As I mentioned earlier this week, October 20th was my half-birthday. Usually such an occasion is marked by no more than an unspoken thought such as, “Hey, it’s 10/20…that’s my half-birthday. 20 = 2 x 10. Cool. I should pee.”
Or something like that.
But this year I was inspired to honor my half-birthday with half a cake. This was less likely because I was excited to be six months closer to 28 and more likely because I just wanted cake.
Now that it’s done, though, I’d like to think it was destiny that made me do it, because I’ll be repeating it, perhaps at Thanksgiving. Dearly though I love pumpkin pie, this pumpkin spice cake kicked its sorry ass down a few notches on my Desserts I’d Surrender My First-Born For list. (Actually, Pumpkin Pie, you were never on that list—scram.)
Unfortunately (or not), the thing about half-birthdays is that they stop being significant when you stop being proud of growing older. (For the record, me = not proud of growing older, and I have the gray hair to prove it.) The celebration:effort ratio therefore creeps further and further from 1:1 with each passing year. You can understand, then, why at 27.5 years old I desired to bake and eat a cake (celebration) that involved minimal time/money investment (effort).
Furthermore, it should now also be obvious that for the sake of this blog post, pi shall equal 3.14 and indeed not the desired result of employing the celebration:effort ratio (see paragraph 4).
(Sorry, I took the math joke too far. Effort:laughter = 1:0)
Half-Assed Half-Birthday Cake (with vegan option)
or Pumpkin-Apple Spice Cake with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup pumpkin puree and/or applesauce (ideally about half a cup of each)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil (solid)
- 1/2 cup NuNaturals baking blend (or sugar/sweetener of choice)
- 1/3 cup almond (or other non-dairy) milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg (or egg substitute such as 1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water and allowed to thicken)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- ~ 3 tbsp cream cheese (or substitute such as Tofutti)
- 4.5 tbsp coconut oil (solid)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
- splash of milk to thin, as needed
So maybe I was a little excited to use my new mixer as I embarked upon this experiment…
…but mostly, I just wanted cake.
First, I preheated the oven to 350* and whisked together the dry ingredients in a small-ish bowl (flour, spices, baking powder and soda, salt) and set it aside.
And then I began to combine the wet stuff in a mixing bowl—recall that I was improvising at the time—and decided I wanted to make a carrot cake-like cake, just minus the carrots. Enter pumpkin and cream cheese dregs:
Hmm…not much, even for a single-layer cake. Let’s throw in the applesauce snack pack that has been feeling sorry for itself in my fridge for way too long.
Ok, now that I have sufficient cake goo to make this tasty, let’s get serious. Activate other half of ass.
Combine pumpkin/applesauce mixture, coconut oil and sugar in a mixing bowl. Blend smooth with an electric mixer (or tons of elbow grease).
Feel sorry for your new mixer that is already filthy.
Then add the egg and blend again.
Add flour/spice mixture little by little, until well incorporated.
Pour batter into a greased 9-inch cake pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through.
Allow to cool enough to handle, then invert onto a dinner plate and go to bed because it’s 11pm and at 27.5 you are too old to stay up late enough to frost and eat this. Maybe at 27, but 27.5? Hell no.
At some point, though, you should make your frosting by creaming together the cream cheese, coconut oil and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add sugar and/or milk until it reaches the desired taste and texture. Mine was a little lumpy, but as this was a half-assed effort, I decided that taste > aesthetics and left it alone. Whatever. You might want to use more cream cheese than I did, too. I would have, but I didn’t feel like walking across the street to the store. Too far.
Once the cake is cool, cut in half. Frost one half, place the other half on top and frost it as well. You probably won’t have enough frosting to frost the sides too, but if you want to, you might want to double the frosting. Or something. I don’t really care.
Sprinkle with cinnamon if you care about it looking pretty to its viewership of 1.
Enjoy with a sh*t-eating grin when you realize that your cake is totally blog-worthy, even if you did pull it out of half your ass.