Maple pecan cake with chocolate cashew cream frosting – this lovely vegan cake is naturally sweetened with maple syrup, making it a slightly healthier treat that is still delicious.
I made and photographed this maple pecan cake before Christmas, but January seemed like the most appropriate time to post it given that it is a ‘healthier’ cake.
Both the maple pecan cake and cashew cream frosting are naturally sweetened with maple syrup, making it refined sugar free. (Use refined sugar free chocolate in the frosting to make sure of this). Don’t get be wrong, it is still cake and therefore not exactly a health food, but if you prefer to steer away from refined sugars then this may be the cake for you!
It also happens to be absolutely delicious. The maple syrup gives it a really lovely flavour which is perfectly complemented by the pecans and some cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
The chocolate cashew cream frosting is really creamy and delicious, as well as being far more nutritious than a regular buttercream!
It is made by blending soaked cashews with maple syrup, coconut oil, non dairy milk, vanilla and cider vinegar until really smooth and creamy. Having a good power blender like my Froothie Optimum Vac2 vacuum blender makes this job really quick and gets the frosting incredibly smooth and creamy.
Once blended I mixed in some melted dark chocolate then chilled the frosting a little until it was thick and spreadable before assembling the cake.
I topped the maple pecan cake with some maple pecans; they are entirely optional but I do like the contrast in texture that they bring.
How To Make Maple Pecan Cake With Chocolate Cashew Cream Frosting:
Start by sifting together plain flour, ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
In a separate bowl whisk together maple syrup, non dairy milk, unsweetened apple sauce, melted coconut oil and cider vinegar. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet then fold in some chopped pecans.
Divide the batter between two 20cm/8inch round cake tins and bake until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the chocolate cashew cream frosting, soak some cashews in boiling water for half an hour (or in cold water overnight).
Place them in a blender with some maple syrup, melted coconut oil, non dairy milk, vanilla extract, cider vinegar and salt and blend until extremely smooth and creamy. You will probably need to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times.
Transfer the frosting to a bowl and stir in some melted dark chocolate. Pop the bowl in the fridge for a bit until it has firmed up a little and reached a spreadable texture.
To make the maple pecans, in a bowl, toss together pecans, cinnamon, salt, coconut sugar and maple syrup. Make sure that the pecans are well coated.
Spread the pecans out in a single layer on a baking parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven, give them a good stir and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, until they feel dry to the touch. Leave to cool on the tray then transfer to an airtight container until needed.
How To Make Apple Sauce:
This cake uses unsweetened apple sauce to help keep it moist, if you aren’t in the United States then shop bought applesauce can be hard to find. You can sometimes find it in health shops and it is available on Amazon; but it is also really easy to make your own.
To make it, peel, core and dice two large bramley apples and place in a pan with the juice of 1/2 lemon and 50ml water. Bring up to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the apples are soft and have broken down. If it is too dry you can add a splash more water but be careful not to add too much, the applesauce should be very thick.
Once soft, use a potato masher or stick blender to process the apples to a puree. Allow to cool before using and store any leftovers in the fridge.
You will probably have a bit more applesauce than you need for the maple pecan cake. It will keep for up to a week in the fridge and can be added to cakes, pancakes, porridge or yogurt. (And loads more things too!); it also keeps well in the freezer for any future baking projects.
How Long Will The Cake Keep?:
Once assembled the maple pecan cake will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container though it is best eaten on the day it is made as the pecans will start to weep a bit and the frosting is not the kind that will keep well. If it is warm out then it is best to store it in the fridge.
Can I Make It In Advance?:
The cakes can be baked a day or two in advance. The sugared pecans can be made a few days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
The frosting is best used the day it is made but it can be made and stored in an airtight container in the fridge a day in advance if absolutely necessary. It will get quite firm when cold so you will need to very gently warm it up to get it back to a spreadable consistency.
Maple Pecan Cake With Chocolate Cashew Cream Frosting (Vegan, Naturally Sweetened)
Maple Pecan Cakes:
- 300 g (2 1/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 240 ml (1 cup) maple syrup
- 240 ml (1 cup) unsweetened non dairy milk
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) melted coconut oil
- 125 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened apple sauce
- 2 tsp cider vinegar
- 120 g (1 1/4 cups) pecans chopped
Chocolate Cashew Cream Frosting:
- 200 g (2 cups) cashews
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) melted coconut oil
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) unsweetened non dairy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 150 g (5oz) dark chocolate chopped
- 200 g (2 cups) pecans
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
Maple Pecan Cakes:
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease two 20cm/8inch round cake tins and line with baking parchment.
- Sift together the plain flour, ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the maple syrup, non dairy milk, unsweetened apple sauce, melted coconut oil and cider vinegar.
- Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet being careful not to over-mix then fold in the chopped pecans.
- Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Chocolate Cashew Cream Frosting:
- Place the cashews in a bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside for half an hour to soak. Alternatively you can soak them overnight in cold water.
- Drain the cashews really well then place them in a blender with the maple syrup, melted coconut oil, non dairy milk, vanilla extract, cider vinegar and salt and blend until extremely smooth and creamy. You will probably need to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times.
- Melt the chopped chocolate, either in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of steaming water (don't let the base of the bowl touch the water), or in short bursts in the microwave.
- Transfer the cashew cream frosting to a bowl and stir in the melted chocolate until smooth. Pop the bowl in the fridge for a bit until it has firmed up a little and reached a spreadable texture.
- Preheat the oven to 160C/320F/gas mark 3. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- In a bowl, toss together the pecans, cinnamon, salt, sugar and maple syrup. Make sure that the pecans are well coated.
- Spread the pecans out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven, give them a good stir and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, until they feel dry to the touch.
- Leave to cool on the tray then transfer to an airtight container.
- To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers on a serving platter and spread over half of the chocolate cashew cream frosting. Place the other cake layer on top and spread over the rest of the frosting. Top with the maple pecans and serve.
*I’m a Froothie ambassador and was sent the Optimum Vac2 to review. If you click on the above links and purchase one of their products I will receive a small amount of commission. All opinions are my own. I only recommend products that I love and use myself.