gluten-free pumpkin spice cake goes vegan!

This evening I enjoyed another (uh huh) piece of gluten-free pumpkin spice cake. This is day three of its unrefrigerated life, and it’s just as moist as day one. In fact, it’s one of those cakes that’s actually better a day or so later! The reason for that, is the coconut flour. I haven’t found any other gluten-free flour that holds moisture quite so well. And it’s best paired with recipes complimented by the coconut flavour that it imparts. I’ve made chocolate cake with it and find it works beautifully. I like to use a ratio of half coconut flour to half blended, gluten-free flours.


Yesterday, I realized that with a few simple changes, this gluten-free cake could easily become vegan as well. And at a reader’s request (hello, Tyna!) I thought I’d offer those substitutions. Keep in mind that I haven’t given this recipe a whirl as a vegan cake. These modifications are direct substitutions for eggs and dairy, so in principle, they should work. I’ll give it a go soon and report back. You can do the same if you beat me to it!

First, some tips for using flax seeds to replace eggs:

1. For each egg required, substitute 1 Tablespoon flax meal (ground flax seed) and 3 Tablespoons warm water.

2. Golden flax seeds are preferable to the brown which impart dark flecks from the outer hull (not so pretty in your baked goods).

3. Avoid purchasing pre-ground flax seed. Once ground, the oils quickly become unstable and potentially rancid. Grind your own instead. You can use a blender to process a larger amount and then freeze the remainder in an air-tight container for future baking. Or, simply use your spice or coffee grinder. To ensure that any existing strong flavours are not imparted (yes you, coffee beans), simply grind some dried rice or flax seed and toss it out before grinding for your recipe. Strong flavours be gone! Of course, a mortar and pestle work just fine as well.

4. Add water to ground flax (“flax meal”) and not flax meal to water. Combine using a small whisk or fork.

5. Lastly, once combined, refrigerate the flax mixture for an hour before using in your recipe.

So, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Cake goes vegan. Here’s how!

leaf To replace 3 eggs: Stir/whisk together 3 Tablespoons flax meal and 9 Tablespoons warm water.  Refrigerate one hour. Allow to stand about 10 minutes until thick and gelatinous.

 leaf To replace 1 cup butter: Use 1 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance buttery sticks) or margarine. Or 1/2 cup vegan butter/margarine and 1/2 cup oil of your choice.

 leaf To replace 1/2 buttermilk: Add 1 teaspoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar to 1/2 cup unsweetened soya milk. Stir and let stand 15 minutes until slightly curdled. Or Use 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (without apple cider vinegar) Or unsweetened hemp milk (without apple cider vinegar). Of these three non-dairy milks, soy has the best ability to curdle with apple cider vinegar, most closely approximating buttermilk.

You’ll find the recipe for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice cake in its entirety here. Happy baking!