Another birthday has snuck up on me. I don't know that I was really ready for this one, as it means that my 20s are slowly on their way out. But today, I chose not to sit and obsess over the years that have gone by. Instead, I'm looking back on all that I have accomplished in the past, and all that I want to in the future. This year will hold just as much change and growth as last year, if not more. It will be challenging, rewarding, frustrating, fun, and probably somewhat awful at times. But, I've got another year under my belt and I'm ready to take it head on. Oh, and I have this cake to fuel me through any and every situation.
If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, or know me personally, you'll probably see that I've combined a lot of my favorites into this one cake. Yes, the appropriate "pumpkin season" may be over, but I like pumpkin and by darn I was going to make a pumpkin birthday cake. To go with my pumpkin cake, I decided to make a vanilla bean coconut cream filling, and a dirty chai chocolate ganache to drizzle over the top. I'd say this is pretty much my dream cake. Hopefully you'll like it too :)
Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Vanilla Bean Coconut Cream Filling & Dirty Chai Chocolate Ganache
notes: I used a 9-inch springform pan to bake the cake, then cut it in half. If you prefer, you can split the batter into 2 springform pans, or 3 round cake pans. Just make sure to adjust your total baking time. You can make the cake a day ahead of time, keeping it covered in plastic wrap.
for the cake (adapted from here)
2 cups spelt flour
1 cup light spelt flour
heaping tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup pure maple syrup (I use Grade B)
6 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1- 4 oz container unsweetened applesauce
1 heaping tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease/flour a 9-inch springform pan. Sift all of the dry ingredients (flours, spices, baking soda, baking powder, salt, chia seeds) into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to fully combine the ingredients. In a food processor, combine the pumpkin, maple syrup, oil, applesauce, and grated ginger. Process until smooth. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined, then add the apple cider vinegar, mixing quickly to incorporate it into the batter. Pour the batter into a 9-inch springform pan (it will be thick). Smooth out the top, then place it in the upper third of the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan.
for the vanilla bean coconut cream
1 can of coconut milk, chilled overnight or for at least 4 hours
1 to 2 tbsp pure maple syrup or honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
seeds from 1/2 of a vanilla bean
Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. This will allow the cream to separate and rise to the top. Open the can and scoop out just the cream layer. You can use the remaining liquid for soup, curry, smoothies, etc. Whisk the coconut cream with the maple syrup, adjusting the sweetness to your tastes. I ended up using about 1 1/2 tbsp. Add the seeds from the vanilla bean and whisk to incorporate. Cover and place the coconut cream back in the fridge to set.
for the dirty chai chocolate ganache
1 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut milk
heaping tsp espresso powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
Place the chocolate, espresso, and spices in a bowl. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the coconut milk just to a boil, then pour it over the chocolate. Stir the mixture until smooth and no lumps remain. Use quickly as it will begin to harden and set.
Remove the cake from the springform pan. Using a serrated knife, carefully trim the top so that it is level. Next, cut the cake into 2 even layers. Place the first layer on your platter or cake plate. Spread all of the coconut cream on top of the bottom layer, leaving a half inch border around the cake so that it has room to spread. Gently place the top layer on the coconut cream. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, using a spatula or palette knife if needed to spread it evenly around the top of the cake. Enjoy!
--any leftovers will keep at room temperature for a couple of days if covered or kept in an airtight container/cake saver. It will last a bit longer if covered & refrigerated.