pumpkin and orange spice cake

I borrowed Philip Khoury's new book, A New Way to Bake, from my local library. While I have done a great deal of gluten free baking the last few years, plant based baking is a bit of a mystery to me. I knew Phil had designed the book to be made with easy to access ingredients. I've pored through the recipes and discovered most recipes rely on plant based milks, in particular soy milk which I loathe, but the notes suggested I could just use water.

I went to Dungog for the Kings Birthday weekend and came home with a pumpkin from my brother, Farmer Andrew's garden. I've made a batch of oven roasted pumpkin soup but I still have half the pumpkin left, so the first recipe I made from the book was this pumpkin spice cake. I baked the cake in a bundt tin rather than a loaf tin and decorated the cake with a few pepitas and some candied orange rind made with the remainder of the orange. If you make the candied peel, you'll need to make it ahead of time.

Here's the recipe for you, which you can see Phil make here, which makes a small bundt or loaf tin. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon although most of the ingredients in this recipe are by weight. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Pumpkin and orange spice cake
150g pumpkin, peeled and deseeded 
60g brown sugar  
80g caster sugar
40g extra virgin olive oil 
1 tsp grated orange rind 
112g plant-based milk or water, at room temperature 
1 tsp apple cider vinegar  
150g plain flour (gluten-free plain flour will also work) 
1 tsp baking powder 
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon 
pinch ground nutmeg 
½ tsp ground ginger  
¼ tsp ground cloves 
pinch sea salt flakes
Bundt cake icing 
100g icing sugar, sifted
1-2 tbs orange juice 
½ tsp grated orange rind

Loaf cake icing
165g icing sugar
45g orange juice
¼ orange, grated

To decorate
1-2 tbs pepitas or pumpkin seeds
candied orange rind (optional)

Candied orange rind
½ orange, rind removed and finely sliced
40g water
40g caster sugar
Additional caster sugar for coating

Grease and flour a small bundt tin or line a small 600g loaf tin with baking paper and set to one side. 

Cut the pumpkin into 3 cm chunks, add the chunks to a saucepan large enough to just cover them with water and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until a sharp knife meets no resistance when you poke a piece of the pumpkin. Strain the pumpkin, discarding the water. Leave the pumpkin to chill for 30 minutes in the fridge until it has cooled to room temperature. (I used 150g of oven roasted pumpkin).

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. (I baked the cake at 190°C conventional). Add the cooled pumpkin, sugars, the oil, orange rind, milk and vinegar to a large bowl and blend them with an immersion blender until smooth. You can also do this step in a blender or a food processor.

Add the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, spices and salt to another large bowl and mix with a whisk. Add the blended ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk until combined. 

Pour the batter into the greased bundt or lined loaf tin and place in the preheated oven on the centre rack. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before inverting the cake and removing from the tin.  If baked in a loaf tin, using the baking paper remove the loaf cake from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack with a rimmed baking sheet underneath.

Bundt cake icing
Combine the icing sugar and grated rind in a small bowl. Add enough orange juice to create a thick but pourable icing. Drizzle over the cake still on the cooling rack or placed on a piece of greaseproof paper. Leave for 30 minutes to set a little before decorating with the pepitas and the candied orange rind, if using.

Loaf cake icing
If making the loaf cake, make a thinner icing. Drizzle over the cake still on the cooling rack or you can use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over the cake. Leave for 30 minutes to set a little before decorating with the pepitas and the candied orange rind, if using.

Candied orange rind
Place the orange rind in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 30 seconds before draining. In a small saucepan combine the water and sugar and bring to the boil. Add the orange rind and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes before removing the pan from the heat and leaving the rind to cool in the syrup. When cool pour the mixture through a fine sieve to drain. Remove the peel and toss through some caster sugar. Place on baking paper and allow to set before storing in an airtight container.

The cake will keep for up to 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

I shared the cake with my workmates and didn't tell them it was plant based until after the cake was eaten. The cake disappeared in record time and it was declared delicious. Now I can't wait to bake another recipe from Phil's book.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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