This was a cake I made when I needed an alternate vegan option alongside my very not vegan birthday cake some time ago. I wanted something that didn’t feel like the vegan option, just something that’s accidentally vegan. Substituting most ingredients in a cake is usually fine, but there’s two I sometimes struggle with: eggs and butter. I deal with the first one by avoiding any cake recipe that relies on eggs for its structure. But butter can be harder. Non dairy spreads are hit or miss sometimes, and I sometimes feel like they give an odd flavour to the cake. It just kinda tastes fake. But one awesome way of substituting butter (or even non-dairy fats) is with a fruit or vegetable puree.
Veggie purees can be used in most cakes to substitute out half the fat content (or all if you’re trying to be super health conscious). Once I’d made the decision to go the veggie puree route, the choice was immediate: pumpkin cake.
I had a batch of pumpkin puree in the freezer that I’d been looking for the perfect excuse to use. I quickly whipped up the cake batter before folding in the vibrant pumpkin.
I spent so much time being fancy with the other cake I decided to make this one completely rustic. I did lament my lack of owning a really pretty bundt pan, but went with what I had. I popped this in the oven while I fluffed around with the more complex cake.
By the time it was ready to come out of the oven, my house was full of aroma of pumpkin and spices. It smelled amazing. Cameron constantly hinted at getting a slice as soon as I’d turned it out of the tin.
The cake was a massive hit. So much so that Cam’s mum asked me to make it again for her birthday a week later. It was upon revisiting it that I ran into a massive snag. I must have left the pumpkin puree defrosting on the counter top for far too long this time, because when I opened the container it smelled kinda weird. It wasn’t a terrible off smell but enough that I didn’t trust using it.
I had no time to run to the shops to get more pumpkin and that was my last batch of puree. So I scrambled around the house for other options. I started poking around my veggie drawer in my fridge and came across a heap of carrots. I’d substituted carrot for pumpkin in a tonne of other recipes, so why not this one?
The carrot puree turned out to be a life saver. There were subtle differences between the two cakes, and in the carrot one you find the vegetable doesn’t break down as much so you get tiny flecks of orange carrot dispersed throughout it. Both were wonderful and enthusiastically demolished.
|Super Moist Pumpkin/Carrot Cake
|425g (15oz) fresh pumpkin or carrot, sliced
125ml (4.2fl oz) almond or coconut milk
180ml (6fl oz) vegetable oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
180g (6.3oz) caster sugar
165g (5.8oz) firmly packed brown sugar
225g (8oz) plain flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tso ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground all spice
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
(you may substitute spices for 2 tablespoons of pumpkin spice mix if you prefer)
for the icing
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp almond or coconut milk
240g (8.5oz) icing sugar, sifted
For the icing