Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chocolate Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cashew Icing

On Halloween, my family got together to celebrate the sweetest day of the year, but we also took the opportunity to mark my brother's and my birthdays, which fall in late October and early November. I made the cake for the occasion (and my brother made lunch). This is the cake that I came up with. A little something for everyone - chocolate for those who think every dessert needs chocolate (my husband), pumpkin spice cake for those who like to taste and smell the season (my brother and me), and sticky sweetness to please the Halloween palate.

Although this is no health food cake, it is much more redeeming than most store-bought (or even homemade) cakes, so a little less guilt is in order. The recipe is very loosely based on this one. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cashew Icing
1 cup unbleached white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, plus 1/3 cup more
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1 1/2 tsps. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup vanilla unsweetened hemp milk
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (for fresh pumpkin, steam the pumpkin and then puree in a blender with a small amount of water)
3/4 cup sucanat
2 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed until liquified
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Cashew Icing (recipe below)

Grease two 9" round cake pans. Line the bottom of each with parchment paper and then dust the sides with flour. Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Combine the white flour, 3/4 cup of the whole wheat flour, turbinado, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a bowl. Divide the dry mixture equally (by weight) into two bowls. Into one bowl, add the cocoa and whisk to combine. Into the second bowl, add the 1/3 cup of whole wheat pastry flour, and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup hempmilk, pumpkin puree, and sucanat. Beat in the eggs. Then add the oil, agave, and vanilla, beating just to combine. Divide the liquid mixture evenly (by weight) into two bowls. To one bowl, add the cocoa mixture, stirring until just combined. To the second bowl, add the second dry mixture, stirring until just combined. Do not overmix!

Transfer batter to the prepared pans (the contents of one bowl into one pan and the contents of the other bowl into the other pan). Bake about 40 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Invert onto a work surface and remove the parchment papers carefully. Cool the cakes completely before proceeding.

Slice each cake horizontally to create four layers in total (to guide your knife in evenly cutting the cakes, place toothpicks just below the midpoint of the cake all around the cake, and cut using a serrated knife just above the toothpicks, as illustrated here).

Place a pumpkin layer at the bottom of your cake dish. Apply a thin layer of icing on top using a frosting spatula. If the icing is too thick, it will move to the edges and drip down the sides. The icing will seep into the cake somewhat, and that's fine. Add a chocolate layer, and top with a layer of icing. Repeat with the remaining layers of cake and icing. On the top layer, add a thicker layer of icing. Add a thin layer of icing to the sides of the cake.

If you are not serving the cake right away, store in the freezer. This will keep the icing from either dripping too much or getting too absorbed into the cake. Defrost at room temperature 2-3 hours before serving.

Cashew Icing
1 1/2 cups cashew butter
4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
1 1/2 tsps. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. chocolate extract
1/2 cup vanilla unsweetened hemp milk

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and beat well with an electric mixer.


justine said...

yum, this looks wonderful, Ilana!

Ilana Kriegsman said...

Thanks, Justine!