Vegan Chai Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake is perfectly spiced, frosted with vegan cream cheese icing, and garnished with homemade caramel, fresh figs, and toasted hazelnuts! This cake is decadent, rich, and perfect for fall!
| vegan + dairy free |
Today is my birthday!
And obviously, you can’t have an epic birthday without an epic cake.
We are freaking celebrating 28 years of age with a crazy delicious Vegan Chai Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake and I soooo wish you could join me!
Did I make my own birthday cake this year? Yep, I sure did. Was it worth it? Abso-frickin-lutely.
This perfectly-spiced Vegan Chai Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake is the cake of my DREAMSSSS! It has everything good about fall: pumpkin, chai spices, fresh figs, easy homemade caramel (no dates involved, I promise), and toasted hazelnuts on top. PLUS, this cake has vegan cream cheese frosting!!! (or regular cream cheese if you don’t need the vegan part of it!)
Is this Vegan Chai Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake healthy?
Um…. maybe not the healthiest thing on the planet.
I’m a firm believer that birthdays are for cake – like real cake.
Cake that’s moist, fluffy, decadent, dreamy, and indulgent. Cake that’s covered in cream cheese frosting and drizzled with homemade caramel.
Even if it’s not your birthday, this cake is absolutely perfect for the fall and winter months! Pumpkin, chai spices, figs… those are some seriously awesome fall faves. How can you resist?! Speaking of which, we’ve had quite a few epic fall foods around here lately! Things like:
- Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake with Maple Browned Butter Glaze
- Creamy Butternut Squash Hummus
- Vegan Pear & Hazelnut Crisp with Miso Caramel
- Fall Roasted Squash Panzanella Salad
As I turn the corner into 28 years of age, I’m reflecting on what 27 has taught me. So, so many things.
This past year has been one to remember; it’s actually really shaken me up in more ways than one.
Twenty-seven taught me to screw what everyone else thinks and just be yourself. It taught me to take risks (not totally, absolutely reckless ones), be bold, and go confidently. More now than ever I understand the meaning of treating all people the same because we are all one in the same: human. I’ve learned that I am the creator of my own reality and in the last year, I’ve manifested more positive things into my life than I ever thought possible. I took the Big Leap and started learning Functional Medicine with some serious goals in mind.
Twenty-seven taught me how to be a wife and a better sister. It taught me to dig deep and find what lights me up inside (hint: it’s holistic medicine, photography, and the written word). And it taught me not to be afraid to be me, as hard as that is sometimes.
Aside from turning 28, I’m really curious if you guys are into number sequences and looking for signs from God/the Universe in your everyday life.
I used to think it was BS or coincidence or whatever, but the deeper I get into meditation and the Law of Attraction, the more I’m noticing these things pop up. Like signs from the Universe in the form of symbology or numeric sequences, repeating patterns, stuff like that.
The day before I applied for the ADAPT Functional Medicine Practitioner Program, I had a mini anxiety attack. The mind got the best of me and I began to doubt whether this program was really something I should be pursuing right now. I had gone from incredibly confident to fearful in a matter of minutes. What if this is wrong? What if we’re wasting the money? Or if I hate it and it’s not my true calling? I felt like I couldn’t pull myself out of it, so I gave the Universe an ultimatum. I wanted a clear sign. Like that the bank would cancel my card or that I’d see a lucky sign like a ladybug or a frog. Or repeating numbers or something.
And sure enough, as I came home from my hair appointment the day before I applied, I stood in the kitchen conversing with my husband (and eating cereal for dinner at 8 pm), and noticed a ladybug flying around our kitchen light. A good lucky symbol. The next day as I was driving home from the gym, I decided to stop for gas. The pump shut off at 9.888 gallons – a repeating sequence. When I logged into our bank account just minutes later, the last 3 digits in our checking account were 888. I took a screenshot and texted it to Josh. His reply was a photo of the current mileage on his car at the exact moment he was driving: 98,888.1. Um, not a coincidence.
The meaning behind the pattern 888 is this:
- Reinforcement that what you’re doing is right
- Your thoughts and vision for your life are in alignment
- A reminder to keep the path you’re on until you get your break
- To consider starting new relationships, signing contracts and agreements as you’re more likely to be successful going forward
- A reminder to make sure your finances are in check because a small fortune coming your way could cause you to want to act recklessly
Seriously. How’s that for solid decision-making?
Okay, now it’s time to chat about this Vegan Chai Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake because I’m DYING to go eat a(nother) slice!
