Here is a simple vegan, egg-free and dairy-free baked recipe that you can serve your family or take to the next dinner party. This recipe was inspired by the Apple Cake recipe from Veg Recipes of India, just made more nutritious and less complicated. I also added in pumpkin seeds for a delicious nutrient dense crunch. I love the combination of textures of warm moistness with soft sweet apple chunks and spices. You know the batter is good when you can’t stop ‘tasting’ it, and your little one keeps wanting to smell your batter!
- 1 cup all purpose flour, sifted [136 g]
- 1 cup whole wheat flour [127 g]
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar [57 g]
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ -½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 medium apples, chopped (makes 1 1/2 cups of apple chunks of ~ ½ inch sized cubes)
- ¼ cup sunflower oil [60 mL] (or other vegetable oil)
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce [120 mL]
- ¾ cup fortified soy milk, divided [180 mL] (or any other fortified plant-based milk)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, divided [32 g] (can be roasted or raw)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (except the pumpkin seeds). Ensure ingredients are well combined and mixed. Use a whisk or fork to mash out any big lumps of brown sugar in the bowl.
Add the chopped apples to the dry mixture and stir to get all the apples coated in the flour mixture using a spatula or wooden spoon.
In a small bowl, mix together the oil, applesauce, lemon juice, fortified plant-based milk and vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients mixture into the dry mixture slowly, stirring until a well combined thick cake batter is formed.
Add 3 tablespoons of the pumpkin seeds into the batter and stir a few times until just integrated.
Pour batter into a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan lined with aluminum foil, making sure the batter is spread evenly throughout the pan.
Decorate the top with the remaining tablespoon of pumpkin seeds. You can just sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top or create a simple pattern.
Bake 50-60 minutes in the middle rack of the oven, until the cake is baked through (check this by inserting a knife at the middle and 1-2 other points in the cake. It is done when the knife comes out clean). It is best to check the cake at the 40 minute mark, as the top of the cake may be already browned. If so, cover the top of the cake with aluminum foil so that the top doesn’t get overly burnt or dry, and continue baking until the cake is fully done.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
Increase the amount of spices in the recipes (e.g., the cloves and the ginger) if you like a stronger spice taste, or decrease it if you want less. If you don’t have any whole wheat flour on hand, just use 2 cups of all purpose flour in the recipe. Although I used a loaf pan, feel free to use a small cake pan or make these into muffins (if you make muffins, bake the batter in muffin molds for a shorter period of time of about 20-25 minutes, and then check for doneness)!
If you have only raw pumpkin seeds, it is very easy to toast them if you like. Just use the preheated oven and toast them for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until the pumpkins seeds turn slightly golden in color. The cake slices are best served warm (these can be heated in the microwave quickly) with tea or coffee.