Paleo Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake With Maple-Vanilla Frosting

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!

We’re keeping it low key this year: It’s just Dave, Smudge, and I digging into a smallish feast of roast duck (with a stuffing made of pork and apples), my paleo cranberry waldorf salad, green beans with bacon, velvety butternut squash (a new Well Fed recipe!), and this pumpkin gingerbread cake.

I think this cake tastes best when it’s chilled. It takes on the denser texture of a cake bar, and the frosting tastes and feels like bakery icing. However, you might like it at room temperature or even warmed a bit. Experiment! You can’t really go wrong, it is cake, after all.

NOTE to Whole30ers: This is a treat and includes maple syrup, so it’s not Whole30-compliant.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake With Maple-Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

  • 1 cup almond butter

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (cornstarch free)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 1/3 cup coconut butter

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or ghee

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Pecan halves or whole almonds for garnish


Preheat oven to 350F.


Make the cake. In a medium sized bowl, combine all the cake ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine. Pour into an 8×8 oven-safe baking dish. Bake until completely cooked through, about 30 minutes.


Make the frosting. Place the coconut butter and coconut oil in a microwave-safe dish and heat until softened, but not melted. The length of time you need to nuke it will depend on the temperature in your house, so start with 30-second increments and repeat until you get the right consistency. Place the coconut butter and oil in a large mixing bowl, then add the maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Beat until fluffy with a standing or hand mixer. If you don’t have a mixer, go at it with a whisk… and good luck to you!

NOTE: I almost always over-heat the coconut oil and coconut butter, and it gets liquidy. Here’s what to do: mix it per the instructions above, then let it sit at room temperature. As it cools, it will thicken a bit. When it’s the consistency of very thick honey, drizzle it on top of the cold cake. It will tighten up like a frosting glaze, then refrigerate.


Assemble! Allow the cake to cool completely. Completely. For real. When you’re sure it’s cooler than Mr. Mike Ness in Red Square in February, you may cut it into 9 or 16 squares. Dollop a spoonful of frosting onto each square and top with a nut. Do not snarf your cake yet – save it for Thanksgiving dinner!


Chill out. When all squares are frosted, cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The frosting will firm up in the fridge and the texture transforms into a confection. Serve the cake squares chilled or at room temperature.

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  • Rachel says:

    Yes please!!! Any way to sub in reg almond butter for Justin$s? Adding some amount of maple to it? Anything else in justins?

  • Melinda says:


    This looks awesome! I may have to try this out for our first Thanksgiving here in Austin!

    Quick question: Does it have to be Justin’s Maple Almond Butter or can I use regular Almond Butter from my new favorite grocery store out here, HEB?


  • Mel says:

    You can totally use regular almond butter and you could throw in a little maple syrup to amp up the maple flavor in the cake. Maybe a tablespoon or so.

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks! Pretty excited for pumpkin/gingerbread combo, a nice seasonal transition – think i’ll make it for an event this weekend!

  • De23 says:

    I think it’s definitely time to get my new food processor so I can make coconut butter!

  • LauraB says:

    Would coconut mana work in place of coconut butter in frosting?

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never used coconut manna, so I really don’t know, but I do know this: It’s almost impossible to mess up frosting! 🙂

      My advice: give it a try with, say, 2 tablespoons of manna and oil and see how it tastes. Then if you like it, whip up a whole batch. Would love it if you report back on your experience if you try it!

      • LauraB says:

        Thanks for the tip! I may just turn the mana into more of a butter by using the suggestions in your recipe for home-made coconut butter – my Vitamix should kick some serious @$$ in this department.

  • Blanca says:

    Ok, this is going on my list of recipe to try when I’m done with Whole 30. One question, I’ve never seen coconut butter…is that something you make or buy pre-made? Thanks!

  • Kelly says:

    We must have been cosmic twins today. I was telling my hubby today how much I love your blog…then I pop on and find out it will just be you, Dave and Smudge for T-day. It will just be me, M and the cats as well. And I told M earlier, “maybe I’ll make a duck.” And you’re making duck! Also I experimented today making a dessert – paleo apple pumpkin tart. Turned out great but this recipe looks so delish and I love maple. Anyway thanks for sharing!