For starters, this cake is accidentally vegan. For whatever reason, eggs and baking ratios are difficult for me. Someday, I’ll understand it all, but for now, vegan cake it is! I loosely adapted the recipe from Erin over at The Almond Eater. Her cakes are legit the best ever. Like, hands down!! Pumpkin acts as the binder in this recipe, meaning no eggs necessary. The pumpkin also keeps the cake super moist and tender.
It starts with whole wheat pastry flour, amazing, fragrant chai spices, and a heck of a lot of cinnamon. No shame in that. I’m a cinnamon-lover. Especially paired with pumpkin, cream cheese, and caramel. A combination of organic sugar and coconut sugar keeps this cake moist, fluffy, and so tender.
Even though this Vegan Chai Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake is vegan, it puffs up beautifully in the oven. The whole house smells of pumpkin; isn’t that the best?!
While the cake is baking, feel free to make the vegan cream cheese frosting and the caramel if you plan on using it. This cake is insanely delicious on its own, but that caramel drizzle adds a whole other level of flavor.
And the caramel? Easy-peasy. Two ingredients. Well, three if you count vanilla extract. But, come on…
A few baking notes:
- Do not over-mix your batter! Made that mistake the first time and ended up with very flat little cakes! Fold the dry ingredients in very gently!
- Wait until the cakes cool completely to frost. If you aren’t planning on eating this the day of baking, simply cool the layers completely and wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap. From there, you can either refrigerate or freeze it for a day or two. If you plan on freezing the cakes longer, then you’ll also want to wrap each layer in aluminum foil and seal tightly in a Ziploc bag. They’ll keep a couple months that way.
- If you’ve frozen your cakes and ready to frost them, be sure to thaw them (still wrapped) in the refrigerator 2-3 hours prior to frosting. This prevents any condensation from forming if you were to transfer them straight to room temperature.
- The recipe for the frosting makes quite a bit. If you plan on keeping this cake naked, you won’t use all the frosting. Feel free to adjust as needed.
- Not a fan of figs? No problem! Leave ’em off! But make up for it in extra caramel, okay?
Are we ready to bake?!
I know I’m ready to EAT!
Cheers to birthday cake!
Pin this Vegan Chai Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake for later!
This tender, fluffy cake is perfect for fall. Creamy pumpkin, warm chai spices, a vegan cream cheese frosting, figs, caramel, and toasted hazelnuts - this cake is a dream come true!
- 2 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp. cardamom
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 tsp. cloves
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c. organic sugar
- 1/2 c. coconut sugar
- 1/2 c. coconut oil, softened
- 1 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
- 1 c. pumpkin puree
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 oz. vegan cream cheese, softened
- 4 oz. dairy free butter, room temperature
- 3 c. organic powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- 1 c. full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 c. coconut sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- Figs, sliced, to decorate
- Toasted hazelnuts, crushed, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line three 6" cake tins with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and salt.
In a separate large bowl, add the white sugar, coconut sugar, and softened coconut oil. Beat, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, until fluffy, 1 minute. Add the milk, pumpkin, cider vinegar, and vanilla; beat on low speed until well-incorporated.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and fold gently until just combined. Do not over-mix. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 F for 25-28 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean (my cakes took closer to 28-30 minutes so keep an eye on them around 25 minutes). Remove and cool 10 minutes before turning the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely ( **see notes below about freezing).
To make the frosting, add the vegan cream cheese, dairy free butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla to a mixing bowl. Beat, using a hand mixer, until smooth and creamy. You'll likely need at least 1 Tbsp milk to thin it out, if not a little more.
To make the caramel, add the coconut sugar and full fat coconut milk to a small saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil, stirring constantly, until the sugar mixture reduces, about 10 minutes. It will reduce and become quite thick, but will thicken even more as it cools.
When cakes have cooled completely, slice the tops off to flatten them out. Add a layer of frosting between each, then cover the outside of the cake with remainder of the frosting. Drizzle cool caramel around the edges, then decorate with sliced figs and hazelnuts.
Leftovers can be stored, covered, at room temperature up to 3 days.
** if you're preparing the cake in advance, the cake layers can be frozen after cooling completely. Wrap each layer in two sheets of plastic wrap, then in a layer of aluminum foil (you only need the foil if you're freezing for longer than 1-2 days). Place into a large Ziploc bag and freeze. When ready to thaw, move the cakes to the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, then bring to room temperature and unwrap and frost!
Recipe loosely adapted from The Almond Eater.