Happy (almost) Thanksgiving to our American neighbours! Holidays are ALL about the FOOD at our house. I made this custom cake for my parents Thanksgiving dinner in October. Sure – it looks pretty from the top, but it gets down to some serious business sandwiched in the middle. My dad had asked for GOOEY. PumpkinSpice Cake OVERFLOWING with Caramel Pecans was the first thing that popped into my head. AND that stunning MapleLeaf…caught my eye when taking out the garbage. It’s 100% organic and one of the benefits of having a yard full of leafy trees. What I didn’t tell my folks was which part of my yard I found the leaf (the pups quarters…shhh – I washed it). When it came to eating this cake, everyone dived right for the middle. Like a good auntie, I gave the leaf piece to my 7yr old nephew. Now, ehem – it was HIS dad who tried to convince him that it was edible (been there before). Luckily, he’s a clever kid.
*Warning…experimental cake. It was a custom order as per my dad’s very specific gooey/chewy request. Make at your own risk!
The Caramel Pecans become more ‘chewy’ than gooey once set. If you’d prefer a softer filling, opt for a medjool date, pecan, & maple syrup combo instead – just toss the dates, maple syrup, a dash of pure vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt into a food processor and blend until smooth or forms into a ball. Then add the pecans and pulse until desired consistency. You could also pulse the pecans separately and then fold them into the date mixture.
My dad asked for a custom, extra gooey, cake for Thanksgiving. The tastiest plant based goo I know...thick runny caramel. Now, layer it between two pillowy PumpkinSpice Cakes = one heck of a sugar rush. This cake is definitely a workout for the jaw. Consider yourself warned!
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1&1/2 tsp tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup organic coconut palm sugar
- 2 cups pure pumpkin puree
- 2 chia eggs (2tbsp chia seeds + 6tbsp warm water; allow to sit for 15mins - stir)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup grape seed oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
- 2 tbsp plant based butter
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup organic brown rice syrup
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1&1/2-2 cups lightly roasted pecans, roughly chopped
- 1&1/2 cups raw cashew *soaked in water for at least 2hrs
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp organic cornstarch
- 1&1/2 tsp pure vanilla
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1&1/4 cups powdered sugar *more if needed
Add the flour, coconut sugar, baking soda & powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a large bowl. Whisk well and set aside.
In a separate bowl, add the pumpkin puree, chia eggs, maple syrup, grape seed oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the pumpkin puree mixture. Whisk or fold until all of the ingredients are combined and no flour lumps are showing through - don't over mix.
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Grease two 9inch round cake pans.
Evenly distribute the cake batter into the prepared pans. Once in a pan, evenly spread out the batter with a spatula. Bake for 35-40mins, or until a tooth pick comes out clean from the centre of the cake(s). *The cake should be pulling away from the edges of the pan once cooked through.*While the cakes are baking, start the caramel.
Remove the cakes and allow them to cool completely. Once cool, place a wire cooling rack over the top of the cake, hold the rack firmly in place, and flip so the cake falls onto the rack. Then gently lift the pan off of the cake.
Once the filling is ready, take one of the cakes bottom side up, and place it onto the plate you'll be serving the cake on. Centre the cake. Pour the Caramel Pecans over the top of the cake starting from the centre - the caramel should slowly run towards the sides; if not, use a spatula to help it along. I left about a 1/2inch from the sides of the cake 'caramel free' as once the top layer was added, it pushed the caramel out further.
Add the other cake on top once the filling is evenly distributed. Gently centre it. *Cover and place the cake in the freezer for about 1hour so the caramel has a chance to set up. Remove once ready to ice or store in the refrigerator.
Time to ice...I went with a 'looser' icing and used a knife to do a crisscross pattern over the top of the cake. Feel free to get as creative as you like when icing.
In a heavy sauce pan over med./low heat, add the butter. Once melted, pour in the maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and sea salt. Stir well. Bring to a rolling boil and continue boiling without stirring for about 25-30mins - test the caramel by dipping a clean metal spoon into the pot and seeing how quickly the caramel runs down the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat. Add the vanilla and stir well.
Slowly add the chopped pecans and fold until they're evenly coated in the caramel - it will become quite thick as more and more pecans are added. Add until you've reached the desired consistency. Also, once the caramel cools, it will become more firm.
The caramel is now ready to be added to the top of one of the cakes (becomes the centre of the 'whole' cake).
In a high speed blender, add the cashews, almond milk, and cornstarch. Blend on high until smooth.
Add the cashew cream to a standing mixer. Turn the mixer onto med./high and add the vanilla and sea salt. Continue mixing and slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Make any adjustments as necessary - the more powdered sugar added, the thicker the icing will be; add liquid to loosen it.
Ready to ice!
~ The Caramel Pecans become more 'chewy' than gooey once set. If you'd prefer a softer filling, opted for a medjool date, pecan, & maple syrup combo instead - just toss the dates, maple syrup, a dash of pure vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt into a food processor and blend until smooth; then add the pecans and pulse until desired consistency.
~ To help the icing set quickly, place the cake into the freezer for 15-25mins.