pumpkin sage cake (vegan)
Just last weekend, I was strolling around the farmers market not too far from here with my dear friends Nancy and Amber. We had such a nice time catching up, sharing our latest food triumphs and – as per usual – brainstorming a bit about recipe ideas and possibilities. It is so nice to be able to spend a warm, sunny afternoon with people who love food as much as I do. Afterward, we headed over to a local spot to grab a bite to eat. I came home satiated – body and mind. And in my arms I carried a plethora of market goodies. Nancy kindly brought me a little something from her garden: a gorgeous and elegantly wrapped bunch of herbs, a share from the last from her summer crop.
Fast forward 6 days: I am calf deep in snow running around my yard with my ridiculously insufficient-for-the-task-at-hand broom, attempting to remove the heavy wet snow from the sagging leafed-out maple trees. It was eerily quiet save the sound of C-R-A-C-K — one beautiful branch after the next falling to the ground. Our town has faired worse than Hurricane Irene. Which was pretty bad. But, that’s another story. Instead of curbside snowbanks deposited by passing plows, heaping towers of broken branches have been dragged toward the street awaiting bulk pick-up. It’s all part of nature but it’s still heartbreaking.
Alas, I had planned on baking over the weekend. I typically spend a few hours cooking on Sunday, getting ready for weekly dinners and such. But, we were without power. It got down to a brisk and unpleasant 55 degrees inside our house. In some kind of miracle, power was restored late last night. Many many other parts of New Jersey are still without power so we are feeling pretty grateful. I peeled off my layers before climbing into bed and woke up this morning to a functioning oven. So I baked. And then I enjoyed a slice of this cake with a cup of tea – - silently reflecting on how important it is not to take anything for granted.
Pumpkin sage cake
This recipe was inspired by one over at Fine Cooking and by Nancy’s homegrown sage. If you are sensitive to xanthan gum, this recipe does work without it. However, it does come out a bit crumbly. The brown sugar I used is unrefined. Yes, it does exist. And it’s incredible. It’s called Mascobado (not Mascovado). By all means, use regular if you can’t find it.
1 cup/4oz/112g sorghum flour
7/8 cup/ 4oz/ 114g Superfine brown rice flour
2/3 cup/ 3oz/ 84g tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup/6oz/ 171g smashed bananas (about 2 small bananas)
1/3 cup fresh sage leaves, loosely packed
3/4 cup/ 6oz/ 171g grapeseed oil
1 cup/ 5oz/ 141g brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup/ 4oz/143g maple syrup
1 15oz/425g canned organic pumpkin
2 tsp vanilla
1.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.) Oil and lightly flour a bundt pan (I used a ceramic one – but beware – dark nonstick ones will make your GF baked goods cook/brown more quickly)
3.) In a medium mixing bowl, place the sorghum, rice, tapioca flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Whisk well and set aside.
4.) Heat the oil in a small saucepan (don’t let it smoke). Remove all the sage leaves from their stems and mince very well – so that they have the look/size of dried sage. Measure out 2 healthy tablespoons. Add them to the heated oil and let it infuse for about a minute. Take off the heat. Set aside to cool.
5.) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the bananas, brown sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin and vanilla. Add the cooled sage oil and whisk to combine.
6.) Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and spoon into prepared baking dish.
7.) Bake 45 minutes. Let cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before inverting/serving.