Baking for small children is exciting, because you really want to make something special and delicious while taking the healthy to the limits. I love to use honey in my baking, because it feels much more natural than refined sugar and it adds a deeper taste. However, under one year of age it is not recommended to give honey to kids. Luckily this one was for a second birthday, so the combination of honey, dates and spices was perfect to make the cake more exotic, even a little Arabic.
I already wrote about how crazy I am about Kabocha pumpkin and the diverse ways you can use them at the roasted pumpkin salad recipe – enriching cakes is one perfect example off this. Adding vegetables in baked goods has three main purposes. Most of the people think it is only to make it healthier, as you are stealing some vegs in the sweets, as basically you eat vegatables without noticing them and scoring some extra fiber and vitamines. Without a doubt this is true, however if you want to eat vegs this is not the most efficient way to do so since you only put a smaller amount in the whole cake – the amount of pumpkin you will eat per slice will not get you too far. If you want to eat vegs I would recommend to discover their real taste and eat them without blending it into cake dough. On the other hand adding vegs in your dough creates a moisteness, so you can decrease the amount of fats you would use in the recipe. Finally, added extra you get is the subtle taste that makes the cake much more exciting, such as with kabocha pumpkin a bit of sweetness that enables you to use less sugar, or in this case honey and dates.
The other thing I loved about the cake is that as well as being wonderfully healthy and delicious it is also perfect for making a beautyful decorative cake. The mascarpone frosting is rich and creamy, perfect to decorate the cake with while much less sweet and buttery than a traditional buttercream would be. Plus I added some edible violets for the extra glamour.
- 12 dates (about 80 g)
- 5 tablespoons (75 ml) milk
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 60 g coconut oil
- 60 g pumpkin puree (cook pupmpkin for 5-10 minutes until soft and then blend)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 140 g flour (I used a glutenfree mix)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (powdered)
- 1/2 teaspoon kardamom (powdered)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 250 ml whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 bag of whip-fix
- 250 g mascarpone
Plus edible violets to decorate (optional)
Remove the pits from the dates and soak them in hot water for 10 minutes. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees. Drain water (you can keep it and use it in smoothies), tip dates in a blender and blitz with the milk, ginger and coconut oil. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the pumpkin puree, egg and honey. In a dry bowl shift flour, spices and baking powder and quickly whisk the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Grease a 18 cm springform and pour in the dough.
Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the middle. Let it cool for 10 minutes then remove from the spring form and cool it completely on a cooling rack.
For the filling whip the cream with the honey and whip-fix and slowly add it to the mascarpone trying not to knock out too much air from the whipped cream.
Cut the cake in 2 layers, use half of the mascarpone mixture as a filling and half for the top of the cake. Decorating with edible flowers gives the cake a delicate look, but it is optional.