Easy Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake – Gluten Free

· ·
Easy Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake - Gluten Free

This delicious Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake – gluten-free (obviously) is the perfect sweet bite the minute the weather turns colder. It’s made with homemade roasted pumpkin purée – a Long Island Cheese pumpkin to be precise (that I picked myself). And full of warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves – plus my favorite secret ingredient that helps cut down on refined sugar…it’s prune purée (trust!). But if I’m being honest, my favorite part of these delicious gluten free cake is the topping! Made from brown sugar, butter (duh) and a splash of sweet vermouth, it elevates this snack-sized Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake and makes it totally holiday-worthy!

Jump to Recipe

Farming in California’s San Joaquin Valley

California is Farmer and Farmworker Month. And I was lucky enough to be invited to join my friends at California Grown on an agritour of the Golden State’s Central Valley to learn more about what is grown there, and the hardworking folks that make it all happen. Now, if you’ve been around here for awhile you will know that I grew up in the Central Valley (and I couldn’t leave fast enough). Now that many years have passed since I last lived there, I’ve come to realize the charms of country-living. I even envy it sometimes.

California’s San Joaquin Valley (AKA the Central Valley), is home to some of the most prime farmland in the world. A wide diversity of crops grow there including: almonds, pistachios, figs, pomegranates, corn, olives, melons, pumpkins, grapes (for raisins and wine) and kiwifruit (and so much more). While visiting we had the opportunity to learn a lot about what grows there, and why the soil is ideal for farming. So before I get to the recipe for the Gluten Free Pumpkin Cakes, let me drop some knowledge….

Do you Know How Raisins Grow?

One of my favorite stops on the tour was to River Ranch Raisins with Richard Loquaci of Madera Ag Services. We rode a massive harvester that shook dried raisins from the vines, sorted out the debris and shot them into big boxes that were being pulled by tractor alongside the harvester. These raisins are dried on the vine which is a relatively new technique. In most grape vineyards, fresh grapes are clipped from the vines and put to dry on sheets of paper that run alongside the vines. When grapes are dried on the vine, farmers cut the canes and leave them to dry right on the vine.

Dried on the vine (DOV) raisins are better than paper dried raisins for a few reasons:

  • Leaving grapes on the vines longer leads to a greater depth of flavor.
  • The grape variety used (Selma Pete) ripens more quickly which means that it has a longer time to dry and the flavor only gets better with time.
  • Paper dried raisins when left in the sun can get a caramelized flavor that many people don’t care for. Vine dried grapes are more protected from the elements.

We enjoyed DOV raisins at our last breakfast together, along with other delicious dried fruits grown in the Golden State including dates, figs, and prunes. Did you know that California grows 100% of dried figs and raisins and 99% of the prunes in the U.S.? It’s true!

Kiwifruit, Figs and More

Another highlight was visiting a kiwi farm and fig orchard where the harvest was underway. Did you know that kiwis grow on vines like grapes? I didn’t. After visiting the farms we headed to the packing facility where workers sorted and packaged both figs and kiwis for shipping to a grocery store near you! It was so impressive to see the skill and coordination required from harvest to box.

The Pumpkin Patch of Your Dreams (and Mine)

Sweet Thistle Farms in Clovis, California is, admittedly, a bit off the beaten path. But it’s well worth a visit when you’re in Central California. Sweet Thistle grows flowers and pumpkins and as you can imagine, autumn is high season there. We met owner Sarah Schoffner who gave us a tour and showed us how to pick the best pumpkins for pie. She swears it’s the Long Island Cheese variety of pumpkin. That’s me holding my fresh pick above, and that’s the very pumpkin I roasted to make the puree that I used in the gluten free pumpkin cakes!

They have a seasonal farm stand, sell at farmers markets, offer seasonal U-Pick and have a CSA subscription box. In the fall, they have a pumpkin patch and offer all kinds of fun events for families and date nights. Be sure to check their website for more information about when and how to visit.

