Spice Cake with Italian Meringue Pumpkin Buttercream (SCD)

Hi friends! I’ve been trying to come up with a good alternative to a traditional pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. While I LOVE a good pumpkin pie, not everyone feels the same. I wanted to create a dessert that still looks and tastes like Fall and this cake really exceeded my expectations! The spice cake is moist and has all the warm flavors you’d expect from a Fall dessert. The frosting is incredibly creamy with a beautiful orange tint brought on by the addition of pumpkin. Together the combination of spices from the cake and sweetness from the frosting make an absolutely heavenly three tiered dessert!

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To make the cake you’re going to combine all the dry ingredients; almond flour , baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves etc into a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the melted coconut oil, eggs, honey, vanilla extract and full fat canned coconut milk. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature! Incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. If you over-mix you run the risk of your cake dipping in the middle while baking. I used three 6″ baking pans to bake my cake but you can also use one 9″ baking pan if you prefer to make a single layer cake. You’re going to bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of your cake comes out clean. Almond flour has a tendency to brown very quickly while baking, if you notice this happening to your cakes, simply tent with aluminum foil. Allow your cakes to cool completely before frosting.

On to the frosting now! You’re going to begin by making a meringue. Beat three egg whites and lemon juice on high speed of your mixer with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Heat your honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer reads 240F and the honey becomes bubbly and frothy. With the mixer still on, slowly pour the hot honey into the whipped egg whites. Continue beating for 20 minutes or until the meringue looks glossy. Congrats, you just made meringue! Once the meringue is completely cooled you’re going to add the butter, which has to be at room temperature, one tablespoon at a time into the meringue. Now add the shortening into the bowl (you can use just shortening instead of butter in this frosting for a Paleo and dairy free option). Continue to beat until the frosting firms up. If it’s a little runny simply place in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes and re-whip. Now add your pumpkin, spices and vanilla extract. Feel free at this point to taste the frosting and adjust the flavors as you see fit.

Whenever I decorate a cake I always cut medium squares out of wax paper then arrange them along the edge of the plate or stand I’ll be using for the cake. Once I’m done with the frosting I simply pull out the wax paper and voila, I don’t have to worry about frosting on my plate/stand!

I am certainly no expert at decorating cakes. I tend to obsess over how it looks and just end up making it worse, which is why I’m so happy that “naked cakes” are a thing now! Naked cakes have a rustic charm and aren’t supposed to be perfectly frosted on the sides, which is perfect for a cake decorating novice such as myself!  Use as much frosting as you’d like in between your layers of cake and on top. You’re going to use a minimal amount of frosting to decorate the sides of your cake and remember, it’s supposed to look rustic with some of the actual cake peaking through the frosting. Don’t obsess over it! I decided to use faux flowers, which I washed first, to decorate the top of the cake. No matter how you decide to decorate your cake it’s sure to be a show stopper! I hope you enjoy this yummy treat!

Spice Cake with Italian Meringue Pumpkin Buttercream (SCD)
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr

A delicious fall dessert made with almond flour and pumpkin. This cake is free of grains, gluten and refined sugar. It's SCD compliant and can easily be adapted for a Paleo/dairy free option!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Jennifer
Spice Cake
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • coconut oil for greasing pans
  • parchment paper to line bottom of pans
Italian Meringue Pumpkin Buttercream
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
Spice Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Use coconut oil to grease bottom and sides of three 6" baking pans. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside. 

  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix all wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Don't over-mix. 

  3. Evenly distribute the batter among the pans. Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. 

  4. Remove from the oven and run a clean knife around the inside of the pans to loosen the cake. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pans. 

Italian Meringue Pumpkin Buttercream
  1. Place three egg whites and the lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. 

  2. Heat honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the honey reaches 240F, it should be bubbly and frothy, slowly pour into the whipped egg whites with the mixer still on high speed. 

  3. Continue beating for 20 minutes or until the meringue is glossy. Make sure the meringue is at room temperature before adding the butter, one teaspoon at a time, and shortening. 

  4. If the mixture runny simply place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and re-whip. Once the frosting has thickened, add the remaining frosting ingredients. Taste and adjust flavors if needed. 

  1. Optional: Cut a few squares from wax paper and place around the outer edge of your plate/cake stand. This allows you to decorate without worrying about getting your plate full or frosting. Pull the wax paper out from the bottom of the cake when finished decorating. 

  2. Place the first cake on your plate and spread frosting along the top. Place the second cake on top of the first and frost. Finally, place the third cake on top and frost. Use frosting to decorate the sides. If going for the "naked cake" look make sure to leave some of the sides of the cake exposed. 

  3. Decorate the top of your cake with washed faux flowers and serve. This cake is best stored covered in the refrigerator. 

Recipe Notes

For a Paleo and dairy free option, substitute another 1/2 cup of shortening for the butter.


This recipe can easily be turned into cupcakes or simply enjoyed without the frosting. 


This recipe makes more frosting then you'll probably need. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer. When ready to use again simply allow to defrost in the refrigerator and re-whip. 



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A delicious fall dessert made with almond flour and pumpkin. This cake is free of grains, gluten and refined sugar. It's SCD compliant and can easily be adapted for a Paleo/dairy free option!


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Easy and delicious recipes free of gluten, grains, soy, refined sugar and dairy! These healthy recipes follow the SCD, Whole30 and paleo lifestyles.


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