With most things I try to make sure that I am prepared with suitable gluten-free alternatives, whether it means making muffins to take along to a birthday party in lieu of the cake, or buying gluten-free cones to make our own ice cream at home in summer time. But there is something about the whole Mr Whippy experience; the excitement as you hear the van coming from down the road, the running, the choosing, that makes it so much more than just the ice cream.
These cute little pumpkin cakes will kick any hankering for sweet treats you may have. Lord knows I’ve been having plenty of them lately. Eight weeks without barely any baking other than my quinoa Anzac cookies, although good for my waistline, has not been so good for my insatiable sweet tooth!
Delicately spiced with a tender crumb these little cakes are perfectly fine to eat by them selves, un-iced if you are strictly dairy-free. We ate about half of ours like this, after Kye decided he liked them plain. Perfect really, as he is the one out of all of us that reacts to dairy the most. Smart boy.
little gluten-free pumpkin cakes with caramel cream cheese icing
The actual cakes here are dairy-free. If you are strictly dairy-free simply use soy cream cheese in the icing, and dairy-free margarine. I find soy cream cheeses to be on the sweeter side, so I’d just add icing sugar to taste. Use coconut cream in place of regular in the caramel. Cakes keep well 2-3 days. Store airtight if un-iced or covered in the fridge if iced. Store toasted seeds airtight and caramel sauce in the fridge.
- 1 cup (200g) organic raw sugar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) water
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (125ml) cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
- 1 1/2 cups (180g) fine brown rice flour
- 3/4 cup (90g) quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup (50g) tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup (55g) ground almonds (almond meal)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups (400g) organic raw sugar
- 1 cup (250ml) rice bran or olive oil
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (425g/15 oz) pumpkin puree *
- 2/3 cup (160ml) cold water
toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup (30g) raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 egg white, lightly whisked
- 1 tablespoon organic raw sugar
cream cheese icing
- 230g (8oz) cream cheese
- 115g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup pure icing sugar (powdered sugar), sifted
- the juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
To make the caramel sauce; place the sugar, water and lemon juice into a heavy-based pan. Bring slowly to the boil over medium heat. Do not stir, simply swirl the syrup around a few times until the sugar has dissolved. Boil until the syrup turns a light golden amber colour, remove from the heat and gently with your arm at a length, pour in the cream (it may splatter so take care) and vanilla. Swirl to fully incorporate. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool.
To make the cakes; Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease either 1×12 hole friand tin (you will have to cook the mix in two batches) or 2x 12 hole friand tins if you have them. Sift all the flours, baking soda and spices into a large bowl. Using a whisk, give it all a good few mixes to fully combine the flours (important for gluten-free baking). In another smaller bowl, whisk the sugar and oil until blended. Beat eggs in, one at a time, until the mixture goes all lovely, thick and glossy. Combine the pumpkin puree and the cold water and stir into the egg mixture. Pour into the dry ingredients, and mix to fully combine. Spoon mixture into friand tins (like I said before, you will have to bake in two batches if you just have one 12-hole tin), and bake for 15-20 minutes or until risen, golden and cooked through when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool in tins 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the toasted pumpkin seeds; place seeds into a small bowl, add just enough of the egg white to coat lightly. Toss with the sugar, spread out onto a lined tray in a single layer. Bake at 180 C/350 F for 5 minutes, remove and mix, cook for a further minute or until golden and crispy. Set aside to cool.
To make the cream cheese icing; beat the cream cheese and softened butter together until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar, zest and juice and continue to beat until fully incorporated.
To assemble cakes; once cakes are cool, ice with cream cheese icing, drizzle over a little caramel sauce and sprinkle on some toasted pumpkin seeds.
* To make the pumpkin puree; roast chunks of peeled and seeded pumpkin (you will need approx 1/4 large crown pumpkin for this recipe) with a touch of vegetable oil at 190 C/375 F until cooked through. Puree with a stick blender until smooth. You can pass the mixture through a sieve using a metal spoon if you want a really smooth puree. Cool before using. This stage can be done 1-2 days before you need it, if you want to cut down on cooking times. Pumpkin puree can also be frozen and defrosted when needed.