  • I just wanted to say that I made this recipe a couple weeks back (when I put out a call for a gingerbread recipe) and it was really good. Like, GOOD. Just sayin’. Thanks for the delicious treat.

  • Louise Rose says:

    Does this recipe really not have any sort of “flour” (coconut/almond meal or otherwise)? It looks like it will just be gooey! I certainly does not look gooey in the photo! It looks delish! I guess I can just try it myself and see! Thanks

  • Krista says:

    Hi Mel

    I read your blog a lot and am just dying to try some of your “sweets” recipes (especially the sweet and salty fudge bombs! and now this delicious looking reciipe)but I don’t tolerate sugar very well.

    Anyway, I have been on the paleo diet for about 8 months (accidentally – I was quite sick for a while – but now I know I just function better without grains and sugar etc.).

    I have a question about your cookbook I want to buy it but one thing I notice about a lot of paleo style cookbooks is the inclusion of a lot of almond flour. I cannot eat nuts due to a nut allergy and was wondering if your recipes contain a lot of almond or other nut flours?

    • Mel says:

      Hey, Krista!

      I’m glad you asked about the cookbook. It includes more than 115 recipes and only two of them use almond flour – one is a dessert and one is a savory dish that will also work just fine without the almond flour.

      Except for one fruit crisp that kind of needs nuts for the topping, I only used nuts as “accessories” in my recipes, so in all of them, you can omit the nuts without harming the taste. It’s important for a lot of people to limit nuts (because of omega-6 fatty acids) or eliminate them because of allergies, so I tried to minimize how much nuts show up and the role they play. I think you’ll be really happy with the cookbook!

  • Krista says:

    Thanks so much! I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to invest in a cookbook that uses a lot of nuts or nut flour.

    I will be buying your Well Fed cookbook – glad I found and bookmarked your site when I did. The fudge bombs are what caught my eye LOL.

    I have been eating the same basic meals every day with lots of veggies and chicken and steak and eggs. I like that I eat the same healthy foods I don’t get tired of it at all but it will be nice to add some variety and try something different once in a while.

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! I’m glad you found me, too! Sign up for the newsletter ’cause I’ll be sharing cookbook info AND special stuff that’s only for subscribers.

    • Kristen says:

      I also have a nut allergy, peanuts and tree nuts. I plain, dry roast raw pumpkin seeds and find that they often make a great sub for nuts either whole or ground. I also use Sunbutter in place of peanut or almond butter. I buy the Organic, which has nothing but sunflower seeds listed in the ingredients. =)

  • nancy says:

    Mel, what would you suggest substituting for almond butter? I don’t care for the taste of it and am trying to find a way around using it in things. This recipe looks delicious but is there a way to use almond flour + a wet ingredient and have a similar result? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hey, Nancy! I’m not sure how to substitute the almond flour for almond butter. There’s not THAT MUCH liquid in the almond butter, so maybe try just the almond flour and see what happens? Sorry I can’t be more help. I don’t do much baking — and the “cake” type things I’ve made use almond butter, rather than flour. You might be able to use a recipe from Elana’s Pantry as a guide?

  • Stacy says:

    I grind my own almond butter at local health store… it has more texture than jarred almond butter. Do you think this would work just as well? Or would smoother consistency be better? Thanks for the delicious sounding recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Mel says:

      I would think the homemade would work just fine… give it a try! It might have nice crunchy bites of almond in it… and that can’t be a bad thing 😉

  • Amber says:

    What size can of pumpkin puree?

    • Mel says:

      Hey, Amber. It’s one CUP of pumpkin puree, not one can. Good luck with the recipe. Hope you like it!

      • Amber says:

        LOL…I can’t believe I read it that way! Thanks for pointing that out!

        • Anne says:

          Don’t feel bad, i read it the same way. Too bad I am commenting on this after I baked it…it still tastes good…just didn’t cook all the way through (plus I ran out of almond butter so I had to use half sunbutter)…oops!

  • Lynne says:

    Finished Whole 30 Tuesday. Made Paleo Pumpkin Gingerbread squares yesterday. Yum! It’s hard to believe no flour no refined sugar. Thanks for the great addition to our expanding paleo-friendly recipes. Looking forward to the book!

    • Mel says:

      It’s amazing, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure you could feed this to “regular eaters,” and they would have no idea it’s grain and sugar free.

