Pumpkin Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Food trends and rituals often come to exist in ways that I don't understand. Like hot dog eating contests, in which humans voluntarily consume mystery meat and tasteless white bread in mass quantities in order to prove their eating prowess. 

Or when boba tea hit the U.S. by storm in the early-mid 2000s, despite the fact that if you ask most Americans what they think of tapioca, they'll shrivel their faces in distaste. 

But there is one food trend that I will never stop supporting: the seasonal obsession with pumpkin during the months of October and November. If you mention pumpkin spice lattes in September, it's like, "Girl, please, it's still summer, stop trying to make pumpkin happen." And if you bake a pumpkin pie in December, it's like "Girl, please, Thanksgiving was last month. We onto cranberries now." But within the two month period of October 1 and November 30, everyone goes gaga for pumpkin, and I'm A-okay with it. 

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In order to fully appreciate this year's pumpkin season, I bought a dozen cans of pumpkin puree. So far I've made multiple batches of pumpkin spice porridgepumpkin spice muffins, a pumpkin pie milkshake, a pumpkin cream tart (recipe coming soon), and now, a pumpkin cake. I still have a few cans of puree left, so I'm taking suggestions for more recipes. Perhaps I'll get off the diabetes train (at least temporarily) and try a savory pumpkin dish, like a pumpkin curry. 

This pumpkin cake makes enough batter for one 9 inch round cake pan, but you can also bake it in a muffin pan or a loaf pan. I baked it in a 9 inch round cake pan, and because I was too impatient to let the cake cool, the cake fell apart when I tried to remove it from the pan. After the initial devastation and litany of curse words that ensued, my Martha Stewart instincts kicked into action and I decided to cut the pieces of cake into small rounds using circular cookie cutters. Hence the mini double decker cake, which is adorable if I don't say so myself. 

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Hope you enjoy this recipe for soft pumpkin cake and enjoy all the pumpkin treats for another three weeks! 

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PUMPKIN CAKE WITH SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegan Earth Balance butter 
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree  
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 6 tablespoons vegan yogurt 
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour 
  • 1/2 cup almond meal 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • Toppings: vegan salted caramel sauce (recipe below); persimmons, thinly sliced; flaky sea salt 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan. 
  2. Melt the vegan butter and allow to cool slightly. 
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, maple syrup, flax eggs, applesauce, pumpkin purée and vanilla extract until smooth. 
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oat flour, almond meal, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda. 
  5. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, using a whisk and finishing with a wooden spoon if the mixture becomes too thick to whisk. 
  6. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  7. Allow the cake pan to cool on a wire rack for an hour.
  8. Once the cake is cool, top with vegan salted caramel sauce, flaky sea salt and thinly sliced persimmons 

Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup raw coconut nectar (I use this brand
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Large pinch of sea salt

Directions

  1. If you don't have a high-speed food processor, soak the dates in warm water for 10 minutes to soften. 
  2. In a food processor, blend the dates, raw coconut nectar, coconut milk, almond butter, vanilla extract and sea salt until the mixture is smooth, creamy and thick. You may need to scrape down the sides as you go. Additional salt to your taste.
  3. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the salted caramel sauce heat until warmed through and thickened.