Vegan Pumpkin Snack Cake

This Vegan Pumpkin Snack Cake is perfectly moist, full of cozy fall spices, and topped with dusting of cinnamon sugar. It’s so easy to whip up, you’ll want to make this recipe on the regular!

Squares of pumpkin snack cake on parchment paper next to bundle of cinnamon sticks

If you’re not vegan, you probably have some preconceived notions about vegan baked goods. Well, this recipe is here to change your mind. You don’t need eggs or dairy to make a moist, flavorful cake—and you don’t need to be vegan to enjoy this pumpkin snack cake, either. Maybe you just have a hankering for cake and you don’t have eggs on hand!

This recipe works because pumpkin happens to be an excellent stand-in for eggs in quick breads, muffins, and cakes. As a bonus, it’s also commonly used as a substitute for oil and butter, so the pumpkin really does double-duty here—you can get away with adding less oil (and no butter) thanks to the pumpkin, too. 

Don’t go thinking this snack cake tastes like diet food, though! It has a tender crumb, a lovely crust from the cinnamon sugar sprinkled over the top before baking, and it’s everything you want in a pumpkin-y treat. 

Overhead view of pumpkin snack cake cut into squares

What You’ll Need

If you have a can of pumpkin puree and a well-stocked pantry, you can probably head to the kitchen right now and get started on this cake! Here’s what you’ll need for the recipe.

For the Pumpkin Snack Cake:

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Nutmeg – Fresh is best, but the jarred kind works too!
  • Brown sugar – Use light or dark.
  • Vanilla
  • Vegetable oil – Canola oil can be substituted.
  • Pumpkin puree – If you use canned instead of homemade pumpkin puree, you’ll have just enough leftover to make my Ultimate Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.
  • Water or almond milk – Or another non-dairy milk you like or happen to have on hand.

For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

  • White sugar
  • Ground cinnamon

Pumpkin Puree Substitutes

Did you know that canned pumpkin puree isn’t always made with pumpkin? It’s true! The most popular brand of pumpkin puree is made with Dickinson squash. This means if you can’t find canned pumpkin puree at the grocery store, you can feel free to substitute canned butternut squash puree or make your own puree from winter squash if baking pumpkins aren’t available.

Pumpkin snack cake on parchment paper with cinnamon sticks, measuring spoons, and cinnamon sugar

How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Snack Cake

Like any snack cake worth its salt, this recipe is easy, easy, easy. It’s not an all day affair, or even something you need to set aside an afternoon to make. This means you can make yourself a cake whenever you’re in the mood for a sweet snack!

Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Mix the dry ingredients. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and powder, and spices in a large mixing bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients. In a second mixing bowl, use a whisk or hand mixer to beat the brown sugar, vanilla, vegetable oil, pumpkin, and water or almond milk until the mixture is smooth and has lightened in color, about 2 minutes. 

Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix until the two are fully incorporated. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan.

Make the cinnamon sugar topping. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon until well-combined. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the cake batter.

Bake. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack, then cut into pieces and serve.

Tips for Success

Here are some hints and tips to help you bake the perfect pumpkin snack cake:

  • Using homemade pumpkin puree. I love making my own pumpkin puree, but sometimes it’s a little more liquid-y than the canned variety, which can change how a recipe turns out. If needed, you can line a fine mesh sieve with paper towels or a cheesecloth and let the liquid drain off a bit before measuring the pumpkin and using it in the recipe.
  • Make it your own. Add chocolate chips, swap the cinnamon sugar for streusel, or add a thick layer of cream cheese frosting to your cake (use the frosting recipe from my Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake). 
  • Adjusting for cupcakes. If you want to make this recipe into cupcakes, pour the batter into muffin tins and reduce the baking time by about half (take a peek after 15 minutes, then check every few minutes after that).
Squares of pumpkin snack cake on parchment paper

How to Store

Cover the baking pan with foil or plastic wrap and store your cake at room temperature for up to 3 days, or refrigerate it for up to 5 days. 

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

You can freeze this cake whole or divide it up into individual portions to enjoy whenever you like! Wrap it well and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let it thaw on the counter at room temperature overnight, or warm it up in the microwave.

Print

Vegan Pumpkin Snack Cake

This easy vegan Pumpkin Snack Cake is perfectly moist, full of cozy fall spices, and topped with dusting of cinnamon sugar. You won’t miss the dairy!

  • Author: Country Cleaver
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30–35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40–45 minutes
  • Yield: 1 8×8″ cake 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

Vegan Pumpkin Cake

  • 2 cups Flour
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • ½ cup Water or Almond Milk (or other alternate milk of choice)

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 2 Tbsp White Sugar
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, with a whisk or hand mixer, beat together the brown sugar, vanilla, vegetable oil, pumpkin and water or almond milk until the mixture is smooth and has lightened, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, until the batter is evenly mixed. Transfer the batter to a lightly greased 8×8” square pan.
  4. To create the cinnamon sugar topping, mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small dish. Sprinkle the mixture generously over the top of the pumpkin cake batter.
  5. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a couple of crumbs on it. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack. Once cool, slice and serve.

Keywords: pumpkin spice cake, vegan pumpkin cake, easy pumpkin cake recipe