  • Angie says:

    I absolutely LOVED this cake for Thanksgiving. Sugar makes me sick so I never get to enjoy dessert at family get-togethers. This was perfect! I used the store-ground almond butter and yes, you get the bits of almond and it gives a lot of texture. I added about a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in addition to the ground because I like the taste and smell of fresh. Other than that, followed the recipe and it was FAB!! I also made the cranberry-waldorf salad – another smash hit! Thanks for the recipes!!

  • Nancy says:

    This cake was so good…not too sweet. Next year I’m bringing this to Thanksgiving..way too many sweet treats this year. I couldn’t find coconut butter and didn’t want to take the time to make it. I have no problem with dairy so I whipped up some cream with a little honey,maple syrup and vanilla. Dolloped on the bars.sprinkled with cinnamon and chopped almonds. Wonderful!

  • geekjitsu says:

    This looks amazing! Any idea of the carb breakdown?

  • Justyna N says:

    I wanted it to be a bit fluffier so I substituted the 1 cup of almond butter with 2 cups of almond flour/meal and 1/4 cup coconut oil and added 1tbs of maple syrup. Also at the end folded in some walnuts. Came out delicious!

  • Rhea says:

    This looks great but my partner can’t eat eggs and avoids flax. Will Ener-G egg replacement work?

    • Mel says:

      Hey, Rhea. I think Ener-G should work just fine. I haven’t used it, but I just read about it. Follow the instructions on the Ener-G package for the amount of water to use, and you should be good to go.

  • dee says:

    Mel…this looks devine! I just happen to have pumpkin draining on the sink right now. I was going to make gluten free pumpkin bread, looks like I will be making your gingerbread cake as well… thanks.. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      YAY! Try the gingerbread cake. It tastes even better the second day. Dense, moist, not too sweet. Wish I had some right now, actually.

  • Sonja says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Because of the nut allergies we can not use the almond butter. Could we sub with the sunbutter? Would you then use the same amount of maple syrup?
    Love the blog, and the book is on it’s way!!!! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never tried the Sunbutter, but I bet it will work just fine. Maybe add a smidgen more maple syrup… but yes, that should work!

      If you try it, please let me know how it comes out so I can update the recipe with the variation.

      Thanks for ordering Well Fed. Really appreciate it!

      • Sonja says:

        Sorry to say, things did not work for us.
        I used the sunbutter and about 2 Tbsp of maple syrup. Baked for 30 min @ 350 but the cake came out underdone. Somewhat done around the edges, but totally underdone (mushy) in the middle. I waited until the next morning to cut it, but it was obvious it was not baked through.
        For the frosting; I was short on coconut oil, so I subbed the coconut butter for the remainder of the oil. Didn’t work out. The result reminded me of marzipan paste, which I spread over the squares, but definitely wasn’t fluffy. My mistake.
        All these subs with the sunflower butter were for my son who is allergic to nuts. It turns out that he is also allergic to the sunflower seeds, according to his latest skin scratch test this past week.

        I’m sure the recipe would work fine the way you posted it, but didn’t with all the subs I had to do.

        • Mel says:

          I’m sorry to hear that! If you want to try it again… you might add a little coconut flour to the batter to help stiffen up the sunbutter… and yes, you definitely need the coconut oil in the frosting to get the texture right.

          The things that’s tricky about these grain-free, paleo-ized recipes is that they require lots of experimentation because we just don’t have the science on our side like the ‘real’ versions.

          Good for you for trying in the name of science. Sorry it didn’t work!

          And I’m really sorry to hear about the allergy to sunflower seeds, too. If he can eat coconut, I recommend fresh fruit with coconut milk whipped cream for dessert — it’s delicious and should be allergen free.

  • Jessie (Alexandria, VA) says:

    Absolutely LOVE this recipe. It’s so easy. I made some before the holidays and it did not last long. Everyone in my family loved it. I didn’t even include the frosting.

    I’ve just thawed more backyard pumpkin puree to make another batch, came back to your site to get the recipe, and noticed YOU’RE the author of Well Fed… which I just ordered after Diane at Balanced Bites posted your interview.

    Now I’m even MORE excited to get your cookbook! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Glad you liked it, Jessie. It’s crazy good, right?! I especially like it straight out of the fridge. Thanks for ordering Well Fed — that’s awesome. I really appreciate the support!

