I hadn't planned on blogging this recipe, but it's just so darn good that I decided to go ahead and share. Last week I was asked to create a smash cake for a baby's first birthday, and it had to be dairy-free. I used a simple egg-free vanilla cake recipe with vegetable oil as the fat instead of butter. I was uncertain that the cake would rise well because of the lack of eggs, but a combination of baking soda and vinegar as leaven worked like a charm. End result? Pretty good. It tasted best straight from the oven, but over time (and without frosting) it became dry.
I decided to completely re-work the recipe as pumpkin spice cake. I felt sure that the added pumpkin would completely change the cake's texture for the better - and it did! It's moist and tender, and so good with - also dairy free - coconut whipped cream. I baked the batter in a ruffled cakelette pan, but you can also divide it between paper liners and make cupcakes. The cakes crown as they bake (meaning they get that cute little "bump" on top) so they'll support a nice big dollop of frosting.
I'm no expert on dairy-free or vegan baking (which I suppose is why I was hesitant to share these) but I feel these little cakes are every bit as good as their butter-filled counterparts. And I love that they are made with pantry staples - no weird substitutes or hard-to-find ingredients. I hope you'll try them!
Dairy-Free Pumpkin Cakelettes with Coconut Whipped Cream
[click for printable recipe]
Yields about 15 cakelettes or cupcakes
Prep: 15 minutes, total time 40 minutes
Please note that the coconut milk in the recipe requires overnight refrigeration. This is not accounted for in the prep time.
1 3/4 cup/220 g all-purpose flour
3/4 cup/175 g pumpkin puree (I used canned pumpkin)
1 cup/200g granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup/60 g extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup/125 ml cold water
Coconut whipped cream
1 can (14 ounce) full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Seeds from one vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Cinnamon for dusting
Make the cakes: Position an oven rack in the upper third part of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
If using a cakelette pan as I have, grease the pans with vegetable shortening and dust them with flour. Tap the excess flour out of the cavities. If making cupcakes, line a cupcake pan with papers.
Stir together all the cake ingredients in a large bowl. I simply used a large balloon whisk to combine the ingredients well, but you could also use an electric mixer on the lowest speed. Fill the cavities 3/4 full and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when pressed in the center. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the coconut whipped cream: Open the can of chilled coconut milk. There will be a firm layer of coconut cream on top. Scoop out the solidified cream and place it in a medium bowl (do not include the coconut water, save it for smoothies or another use). Beat the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, then beat in the sugar and vanilla seeds.
Dollop each cake with coconut whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Dust cakes with cinnamon before serving. Refrigerate leftover coconut whipped cream.