How to Roast a Whole Pumpkin

Roasting a whole pumpkin is easy to do. But you need to make sure that the pumpkin is worth roasting in the first place. For this gluten free pumpkin cake (or any other baking you do) look for either a Long Island Cheese variety or a “Pie” pumpkin which is a small round pumpkin that is now widely available at grocery stores.

But where can you find a Long Island Cheese pumpkin? I’ll bet you’ve seen them all over the place, but you never even realized it. They are also known as “Cinderella” pumpkins. Pale orange and sightly squat in appearance, they don’t actually taste like cheese. They got their name because they are shaped like a wheel of cheese (kinda sorta). Their flesh is not particularly stringy and when roasted is smooth, sweet, flavorful and earthy. They are the best pumpkins to roast when you want to make homemade pumpkin puree because they have a concentrated pumpkin flavor and are not too watery.

Instructions on How to Roast a Whole Pumpkin for Purée:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon or ice cream scoop.
  2. Sprinkle the flesh of the pumpkin lightly with salt and set flesh side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on how large your pumpkin is). It will be done when the skin and flesh is easily pierced with a knife.
  3. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh and put it in a blender or food processor. Blitz it until it’s completely smooth. Store, sealed in a container, in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Central California’s Wine Country

You might think more of Napa, Paso, or Monterey County as being great places to taste wine, but the Central Valley has quite a few wineries as well. During the tour, we tasted sweet dessert wines and learned more about how vermouth is made at Quady Winery. In the late 1970s founder Andrew Quady discovered an unused patch of the rare Orange Muscat grape varietal, known in Italy as Moscato Fior d’Arancio. These grapes became the first Essensia wine that Quady produced. They have since expanded their offerings to include more varieties of sweet wines plus their award-winning vermouth.

We toured the facility, witnessed the last delivery and crush of winegrapes, and tasted through their catalog of delicious wines with Chloë Tatro, Communications Manager & winemakers Darin Peterson and Crystal Weaver-Kiessling. I was especially fond of their Vya Sweet Vermouth which IMO tasted just like Christmas. When you visit, don’t forget to take a photo with their iconic angel wing mural!

Is Vermouth a Wine or Alcohol?

Vermouth is a fortified wine. Quady Winery makes theirs with wine, 15-20 varieties of herbs, and grape spirit. Of course the exact blend is a closely guarded secret. There are a two main varieties of vermouth – sweet (or rosso), and dry. Quady has three – Vya Sweet, Vya Extra Dry, and Vya Whisper Dry (which is a slightly softer dry than their Extra Dry version).

What Does Vermouth Taste Like

Vya Dry vermouth from Quady has Orange Muscat wine, angelica, orris, linden, lavender, sage and more. It is crisp, floral & vibrant and perfect in a martini. Vya Sweet vermouth from Quady tastes and smells like the holidays – like the best ever gingerbread cake. That’s why I decided to include it in the glaze for my Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake – Gluten Free.

Easy Gluten Free Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake
Gingerbread Cake Gluten Free

How to Make an Easy Spiced Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake – Gluten Free Cake Recipe

I love snack cakes! They are easy to make, require zero decorating skills and are the perfect bite for breakfast with coffee, afternoon tea, or dessert! This gluten free cake recipe starts with homemade roasted pumpkin puree. It has a richly spiced molasses cake that has less sugar than usual due to the addition California Prune Purée. The Prune Purée also adds moisture and great flavor to this gluten free Gingerbread Cake. But the best part is the brown butter glaze, spiked with Quady Vya Sweet Vermouth. It’s the perfect holiday cake!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup homemade pumpkin puree (or canned)
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup California Prune Purée (recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

