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Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Cashew Buttercream Frosting

Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Cashew Buttercream Frosting

Nisha Vora
A healthy vegan pumpkin bread that’s also refined sugar-free and oil-free! With the warming aroma of pumpkin spice but made wholesome with ingredients like almond butter, spelt flour, and coconut sugar. Turn this rustic pumpkin bread into a beautiful cake with my vegan cashew buttercream frosting!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 to 10


Pumpkin Bread Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients

    • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup (140g) spelt flour (can substitute with 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour)
    • 2 tablespoons (16g) cornstarch
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 4 teaspoons homemade pumpkin spice (or store-bought)
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: ground ginger, nutmeg cloves, and allspice
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

    Wet ingredients

    • 1/2 cup aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
    • 1 cup (240g) pumpkin purée (from a can or homemade*)
    • 1/2 cup (125g) almond butter
    • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (130g) coconut sugar**
    • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90 mL) pure maple syrup
    • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (210 mL) almond milk***
    • 1 heaping teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    For Serving

    • Cashew Buttercream Frosting (optional, recipe below)
    • Pumpkin Seeds
    • Orange Zest

    Cashew Buttercream Frosting Ingredients ***Recipe adapted from The Minimalist Baker

    • 1 1/2 cups (170-180g) raw cashews, soaked*
    • 1/2 cup (~120g) coconut cream**
    • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) pure maple syrup
    • 1/2 cup (110-115g) coconut yogurt or other nondairy yogurt
    • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon orange zest
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom


    Pumpkin Bread Directions

    • Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350°F/176°C. Grease a standard 9×5 inch loaf pan with oil and line the bottom and sides of the pan with two pieces of parchment paper cut to fit.
    • Sift together the all-purpose flour, spelt flour, cornstarch baking soda, pumpkin spice, and salt in a medium bowl and mix well to combine the ingredients. It is important to sift the dry ingredients and combine them well before adding to the wet ingredients. For why, check out the “tips for baking this healthy vegan pumpkin cake” section.
    • Pour 1/2 cup liquid from a can of chickpeas (aquafaba) into a small bowl. With an electric mixer, beat the aquafaba on medium speed until it starts to get foamy, 60-90 seconds.
    • In a large bowl, add the pumpkin purée, almond butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and almond milk. Beat the wet ingredients with the mixer until smooth and very well-combined. Beat in the whipped aquafaba and vanilla to incorporate and until well-combined.
    • Place a mesh strainer over the bowl with the liquid ingredients and sift in the dry ingredients. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet using a wooden spoon or whisk, taking care to not overmix.
    • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes. Then tent the loaf with a piece of aluminum foil to ensure even cooking and prevent premature browning. Continue baking for another 20-30 minutes (total of 55-65 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean, with just a few crumbs. If the loaf is browning unevenly, you can move it to a lower rack. I recommend checking at 50 or 55 minutes, just to be sure.
      1. NOTE: If your loaf pan is an 8×4-inch pan (instead of the standard 9×5-inch pan), your loaf will be even thicker due to the smaller pan size, so you might need to bake the loaf a bit longer, closer to 70 minutes.
    • Transfer the pumpkin bread to a wire rack to cool. Wait until it is completely cooled (at least 45 minutes, ideally an hour) before slicing. If you cut it too early, the loaf might be a bit underbaked in texture.
    • If you made the Cashew Buttercream Frosting, wait until the loaf is cooled to frost it. You can leave the frosted loaf out on the counter for a few hours, but it should be covered and refrigerated after that. If you do not frost the loaf, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature (the plastic wrap ensures it stays moist).

    Cashew Cream Directions

    • Soak the cashews in cool water overnight or in boiling water for 1 hour. Drain the cashews thoroughly and add them to a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix or a food processor. Blend until the cashews are broken up.
    • Add the remaining ingredients, staring with just 1/2 teaspoon of the orange zest. Blend on high speed until the texture is as creamy, silky, and smooth as possible, scraping down sides as needed.
    • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more orange zest if desired, or maple syrup for sweetness, or more lemon juice for tanginess .
    • Transfer the frosting to a medium mixing bowl that has enough space in it so you can whisk it. Place the frosting in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then remove the bowl from the freezer and whisk the frosting. Freeze the frosting for 30 more minutes and then use a hand mixer (or a whisk) to blend it until it’s very thick and spreadable.
    • The frosting can stay out of the fridge for several hours before it needs to be refrigerated. If you frost the whole cake, keep it refrigerated. Alternatively, you can frost just the slices of cake you plan to eat now, then store the frosting separately in the fridge.


    *If you use homemade pumpkin purée, be sure to drain any excess water so that it’s thick and creamy in texture. I recommend pouring the purée into a fine mesh sieve sitting over a bowl, so the very liquid part of the pumpkin can drain off into the bowl.
    **You can substitute brown sugar if you don’t mind using refined sugars.
    ***I recommend using almond milk or another nondairy milk that is not too thick. Otherwise, the batter can be very thick. Or, if you do use a thicker milk such as oat milk, I recommend thinning it out with a bit of water. I’d suggest the 3/4 cup oat milk + 2 tablespoons water instead of the 2 additional tablespoons of milk.
    Keyword banana bread, buttercream, no added oil, pumpkin, refined sugar free, soy-free
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