  • Mike says:

    This recipe looks delicious. As I’m on a low FODMAP diet as well due to numerous GI issues I can’t have any fructose. Will it work to sub maple syrup for the honey?

    Btw – I’m ordering your cookbook today. Downloaded the sampler yesterday. Looks divine!

    • Mel says:

      Hey, Mike! Yes, you can swap maple syrup for honey — sweeteners are almost always interchangeable. Hope you enjoy it!

      YAY! Thanks for ordering Well Fed. Really appreciate that.

      • Mike says:

        Brilliant. Thanks for replying. Can’t wait to try that recipe and many others when the cookbook arrives. Cheers!

  • Christine says:

    I had been craving some sort of gingerbread spice cake for weeks since my Whole30 challenge. Made this last night, and my oh my, is it delicious!

  • Adam Crafter says:

    No frosting, and I made them little extra gingery… Was in the mood for gingerbread bars. For PWO, I’m about to try CFit for the first time ever!

  • Janis says:

    This sounds beyond amazingly delicious. I am just starting out on a paleo diet and one of my favorite things on the planet is sugary delicious anything. If I COULD eat dessert 24 hours a day, I absolutely WOULD.

    I’m loving your blog so far, and I feel absolutely the same way about cooking vs. making dinner. I have no doubt I will be back! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hey, Janis! Congrats on making the switch to paleo. Glad you found me!

      One word of caution: paleo desserts are still dessert, so you need to eat them in moderation, especially if you’re adopting paleo to lose weight. This recipe is definitely delicious and healthier than a traditional dessert, but it’s still quite high in (natural) sugars and fat, so once a in a while is good – every day, not so good.

      Feel free to shoot me email if you have questions… good luck to you!

  • Marni L says:

    It’s not Thanksgiving, but I don’t care! This is so yummy! A great treat after my whole30!

  • Dumb question: why is there no flour in the cake (gluten-free or otherwise)? Is the almond butter and egg holding it all together?

  • Laura B says:

    Do you think these will freeze well? I wouldn’t want to eat them all up so fast and would definitely want to be greedy and hoard them in my freezer…

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never tried freezing it, but I think the cake would freeze just fine but I wouldn’t recommend freezing the frosting.

      Here’s what I suggest:

      Let the cake cool, wrap in plastic, then wrap in foil, and freeze.

      When you want to eat it, let it defrost, then add the icing.

      I bet you could freeze individual squares of cake and have them as a treat whenever you want. Hmmm…

  • Rachel says:

    I would love to somehow make this into a bundt cake.

    • Mel says:

      Try it! I’m not sure it will bake properly, but there’s only way to find out. Also, you might need to double it to have enough batter to fill a bundt pan. Let me know how it goes.

  • Karin says:

    Can you also store this cake for two or three weeks? Like gingerbread? Would be great for christmas

  • stacy says:

    I am having the toughest time with the frosting! It’s not pretty and white like yours and it is super runny. I used Artisana Coconut Butter? I don’t use a microwave so I heated it slowly on the stove. I wonder if it got too hot? Also my coconut oil is basically liquid due to the temp in my house. Any ideas, I would love a good frosting?!? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      The frosting should have a thin texture when it’s warm and will be almost transparent. Then drizzle it on the cold cake. As it cools, it will solidify and turn white.

    • Dana says:

      When I made the frosting today I over-softened the coconut oil and coconut butter, and it wouldn’t “fluff.” I set the bowl in the fridge for 5 minutes, then tried beating it again. It was a bit thicker, but still wouldn’t quite get fluffy. I chilled it for 3 more minutes, and then it did thicken up and attain a frosting-y consistency. It sat out on the counter in my 70-72F kitchen for at least an hour while I waited for the cake to be ready to cut, and it stayed perfect.

      It is a fabulous frosting! I want to make ten different variations and eat it on all kinds of things. Also, it is quite true that it is like a confection when it is chilled, and that has set my imagination running toward making little bon bons…

      But I need to only do this when there is a crowd around to enjoy them 🙂

  • Danielle H says:

    Hey Mel
    Do you think these could be made in mini loaf pans? I have a tray that has mini loaf sized openings. My ice cream scoop fills each about half way. Thoughts?
    Thanks, as always!

