Pumpkin Puree for Days

Mea Culpa; there’s been a terrible mistake. While every other year brings me closer to alternative squashes, embracing the less celebrated deep green kabochas and stout, pointed acorns, the overwhelming pumpkin mania has finally engulfed my kitchen as well. Beggars can’t be choosers, and when beggars accidentally order about eight times as much canned pumpkin as intended, well… One must learn to get on board with the pumpkin trend, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Luckily, as much of America is already well aware, pumpkin puree is not such a difficult ingredient to love. Whether it plays a starring role or disappears quietly into the background, its just as much at home in any sweet or savory dish. After a few weeks of pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin protein shakes, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin salad dressing, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin butter, there’s a strong possibility that I’m already seeing the world through orange-tinted glasses. There are far worse fates to befall a voracious vegan, and despite the complete dietary takeover, there is always still room for more pumpkin come dessert.

So nice I made it twice, this is what happens when my classic Self-Frosting Peanut Butter Cupcakes grow up and take on a seasonal affectation. No longer nutty but bolstered by another cult craze, speculoos spread, the concept morphed into a full sheet cake, ideal for serving up at potlucks or big family affairs. Sweet and warmly spiced, the soft crumb is positively irresistible, even to those who have sworn off the old orange gourd.

On the second go around, when I found the stash of puree still not dwindling as rapidly as desired, a more wholesome, breakfast-like cake emerged from the oven. Replacing the maple syrup from the topping with plain water for less intense sweetness, that more subtle swirl paired beautifully with a hearty touch of instant oatmeal thrown into the mix. Consider varying (or removing) the nut, adding in raisins or cranberries, or go totally wild and swap in chocolate chips instead. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no wrong approach with this rock-solid formula.

Perhaps it wasn’t such a terrible mistake to supersize my pumpkin puree after all. I’ll let you know when I finally finish the stash, possibly sometime next year.

Yield: Makes 24 – 36 Servings

Self-Frosting Speculoos Pumpkin Cake

Self-Frosting Speculoos Pumpkin Cake

Sweet and warmly spiced, the soft crumb on this pumpkin cake swirled with cinnamon cookie butter spread is positively irresistible.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


Pumpkin Cake:

  • 2 1/2 Cups 100% Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Aquafaba
  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Toasted Walnuts, Roughly Chopped

Speculoos Frosting:

  • 1 Cup Creamy Speculoos Spread
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons Plain Non-Dairy Milk


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease either (2) 8×8-inch square pans or (1) 9×13-inch rectangular pan, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, and aquafaba, mixing until smooth. Separately, whisk together the the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Once all of the dry goods are well-distributed throughout the mixture, add in the walnuts, tossing to coat.
  3. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients. Mix with a wide spatula until relatively lump-free, but be careful not to mix more than necessary.
  4. In a smaller, separate bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the frosting, and blend until completely smooth. Add the non-dairy milk until the consistency is similar to a thick icing.
  5. Smooth the cake batter into your prepared pan(s). Drop dollops of frosting at random intervals across the top, swirling it in with a knife or thin spatula until it more or less covers the entire surface. It may seem like too much frosting at first, but trust me: You won’t regret the small excess once you take a bite.
  6. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes if using (2) 8×8-inch pans or 45 – 60 minutes for (1) 9×13-inch pan. It should be golden brown all over and a toothpick inserted near the center will come out clean. Let cool completely before slicing and indulging.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 179Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 110mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.


30 thoughts on “Pumpkin Puree for Days

    1. yes I usually just throw it out. Now the specaloos won’t be avail here but I’m sure I can find a healthy topping..thatns again Hannah

    2. Fantastic! I must admit, I’ve been relying on it rather heavily since I’m constantly eating chickpeas, and thus always have plenty of brine on hand. In a pinch, you could also use an equal amount of water blended with 1 tablespoon ground chia or flax seeds instead. Happy Baking!

      1. Baked it this weekend … and it was FABULOUS! Moist and decadent and deeeeee-licious. And, now I have a new job for all the chickpea juice that I never knew to keep. Win-win! Thank you!

  1. Hannah – what can i sub for the specaloos spread? As far as i know it doesn’t exist in Australia and cannot be shipped here either according to Amazon. Thank you!

    1. The flavor will be quite a bit different, but you can substitute cashew, peanut, or almond butter instead, plus a bit of cinnamon to keep with the theme. It will still be delicious no matter what!

  2. My kind of purest gold. We Aussies just don’t get canned pumpkin. We make our own from scratch. It’s not like we don’t eat a lot of pumpkin and we certainly don’t wait till November to eat it. We eat pumpkin year round because it stores so well and makes amazing savoury meals as well as sweet. I will give you this, I LOVE this cake. I am going to make it with pumpkin that I prepare myself and I doubt I will notice the lack of a can ;)

  3. this looks so amazing, Hannah! It looks really moist. I love pumpkin and eat it all the time but somehow have never used it to make a cake. I love the idea of it with speculoos. Sounds lovely!

  4. I could live with a gargantuan stash of pumpkin. :) This cake is beautiful – what does the chickpea brine do? I suppose it adds some protein – is it sort of like an egg replacement?

    1. You got it! It acts as a binder here, although I would be tempted to say that with all the pumpkin, you may be able to get away with just using plain non-dairy milk instead. It’s such a solid recipe that feel like it could stand up to almost any amount of tweaking!

  5. This is SERIOUSLY the YUMMIEST thing I’ve ever eaten off the Blog! Definitely Top 5 things that have ever gone in my mouth! Holy guacamole Batman…I’m eating a whole pan by the end of today at this rate!!!!

    1. I haven’t tried it myself so I really can’t vouch for the results, but as long as the bundt pan is large enough to accommodate the rising batter, I don’t see why not. I might just tent the top with foil so that it doesn’t burn, and plan on baking it for at least 1 1/2 hours. Let me know how it goes!

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