With pumpkin puree and maple syrup instead of refined white sugar, coconut oil swapped for vegetable oil, and gluten-free flour, this pumpkin snack cake with chocolate chips doubles as a fall dessert. It's moist with warm spices and a tender crumb. No frosting needed, and one will ever guess this is gluten-free.
As weather cools and fall arrives, we naturally think of pumpkins and warm spices as favorite seasonal flavors. This is an easy recipe for a snack cake; simply mix, pour and bake. Serve with a cup of coffee or spiced tea. It makes a perfect fall dessert too.
Snack Cake Versus Cake
What's the difference between a snack cake and a cake? A snack cake is not usually frosted, it is baked in a rectangular sheet pan or square baking pan, and is a single-layer cake. This snack cake tastes great without frosting.
Please see recipe card for measurements.
- Flour: use an all-purpose, gluten-free flour blend (I use Bob’s Red Mill blue bag 1:1 GF blend)
- Baking powder: buy aluminum free, you don't need aluminum in your diet
- Spices For the ground cinnamon, I prefer Ceylon cinnamon (true cinnamon) which is a little sweeter and lighter than Cassia cinnamon. You'll also need allspice and ground clove. Allspice
- Eggs: eggs are binders, add structure, richness, and moisture to baked goods.
- Pumpkin: use canned pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin) not pumpkin pie mix.
- Maple syrup: use the real deal, not the cheap, fake, colored corn syrup stuff, and go with dark maple for a more robust flavor.
- Oil: extra virgin coconut oil works great here and there is no coconut flavor.
- Vanilla: use either extract or paste, here is my favorite brand of vanilla. Great vanilla!
- Chocolate chips: two options I recommend. Either these sugar free chocolate chips (sweetened with stevia), or these new date-sweetened chocolate chips (no refined sugar added).
First gather all of your ingredients and tools. For mixing by hand, add dry ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add wet ingredients to large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the dry bowl to the wet and whisk until smooth, then stir in the chocolate chips by hand with a flexible spatula.
For using a hand mixer, do the above and mix the wet and dry together with the hand mixer. Start slow or you will be wearing the flour.
Chef's tip: For the best results, weigh flours for baking with a digital scale. It's why I add weight measures to my baking recipes and specify the flour I developed with so you will be successful and not waste your time or money. Baking is about accuracy and weighing ingredients such as flour, and is critical for successful baking
Gluten-free Flour Notes
I developed this recipe with Bob's Red Mill 1:1 blue bag gluten-free flour blend. I weighed the flour over and over, and 2 ½ cups weighs 13 ounces.
By comparison, a bag of King Arthur's Measure for Measure GF flour blend, 2/12 cups, weighed only 11 ounces. Very different. To get to 13 ounces, I had to use ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons more of the King Arthur flour. If you read the labels, the blends look similar but they weight differently. If you buy King Arthur's, use this measurement.
Chef's tip: When you measure flour, don't scoop from the bag. Reach into the bag or canister with a large spoon and fill the measuring cup, then level it off. Seems silly but there is a difference and it might effect your results.
For a standing mixer, add the wet ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and blend on low speed until creamy and combined. Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add to the workbowl and blend on medium until incorporated. Add the chips and blend on low.
Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and bake at 325F. Baking time is about 45 minutes. The cake will be done when it is golden and firm to the touch, and a toothpick or cake tester comes out almost clean when inserted into the center of the cake. If you use a metal cake tester or skewer, it will feel warm to the touch on your wrist.
Slice into 9-12 pieces and serve warm or cool. If you'd rather make this a pumpkin dessert cake, serve with a dollop of whipped cream on the side or use a cream cheese frosting recipe. Another option is serve with a simple dusting of powdered sugar.
Pumpkin snack cake will keep on the kitchen counter at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days...but it won't last long!
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Pumpkin Snack Cake with Chocolate Chips (gluten free)
- 2 ½ cups gluten-free flour blend 13 ounces, Bob’s Red Mill blue bag 1:1 GF blend
- 2 teaspoons baking powder aluminum free
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground clove
- 2 large eggs
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- ¾ cup real maple syrup
- ½ cup extra virgin coconut oil melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
At the End
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons chocolate chips 4.3 ounces, see notes below
Get Ready to Bake
- Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Gather all ingredients and a 9″ square metal non-stick baking pan. Spray the pan and line bottom with piece of parchment paper that is long enough to go above the sides of the pans like wings. This make the cake easy to remove from the pan after baking.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine well. In a large bowl, add eggs, pumpkin, syrup, oil and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
Combine and Pour into Pan
- Add wet ingredients into dry and whisk or stir until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour cake batter into baking pan and smooth the top with a flexible spatula. Bake approximately 45 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake to a wire cooling rack using the parchment "wings". Enjoy warm or cool.