Chocolate & Pumpkin Spice Cake

Photo by Nuraan Ackers

Halloween is nearly here. A most loved festivity for kids and… some adults too. I didn’t grow up celebrating Halloween, nor was I used to the changing seasons, but since I started to live in the northern hemisphere, these two things are now aspects I pay attention to. Especially the changing seasons. I find that the transition from summer to autumn is the biggest change of all. It goes from bright, relatively warm afternoons/evenings to dark, rainy afternoons/evenings.

Photo by Nuraan Ackers

In a way, autumn prepares us for the winter and all that comes with it, Christmas for example. In terms of food, it brings us roasted veggies like pumpkins, spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, fruits like raisins, apples and so on. It is all these that inspired me to bake a cake that brings together all these autumn flavours.

The main festivity we have near is Halloween and as I said, kids enjoy it a lot. Especially because of all the sweets they get with it. Halloween parties are organized (we are actually going to a couple of parties) and of course, scary/cute costumes, as well as sweets, are an important part of it. However, most of the sweets commercially available are loaded with sugar and genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. While I agree that a sweet every now and then won’t do any harm, lots of them do.

Here, I want to share with you a sweet treat that your little one, as well as you, can enjoy. It only uses natural ingredients, it is sweet and above all delicious. I made this cake three times until I felt I got just the right flavour. Twice I have shared the cake with my son (Diego) and his little friend (Jonas) and I promise you, they loved it! So, I can say it has been approved by little buds.

Photo by Nuraan Ackers

For this recipe I used pumpkin (you can use butternut squash as well), apple, cacao, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla. I also used teff flour and I must say, I’m fascinated with this flour. It really gives a nice, fluffy texture. Teff is the seed of an Ethiopian grass and in fact, it is used to make the delicious typical Ethiopian bread called injera. These little seeds are super nutritional, very high in protein, as well as a good source of calcium, manganese, phosphorus and even Vitamin C! Plus, it’s also gluten free.

Flavour wise, it has a kind of nutty flavour and it is very versatile to use. And as I said, I used it in this recipe and I’m very happy with the result. As I often do, I combined different flours here. In this case I used brown rice, teff and coconut flour, in addition to the spices, pumpkin and apple and the result was a very moist, autumnal flavoured cake. I highly recommend that you prepare this cake the day before eating as the flavour of the spices gets more concentrated and therefore the cake tastes much better.

Photo by Nuraan Ackers

For the frosting, I made a coconut ‘buttercream’ one. The combination of the coconut with the cake is incredibly delicious! Plus, the frosting is very easy to make, packed with good fat and its refined sugar free, as is every recipe here! The measurements for the frosting will give you enough to cover the cake and extra to serve with each piece.

So, here I share with you a sweet, nutritious and delicious cake recipe that you can bring to a Halloween party for your little ones. I decorated my cake like a spider’s web, using some melted vegan chocolate and spiders from a toy shop. I hope you and your little ones enjoy this sweet, healthy treat.

Happy Halloween! 

Photo by Nuraan Ackers

Ingredients:

Cake
300 gr pumpkin puree (about 400 gr raw, peeled and seeded pumpkin or butternut squash chunks)
100 gr brown rice flour
100 gr teff flour
50 gr coconut flour
100 gr coconut sugar
1/3 cup rice malt syrup
1 apple pureed
1 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp water
200 ml oat milk (or any plant based milk for kids, I keep it nut free as some kids are allergic to nuts)
1/2 tsp or 2.5 gr ground cloves
½ tsp or 2.5 gr mixed spices
1 tsp or 5 gr cinnamon
1 tsp or 5 gr vanilla paste
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp cacao powder
Pinch of salt

Frosting
½ cup coconut butter
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp coconut milk (or any plant based milk)

Decoration
35 gr vegan chocolate (melted)

How to:
1. Peel and chop into squares the pumpkin or butternut squash. Then steam it for about 20 mins until tender.
2. Soak 1 tbsp of chia seeds in 3 tbsp of water and let it sit for 5 mins.
3. Peel, chop and steam 1 medium apple (it will take 5-10 mins).
4. Once the pumpkin is tender, place in a blender and puree.
5. Once the apple is soft, blend until pureed as well.
6. In a mixing bowl, sift the brown rice flour, teff flour, coconut flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and xanthan gum.
7. In another mixing bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, apple puree, chia seeds, rice malt syrup and milk.
8. To the dry ingredients bowl, add sugar, cloves, cinnamon, mixed spices, cacao powder and salt.
9. Mix together the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Mixing well with the help of a spatula. It will be a thick butter.
10. Grease a cake tin with coconut oil or any vegetable oil.
11. Pour the mixture into the greased cake tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon or spreading spatula. Please note – it is a thick mixture and it won’t change shape much.
12. Bake for 25-30 mins at 200°.
13. Turn cake upside down and let it cool.
14. Prepare the frosting by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing with a whisker.
15. You can keep the frosting in the fridge and whisk before decorating the cake or serving.
16. Top cake with the frosting and spread all over using a spreading spatula.
17. To decorate as seen here, melt 35 gr of vegan chocolate. Place in the corner of a plastic bag and cut a little of the edge of the bag and draw a small circle in the middle. Then a bigger one, continuing until you get to the edge of the cake. Finally, draw lines to resemble the web and decorate with some spiders (or any other ornament of your choice).
18. Enjoy!

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