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Today is the first genuinely cold day of the year. Autumn is slowly ending, and soon all of the pretty leaves and cool afternoons will be gone and replaced with a rather gloomy winter. Evening runs and afternoon walks will end and hibernation mode will commence. Around this time, my sweet tooth kicks in full force. After all, if I’m going to be getting cozy under a mountain of blankets, wouldn’t sweet treats make it even better?

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An afternoon walk on the university campus. The last of the leaves are falling.

Well, I’m still in vegan mode, and since there isn’t a vegan bakery around the corner (or across the city…) I’ve taken matters into my own hands. And by that I mean I’ve been giving baking a go! My boyfriend had purchased me a pumpkin for Halloween, and it’s been sitting prettily for a few weeks now. Craving pumpkin spice like a madwoman (I think the Korean Starbucks alternative is chestnut flavor which is definitely not the same thing), I turned to Google to find a vegan pumpkin spice cookie recipe.

Roasted pumpkins! The scent was incredible; better than any candle.

Roasted pumpkins! The scent was incredible; better than any candle.

For my baking experiment, I heavily modified this recipe from The Minimalist Baker as I couldn’t get my hands on vegan butter, pumpkin pie spice, almond milk or cornstarch. While I’m by no means an experienced baker or cook, even I had to foresight to know the recipe would not turn out properly without a solid fat (I only had a vegetable oil on hand). However, I wanted a dessert and I wasn’t going to let something like a complete lack of proper and necessary ingredients stop me.

Take 1: cookies turned pancakes.

Take 1: cookies turned pancakes.

I roasted my pumpkin at around 175 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes, let it cool, and blended it. It smelled heavenly. I combined my brown and white sugar, oil, vanilla extract and puree in a bowl. I added the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. I instantly knew the batter was too thin to turn into a cookie, but I gave it a go.The result was more pancake than cookie. Which gave me an idea. Pancake? Pan…cake. Cake! I added some more flour and let the dough chill in the refrigerator.

Note: I actually don’t know if a cake batter has more flour than a cookie dough. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Take 2: Cake! It's quite blurry because I think I was so excited it turned out looking like an actual cake.

Take 2: Cake! It’s quite blurry because I think I was so excited it turned out looking like an actual cake.

Anyway, I baked the ‘cake’ at 190 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes, and it looked great. I made a Maple Cinnamon Glaze, and once the cake cooled, I drizzled it on top. Considering the fact that this was a poor attempt at making a cookies, I must say the end result was pretty tasty! I offered out slices to various friends, and everyone agreed. I think this proves that there really isn’t a way to make a bad pumpkin spice dessert. 😉

The end result. I had already stolen a slice. I couldn't resist!

The end result. I had already stolen a slice. I couldn’t resist!

Anyway if you’re going to attempt to recreate this …. ehm … masterpiece, you will need

For the cake

– 1/2 cup vegetable oil
– 1/2 brown sugar
– 1/2 cup white sugar
– 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
– 2 cups wheat flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– dash of salt (approx. 1/8 tsp)
– 2 tsp cinnamon (I love cinnamon. Adjust to your preference.)

For the Maple Cinnamon Glaze

– 1/4 cup powdered sugar (I just blended white sugar until it made a fine powder)
– 1/4 maple syrup (real syrup, not the fake kind!)
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Full disclosure: I didn’t measure my ingredients exactly. I know it’s paramount in baking, but I was mostly doing this to see if the flavors would work and what the oil would do. Believe me when I say I was surprised how well the end result turned out!

What are your favorite fall and winter treats? I just got my hands on a bag of vegan chocolate chips, and I can’t wait to put them to good use.

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