Pumpkin & Cardamom Cake (Gluten Free & Vegan-Friendly)

I may be alone, but I’m actually rather enjoying the Great British Bake Off since it moved channels. Those commercial breaks offer the chance for a top up of tea, or after dinner ‘little something’. Whilst the technical challenges get more obscure each season, the ‘signature’ bakes and showstoppers offer new inspiration, and this week’s ‘spice’ theme was right up my street. In fact, if I have a signature bake of my own, it’s probably the cake I made for a GBBO-themed competition a few years ago: the pumpkin & cardamom cake. I’m a sucker for cardamom.

Gluten Free Pumpkin & Cardamom Cake - Vegan Friendly

I’ve reinvented it several times: using sweet potato, or as cupcakes; but until now my little girl couldn’t eat it as it relied on eggs. My egg-replacer experiments failed so I needed to go back to the drawing board and use an egg-free recipe as the basis (from Ms Cupcake), tweaking until I got the result I wanted. I’m finally happy, so here it is: Carly’s Signature Bake. Simpler than it looks, but more sophisticated than the cloying sweetness of imported ‘pumpkin spice’. Perfect for your vegan friends, ideal for after a leaf-kicking walk. I really enjoyed the bitter notes of dark chocolate ganache with this, but it would be equally lovely with a cream cheese icing or whipped coconut if that’s your thing.

Gluten Free Pumpkin & Cardamom Cake - Vegan Friendly

Gluten Free Pumpkin & Cardamom Cake - Vegan Friendly

Gluten Free Pumpkin & Cardamom Cake - Vegan Friendly

Gluten Free Pumpkin & Cardamom Cake - Vegan Friendly

Pumpkin & Cardamom Cake


For the cake:

  • 250g firm-fleshed pumpkin or squash
  • 1 large orange
  • 400g gluten free self raising flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • Seeds from 3 cardamom pods
  • 400ml soya milk
  • 160ml olive oil
  • 2tbsp vanilla extract

For the ganache:

  • 160g dark chocolate (check it is gluten or dairy free)
  • 100ml soya milk

(Or use a bought dairy free ganache like the one from Pudology)

  1. Oil and line 3x 15cm tins (or 2x 20cm tins) and preheat the oven to 180ºc
  2. Finely grate the pumpkin and orange zest, and squeeze out as much liquid as you can with a clean cloth.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, baking powder and cardamom.
  4. Add the milk, oil & vanilla extract until just combined.
  5. Finally stir through the pumpkin & orange zest.
  6. Divide the mix equally between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, make the ganache: heat the soya milk in a pan until just boiling, then transfer to a bowl. Add the chocolate and stir until melted then allow to cool (in the fridge if you prefer it spreadable rather than pourable.
  8. To decorate: trim the cakes to make them flat if needed, then sandwich with the ganache. Top with dried edible petals to decorate.

Gluten Free Pumpkin & Cardamom Cake - Vegan Friendly

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