Gluten-Free Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Whisky Buttercream + Win 2 Tickets to VegFest Scotland!

Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Whisky Buttercream
Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Whisky Buttercream
I felt it in the air this Monday.

The first autumn chill. 

You know the kind – it sort of tickles your hands but isn’t cold enough to warrant gloves. It came so suddenly this year in Scotland; I think because we had such a horrid summer – basically two months of waiting, and waiting, and waiting for summer to come – so we’ve been taken quite aback by the shorter days, and the drop in temperature. And suddenly it’s September, and we haven’t had a summer at all. But I honestly don’t mind because, as everyone known, autumn is a brilliant season and second only to winter (which is obviously the best because, Christmas).

Instantly, I knew I had to bake something with pumpkin.
Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Whisky Buttercream

This is what I love about autumn:

The colour orange slowly tainting the landscape, and the leaves all falling off the trees. Hot whiskeys on a cold night. That crisp, fresh breeze that means you can wrap a long, oversized check scarf three times around your head. Spiced lattes with piece of chocolate after lunch. Lazy Sunday morning tucked in bed, listening to the rain, the cat curled against my stomach. Piping hot porridge for breakfast. Plaid dresses and plaid shirts and plaid scarves. All my favourite series coming back on TV. Drinking chai tea like it’s my job. Fairy lights and scented candles. Mali sitting in my lap when I meditate in the morning. Knitted jumpers. Saturday baking afternoons, and the smell of vanilla and warm cookies in the house. The way the sunset light falls on the Edinburgh skyline.

Oh and you know another thing I love? Competitions! VegFest is coming to Glasgow on Saturday 5 – Sunday 6 December and I’m giving away two tickets worth £20. Scroll down to find out the details!

Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Whisky Buttercream

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[gleam url=”https://gleam.io/wT6cS/2x-weekend-vegfest-glasgow-tickets”%5D2x Weekend VegFest Glasgow Tickets[/gleam]

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Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

 

Disclaimer: this post is NOT sponsored by VegFest Scotland, they have simply decided to kindly give away two tickets to my lucky readers. Grab ’em while you can!

Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot Drizzle

Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot title

I could not be more excited about today’s recipe! I feel like it’s the perfect segway from autumn into the Christmas season, and on top of that it’s the ideal dish to bring to a potluck or party, it does not require baking (I’m giving you tasty recipes and saving you energy, how ’bout that, huh), and it is so freakin’ delicious. I am almost jumping in my seat as I’m typing this.

I brought these Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars to my friend’s last week, to celebrate decorating her Christmas tree, and it got rave reviews. She didn’t mind that it was vegan because it was so irresistible. (In fact, she usually gobbles up whatever sweets I give her.) All you’ll taste is a delicate blend of Christmas spices, creamy pumpkin and cashew, and that sweet, moreish gingerbread cookie base made from Speculoos biscuits, traditional Belgian delicacies that I grew up eating.

Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot

I made these Gingerbread Cheesecake Bars with three of my favourite baking products: Sweet Freedom Original and Dark fruit-based syrups, and Choc Shot, made by the same company. Sweet Freedom sweeteners are made from natural ingredients (apple, grape and carob) so they taste like regular sugar but in fact contain 25% fewer calories. If you need to watch your GI/GL intake, this is the perfect sweetener for you.

Sweet Freedom Original tastes a bit like agave or any white-sugar based syrup, but it’s lighter and milder than maple syrup. For me, that makes it the ideal product to use in everyday baking and sweet treats. On the other hand, Sweet Freedom Dark has a more distinctive flavour, almost like treacle (that’s what we call molasses in the UK).

Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot

Choc Shot is my sweet chocolate sauce of choice when I can’t be bothered to make my own. You’ll be surprised to know it contains only 14 calories per teaspoon (!!!) but like the Original and Dark sweeteners it is made 100% of natural ingredients. A bottle never lasts longer than a week in my house because I drizzle this over my porridge, my pancakes, I use it to make hot chocolates, or I just eat it straight off the spoon. No shame.

