a safe Gluten-Free Thanksgiving:

  • Be very careful about cross-contamination! Think about bread crumbs on cutting boards, flour dust on the counters, knives and serving spoons used to serve a gluten dish and then dipped into a gluten-free dish. Oh I know it can be frustrating.
  • Use arrowroot or superfine sweet rice flour to thicken your gravy (about 1 tablespoon per 1 to 1.5 cups of pan juices)
  • Be clear with other family members or friends what your needs are. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone! And if you were wondering what we will be doing....we are going to be celebrating with friends, 21 friends to be exact, actually 21 gluten-free friends. All together there will be 27 of us! We will celebrate with a fabulous gluten-free feast and a hike through the woods.

~May your Giving Thanks Day be blessed with love and laughter!~

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Mmmmm, this cake looks good! I made your Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit. No one knew that it was made with all the good stuff. Thanks for your all of your amazing recipes!!!! -J

  2. Made this cake yesterday and brought it to a work party this afternoon and everyone raved about it. Thanks so much for sharing. I will sure be back for more recipes.

  3. I made this cake for a fall harvest festival brunch and it was delightfully good. No one would guess that it was gluten free or "different" in any way from a traditional pumpkin spice cake. Definitely a good special occasion treat, especially one that involves feeding a large group. I don't think I'd want it around the house since we have a rather small family and it's a big cake that I'd likely eat all by myself :-). Sharing is good!

  4. This cake is really delicious. Being new to gluten free baking, I was wondering about substituting part of the fat with applesauce. Would that work in this recipe? Or in gluten free baking in general?
    Thanks for the great recipes!

  5. This is a good cake to bring to a large gathering. I think I would eat the whole thing myself too if it were to sit on my counter! I brought it to numerous festivities last winter/fall and it was a hit. I agree with you all, nobody knew it was free of anything. Thanks for your comments - not sure why I never got to responding. :)

    Brenda - I think some folks reading this blog do substitute part of the fat for applesauce. Your best bet is to just experiment and see what happens. I find that the fat helps to "tenderize" the gluten-free flours creating a nice crumb. Hope this helps! :)

  6. DELICIOUS! This is a real keeper, so moist and flavorful. My husband and I had our friends Bri and Mike over for a fall theme meal and this was the perfect dessert. I used coconut oil instead of the palm oil with luscious results. Try it, you'll say Mmmmm with every bite! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  7. Thanks for the comment about using coconut oil instead of palm oil. Palm oil is harder to find here than coconut oil.

  8. Do you think coconut sugar could be used in place of the brown sugar? I'll let you know how the experiment goes, unless anyone has thoughts or has tried it already.

    I might try it with the yummy frosting and hazelnuts over at My New Roots...mmm.

  9. This cake was so good! Made it for my daughters bday celebration. My mother-in-law even had a piece and loved it and she never has dessert. I want to make this ahead of time for Thanksgiving and a party on the following Sat. Could it be frozen or would it last for a few days in the fridge?

  10. It works well with coconut sugar. I might try making it into cupcakes this weekend for a gathering.

  11. I am looking to convert your Banana Walnut Muffins to Pumpkin muffins. It looks like I can switch out the bananas with equal amount of pumpkin, perhaps add 1/4 cup of sugar? Another concern is perhaps the pumpkin has more water in it than the bananas? What do you recommend?

  12. I made this today for a christmas party and everyone loved it (even wheat-eaters). I used coconut oil and sugar and made a frosting with powdered coconut sugar, which was a great combo with the pumpkin. Thanks for the recipe (and all the others).

  13. This cake is awesome! I did make a few subs to cut down the fat and sugar with things I had on hand: 1/2 c. coconut oil with 1/2 cup applesauce, and 3/4 c. brown sugar with a small ripe banana. Also added 1/2 c. chopped pecans and chocolate chips (so probably didn't save on fat and calories, but I love the combo of pumpkin and chocolate). Also made a slurry of 1.5 tsp. Chia with 1.5 tsp. boiling water in place of the Xanthan gum and mixed in with the wet ingredients. Thanks for a great Fall recipe.

  14. This cake was wonderful! I made it with the dairy free cream cheese icing from the cookbook (amazing by the way - i would pay the price of the cookbook just for that icing recipe alone!) and I doubled the recipe and baked it in two round cake pans (definitely let it go the full 55 minutes or more in these pans even if it looks done! I had a gooey center and had to put it back in) then I cut them each in half to make four layers. I iced inbetween each layer and on top only, nothing on the sides, then topped with two cinnamon sticks (one laying across the other). It was beautiful and a huge hit. I used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar which gave it a roasted marshmallow flavor that everyone enjoyed. Thank you Ali for sharing this wonderful recipe! I use both your cookbooks every week and sure hope you and Tom are going to put out another one one day!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)