I shut my eyes and hold my breath for a moment while I make a wish. My eyes flutter open and I blow out my candles. Happy 24th birthday to me! Another year under my belt and a world of possibilities before me. Do you need a better reason to celebrate? My goodness, the gift of life is truly incredible. The morning of my birthday I sat in the dimmed light of my kitchen thinking about how wonderful it is to be alive. Not some brain crunching, deep philosophical thinking, just pure appreciation of all my abilities and the endless possibilities that come with living. We have the ability to dream, create, run, sing, laugh, love – the list is endless. And to think we get to share this special gift of life with others! I sat there smiling to myself, slowly sipping my warm coffee from my favorite mug completely smitten. No wonder we use our birthday as a reason to celebrate this precious gift!
And celebrate I did! I spent the day in the kitchen doing what I love with the ones I love. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. I cooked my favorite meals, enjoyed a simple lunch with my mom, and laughed till my stomach ached. Ben even came home from work around lunch time and we were able to spend the rest of the day together. We cozied up on the couch while an ice storm brewed above us outside and celebrated with cake. More specifically this pumpkin snack cake with cashew buttercream.
This snack cake is an ode to the pumpkin bars I would routinely ask my mom to make for my birthday each year growing up. You know the cake-like bars I’m talking about, right? Those incredibly moist, tooth-achingly sugary, warmly spiced bars with the thick cream cheese frosting that most people make around Thanksgiving – yep, those are the ones! I was head over heels for those bars and can remember eating them for breakfast, snack and dessert. And I was lucky enough my wonderful mom would let me, always balancing out with something more nutritious such as a hard boiled egg or yogurt (thanks mom!). This pumpkin snack cake has the essence of those pumpkin bars of my childhood, however the ingredients are quite different. This cake is made with wholesome ingredients that energize your body and won’t leave you tired and sluggish from a sugar cash. Only sweetened with maple syrup this cake is lightly sweet, which I prefer, and when paired with the sweet cashew cream it is pure bliss! The moment I took the first bite of my birthday cake was so delighted with the results, I proceeded to dance around the kitchen, plate in hand, until I finished every last bite. I hope you enjoy this recipe and even if it’s not your birthday, make this cake and celebrate the gift of just being alive!
Pumpkin Snack Cake
- 2 cups (280g) spelt flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 cup pumpkin pureè
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- 6 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/4 cup aquafaba
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or other neutral oil
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper or lightly coat with coconut oil.
Warm roughly two tablespoons of coconut oil on the stove or in the microwave. Bring the almond milk and aquafaba to room temperature. In a pinch this can be done on the stove or microwave. If these ingredients are cold the coconut oil will clump when combined.
In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together to ensure the leaveners are evenly distributed.
In a medium bowl whisk together the pumpkin pureè through aquafaba until smooth. Add two tablespoons of the melted coconut oil and continue to whisk until completely incorporated.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing just combined (refrain from over mixing).
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Use a spatula or back of a spoon to make make sure the batter is evenly distributed. Place in the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes. My oven tends to run hot and the cake was done at exactly 35 minutes. To check, poke the center of the cake with a toothpick. It will come out clean when completely baked.
Let the cake rest for 5 minutes then transfer from the pan to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Once cooled, frost the top with the cashew butter cream (recipe below). Cut into slices and enjoy!
The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Best if eaten within 3 days.
- If necessary, you may replace the spices with one teaspoon of cinnamon and two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice or 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice.
- I have made this recipe using a combination of light spelt flour and brown rice flour, however you will need to reduce the almond milk to only two tablespoons instead of six.
- 2 cups raw cashews soaked and rinsed
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2-4 tablespoons water (or almond milk)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and turn on high, using the temper to help the mixture blend smoothly.
Once the cake is cooled, carefully frost the top of the cake. Slice and enjoy! The cake maybe stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Best if eaten within three days.