This easy gluten-free pumpkin sheet cake with whipped cream frosting is the ideal dessert to feed a crowd at Halloween or Thanksgiving.
My most perpetual pregnancy craving has been and continues to be cake. Last week I was desperate for some, and became fixated on making a sheet cake. Sheet cakes are really the best kind when you’re baking to satisfy a craving. Why? They’re huge and fast. There’s no need to prep more than one pan or stack and fill layers. It’s a snap to make them look nice with no piping. They also bake and cool super quickly because they just have one relatively thin layer.
This gluten-free pumpkin sheet cake turned out wonderfully and is so easy to make. I found a pumpkin sheet cake recipe over on Two Peas & Their Pod, and adapted it to be gluten free and even simpler. I also changed the frosting to whipped cream, which is so fast and tasty (and not overly sweet!) but lets the pumpkin spice flavors of the cake shine. To keep things streamlined and avoid having to measure multiple flours, I used a gluten-free flour blend that I’ve had success with in the past. I eliminated the butter browning and cooling to keep things quick, and made the whole batter in the bowl of the stand mixer instead of using two bowls. I also used individual spices instead of pumpkin pie spice mix, which I can’t bring myself to buy, but I’ve provided notes so that you can use either.
The frosting is just classic whipped cream, sweetened with a bit of powdered sugar and flavored with vanilla, with the key addition of sour cream or mascarpone cheese. When you’re choosing between the two, keep in mind that sour cream provides a bit of tang reminiscent of cream cheese frosting, while the mascarpone is more subtle and just adds richness. We’re not using one of these additional dairy products for their taste, though: we’re using them to stabilize the whipped cream. When you whip cream with a little bit of mascarpone or sour cream, it holds up much better, stays fluffy much longer, and is much less likely to sort of slump over and melt on you if things get a bit too warm.
I imagine you will probably make this gluten-free pumpkin sheet cake to feed a hungry Halloween crowd or balance out the pie-centricity of Thanksgiving dessert tables. However, I of course cannot judge you if you follow in my footsteps and polish off the vast majority of it all by yourself across just two days!
Looking for more vast expanses of cake? Try my easy Texas sheet cake, which is both gluten and dairy free.
Looking for more pumpkin? I’ve got you big time. Try chocolate pumpkin crème brûlée, Instant Pot pumpkin pie, baked pumpkin custards with maple whipped cream, pumpkin crème brûlée pie bars, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin swirl brownies, or vegan pumpkin spice ice cream.
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1¾ cup raw sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (100% pumpkin)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour**
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger*
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg*
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves*
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice*
- To make the pumpkin sheet cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment and lightly grease the parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer) for about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the pumpkin and vanilla. The mixture may not look totally smooth.
- Add the gluten-free baking flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix on low speed until almost combined, then switch to a spatula and mix by hand just until everything is evenly incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to spread it out to reach the edges. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cake is set and the top springs back when gently poked with a finger. Cool the cake completely in the pan before adding frosting.
- To make the whipped cream frosting, whip the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a hand mixer) until soft peaks form. Add the sour cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean paste, and whip until the frosting holds medium peaks. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cake, making decorative swirls with a spoon or offset spatula if desired. Slice and serve.
- Whipped cream that is stabilized with sour cream or mascarpone holds up much better than plain whipped cream, but it is still best to make the frosting within an hour or two of when you plan to serve the cake. Store leftover frosted cake covered in the fridge. The frosting will not be quite as fluffy, but is just as delicious a day or two later.
**I have not tested this cake with other flour blends, but if you have a gluten-free flour that works well as a one-to-one replacement for wheat flour, it's worth a try here!
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