Anytime anyone asks you to bake your bundt off, you kind of have to say yes, right? Not that there was any hesitation, here. I’d been looking for an excuse to come up with a relatively decadent vegan cake recipe, so when MightyNest – a healthy-living home and kitchen goods website – came calling, I was in. Bundt and all.
I wanted to create a cake that embraced the season. Bold gingerbread, sweet pears, a little caramel sauce swizzled over the top to bring it all together. Something that would work well as a mid-morning snack cake alongside a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, but would also be well-received by all as a special occasion dessert (Thanksgiving, anyone?)
Initially, I thought of a few go-to vegan baking ingredients. Flax eggs. Almond milk. Coconut oil. But then my mind turned to one of my very favorite cakes, a cake I enjoyed often growing up, a cake I had no idea was vegan until a few years ago. It’s a rich, moist chocolate number called Wacky Cake, though growing up, we called it Crazy Cake – and we always enjoyed it with a dollop of whipped cream. So much for being vegan.
Wacky Cake was reportedly created during the Great Depression, when staples such as eggs and milk were in short supply. Enterprising cooks dreamed up a cake that utilized vinegar and baking soda instead, creating bubbles that help the cake to rise.
I thought I’d borrow that naturally vegan cake’s formula for this gingerbread version. Other than omitting the cocoa, of course, I also swapped the typical vegetable oil for, yes, coconut oil. Brown sugar and molasses give this cake that signature rich mahogany hue; a generous hand with the spices adds loads of flavor. And then, of course, pear chunks, and quite a few of them.
I’m super excited about this recipe, in part because just like the inspiration cake, I really believe no one would ever know it’s vegan. Which is something you can’t necessarily say about some vegan baked goods. It’s excellent shortly after it comes out of the oven – drizzled with caramel sauce or not – but it’s even better after a day or two, when the flavors really get a chance to meld. This is one of those cakes that gets moister the longer it hangs out.
Plus, it’s cute, because it’s a bundt cake! Better yet, it’s baked in a Simax glass bundt pan. I love baking with this pan because it’s not coated with potentially questionable teflon, and it lends a gorgeous shape with lots of peaks and ravines. And it’s super easy to clean, to boot. The Simax glass bundt pan is made of surprisingly strong borosilicate glass, too – which means it can withstand temps far beyond what you’ll ever need to cook your cake (we’re talking 900°F+). I guess I can say I’m in love with a bundt pan. I cannot lie.
If you’re wanting to bake your bundt off too, you’re in the right place, because today we’re giving away a MightyNest gift pack that’s valued at $250 and includes a Simax glass bundt pan of your own, plus lots of other goodies that will make bundt-ing an oh-so enjoyable endeavor. Like a box to carry it in. And some coffee goodies, because a good bundt needs good coffee alongside.
We’re huge fans of MightyNest not only because of their non-toxic, family-friendly products, but also because of their awesome school program. Anytime you order from MightyNest, they’ll give 15% back to the school of your choice. It’s a great way to be healthier and support your local school. Win-win, in other words. Even cooler, MightyNest will also send a generous donation to the giveaway winner’s school of choice. So be sure to enter!
And then, let’s eat cake.
Bold gingerbread cake studded with chunks of pear and baked in bundt form. What could be better than this super-moist, in-your-face cake? The (also vegan) caramel sauce drizzled on top, of course!
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted + a little more for greasing the pan
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 medium pears, peeled and diced 1/2-inch (about 3 cups diced)
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting the top, if desired
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bundt pan with a little coconut oil - 1 or 2 teaspoons - and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, water, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar and vanilla.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Use a whisk to mix the batter together just until combined. The batter will be rather loose and wet. Fold in the pears.
- Pour batter into the bundt pan and bake until the cake begins to pull away from the edges slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out nearly dry, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes then use a knife to carefully loosen any stuck sides. Invert cake over a wire rack and lift off the pan. Let cake cool completely.
- Carefully transfer cooled cake to platter or cake plate and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
- While the cake cools, make the caramel sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, vanilla and salt. Set aside.
- Add the sugar and water to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir just to combine, but do not stir after that! Allow mixture to come to a boil and watch it carefully. After about 6 minutes, the mixture will start to turn golden, then light brown, and it will smell like caramel. As soon as it has turned brown, slowly pour in the coconut milk mixture. The caramel will bubble enthusiastically at first. If the sugar hardens around the whisk, don't worry, this is normal - just keep stirring and it will dissolve. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the caramel sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Slice cake and put on plates. Drizzle individual servings with the caramel sauce. Serve.
The caramel sauce may be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated in an airtight container. It keeps well for up to 5 days. Allow the sauce to come to room temperature to thin out a bit before serving. You can also warm it in the microwave for a few seconds to speed up the process.
Good for the planet, good for the community — what isn’t there to love about MightyNest? With the best in natural, organic and non-toxic home products all in one place, MightyNest has you and your family covered — plus, 15% of the cost of your order will be donated to your local school.