Sweet Freedom products are also free of GMO’s and gluten, and are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot

I used all three products to make these Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars, and the result was way beyond my highest hopes. Creamy, sinlessly sweet, delicately spiced, addictive — in short, the perfect recipe to bring to a Christmas party this year. Both young and old, vegan and omnivores will love these treats and come back begging for more. Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot

Gingerbread Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Choc Shot Drizzle

  • Servings: makes 8 large bars
  • Print

For the crust:
200g (7 oz) Speculoos biscuits
3 tbsp vegan butter

For the filling:
1 425g (15 oz) tin/can of pumpkin puree
2 cups (280g) raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 tbsp almond milk
2 tbsp Sweet Freedom Dark
1 tbsp Sweet Freedom Original
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Choc Shot to drizzle over the finished cheesecake

1. In a food processor, blitz the biscuits to a fine powder. Add the butter and pulse a few more times to combine; the texture should resemble wet sand and start clumping together. Alternatively, you can rub the ground biscuits and butter together in a large bowl, using your fingers.

2. Press the crust mix into the bottom of a  20 x 13 cm ( 8 x 5.5 inches) rectangular tin, making sure it is completely even. Place in the fridge while you get on with the filling.

3. Blend half of the cashews with all of the remaining ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. When the mixture starts to look creamy and evenly blended, add the remaining cashews little by little; adding them all at once along with the other ingredients could stall your blender/food processor, especially since the filling needs to be very thick.

4. When the filling is nice and thick and creamy, pour it over the cheesecake crust. Smooth over the top with a spatula to make it even. Chill in the fridge overnight, or at least a couple of hours in the freezer to set completely.

5. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the cheesecake into 8 evenly-shaped bars. Place these on a plate and drizzle over with Choc Shot. Enjoy!

These bars keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, or for a couple of months in the freezer.

Are you going to any Christmas parties this year? What are you bringing as a dish to share? I’d love to know if you’ve got any tips about hosting or taking part in a mixed vegan and omnivore dinner party!

Psst — there are only 13 days till Christmas! Get my ebook THE VEGAN COOKIE FAIRY’S CHRISTMAS RECIPESon Amazon to have the best vegan Christmas ever. Don’t forget to sign up for email updates and follow me on InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest and Tumblr! You can also follow my blog through Bloglovin‘.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Sweet Freedom, who kindly provided me with some of their products, but as always all opinions are my own, and I mean every word I say. 

Love and cookies,
thevegancookiefairysignature-2

 

Cranberry & Pumpkin Breakfast Loaf

cranberry & pumpkin breakfast loaf #vegan
Disclaimer: I absolutely, unequivocally adore all things pumpkin, so expect plenty more pumpkin recipes to appear between now and, oh I don’t know, spring time.

I knew when I made my Pumpkin Breakfast Loaf with Chocolate Glaze that the recipe could and should be customised to satisfy all my breakfast cake cravings. It’s so versatile and easy to make — definitely one of those recipes I can imagine passing down to my children someday. I’ve also had success freezing the loaf for later use, so this recipe is perfect if you want to save some for later or just have a loaf to pull out when you’re short on time but hungry for something homemade.
#vegan pumpkin and cranberry breakfast loaf
I find myself losing track of time, waiting for the weekend to come and then it goes by in a flash. Anybody else feel like this? I never used to buy this 9-to-5 ‘I don’t have time’ routine but now I totally understand it.  Some time ago I read this article about how our ‘lifestyles have already been designed for us’ by corporate companies; I’d like to hear your thoughts about this.

But I don’t want to complain — in fact I have some exciting things coming up in my personal life in the near future. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, all will be revealed in the New Year! It will potentially mean that I won’t have tons of time to blog, but I’ll see if I can keep up with one recipe per week. One bit of good news I can share, though, (and already have through Instagram) is that I am graduating (with first class honours!!!) in about two weeks. My dad is coming up from South Africa for it, and my mum from England, so it’s super special and I will be spending the whole weekend with them.
#vegan pumpkin and cranberry breakfast loaf
If you try this Cranberry & Pumpkin Breakfast Loaf, let me know! Share your photos on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and tag me @clemcookiefairy, @thevegancookiefairy or @thecookiefairy respectively, using the hashtag #thevegancookiefairy. It makes my day to see your takes on my recipes 🙂

And as promised, more cat pictures! Mali does like the attention. I bought him a new cat scratching post with my first pay check (woohoo for money!), plus a little mouse toy. I’ve got his cat sitter sorted for Christmas too (thanks to my lovely friend and fellow cat lady, Vanessa). This is a photo from this past summer, on a day when the rain looked like falling glitter.
mali

Cranberry & Pumpkin Breakfast Loaf

  • Servings: makes one loaf, serves 10-12
  • Print

225g (1.5 cups) plain (wholemeal) flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (The Kitchn has a good recipe for it)
125ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup
75ml (1/3 cup) coconut oil, melted
250ml (1 cup) pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
2 tbsp non-dairy milk of choice
50 (1.75 oz) cranberries

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) and grease a loaf tin.

