Friday was my baby’s first birthday.
It’s hard to believe a year has passed since he came into this world. So much has happened, the time has just flown by. And now he’s almost walking – he took four steps today without help – trying to keep up with his big brother.
We plan to have a larger celebration in a couple of weeks when his paternal grandparents can be here, but for his actual birthday we had a very small family party.
When his brother turned one, I baked a carrot cake – I guess I figured the fruits and vegetables in the cake somehow made it a healthier alternative.
Four years later, and quite a bit more experimentation in the kitchen behind me, I decided to bake a whole-wheat pumpkin cake. The cake itself is dairy and egg-free, although I did frost it with white-chocolate whipped cream. We are not vegan, but when baking for the little ones, I like to use as few refined ingredients as possible, so a vegan cake is a great way to make sure that happens.
I turned to my favorite Ultra-Orange Cake recipe when I first started thinking about this cake. It’s a vegan cake, and uses baking soda and apple cider vinegar for leavening.
A couple of weeks ago, I made a large batch of pumpkin butter. Though I don’t have any photos of the process, it’s quite simple:
Four sugar pie pumpkins, split, seeded and roasted in a 375F oven until the flesh is cooked
Combine the flesh from the pumpkins in a large sauce pan with
2 cups apple cider
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon good quality ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Puree until smooth using an immersion blender and cook over medium heat until the mixture has thickened. What you don’t use right away can be frozen in small batches for later use.
Vegan Pumpkin Cake
1.5 Cups Whole Wheat Flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin butter
1/2 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350F
- Grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan (I used an 8×3 inch pan)
- Sift together your dry ingredients
- In a seperate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. I baked one batch without oil, and one batch with, and you couldn’t really tell the difference between the two, so I’ll leave it up to you.
- Pour wet into dry and stir quickly to combine – it will be very light and bubbly
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake in the center of your preheated oven for 30-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes or so, then flip onto a cooling rack to cool completely
- Split in half along the equator, creating two equal layers
- Frost with white chocolate whipped cream (see recipe below)
For the Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz. white chocolate
- Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it just simmers
- Chop the white chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl
- Pour hot cream over white chocolate and stir to melt and combine
- Chill cream mixture until very cold
- Whip cream and white chocolate mixture until stiff peaks form
The cake was very moist, and surprisingly light (when I’ve baked with whole wheat in the past, it has often been quite dense). It was sweet, but not terribly so and the frosting was a nice compliment. I highly recommend this for your fall baking. And if you are vegan, just leave the frosting off and you’ve got a great pumpkin muffin recipe (in fact, I baked this same recipe in mini-muffin tins to take to the baby’s pre-school on Friday, and they were great for the kids in his class)
Enjoy (I know the baby did)!