(jump to recipe)
I wasn’t the biggest pumpkin purée fan all these years, and the culprit was definitely its association with cinnamon and “pumpkin spice”-everything. I don’t hate cinnamon but in the US, like clockwork, everyone craves cinnamon come September and it just don’t stop until New Years!. Anything made with pumpkin purée (store-bought) is just a cinnamon-scented assault.
But then I made pumpkin purée at home for the first time (thanks Instant Pot!) and ate a small portion of it warm, drizzled with coconut butter and just a dusting of cinnamon+nutmeg, and I was converted. I made pancakes with it, these brownies were wonderful too (vegan and gluten-free!), and then felt ready to graduate to cakes.
Although instead of the usual pumpkin pie spice, I decided to go with Chai Spice – a wonderful combination of warm spices, that are typically used (whole) when making Masala Chai (milk tea) in India. You can buy chai spice online or in some grocery stores, but then you are stuck with someone else’s definition of it means. Make it your own and it can be however you like it!
Mine for instance is more ginger- and cardamom-forward, with cinnamon in the background, along with nutmeg, cloves and allspice. When I make Masala Chai at home, I always add a few black peppercorns to the boiling water (along with crushed cardamom pods, cloves and freshly grated ginger), so I added some crushed black pepper to my chai spice mix.
I’m including my chai spice “recipe” below, but feel free to fiddle with it and make it your own! If you love cinnamon in tea, don’t let me rain over your parade. This can be used in making Chai lattes at home, and also with baking in general.
If you don’t wish to use chai-spice, use the same quantity of pumpkin spice, or equivalent volume of spice mix (1 tablespoons, or 3 teaspoons total; for instance you could do 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg and clove).
The cake itself couldn’t be simpler – mix all the wet ingredients together with the sugars, mix dry ingredients, and add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. The batter is ready, no special equipment needed to take over your kitchen counters.
We start with our mise en place as we always do when baking. Best way to avoid surprises mid-baking!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F; Grease and flour your bundt pan before you start!
Once the batter is ready, put in the prepared bundt pan; smooth the top a bit. Batter will be thick but it will all work out.
Bake for exactly 1 hour until wooden toothpick comes out completely clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes and then flip it over onto the cooling rack to cool completely.
Once the cake is cooled, or just before serving, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze in a measuring cup and whisk with a fork, adding the milk a teaspoon or so at a time so as to avoid making the glaze too thin and runny.
Once you get the desired consistency, drizzle it over the cooled cake and serve!
Cake keeps well at room temperature for 1-2 days, well wrapped. After that, it can be frozen (individual slices, wrapped in wax paper) for 1-2 months. It is perfect warmed up with tea or coffee well past the cinnamon-loving months.
• Recipe •
Vegan Chai-spiced Pumpkin Bundt Cake
1 cup (200 grams) granulated cane sugar
1 cup (150 grams) light or dark brown sugar
15 ounces (1 can or scant 2 cups) pumpkin puree, at room temperature
3/4 cup melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup almond milk or coconut milk (not canned, but boxed, like Silk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour or any combination thereof, plus 2 tablespoons or so for dusting
1 tablespoon chai spice mix (recipe bellow)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 small pinch ground cardamom
1 small pinch ground nutmeg
1 small pinch ground cloves
1-2 teaspoons almond milk or coconut milk (not canned, but boxed, like Silk)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease nonstick bundt pan with cooking spray and dust with flour, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugars together thoroughly. Make sure the brown sugar doesn’t contain any hard bits. At once, add the pumpkin puree, oil, almond milk and vanilla extract and whisk together until combined well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients – flour, chai spice mix, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
In 3 batches, add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients, mixing well with a rubber spatula (a whisk would just get in the way). Mixture may seem thick but it will all work out. Mix until well incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean and batter free.
Let cake cool in pan on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes, then invert onto the rack to cool completely.
In a measuring cup, place confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract. Add almond milk a teaspoon or 2 at a time, whisking continuously with a fork, until desired consistency is reached. Glaze should be thick and flow-y, not watery and patchy when drizzled over the cake.
Drizzle over the cake once cake is completely cool.
Serve cake in wedges with spiced Chai!
Makes 4 oz
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cardamom
1/2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
1/2 tablespoons ground cloves
1/2 tablespoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine all the ground spices in a small airtight spice jar or container, and shake vigorously. Store in a cool dark place for about 3 months.