Gluten-Free Pumpkin Almond Cake with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

This recipe will wow your guests, whether they are gluten-lovers or -avoiders. The “master recipe” for this form of almond cake dates back to medieval times, so it has stood the test of time, as well as the test of my kids and co-workers, who are in love with it. Whether you’re looking for a gluten-free item on your Thanksgiving pie table, or are just intrigued by something new, I hope you’ll try this and I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Almond Cake with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

Pumpkin and pumpkin-leaf cutouts were combined with string to create the designs in the sugar. Add your own touch!

The powdered sugar dusting can be done with any stencil you choose. And the cream cheese whipped cream is delicious with anything, but a particularly good match for this cake.

Making Almond Meal in food processor

The almonds should be processed until they are uniform small bits.

For more about the history of almond cake, developed it would seem by Jews living in Spain about 500 years ago, you can view this video of Claudia Rosen discussing some of her research and discoveries. And here is her own recipe with no pumpkin, for those who want to go back to basics.

Pumpkin Almond Cake Slice Close-Up

The texture is divine, and much more moist than most gluten-free cakes.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Cake Recipe: Pumpkin Almond Cake with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10
With a food processor this recipe is a breeze. If you don't have one, you can still make the recipe if you start with almond meal instead of whole/sliced/slivered almonds, and superfine sugar instead of granulated sugar. The only other special equipment needed is a springform pan.
For the cake:
  • ½ pound of sliced, slivered, or whole almonds (or use almond meal)
  • 1¼ cup granulated or superfine sugar
  • Butter or shortening for greasing the pan
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground or grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
For the whipped cream:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
For the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Create almond meal by placing the almonds in a food processor and processing until they are chopped down to uniform small bits (about 30 seconds if starting with sliced or slivered almonds, longer if using whole almonds). If starting with almond meal, skip this step. Empty the food processor, settings the almond meal aside.
  3. Create superfine sugar by processing the granulated sugar in the processor until it has the texture of fine sand, about 10 seconds. Skip this step if starting with superfine sugar.
  4. Grease a 9-inch springform pan using butter or shortening. Dust the pan with 1-2 tablespoons of superfine sugar, turning the pan to coat it evenly.
  5. Add the egg yolks into the processor with the sugar and process until the color is pale yellow, about 10 more seconds. Add the almond meal back in, along with the pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Process until uniform, about 10-20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and process for a few more pulses.
  6. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, just until stiff peaks have formed. Pour the batter from the food processor over the top of the egg whites and fold it together with a rubber spatula. Pour the mixture into the springform pan and place in the oven.
  7. Cook until the middle of the cake is firm, about 40-45 minutes.
  8. Cool in the pan to room temperature. Remove the outer ring, and dust with powdered sugar just before serving, using a stencil of your choice for decoration. Freeze or refrigerate leftovers.
For the whipped cream:
  1. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed to loosen it up and break up any large chunks.
  2. Add a splash of cream, along with the granulated sugar while continuing to run the beater(s). Turn the mixer to high and add the rest of the cream, the vanilla, and the pinch of salt. Stop the beater(s) and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Resume beating until the cream has reached stiff peaks and doubled in volume. Serve with the cake. NOTE: Since the cream cheese helps to stabilize the whipped cream, this can be made 24 hours in advance, or even a bit longer.


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