Duck Season, Wabbit Season, Duck Season. PUMPKIN SEASON!

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I’ve been putting forth extraordinary effort to refrain from cooking pumpkin everything. Not because I think it’s ever too early in the year to cook pumpkin anything. Pumpkin is always appropriate. It amplifies the joy and flavor of everything from cakes, soups and roasts to coffee, tea, and beer. I get that pumpkin season signals the demise of summer. But that’s inevitable, and why, for some reason, people tend to get incredibly irritated about the festive, tasty hype I don’t understand. I hear people grumble and moan about the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks as I casually wait in line for my own creamy, pumpkin-y coffee concoction. I witness looks of exasperation on mothers’ faces at the grocery store when their kids beg for the biggest, brightest carving pumpkins.

Unlike these autumnal Scrooges, I gravitate towards the pull of the season, fall under its magic spell (pun intended). A sense of contentment envelops me when I snuggle up on the couch with a good book and hot spiced tea in my favorite mug between my fingers, sheltered from the stormy weather outside. When I infuse the chill in my home with the warm, sweet scent of pumpkin pie, and suddenly everything seems a little more charming and delightful. When I go for a stroll outside, dressed in my coziest sweater, to be mesmerized by the lovely fiery foliage and crisp, energizing air. Pumpkins are the embodiment of everything that I love about autumn, and that giddy, festive sentiment of the season washes over me each time I cook with it.

My friends invited me to Shabbat dinner at their house last week, so of course I thought it only appropriate to contribute something festive for the coming of the cold weather. My contribution had to be dairy-free for the kosher spread, so I opened the season this year with a vegan spiced pumpkin cake with a rich chocolate ganache. It was an easy, beautiful recipe and quite a hit among the party guests. What a wonderful way to ease the world into the pumpkin craze and satisfy my lust for the sweet and spicy holiday season!

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Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 9 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée

For the ganache:

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1 tablespoon melted vegan butter substitute (I used Earth Balance)
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk

Directions:

– Preheat oven to 350º. Prepare a bundt pan with cooking spray and dust with flour.
-In a small bowl, combine ground flax and water. Set aside for a few minutes until the mixture has become somewhat viscous.
– In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil until blended. Add the flax mixture, beating well.
– In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cloves.
-Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition.
– Transfer cake batter to prepared bundt pan.
– Bake 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
– Cool 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Remove pan and cool completely.
– While cake is cooling, add chocolate chips and almond milk to a medium bowl. Using a double boiler, heat chocolate until melted. Whisk in melted vegan butter until smooth.
– When cake is cooled, drizzle warm ganache over the top so it drips down the sides of the cake.

Enjoy!

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