Friday, October 01, 2021


When it comes to cakes, even the humble snack cakes, one of the things I value the most is the texture. While there is a time and place for crumbly cakes, especially with an abundant streusel topping, snack cakes should never be dry.
This lovely vegan treat is one of my favourites. A good, reliable recipe for a classic homemade cake, with a beautiful tender crumb and luscious glaze. And as it is frosted while the frosting is still warm, it will absorb some of it, creating a magical, fudge-like layer between the two.
It truly is the epitome of the quick, mid-week dessert. Made with ingredients that are already in the autumnal cupboard, it is the perfect choice for a simple, yet rewarding delight. The pumpkin purée helps keep the cake moist, and the gorgeous warm spices pair perfectly with the unsweetened cocoa and the chocolate frosting.
Because every oven is different, do keep an eye on it as it bakes, and check it even before the time indicated in the recipe. If the centre is set, the cake springs back when lightly touched, and the toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it, it is done.
On a final note, I like to add chocolate flakes or shards for some additional texture, but anything that you find pairs well with chocolate and pumpkin will be a marvellous topping, be it walnuts, pistachios, or even a teaspoon of finely minced candied orange.

For the cake
150 grams plain flour
75 grams light brown sugar
15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
small pinch of salt
100 grams pumpkin purée
125 millilitres soy milk, warm
35 millilitres vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the frosting
100 grams dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
30 grams vegan block butter
45 millilitres soy milk

To make the cake, take a large bowl and sift in the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, spices, and salt. Add in the sugar and mix very well. Line a small (18 cm) rectangular baking pan with baking parchment, and set it aside. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients; add in the warm milk, oil, vanilla, and the pumpkin purée, and whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and immediately bake in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 20 minutes, or until done. Because every oven is different, check it with a toothpick even before the time is up, making sure it stays fudgy, and not dry. Without removing it from the pan, let it cool to room temperature.
To make the soft chocolate frosting, melt together the chocolate, vegan butter, and soy milk over low heat or in the microwave. As soon as everything is melted together, pour it over the cooled cake. The frosting will be quite runny when hot, but that is fine, as it will set up on the cake. Once the frosting has set, slice and serve. Yields 9 rich servings.