How does an autumn inspired vegan pumpkin cake (also known as vegan pumpkin bread) topped with a luscious cloud of pecan frosting sound this weekend? Good? Good, as that’s what I have for you today. It’s a simple one bowl cake studded with crunchy pecans and topped with a dreamy frosting with a pronounced roasted pecan flavour. It makes a mean afternoon treat and it comes together in a cinch. Let’s go.
MORE ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS
PUMPKIN PURÉE: If you don’t live in the US where pumpkin purée is a baking and cooking staple, it’s easy to make one yourself. Simply steam cubed pumpkin until a skewer goes in easily and then turn it into a purée in a food processor. You can also blend it in a blender, but for that you’ll need to add some liquid – add 120 ml (½ cup) of plant milk allocated to this recipe (if fact this is what I did for this recipe).
SILKEN TOFU: this custard-like tofu is perfect for making desserts and here I used it as a base for my simple pecan frosting.
COCONUT OIL: I used some fragrance free cococonut oil in the batter to keep this cake nice and moist (you could use other oil, like grapeseed) and a bit in the frosting to stiffen it.
SUGAR: In the cake, you could use any sugar you have – I went for demerara sugar. In the icing, I recommend using icing sugar (also known as confectioners’ sugar) as it needs to be able to dissolve easily and not to add any moisture to the frosting. If you want to keep this cake refined sugar free, coconut sugar ground up finely or a few soft dates added to the icing would be my suggestion.
PECAN BUTTER: I made my own pecan butter by processing toasted pecans in my food processor until creamy and drippy, as pecans are quite fatty, it took only a few minutes. Alternatively, you could use walnut butter (but it does tend to be bitter so you may need to increase the amount of sugar to taste) or cashew butter for a more neutral flavour.
FLOUR: I used plain flour for the regular version and a combination of a good gluten-free flour mix and a touch of xantham gum for the gluten-free version.
SPICES: I used a combination of a few dry spices for this cake, you could also use ready made pumpkin spice mix if you have it.
In a large mixing bowl combine all of the wet ingredients. If making your own pumpkin purée, make sure it’s no longer warm.
Mix everything well with a spatula until you get a homogenous mixture. Place a sieve over the bowl and and sift in half of the flour, both baking agents, dry spices and salt.
Using a spatula, start incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet ones by making small circles in the middle of the bowl first (to minimise lumps), gradually extending the circles to incorporate more and more flour. Be slow and gentle! Sift in the second half of the flour and proceed in the same way. Finally fold in chopped pecans.
Transfer the batter to a greased and paper lined baking tin and bake until a toothpick comes out clean – about 45-50 minutes.
Frost cooled off cake with pecan frosting, decorate with chopped pecans and Enjoy!
- 150 g / 5.3 oz (approx. ¾ cup) silken tofu
- 60 g / ¼ cup pecan butter*
- 35 g / ¼ cup icing sugar, adjust to taste
- a good pinch of salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 40 g / 3 tbsp fragrance-free coconut oil or vegan butter, melted
- 300 g / 10.5 oz (approx. 1¼ cup) pumpkin purée*
- 120 ml / ½ cup plant milk (I used oat)
- 60 ml / ¼ cup mild tasting oil (if using coconut oil, melted)
- 175 g / ¾ cup + 2 tbsp demerara sugar or coconut sugar
- 10 ml / 2 tsp lemon / lime juice
- Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and lump free.
- Transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate for a few hours (ideally overnight) until the frosting is set.
- Warm up the oven to 180° C / 355° F and grease and line a 900 g / 2 lb cake tin with a piece of parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin purée with plant milk, sugar, oil and lemon juice in a large bowl. Mix very well.
- Place a sieve over the mixing bowl and sift in half of the flour, both baking agents, dry spices and salt. If using GF flour mix that does not contain xantham gum, I recommend adding it too.
- Using a spatula, start incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet ones by making small circles in the middle of the bowl first (to minimise lumps), gradually extending the circles to incorporate more and more flour. Be slow and gentle.
- Next, sift in the other half of the flour and proceed as in the previous step.
- Mix until there is no dry flour left, but do not overmix (that’s only important if you are using a flour containing gluten)!
- Fold two thirds of the pecans into the cake batter gently.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared baking tin. It should be fairly thick.
- Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out fairly clean (this cake should be moist). Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool down completely before removing from the tin and applying the frosting.
- Apply set frosting to the cooled cake and sprinkle with the remaining pecans (you could toast them first for extra flavour).
- Use a serrated knife to slice the cake – it produces neater looking slices. Keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
*PECAN BUTTER: I made my own by churring toasted pecans in a food processor until creamy and drippy. Alternatively you could use walnut butter (or cashew butter for a more of a neutral taste).
BAKING TIN SIZE: 900 g / 2 lb tins vary enormously between brands so I recommend measuring the volume of the tin you intend to use first. For this recipe, I used a tin that holds 1250 ml / 5 cups of liquid (to the brim), but the batter should fill no more than 2/3 – 3/4 of the 2lb cake tin or else the cake may not raise.