For the Glaze

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 3 tablespoons Vya Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Make the pumpkin puree. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon or ice cream scoop. Sprinkle the flesh of the pumpkin lightly with salt and set flesh side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on how large your pumpkin is). It will be done when the skin and flesh is easily pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh and put it in a blender or food processor. Blitz it until it’s completely smooth. Store, sealed in a container, in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  2. Make the prune purée. Combine 8 ounces of pitted prunes with 1/4 cup of hot water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to soften prunes slightly. Combine the prunes and water in a blender. Pulse to combine, then blend until smooth, pourable consistency forms, scraping the sides if necessary. Store the purée in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a 9″ baking pan with butter or gluten-free cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment, allowing the paper to drape up two opposite sides of the pan. Spray parchment with cooking spray. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin, molasses, prune puree and orange zest.
  5. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and ground pepper. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
  6. Pour batter into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 28-32 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Make the glaze. Heat the butter and brown sugar together in a medium saucepan. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly, and remove from heat. Stir in the vermouth, vanilla and powdered sugar and beat with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cake. Store the cake at room temperature for up to three days.
Prune Puree
Easy Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake - Gluten Free
Easy Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake - Gluten Free

Looking for Gluten-Free Holiday Recipes? Try These:

Did you make this Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake – gluten free recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and star rating below (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) and post a picture and tag us on Instagram using the hashtags #agirldefloured #deflouredrecipes! This post was sponsored by my friends at California Grown. As always, all opinions are my own.

Want to know more about California’s Central Valley?

Easy Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake - Gluten Free

Easy Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake – Gluten Free

Alison Needham
This delicious Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake – gluten-free (obviously) is the perfect sweet bite the minute the weather turns colder. It's made with homemade roasted pumpkin purée – a Long Island Cheese pumpkin to be precise (that I picked myself). And full of warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. But if I'm being honest, my favorite part of this delicious gluten-free cake is the topping! Made from brown sugar, butter (duh), and a splash of sweet vermouth, it elevates this snack-sized Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake and makes it holiday-worthy!
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 486 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

For the Glaze

Instructions
 

  • Make the pumpkin purée. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon or ice cream scoop. Sprinkle the flesh of the pumpkin lightly with salt and set flesh side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on how large your pumpkin is). It will be done when the skin and flesh is easily pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh and put it in a blender or food processor. Blitz it until it’s completely smooth. Store, sealed in a container, in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Make the prune purée. Combine 8 ounces of pitted prunes with 1/4 cup of hot water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to soften prunes slightly. Combine the prunes and water in a blender. Pulse to combine, then blend until smooth, pourable consistency forms, scraping the sides if necessary. Store the purée in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a 9″ baking pan with butter or gluten-free cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment, allowing the paper to drape up two opposite sides of the pan. Spray parchment with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin, molasses, prune puree and orange zest.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and ground pepper. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
  • Pour batter into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 28-32 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Make the glaze. Heat the butter and brown sugar together in a medium saucepan. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly, and remove from heat. Stir in the vermouth, vanilla and powdered sugar and beat with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cake. Store the cake at room temperature for up to three days.

Notes

How to use prune purée in your recipes:
Prune purée is a multi-talented baking substitute. Use it to replace sugar, eggs, or fat and prepare for rave reviews. Here’s a Guide to Healthier Baking to help get you started, but you can also try these easy swaps in your own favorite recipes.
Swap for sugar: Use prune purée to replace anywhere from one-third to half of the sugar in a recipe.
Swap out eggs: To replace 1 large egg, use ¼ cup prune purée. Keep in mind that this works best in recipes that call for no more than 3 large eggs.
Lose the fat: To cut down on fat, replace up to half of the butter or oil with an equal amount of prune purée.
Make ahead tips: make the pumpkin puree and prune puree in advance and this easy cake will come together in minutes. Store the cake at room temperature for up to three days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 486kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 4gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 475mgPotassium: 489mgFiber: 3gSugar: 62gVitamin A: 3069IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 125mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Gingerbread Cake Gluten Free, Gluten free cake recipe, Gluten Free Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake, Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Gluten Free Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

Thank you for helping support my small business! A Girl Defloured earns revenue in a few different ways; I have occasional sponsored post and I also earn an affiliate commission on the sales of products I link to— there are a few of those links in this post. The only items that I feature are those that I use on a regular basis and that I truly love. I earn a small commission on your purchase, but you don’t pay any more than retail price. This allows me to share my recipes with you!

Similar Desserts and Sweets Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating