Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Pumpkin Toffee-Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - gluten free

Left over pumpkin? Make cake!
This one combines all the flavours of the season and is perfect as a bonfire night treat too.......

I have no doubt there are many houses this week with pumpkin going to waste. An estimated 18,000 tons of pumpkin flesh is binned every year in the UK (source : The Independent). What a tragedy!

Although I don't go a bundle on the whole Halloween Trick or Treat stuff, I do love a nice bright orange Jack-O-Lantern all lit up on the big night. But I don't do waste..... Period! Which means we are always really careful to scrape out as much pumpkin as possible before we carve and light. That way, we not only have a beautiful Halloween offering to the ghouls and ghosts, but we get to eat lots of delicious pumpkin goodies too.....

Why would anyone want to waste this stuff? Pumpkin flesh is amazingly delicious and is rich in antioxidants and vitamins (with particularly high levels of vitamin A, C and E). It is really low in calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, but it is a fantastic source of fibre. It is incredibly versatile too.... Use it in anything from savoury soups, curries or simply roasted with a little oil and seasoning, or take it to a sweeter level by mashing and mixing into cakes, pancakes or spiced pumpkin pie.

I particularly love when it is added to cakes and muffins. It has an ability to add a virtuous moistness, depth and richness to the sponge, whilst remaining relatively inert in flavour. This particular Pumpkin Toffee-Apple Cake showcases its offerings well.... Soft and slightly dense, it is satisfying and full of the flavours of Autumn........ mixed with little bites of apple, a good measure of cinnamon and balanced with the caramel sweetness of coconut palm and brown sugar as well as a handful of fudge chunks. Toffee-apple yumciousness!

If you don't have any fresh pumpkin to hand, panic not..... you can use tinned pumpkin puree. If your tin falls below the weight stated in the ingredients, just top it up with a little apple puree. I have always struggled to find apple puree on generic supermarket shelves, but if you don't have time to make it yourself from fresh apples, just grab a quick jar from the baby food aisle..... apple puree at its simplest and easiest!

Actually, despite the fudge, this sponge is not over-sweet, at all. This is a good thing, because it makes it the perfect base for a luxurious cream cheese frosting, shot through with an extra hit of velvety caramel. I adore cream cheese frosting..... it always tastes extra decadent and naughty. As this cake is full of so much good stuff though, you needn't shoulder any burden of guilt.... The pumpkin and apple more than make up for that!

The recipe below makes enough mixture for a sizable deep 25 cm (10 inch) square cake. I made two separate smaller sponges however (one round and one long) as I wanted to take some into work as well as have a separate cake at home. I am happy to say that it went down extremely well with all who ate it, so I am equally happy to share it with you as well as the following challenges :

Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too.

Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.

Free From Fridays with Emma over at the Free From Farmhouse

The #FoodYearLinkup with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Celebrating Guy Fawkes Night.

Credit Crunch Munch - this month with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary on behalf of Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All.

Cook Blog Share with Hijacked By Twins.

The No Waste Food Challenge with It's Not Easy Being Greedy (guest hosting this month for Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary).

Pumpkin Toffee-Apple Cake (makes equivalent one 25 x 25 cm/10 x 10 inch tray bake)


300g plain GF flour mix (I used blend A from this post)
2½ teaspoons GF baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
150g soft light brown sugar
150g coconut palm sugar
40g freeze dried apple cubes (I get mine from Healthy Supplies)
150g vanilla fudge or soft dairy toffee (cut into tiny cubes)
200g unsalted butter - melted
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons apple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
450g pureed pumpkin (or 1 x 420g pumpkin puree tin + 30g apple puree)

Cream Cheese Frosting (with a hint of caramel)
180g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
75g unsalted butter - softened
150g caramel sauce (I used a bought jar version)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
approx 350g icing sugar

Grated chocolate and sprinkles to decorate


  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
  2. Base line a 25 x 25 cm baking tin with baking paper.
  3. In a large bowl, weigh and whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, salt, and sugars, making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
  4. Add and stir in the apple cubes and small pieces of fudge/toffee.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until light and airy.
  6. Add the melted butter and whisk again to combine.
  7. Add and beat in the apple juice and vanilla.
  8. Add the liquid egg mixture to the dry ingredients and then also add the pumpkin puree. Fold through until just combined and wet through (be careful not to over-mix).
  9. Pour into the baking tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean and the top springs back.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for about 10 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Meanwhile make the Cream Cheese Frosting. Beat together the cream cheese, softened butter, caramel sauce and vanilla paste until smooth.
  12. Gradually add the icing sugar a little at a time, beating between each addition until the frosting is smooth and thickened.
  13. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 
  14. When the cake is cold, generously spread the frosting over it and sprinkle with grated chocolate and decoration as you choose.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated


  1. Such a great idea for using up leftover pumpkin! I adore it in baking and your cake looks stunning!

  2. The baby food isle is great for finding purees you can't find anywhere else in the supermarket isn't it (I often find freeze dried bits and pieces I needs there too).

    I love the sound of this cake, especially the fudge pieces and the caramel in the frosting.

    Thanks for joining #FoodYearLinkup x

    1. Thanks Charlotte. I think I love the baby food aisle, because everything seems so much more 'pure' there too!

  3. Looks so delicious. I love all those spices and such a great way to use up pumpkin!

  4. what a gorgeous cake - I particularly love the sound of the cream cheese frosting with the caramel sauce. It is astonishing that so much pumpkin is thrown out each year - wonder if the amount is growing in Australia as the orange skinned pumpkins are sneaking into our shops and I am not sure they are as nice as the pumpkin we are used to.

    1. Thanks Johanna. I always try to use culinary pumpkins.... I can't believe we waste so much land growing pumpkins which are often inedible! Crazy!!

  5. You are a great colleague to make an extra one of these lovely cakes for them - I wish I worked with you! Thanks so much for sharing as part of the No Waste Food Challenge!

    1. Thanks Tracy.... I sometimes feel guilty that I am subjecting my colleagues to 'experiments', but they generally seem quite grateful, so it works well for all of us!

  6. I have to admit, I make a pumpkin lantern every year and the flesh goes straight in the bin. Shameful really; but in my defence I did once have a bad experience with squash and I've tarred pumpkin with the same brush so don't risk it!

    1. Oh no! I think you need to give squas (and pumpkin) another try...... a good Autumn squash is such a treat!

  7. I love to use pumpkin and this cake looks so good! I am pleased I have seen this as I have a pumpkin ready to be used! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

    1. Thanks Kirsty.... Hope it works as well for you as it did for me x

  8. This sounds absolutely delicious honey! Week after week I love your bakes :-)

  9. I do love a good pumpkin cake and this has such lovely autumnal flavours. Thanks for the tip on the baby food aisle - definitely checking it out next time I go shopping.

  10. This looks so yummy! I often use baby food in cakes, it's so versatile :)

    Katie xoxo

    1. Thanks Katie. It was a real Autumn cake. Baby food use was a great discovery!

  11. Such a gorgeous recipe! Loving the idea of a bit of caramel in the icing too! Thanks for sharing with Credit Crunch Munch and the No Waste Food Challenge :)


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