Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin cakeShorter days and chillier temperatures call for baked goods, preferably ones with autumnal flavors like pumpkin or cranberry. Here is one I made last fall, based on a recipe from Veronica’s Cornucopia. The main changes I made were to omit the cocoa and reduce the sugar a bit. The result was a moist, dense cake that stood up well as dessert (paired with vegan ice cream or topped with a glaze) as well as breakfast (slightly toasted).

Usually milk, butter, and eggs help give baked goods their dense, moist consistency. Vegan baking substitutions are easy: non-dairy milk can replace milk in the same quantities; oil stands in well for butter; and there are a million ways to substitute eggs (more here), depending on what you’re making. For even more cooking substitutions, Colorado State University Extension has a comprehensive (not 100% vegan) list.

This is another of those ‘wacky cake’ recipes that came out of tough times (the Great Depression or wartime) when staples such as eggs, butter, and milk were expensive and in short supply. I wrote more about these cakes (and share a chocolate version) in the post A Kitchen Goes to War.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 ½ cups water
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour your pan. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients (pumpkin purée and the liquids) in another bowl. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry until combined. Bake for an hour, or until done (may take a bit longer at high altitude – it depends on your oven). Tasty accompanied with vegan ice cream, or you may want to try it as in the original recipe, with a maple-cinnamon glaze applied once the cake is completely cool.

Quote of the Day

“Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.” -Henry David Thoreau