2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre; place all the wet ingredients in the well, then fold them in. Lastly, fold in the cranberries.

3. Pour the batter into the loaf tin, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Bake for 45 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup or butter with nut/seed butter — it’s delicious!

Keep covered with a cloth or stored in the bread tin for up to 3 days. Can be frozen for up to a month.

I’d like to hear from you now. I plan on making some changes to thevegancookiefairy.com in the New Year and I’d like to know what YOU want to read here. More easy-to-freeze recipes? More cat pictures? More life updates from me? More raw recipes, or traditional desserts veganised? Leave a comment below letting me know what you want to see here!

Like what you read here? Let’s keep in touch! Sign up for email updates and follow me on InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest and Tumblr! You can also follow my blog through Bloglovin‘.

Love and cookies,
thevegancookiefairysignature-2

Pumpkin Breakfast Loaf with Chocolate Drizzle

vegan pumpkin breakfast loaf with chocolate drizzle
That bite in the air. The clear blue sky against the purple Ochil Hills. The sickly sweet pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks. Mali tentatively poking his head outside the open back door, sniffing out the cold air, and deciding against walking outside today. My tartan stole and homemade knitted baby blue scarf. All my favourite TV shows back for another series. My first pumpkin delivered in my weekly veg bag.

It’s autumn. 
autumn walk in stirling
I’m bouncing with excitement. The other day at work, a colleague greeted me at the door and remarked it was colder today, to which I replied: ‘I know! It’s great!’ (Except it’s freezing in the office, which is not great.)

Like spring after a drawn-out, dreary February, I feel rejuvenated. Summer is wonderful – especially in Scotland, where you get nearly 20 hours of light a day, brambles grow along the River Forth for peckish walkers to pick, and we get a month-long cultural festival in Edinburgh (The Fringe) – but I can’t stand it for long. It’s the heat, you see. I’m like an overdressed Victorian middle-class snob, fanning herself feverishly as she lounges underneath a parasol, complaining to everyone with ears about the heat. Autumn is a welcome breath of fresh air after a short but much-enjoyed summer. 

I just feel alive. Hopeful. Chipper. (I know, me, chipper!) There’s just so much to enjoy, all things pumpkin spice being top on the list.

If you detest all the pumpkin madness, I am sorry (that you are such a miserable person), and want to prepare for what is coming next: many, many pumpkin recipes. #sorrynotsorry
Vegan breakfast pumpkin chocolate loaf
vegan pumpkin loaf autumn recipe

Pumpkin Breakfast Loaf with Chocolate Drizzle

  • Servings: makes one loaf, approx. 10-12 slices
  • Print

Notes: The chocolate drizzle doesn’t look amazing in these pictures, because I’d tried making it with vegan butter, and the result was disappointing. It’s much, much better without it. Just chocolate + maple syrup makes a thick, syrupy drizzle. On another note, this loaf isn’t too sweet, and can be made with wholemeal flour. If you want to serve it for dessert, you can add a few tablespoons of raw cane sugar.

For the pumpkin loaf:
225g (1.5 cups) plain (wholemeal) flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (The Kitchn has a good recipe for it)
125ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup
75ml (1/3 cup) coconut oil, melted
250ml (1 cup) pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
2 tbsp non-dairy milk of choice

For the chocolate drizzle:
50g (1.75 oz) dark chocolate
1 tbsp maple syrup

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC and grease a loaf tin.

2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre; place all the wet ingredients in the well, then fold them in.

3. Pour the batter into the loaf tin, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Bake for 45 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

4. Chop or break the chocolate and add it to a small saucepan, along with the maple syrup. On moderate heat, melt the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine. Set aside to cool a little, but not too long; you should ideally pour it over the  loaf in the next ten minutes, while the chocolate is still runny but cool enough to set.

Keep covered with a cloth or stored in the bread tin for up to 3 days.

How does autumn make you feel? 

Like what you read here? Let’s keep in touch! Sign up for email updates and follow me on InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest and Tumblr! You can also follow my blog through Bloglovin‘.

Love and cookies,
thevegancookiefairysignature-2