For the Cake
For the Cream Cheese
For the Cake
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients (including sugar). In a stand mixer (or you can also use a mixing bowl and hand mixer), combine coconut oil and butter and beat until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and eggs and continue to mix until smooth. The coconut oil might look a little lumpy since it hardens when cooled, and that’s okay – it will melt evenly during baking.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet, and beat until just combined. Grease an 8×8 square pan (an 8 or 9 inch round pan should also work), and pour batter in – use a spatula to spread evenly to the sides and smooth the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes (I found 28 to be the sweet spot in my oven!), or until the top is golden brown and starting to crack. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting
Clean and dry your stand mixer bowl while your cake is baking. Then add the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Some of the vegan cream cheeses are a bit funky – I prefer this Follow Your Heart brand. The ingredient list doesn’t scare me, and I find it to be the most realistic in taste.
Sloooooowly add the powdered sugar a bit at a time. If you add it too fast, the dust will go everywhere! Add the entire 1 pound bag – it seems like a ton (and it is), but it’s needed for the frosting to stiffen. Add food coloring if needed, and then transfer the entire batch to a refrigerator-safe container. Chill for at least 6 hours before using – you want the icing to be firm.
My original plan was to use natural food colorings, which I sought out and paid a pretty penny for at our local health food store.
I did a test run a few weeks prior, and the natural food colorings were a disaster. No matter what I tried, everything came out looking like the color of a band-aid. Not very appetizing.
I was hoping for really bright, bold colors to match Cullen’s birthday shirt, and ended up scoring these color gels by Duff Goldman at Michael’s. Not quite as “natural” as I had hoped, but the colors were perfect, so I went with it.
Okay back to the directions…
When you frost the cake, frost immediately after taking the icing out of the refrigerator. Once frosted, place the cake back in the fridge or another cool spot (I put mine in a cake stand on the back patio!), and allow the icing to set for 15-30 minutes.
Once the icing has set, you can bring the cake back into room temperature. Mine sat out the whole day afterward and were delicious!
Decorate, slice, and serve!
In all my cake baking, I wish I had thought to photograph a piece that is actually sliced. It was absolutely delicious. To make Cullen’s cakes, I just baked all three in square pans and then carved the letters out by hand once they had cooled. Frosting was messy and tricky, but I don’ think Cullen noticed.
The inside is moist and fluffy with just a light sweetness – a perfect balance to the sweet frosting. I think this would be great for a Halloween party, or even as a Thanksgiving dessert if you’re looking for alternatives (or additions to!) pumpkin pie. Or if you have a fall baby like me, spice up a traditional birthday cake!
All of our cakes disappeared by the next morning, which is always a good sign of a successful treat. As always, enjoy!Powered by Recipage