Deliciously decadent gluten free and vegan pumpkin cake with a dairy free pumpkin spice buttercream frosting! This cake is shaped into a pumpkin and so fun to make and eat!

It’s almost Halloween, so I thought, what cooler way to celebrate than with a pumpkin shaped chocolate pumpkin cake?!

pumpkin cake on marble cake stand

Okay, so I was heavily inspired by John from the Preppy Kitchen for this one. I mean, his creations are just so insane that when I saw this pumpkin shaped cake, I knew I had to make one of my own!

But I made it with a little bit of a twist 😉 You see, this pumpkin spice cake is actually chocolate inside, anddddd it’s also vegan, gluten free, and Paleo.

A cake that’s all that and still tastes good!?

Well, you do believe in magic, don’t you? 😉

close up of pumpkin cake

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The BEST vegan pumpkin cake

What’s cool about this chocolate pumpkin cake is that not only is it incredibly sweet, yet rich, decadent, and chocolatey, but it’s also undetectably and naturally vegan, gluten free, and Paleo.

I kid you not, this is a fully vegan, grain free, and gluten free pumpkin cake!

And in between these chocolatey layers is a deliciously cozy vegan pumpkin spice buttercream frosting.

overhead of pumpkin cake

Now, I know you might be thinking…This looks incredibly hard, how do you expect me to make this?!

First of all, if you’re not up for making this pumpkin spice cake into a pumpkin shaped cake, don’t fret! You can absolutely make this into a three or two layer gluten free pumpkin cake, and frost it as you would a regular cake!

But if you’re up to making this into a pumpkin shaped cake, I’ve created an entire video for you, and I’m going to walk you through it step by step!

How to make a pumpkin shaped cake

While it looks fairly difficult, making a layered chocolate pumpkin cake is not as hard as it seems! And you don’t need a bundt pan 😉

angle of pumpkin cake

The pre-steps you need to take are:

  1. First, preparing your cakes, just as you would a regular cake. We’ll be baking three 6″inch cake layers. Making a vegan pumpkin cake or a gluten free pumpkin cake is not at all different from making a regular pumpkin spice cake!
  2. Then prepare your frosting. You can make a pumpkin spice frosting, a regular orange vegan buttercream frosting, or a vegan cream cheese frosting. The choice is up to you! For a chocolate pumpkin cake, I find using the buttercream frosting is best, as the chocolate is quite sharp, and the sweetness will cut it down 🙂

Once your cake layers have cooled, and your frosting is prepared, let’s get to making your pumpkin shaped cake!

Follow along with the video and check out these steps below!

sliced pumpkin cake

Step 1: Stack your cakes

Stack your chocolate pumpkin cake layers on top of each other, with the vegan buttercream frosting in between each layer (but not on top!).

Then place your cake into the fridge to chill for a bit so that the buttercream can stiffen up.

Step 2: Round the cake layers

Once your cake is chilled, remove it from the fridge, and start to shave off the sides of the cake so that they’re rounded like a pumpkin.

Don’t worry about the ridges at first though. Just focus on getting the cake to be more oval/round than cylindrical. I recommend using a big bread knife and just going to town.

You’ll make a mess, but it’s worth it! And save the scraps for later 🙂 You can either use that as your stem or just save them to crumble on top of ice cream!

slices of pumpkin cake

Step 3: Carve the ridges + crumb coat

Make little hash marks into the sides of your chocolate pumpkin cake where the ridges of a pumpkin would go.

Then carve them out so that you can see the defined ridges of your pumpkin.

Next up, put a base layer of vegan buttercream on, otherwise known as crumb coating. This will help you when you go back to frost later, as then you won’t have to deal with any annoying crumbs!

Place your cake back into the fridge to chill for a little.

close up of pumpkin cake sliced

Step 4: Frost!

My favorite part 🙂 Use a frosting knife and frost the entire cake with the rest of your vegan buttercream. If you haven’t dyed your frosting orange, you can mix together either turmeric and beet powder, or purchase natural food dyes at your local grocery store.

To get a smooth icing, place your cake back into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Then smooth the frosting with clean hands (or gloves) to shape the frosting.

For the stem of your pumpkin shaped cake, you can either use the cake scraps from your vegan pumpkin cake, or you can use a stem from an actual pumpkin!

pumpkin cake

I hope you love this vegan chocolate pumpkin cake as much as I do 🙂 If you’re not up for making it into a pumpkin, not a problem! Just keep it as a regular layer cake and make a fun scene on top!

If you give this cake a go, let me know how it turned out in the comments below! As always, I absolutely love seeing your creations, so be sure to tag me on Instagram and Pinterest, and I’ll re-share with the community!

Happy pumpkin cake carving!

slices of pumpkin cake

More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes:

Paleo Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

Healthy Pumpkin Bread

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

pinterest image for pumpkin cake
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pumpkin cake on marble cake stand

Vegan Pumpkin Cake (Gluten Free + Paleo)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American


Deliciously decadent gluten free and vegan pumpkin cake with a dairy free pumpkin spice buttercream frosting! This cake is shaped into a pumpkin and so fun to make and eat!



Chocolate Pumpkin Cake:

  • 3 cupcassava flour
  • 1 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder (or 1 tsp baking soda + 2 tsp vinegar)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 1/4 cups pea milk, coconut milk, or almond milk
  • 2  cups pumpkin puree 

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Buttercream:

  • 2 cups vegan butter, softened but still cold
  • 56 cups powdered sugar or coconut sugar, pureed into powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder 
  • 1 tsp beet powder, or natural food dye
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Optional: 1/2 cup pumpkin puree


Chocolate Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line three 6-inch springform pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together cassava flour, cacao powder, pumpkin pie spice, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, optional espresso powder, and sea salt.
  3. Add in unsweetened applesauce, dairy free milk, pumpkin puree, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. Mix either with a spoon or hand mixer until thoroughly combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly amongst the 3 pans and place into the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes.
  5. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before leveling out.
  6. Let cool completely before frosting.

Pumpkin Spice Frosting:

  • Place softened vegan butter into a large bowl and use a large hand mixer to beat the butter until whipped.
  • Sift in the powdered sugar or coconut sugar in increments, continuing to beat the mixture the entire time.
  • Add in the food coloring and continue to mix until fluffy.
  • Store in the fridge until ready to frost.

Assembly of Pumpkin Shaped Cake:

  1. Once the layers have cooled, stack them on a cake stand or plate, smearing about 1/3 cup frosting in between the first and second layers, and the second and third layers.
  2. Place into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the fridge and sculpt the cake into the shape of a circle or oval.
  4. Score the cake for the pumpkin ridges, and gently carve into the cake to create the ridges.
  5. Crumb coat the cake and place it back into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  6. When you’re ready for the final frosting, remove the cake from the fridge and frost it all around, using a frosting knife.
  7. Place the cake back into the fridge to harden the frosting for 30 minutes, if you want to smooth the frosting over.
  8. If you want to smooth the frosting, remove it from the fridge and use gloves or clean hands to rub the frosting smooth.
  9. Serve and enjoy!


For completely Paleo frosting: use coconut sugar rather than powdered sugar, but puree the coconut sugar in a food processor to make into a powder. Your frosting will be more caramel colored.

For the pumpkin color: use either turmeric and beet powder or natural food dye for coloring.

pinterest image for pumpkin cake