If you had frozen any pumpkin from the autumn season, then you’ll be able to get some out of the freezer for this recipe. If not, butternut squash will make a good substitute. The squash won’t be quite as moist as the pumpkin, so you may need to add a little more moisture into the cake mix if you’re taking that option.
This is quite a moist cake mix, and as such you need to cook it for longer. To prevent the top from burning, place a sheet of greaseproof paper over the batter and then foil on top of that. This will prevent the cake from browning, so you’ll be taking it off for the last 20 or 30 minutes of cooking.
Prep time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 1 hour 40 minutes, plus cooling time.
400g vegan margarine, plus extra for greasing
400g unrefined sugar
5 tbsp vegan natural yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
800g pumpkin flesh, diced, steamed for 15 minutes, and well drained (make sure to squeeze moisture out of the cooked pumpkin)
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
400g gluten-free self-raising flour
50g gram (chickpea) flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp xanthan gum
For the Syrup:
250g unrefined sugar
75ml lemon juice
3 tbsp golden syrup
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Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C/350F.
Put the margarine and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk, until you get a light and fluffy mixture. Now add the yoghurt, vanilla, pumpkin and lemon juice and zest and beat again until it is fully incorporated.
Add the two flours, the baking powder and the xanthan gum and gently mix with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth cake batter.
Grease a large, square cake tin (use a large round if that’s what you have) and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Pour in the cake batter and gently shake the tin a little to even it out. Cover the top with another sheet of greaseproof paper and then place a sheet of tin foil loosely on top of that. Bake in the lower part of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, then remove the top foil and greaseproof paper and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the top is golden and risen and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn it out, upside down, onto a wire rack. Remove the bottom sheet of greaseproof paper, which will now be on top, but do not discard it. Instead, place it back in the tin, in its original position. Allow the cake to completely cool.
Once the cake has cooled, slide it off the rack and onto a chopping board, then cut it with a sharp knife into 12 equal pieces, making sure to keep it all together in its original shape. Once it is cut, place the cake tin back over it, with the greaseproof paper in place. Press the cake tin and the chopping board together and gently turn the whole thing over, so that the chopping board is now on top. Remove the chopping board to reveal the cake back inside its tin, with the greaseproof paper once again at the bottom.
Now make the syrup. Put all of the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, until the syrup is clear and golden, then take off the heat. Leave it to cool slightly for about 10 minutes, then gently pour it all over the cut cake. Allow the cake and syrup to cool completely and then cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.