Over the years, I’ve had to become a connoisseur of gluten free cuisine. I’ve been able to find a lot of different ways to adapt recipes so we can still enjoy our favorite foods without sacrificing our health. But anyone who regularly uses gluten free substitutes knows that some recipes work out better than others. It’s constant trial-and-error to figure out which recipes are equally delicious made gluten free (like this gluten free bread recipe), and which recipes are better left alone.
Pumpkin pie is one of those “better left alone” recipes for me. I just haven’t been able to find a gluten free pumpkin pie recipe that tempts my taste buds in the same way that traditional pumpkin pie does. I’d personally prefer to seek out a different recipe entirely than make something that doesn’t taste quite right. In the case of pumpkin desserts, I’ve found that a pumpkin custard or cake is different enough that I don’t compare it to the pie that my taste buds know and love.
If you are confident in your gluten free pastry skills or want to try a crustless pumpkin pie, see the “Gluten Free Pie Crust” section below. In the meantime, I’m thrilled to tell you that this Pumpkin Pie Cake is just as delicious when made gluten free! My son Kell (who has Celiac disease) requests this dessert at least once a week throughout fall and winter. And not only does he love it, but the rest of my family loves it just as much! In my opinion, a crowd-pleasing gluten free dessert like this needs to be shared with the world. :-)
I made mine with a gluten free cake mix, but you can make it with any yellow cake mix. Also, the recipe calls for prepared pumpkin pie filling. I used my Mom’s recipe (and included that for you below,) but you can use whatever recipe you normally would use when making pumpkin pie.
This is the perfect dessert for satisfying that pumpkin pie craving without going through the hassle of making and rolling out crusts. So if you’re scrambling for ideas for a last-minute Thanksgiving dessert (or used your last pie dish for pecan pie), you’ve come to the right place! ;-)
Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Cake
- 1 gluten free yellow cake mix (set aside 1/2 cup for topping)
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 egg
Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer until combined.
Press the crust into a lightly greased 9×13 pan.
- 1 (29 oz) can pumpkin pie filling
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp mace (or nutmeg)
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups milk
- 1 Tbsp butter
Add all the ingredients to a medium pot and heat on low until the mixture thickens.
Pour the pumpkin pie filling over the crust.
- 1/2 cup gluten free yellow cake mix
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp butter, cold
Mix the cake mix and cinnamon together, then cut the butter into the mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the pumpkin pie filling.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes. You want it to be “set” in the middle. Shake the pan a little, and if the cake doesn’t jiggle, then you know it’s done.
Let the cake cool and then serve with a nice big dollop of whipped cream!
Does Pumpkin Pie Contain Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and some other grains. So, when you’re making a pumpkin pie, the crust is usually the only thing you need to worry about in the pumpkin pie recipe that you are adapting.
Gluten Free Pie Crust
Traditionally, pastry crusts are made with flour, fat (shortening, butter, coconut oil, etc.), and a liquid (milk, cream, water, etc.). Sometimes other elements are added, but these three ingredients are necessary. The flour gives the pie its structure, fat provides flavor, and the liquid combined with the fat creates the flakiness of the crust. Using these principles, you can create a pie crust dough that fits your dietary needs, whether you want a gluten free or vegan pumpkin pie.
Gluten Free Flour Options
- Almond Flour is an excellent alternative to all-purpose flour, but it does tend to be a little more crumbly than others. So adjust your wet ingredients accordingly.
- Rice Flour is best used in a flour blend rather than by itself since it doesn’t bind well with other ingredients. You can also use it to dust your countertop, so your dough doesn’t stick.
- Sorghum Flour is also a good option, but also doesn’t bind very well, so make sure to add xanthan gum to make up for it.
- Oat Flour is good but is lighter than all-purpose flour, so weigh the flour rather than measuring it by volume.
- Tapioca Flour is an excellent pie dough option since it already has a hint of sweetness in it.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
You don’t generally need to adjust the pie filling to make it gluten free. But if you have other dietary restrictions, there are a lot of substitutions you can make.
For a vegan option, use almond milk or full-fat coconut milk rather than evaporated milk and whipped coconut cream instead of whipped cream. If you want less sugar for a healthy pumpkin pie, try using maple syrup in place of brown sugar and a sugar substitute for granulated sugar.
Note: if you want a low-sugar option, don’t use coconut sugar. Nutritionally it’s very similar to granulated sugar.
Another note: try adding some pumpkin pie spice to your whipped cream for a little extra kick!
GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN "PIE" CAKE
- 1 gluten-free yellow cake mix set aside 1 cup for topping
- 1 stick butter softened
- 1 egg
- 1 29 oz can pumpkin
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon mace
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 4 eggs beaten
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup gluten free yellow cake mix
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons butter cold
- Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer until combined.
- Press the crust into a lightly greased 9x13 pan.
- Add all the ingredients to a medium pot and heat on low until the mixture thickens.
- Pour the pumpkin pie filling over the crust.
- Mix the cake mix and cinnamon together, then cut the butter in the mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the pumpkin pie filling.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes. You want it to be "set" in the middle. Shake the pan a little and if the cake doesn't "jiggle" then you know it's done.
- Let the cake cool and then serve with a nice big dollop of whipped cream!