    • Danielle H says:

      Replying because I forgot to subscribe, lol

    • Mel says:

      I really don’t know… only one way to find out… try it! But here’s what I would do:

      Just try one mini pan and see how it works before dividing up all the batter.

      • Danielle H says:

        Great idea! I knew you would know just what to do!

        • Danielle says:

          Just an update…recipe worked great in the pan with mini loaf sections! Only thing I may try differently next time is grease the bottom of each with coconut oil. They struggled to come out just a tad. Tasted AMAZING!! Like I could seriously get in trouble with them 🙂

  • Laura says:

    Thanks for all your great recipes! I am looking for a good gingerbread recipe that can replicate the original, with all its gingery spiciness. Does this recipe come out like that, or is it more pumpkin with spice? Any thoughts on how to adapt this recipe if the latter is the case? Thanks in advance!

    • Mel says:

      This is definitely pumpkin cake with gingery spices, not gingerbread. And sorry, I have nothing to help with gingerbread. Baking isn’t really my thing; when I want a treat, this is the one cake I make.

  • Josh Sternin-Moser says:

    Great looking recipe.

    I’m out of liquid sweetener, but I have a butt-load of coconut sugar–how would I balance out the wet/dry ratio? Add some water? How much?

  • Calli says:

    I just made this!! I didn’t have lemon zest or cardamom and it was still fantastic. I am eating small amounts of dairy so I just made cream cheese glaze with 4oz cream cheese and a tsp of maple, honey, and vanilla. This really is a great recipe. Surprised how moist and cakey it is. Great job!

  • Brad says:

    Just read this recipe-love pumpkin! I also followed your link and bought Well Fed. I noticed in the book you say “No” to honey has a sweetener, yet I see it above? I use it for hot tea and coffee sweetener-is that a problem? Also, do I have to make the pumpkin puree or can I buy it?

    • Mel says:

      Re: added sweeteners… I don’t eat added sugars on a daily basis, for but special occasions — like Thanksgiving! — I use honey or maple syrup as a sweetener. Well Fed is written to be compliant with the Whole30 guidelines, so no added sugars in those recipes — but straight-up “paleo” has some wiggle room for sweeteners like honey.

      You can use pumpkin puree in a can — make sure it doesn’t have any added ingredients.

  • Cheryl says:

    I just made this last night and it is DELICIOUS! I’ve tried baking gluten free recipes and they can be very tricky, but this one is super easy and so tasty. I didn’t quite get the frosting right – I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds and it completely melted, then I put it in the freezer and I think it got almost too cold. Oh well I will try again tomorrow – I made it as a test for Thanksgiving so I’ll be making it again tomorrow – super delicious (my husband even loved it and he’s not on paleo). I’m going to buy your book – thanks for this recipe and I look forward to cooking more!!

    • Mel says:

      I almost always over-heat the coconut oil and coconut butter, and it get liquidy. Here’s what to do: mix it per the instructions above, then let it sit at room temperature. As it cools, it will thicken a bit. When it’s the consistency of very think honey, drizzle it on top of the cold cake. It will tighten up like a frosting glaze, then refrigerate. It’s awesome that way.

  • Anne says:

    This was really great. I made the cake without the icing for a paleo potluck at my box and everyone gobbled it up! I may end up making this for my whole family on Thanksgiving (paleo and non-paleo eaters). Thanks for the yummy recipe. 🙂

  • Jenn says:

    Hi Mel
    I’m making this cake for a paleo friend this thanksgiving; it sounds amazing. I followed ur instructions and let it bake for 30 min then did the toothpick test and all seemed well. As it cooled it started to sink in the center. Any suggestions? I didn’t want to over cook it.

  • Michelle says:

    I am so making this once I finish eating the other half of the carrot-gingerbread muffins I made yesterday, which shouldnt take too long. 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    I made this today and holy cow! it is good. My whole family loves it. I substituted molasses for the honey so it has a bit more gingerbread-y taste to it and it is so delish! I can’t believe how soft and moist and . . . CAKE-like it is, and without any flour, too! You’re a genius!

  • Erin says:

    Just wondering if I could make this recipe with other squashes, like butternut squash instead of pumpkin. I’ve made it once with pumpkin, and it was so amazing! I want to make it again for Christmas, but I only have butternut and acorn squashes. Do you think one of those would work? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never made it with fresh squash, so I’m not sure. My guess is that roasted, pureed, and cooled butternut would work better than acorn because acorn has more moisture in it. Give it a shot!

