Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Bourbon Maple Cream Cheese Icing

I promised in my last post that I would share this gluten free Pumpkin Cake with you; and I’m finally getting down to writing it out! We’re just wrapping up a great long weekend: Kyle’s dad, step-mom and sister made the trip up north for 3 days to visit and check out our new place. It was awesome having them here in town, even though the visit was too short. And we realized after dropping them off that the last time we saw them was when Kyle’s sister was graduating back in MAY! Yikes. Far too long between visits. Here’s hoping we can see them well before another 6 months pass by.

While Kyle’s family were visiting, I decided to make this cake again. My parents were coming over for dinner, plus Kyle’s dad’s birthday just happened to pass; so it was a perfect opportunity for everyone to eat cake! The cake was originally created when Robin and I were talking about our Gluten Free Holiday Meal. Since the original plan was a Thanksgiving meal, it seemed only fitting to make a pumpkin-ish dessert. Pumpkin Pie seems to be the usual dish that ends a Thanksgiving meal; but the thought of a crustless pie or gluten free crust seemed uninspired. I had thought that maybe a mousse or parfait may be more fun to add the the spread. Robin threw in the idea of using pumpkin cake instead of mousse in a parfait; and so the original plan was to make a Pumpkin Parfait with pumpkin cake, a bourbon peach compote, pecan whipped cream and topped with toasted pecans.

I scoured the internet for pumpkin cakes that were gluten free. But I didn’t find anything that appealed to me in terms of the flours used. And so, I researched some of the methods in which people create gluten free cakes; mostly from reading gluten free blogs such as elana’s pantry, or gluten free cookbooks like Gluten Free Girl & the Chef. Following this I created my own cake. And I’ve got to say that I felt a little protective about it. When Robin arrived on our cookday, I sheepishly admitted that I no longer wanted to chop up my creation into bits to add to pretty little glasses topped with cream and compote. I wanted to showcase it. I wanted to slather it in the cream cheese frosting I whipped up; the one I added a hit of bourbon and a touch of maple syrup to. I wanted to devour it in all it’s pristine glory. But I was open to adding Robin’s bourbon peach compote between the cake layers. And it was magnificent.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Bourbon Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Note: When I first made this cake, I added Chef Robin Wasicuna’s Bourbon Peach Compote between the layers of cake. Then Robin steeped toasted pecans in cream over a low heat, and strained the cream so he was left with a smooth pecan cream. After allowing the cream to cool, he attempted to make pecan whipped cream; however, the proteins in the pecans did not allow the cream to become “whipped.” But with the added icing sugar and vanilla, the cream was still delicious – so we added it to the bottom of the plates and placed the cut pieces of cake on top of the cream. It was extremely tasty; but not necessary. Go ahead and give it a whirl if you’re so inclined. This weekend, I made this cake again; but left the bourbon peach compote and the pecan cream out. It was still delicious, so feel free to make it either way. 

1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup almond flour/meal
1 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 cups brown sugar, not “packed”
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups pureed pumpkin, canned or fresh
2 tsp vanilla

Bourbon Maple Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz package cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp bourbon
2 cups icing sugar

Bourbon Peach Compote (optional – see recipe below)
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

To Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F or if you’re using dark “non-stick” baking pan preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare two 9″ round cake pans by lining both with parchment paper and spraying with cooking spray.

Place all 11 dry ingredients (sorghum flour to salt) in a medium bowl. Whisk together to combine thoroughly.

In another mixing bowl, beat together the 4 eggs until they become frothy. Add the brown sugar, and beat again until the sugar and egg mixture is smooth. Add the oil, pumpkin, vanilla and beat again to combine. With the mixer on, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat this to combine for 1-2 minutes (there is not as much fear with over-mixing gluten-free cakes…because – clearly – there are no glutens to that will develop).

Even pour the batter between the two cake pans. Bake in the oven 30-35 minutes, or until firm and a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Then remove to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

To Make the Icing: In a mixer, beat together the cream cheese and icing until combined and smooth. Add the vanilla, maple syrup and bourbon to the cream cheese mixture and beat again until incorporated. With the mixer on (low or medium/low) slowly add the icing sugar until the icing is smooth. Transfer the icing to a dish and allow to firm up in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

To Prepare the Cake: Place one cake layer onto your serving tray. Either top it with 1/4 cup of the Bourbon Peach Compote (recipe below) or with 2/3 – 1/2 cup of the Cream Cheese Icing. Place the other cake layer on top of the compote/icing layer. Ice the entire cake with the Cream Cheese Icing. Then top with the toasted pecans. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Bourbon Peach Compote

Recipe provided by Chef Robin Wasicuna

Note: this will make much more compote than you require for the cake. However, you can use this in many dessert applications. And Chef Robin has even been known to add it to some delicious savory sandwiches. 

12 peaches, pitted and chopped
1 cup Knob Creek Bourbon (specifically this brand for the strong bourbon taste)
2 cups sugar

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan. Place over a medium heat and cook until everything is broken down. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store  in the fridge for 2 weeks. You can also freeze this in small batches to store for later use.


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  1. #1 by mydearbakes on November 13, 2012 - 1:11 am

    Wow, your bakes looks so delightful! Nice=)

  2. #2 by Gorging George on November 13, 2012 - 7:19 am


  3. #3 by Mary-Ellen Savard on November 13, 2012 - 6:27 pm

    I can’t WAIT to try this – looks SO good Gina !

  4. #4 by Gorging George on November 14, 2012 - 10:35 pm

    You’ll love it! And all the flours are readily available here in YK

  5. #5 by Lea on November 15, 2012 - 10:54 am

    This was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend it.

  6. #6 by Kelsey on December 23, 2012 - 8:12 pm

    I made the cake with regular flour and it was delicious!

  7. #7 by Gorging George on December 23, 2012 - 8:20 pm

    Glad it worked for you!!

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