These Gluten-free Vegan Caramel Crusted Pumpkin Muffins are also delicious as a full loaf and topped with a crispy, sweet coating and caramel spice glaze that makes it addictive. This loaf is full of flavor from pumpkin and rich spices that is further brought out by sorghum flour. It is dairy-free, oil-free and super fluffy!
Ohhhh shiny, sweet, gorgeous, spicy caramel glaze....I love you. That is how I felt after dipping my finger, I mean spoon, in it. I was holding back this amazing glaze from y'all when I shared the teaser photo of this recipe on Facebook that day. I figured it would be a nice surprise.
If you're thinking "another pumpkin loaf recipe", I'd understand. As if you haven't seen enough gazillion pumpkin loaf recipes already, right? But wait, this one is totally different. I created this one to have a sweet, crispy coating that is crazy delicious with a caramel spice glaze that literally takes 2 minutes to make and takes it over the top. It is only about 10 xxxx better than the Starbucks loaf. I can say that too, because I use to eat them religiously.
I know there are a lot of allergies out there, so I created this version to fit most allergies out there. The only thing it isn't, is grain-free. But if you need that, make my Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes recipe and I bet it would work as a loaf too, although it may be more on the tender side, but still delicious.
GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN BREAD
This vegan pumpkin loaf, including the glaze, is just 8 ingredients. It is also gluten-free, oil-free, coconut-free, a nut-free option and I didn't add any starch! That's right, NO coconut in it!
This is my first recipe not using almond flour or coconut or any starch in a gluten-free baked good! I didn't know if it was possible to make it so delicious, as almond flour is my typical go-to flour. Thankfully, this version is not only lower fat, but still just as delicious. The natural fat from the oat flour, flaxseed and almond butter (sunbutter) help to give it that moist, rich taste.
If you are not allergic to almonds though, I would suggest doing the almond butter, simply because it doesn't impart any other flavor. The sunbutter gives a very slight sunbutter flavor, but if you are used to using sunbutter, you probably won't even notice, as it's not a large amount. I, however, don't love sunbutter nearly as much as roasted almond butter, so I preferred the buttery flavor that almond butter gives.
It is delicious on it's own, but really over-the-top delicious with the glaze!
The magical flour in this loaf is sorghum flour. I used it also in my Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes as one of the optional versions. Here is the thing, sorghum flour is a grain and has a fairly strong flavor, almost spice-like. I am not a fan of it when used as the only flour or a large amount, because it is too strong. But it works AMAZING when combined with pumpkin pie spices and other flours. In fact, sorghum makes it taste even better, as it makes the spices richer. Kind of like magic.
Sorghum is also really cheap too and I have seen it at every grocery store I've been too. It's less than $4. Just look in the specialty flour section if you don't already have it in your pantry. The sorghum is combined with oat flour and aquafaba to create a wonderfully, light and fluffy textured loaf.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST VEGAN PUMPKIN BREAD
Super easy to make too. Blend your dry ingredients, wet ingredients, combine and spread into your dish. Make your 2 minute caramel spice glaze and then swirl just a bit on top. Bake. The caramel glaze will spread some and bake a crispy, sweet topping.
They are also simply amazing as muffins and take just 20 minutes to bake!
Vegan Gluten-free Caramel Crusted Pumpkin Loaf
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (144g) white sorghum flour
- 3/4 cup (96g) fine oat flour
- 1 tablespoon (15g) baking powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (11g) pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (240g) pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (280g) pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup (64g) super creamy roasted almond butter (not stiff or too thick, for nut-free, use sunbutter if you don't mind a slight sunbutter taste)
- 1/4 cup (60g) aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
- 1/4 cup (60g) water
CARAMEL GLAZE (You'll probably want to double this, it's so good!)
- 2 tablespoons (32g) creamy roasted almond butter, see note below how to make this easily (for nut-free, use sunbutter)
- 2 tablespoons (40g) maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- pinch sea salt
- water if needed to thin
- To make different versions of this loaf, add in any of your favorite ingredients. I also baked one with chocolate chips and it was to die for. Raisins or cranberries or even nuts would be nice too.
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x5 ceramic or glass loaf pan with nonstick flour spray, or grease and flour. OR, this will make 12 fabulous fluffy tall muffins.
- Add the sorghum flour, oat flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt to a medium bowl and whisk together until well mixed. Make sure to break up any lumps.
- In a separate large bowl, combine the pumpkin, syrup, almond butter and 1/4 cup aquafaba and 1/4 cup water. Stir well. If your almond butter is really thick, slightly warm it up so it is completely smooth and pourable when measuring and it blends well. Use an immersion blender or beater to blend so it is completely smooth. I used my hand immersion blender. You don't want any chunks of almond butter in the batter.
- Slowly add in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk until completely smooth and no lumps remain. The batter should be smooth and fairly thick. Pour the batter into the prepared pan (or 12 muffin liners) and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Take your pan and rock it back and forth a few times, so the batter settles and flattens out.
- Mix together the caramel ingredients with a fork until smooth. Using only about a heaping tablespoon, drop little dollops over the top of the batter. The more you add, the crispier it will be. Drag with the tip of a knife to create swirls. When it bakes, it will spread some and form a nice, sugary crust on top. Save the remaining glaze to drizzle over the baked loaf later.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes (see next step for muffins) until a toothpick comes out clean, ok if there are a few dry crumbs, but it shouldn't be wet batter. The top should be firm and shiny and slightly springy. Let cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before removing, as it will be firming up a lot and still cooking as it cools. Flip the loaf over on a cooling rack to cool completely. Use a very sharp knife to gently slice into several slices.
- If making them as muffins (SO good!), then divide the batter between 12 muffin liners, the batter will be filled high. Smooth out the tops with the back of a spoon. Drop a dollop of the glaze on each one and just slightly swirl it around the top with a toothpick. It will form a nice crust on top as it cooks. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Mine were done at about 23 minutes. The tops will not spring back because of the caramel crust but it should be fairly firm. Let them cool AT LEAST 20 minutes, as they are too moist to eat right away and still cook as they are cooling off.
- Drizzle remaining glaze over the top of individual slices when you are ready to eat. If you want the glaze thinner, add a tiny amount of water. I stored the extra glaze at room temperature. It's important to wrap the loaf/muffins tightly in plastic wrap to keep them moist. Store at room temperature. I like to rewarm my slice slightly and then drizzle some glaze on.
Nutrition based on a loaf with 9 slices, 1 slice is: 265 calories, 6.1 g fat, 46.7 carbs, 6.3 g protein, 23.6 g sugar
Nutrition based on 12 muffins, 1 muffin is: 198.7 calories, 4.6 g fat, 35 carbs, 4.7 g protein, 17.7 g sugar
*I make my own roasted almond butter every couple of weeks, as I prefer the richer flavor and much smoother texture than raw almond butter in my baking. To make your own, simply add 2-3 cups raw whole almonds to a sheet pan and roast at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Add to a food processor and process for about 10 minutes or so, scraping the sides a few times during. You will keep doing this until it becomes very, very smooth and no longer paste-like, it should be a smooth pourable consistency, almost like oil.