      • Erin says:

        I just made the recipe with roasted butternut squash, and it was delicious! I made it in two little loaf pans so that I can slice it like bread. It’s great toasted with butter or apple butter.

  • Heather A. says:

    I know I am late to this, but I just made this today and Holy Cow! I love it! I roasted some almonds in butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon to top them with. Delicious!

  • Pia says:

    BEST PALEO CAKE EVER!!! my Family loved it!!

  • Diane says:

    I *love* this recipe (and others of yours I’ve tried). new to paleo; your food is reliably great. thanks you so much!!!

  • Kristine in Santa Barbara says:

    After reading the reviews, I was happy to see someone else had tried the recipe with almond flour. We don’t have any almond butter and I didn’t feel like buying any. I too used 2 cups of almond flour plus 1/4 cup coconut oil to replace the nut butter. I used 6 tablespoons of molasses to replace the honey and maple syrup and baked it 35 minutes. It was a full on gingerbread experience and just delicious. For those who can/will use molasses, it’s a wonderful grain-free dairy free ginger bread. Won’t be making it again until the holidays. Too easy to make and too hard to eat just one piece. Thanks for the recipe and the inspiration.

  • Tara says:

    These are fantastic! Even my non-paleo family members and friends loved them 🙂

  • Carol says:

    Sounds delicious. Really caught my eye with the reference to Smudge. We have a female tortoise named Smudge, so I had to investigate. Your Smudge is cute too–looks like our daughter’s cat.

  • Mallory says:

    If I were to make cupcakes how many would it make?

    • Mel says:

      Because of the density and texture, I don’t think this will work as regular-sized cupcakes, but minis might work, if you have a mini muffin tin.

  • Staci says:

    You should really add a note that if you’re using a glass baking dish, to bake it longer, mine wasn’t done either, very wet in the middle and I think that’s why.

    The only substitution I did was to use maple syrup instead of honey because I had plain almond butter, it’s pretty tasty but kind of plain, next time I may double the spices and add some salt.

  • Mary Jane says:

    Hi Mel, I’m a newbie, just tried the fudge bombs. OMG thank-you,thank-you,thank-you !! I ran a couple over to my neighbor so I could claim that I didn’t eat the whole batch.

    Question: is there a paleo turkey stuffing recipe that you use for thanksgiving? (my in-laws are coming ! yikes !!)

    kinda desperate,
    Mary Jane

  • Erin says:

    Hi! I’m a huge fan of thus time of year because of pumpkin. Not to say you can’t use it any other time throughout he year,but during this season it evokes so much! Ok enough of that. So can I use honey instead of the syrup and pumpkin pie spice because I don’t have the other spices at my disposable. I should because I use so much of the darn stuff??

    Happy eats!!

    • Mel says:

      Yes, you can replace the maple syrup with honey in equal amounts. It won’t taste exactly the same, but it will still be good. And yes, you can replace these
      1 teaspoon cinnamon
      1 teaspoon ground ginger
      1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
      1/4 teaspoon cloves
      1/4 teaspoon cardamom

      with 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice.

  • Deena says:

    I just made these to “test” them out before Thanksgiving…I will be sharing this with a non-paleo group…They are amazingly delicious, and I have no worries that my family will love them too!! I have made many of your recipes, and have loved every one…Well Fed is my favorite cookbook!! Thank you for your contributions to a healthy life!

    • Mel says:

      I’m so excited for Thanksgiving, I’ve been tempted to “test” a few recipes myself, but I’m holding on until Thursday. Whew!

      I’m glad you’re happy with the cake! If you don’t tell anyone, they will never notice that it’s grain free. Thank you for buying and using Well Fed… YAY!

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Marci says:

    Mel, do you remember Mrs. Schlorer’s Turkey Syrup, made in Lancaster County area? People often use it for their shoofly pies. Well, pre-paleo, and pre-awareness of corn syrup, I used to make a spice cake recipe on their jars that I loved. I am baking this Pumpkin Gingerbread cake and I can’t wait to try it. Smells divine. It will definitely beat out that other cake. And “you know how you could do that?” I’m going to make a crumb topping for the next time. mmmmm!!!!

