Warm, spicy, sweet, and zesty, this mini pumpkin orange layer cake is the cake to make for all small fall gatherings. The cake is a blend of all-purpose and spelt flour, which gives it a wonderful, heartier texture that pairs perfectly with the autumnal spices. Adding pumpkin or butternut squash to the batter keeps it from being too dry and the orange zest rounds out the cinnamon. Finally, it's topped with a rich raw almond frosting that's like the best buttercream you've ever had. The recipe is versatile, so you can make one mini cake or six cupcakes.
Mini Pumpkin Spice Orange Layer Cake [Vegan]
For the Cake:
- Some coconut oil, for greasing
- 2/3 cup spelt flour, plus 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground flax seeds, plus 4 1/2 tablespoon water
- 1/2 cup grated butternut squash or pumpkin
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
- Zest of 1/2 an orange
For the Raw Almond Frosting:
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1/3 cup almond milk, plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Juice of 1/2 a large lemon
- 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
For the Candied Oranges:
- 1/2 of 1 orange
- 1/8 cup sugar
To Make the Candied Oranges:
- If you are making the candied orange decoration (optional) please allow an extra 2 1/2 hours for this or make in advance.
- Thinly slice 1/2 orange and grate some orange zest. Set the latter aside. Place the orange spices on a baking tray covered with non-stick paper and sprinkle with sugar. Place in the oven at 200°F.
- Bake until the slices are dry, about 2 1/2 hours. For the last 20 minutes, add some grated orange zest onto the baking tray too, to be used as a crunchy topping.
To Make the Cake:
- Once you remove the decoration from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Place all your ingredients on the kitchen counter before you start. Then grate the butternut squash/pumpkin. Make sure to slightly pat the grated pumpkin/squash dry with kitchen roll, to absorb some of the moisture.
- Then roughly chop the almonds.
- Next, grease 3 3 1/2-inch ramekins with coconut oil. If making cupcakes, grease a cupcake pan.
- Mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, chopped almonds, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the ground flax seeds and the water and let the mixture stand for 2-3 minutes.
- Then, in a larger bowl mix together all the wet ingredients by adding the watery flaxseed mixture to the oil, milk, grated pumpkin, and orange zest.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Please don't overmix; everything should be just combined. Next, spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes (if making 6 cupcakes, please halve the baking time) or until risen and golden.
To Make the Frosting:
- While the cake layers are in the oven, start working on the frosting by mixing the ground almonds, almond milk, vanilla, coconut oil, lemon juice, and maple syrup in a food processor.
- Blend until a thick, smooth frosting has formed. Set aside for use once the cake layers are ready.
- When the cake layers are ready, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
- Then, place the 3 cake layers in the freezer. This will make it easier to trim off the rounded top of the cake, frost and stack the cake.
- Leave the cake layers in the freezer for about an hour and then carefully trim off the top to create an even, flat surface.
- Next spread a generous amount of frosting evenly on each layer, decorated with the candied orange and crispy orange zest and you're done.
Makes one three-layer cake or six cupcakes.