    • Mel says:

      I don’t know about that turkey syrup, but now I’m intrigued! I just looked it up — that is some list of ingredients… holy crow!

      Hope you enjoy this cake recipes. Happy (post) Thanksgiving!

      • Marci says:

        I thought everyone knew about turkey syrup! Loved the cake, btw. Kids weren’t crazy about the frosting, but that was ok. More for me! 😉

  • CZ says:

    Thank you soooo much for this fantastic recipe. I made these for Thanksgiving and was a bit nervous because my family is not paleo and love their desserts. I was the first to try the pumpkin squares and loved them but to my surprise, my family LOVED them too. My parents enjoyed the pumpkin squares along with their coffee the next day. This recipe will become a regular this winter. Thanks again!!

  • Whitney says:

    Loved this recipe and have been obsessed with this MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond spread so swapped that for the maple almond butter and took the maple out of the frosting just using 1.5 tbl of honey instead and YUMMMY!!! That’s for this gem of a recipe!

  • KarraLynn says:

    What are your thoughts on using ghee instead of coconut oil in the frosting?

    • I’ve never tried it, so I can’t speak from experience, but it *should* work. The only thing is that ghee doesn’t get as hard as coco oil at room temp so the frosting might be a bit soft. You might try mixing 2 tablespoons coconut butter with 1 tablespoon ghee, pop it in the fridge, then let it come to room temp and see how the texture holds up. I think it will taste great, but not sure about the structural integrity. I’m going to try it right now and report back… gimme an hour 😉

      • KarraLynn says:

        You’re the best, can’t wait to read the results!

        • OK! With the original frosting, it gets all liquidy when you mix it, then you let it cool off at room temp and pop it in the fridge to get firm.

          I did the same thing with the ghee+coconut butter, and it worked just the same as the coconut oil+coconut butter, so I think you’re good to go!

          • KarraLynn says:

            Awesome, thank you so much! I’m making the treats for a child’s birthday party and our gluten-free friend is always sitting in the corner with her plate of fruit and veggies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But I just wrapped up a Whole30, so I thought I’d venture into some of these sweets so we can enjoy, too!

  • Melissa says:

    Made this today as a secretly healthy treat for my husband, and he liked it, especially the frosting! He made a great suggestion about adding some finely-ground coffee beans to the frosting next time. 🙂

  • Meredith says:

    Hey Melissa,
    Can this batter be put in muffin tins? Would I just reduce the baking time by a bit? Thanks!

  • Carol says:

    I see honey mentioned in the notes / comments and instructions for the frosting, but I don’t see it in the ingredients. What am I missing? I also see someone subbed molasses for the honey? What honey? Molasses in the frosting or cake? EXCELLENT recipe! I just remembered it from last year and came to get a refresher, but I’m confused about the honey 🙂

    • Sorry! That’s my bad… the last time I made this, I used all maple syrup and thought it tasted better. I updated the ingredients, but forgot to update the directions. It’s all fixed now! Happy baking!

  • Jacki says:

    I couldn’t find coconut butter at Whole Foods, only coconut oil, but it is solid at room temp. Is this the same thing as coconut butter, only without the salt and vanilla extract in your recipe?

  • Nicole says:

    OHHH You know how you could do that?!?!?! SO I was really wanting apple cake or quick bread and I have used this pumpkin gingerbread recipe in the past so it was a no brainer when I wanted a cakey delicious treat with apple, I thought “hey! I know how I could do this….”

    So I shredded up 2 small macintosh apples ended up with about a 1/2 a cup of apple, then used that plus a half a cup of apple sauce instead of the pumpkin the recipe called for. I also used about 2 tsp of cinnamon and 1.5 tsp of pie spice instead of ginger. Annnnd, it WORKED! ITS Great and I highly recommend it!

    Sooooo happy!

  • This was delicious! I subbed the SunButter brand of organic sunflower butter (sugar free) for the almond butter and it turned out great. It was fully cooked after 25 minutes. Just a heads up, the cake turns blue/green after it’s cooked and cooled because of the sunbutter (except the very top layer). Thanks for the recipe!

  • Jessica Hoopes says:

    This recipe has changed I swear it! Didn’t it use to have honey in it?? It’s more cake like now, and still good, but what’s different?