Pumpkin cake with lime and almonds

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I have been fucking remiss! Doubly so, since despite not blogging for a couple of months now, I have in fact had a recipe photographed and stored up since August. And it’s SUCH a perfect August cake. Not that you can’t eat a delicious citrus-frosted vegan pumpkin cake in spring, just that it’s so much more an autumn/winter thing. Luckily, it’s October – month of the pumpkin! Well, just ignoring the whole Halloween is supposed to be in autumn deal. In any case this cake is still – despite all the flaws of its maker – perfect!

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August is my mum’s birthday and so to commemorate the day my family all came over to my place to crash on the floor for a night and eat cake. Actually, Tom was supposed to be in charge of cake, but I received a text message from him the day before saying he accidentally got day drunk instead.

So proud.

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Actually though, I understand that sometimes you need/want to get day drunk. Sometimes you also have to make emergency cake as a result of someone else’s day drunk. Is cool.

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Anyway, the cake turned out pretty lovely. It’s based on a recipe for pumpkin slice I’ve been using for so many years I’ve forgotten where it came from. The icing I made up myself. The original slice uses just lemons and icing sugar for frosting, but I sincerely believe limes > lemons. For guacamole, for gin, for everything. Pfft, “lemons”.

(Shh. No, Actually I like lemons too, but limes rule so much more)

Anyway, now it’s October (month of pumpkins! – sort of) and since I last blogged I’ve done a huge presentation for uni, participated in a writer’s festival and moved house. And on Halloween it’s my birthday. Which is both horrifying and sweet. So here is a cake that I dare you to not want to eat right now. Along with a promise to be less remiss next time something like this is lurking in my to do list.

IMG_0762IMG_0755❤ These dorks.

Ingredients:

Cake:
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups cooked pumpkin
1 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
4 cups S.R. Flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp ginger
1 tsp salt

Icing:
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup coconut oil

For on top:
slivered almonds

Combine sugar, pumpkin, oil and vanilla then add remaining ingredients. Cook in moderate oven 1-1.5 hrs OR until middle of cake springs back when touched. Combine coconut oil and icing sugar. Stir until smooth. Then add lime juice. Allow cake to cool. Ice cake. Dry fry almonds or roast in oven. Arrange on top of cake. Eat cake.

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Dark chocolate cashew spice cookies

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Last night I realised it’s actually only a few weeks away from Christmas and holy crapsticks I have a lot of stuff on in December/January and I’m going to have to be on top of that. Luckily I’m spending this weekend at my mum’s place, where things are quiet, because from here on in it’s all Christmas parties, Christmas lunches, music festivals and travel. There are cocktails to drink, costumes to assemble and several flights to successfully catch. There’s also a bunch of boring administrative stuff I have to get done. Oh, and I’m going hiking.

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Which brings me rather clumsily to these cookies. Because, look, there’s no clear segue between my holiday plan freakout and the cookies or between the individual holiday events themselves. Both the cookies and these next two months are packed full of complex events. As complex as my feelings about the word “cookies”, as complex as my attitude towards this calm spell and the possibility of its ending. There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon, but at present I’d just as much enjoy a morning curled up with my kindle. This is all tied in with the fact that I’ve almost finished book four of A Song of Ice and Fire and the idea of finishing the series (thus far) fills me equally with eagerness and dread. The best thing about catching up to what’s been published will be knowing I can’t go any further, meaning I’ll have to get back to important real-life things. At least when the next book finally comes out, I’ll have a payoff for all the work I’ve been forced to do in its absence.

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If I could hand these cookies over to George R. R. Martin as encouragement to please write faster I would. And if he were as much the Santa Claus of fantasy epics as he appears, I’m sure these would make an ample offering. But I know first-hand that these things can’t be rushed, no amount of cookies will get me that elusive sixth book. This year I wrote not even a quarter of the length of one of his books and called it an accomplishment. Tenuously this brings me back to cookies. I only made four from this batch and squirrelled the rest away, because right now I have the calm and space to make unwarranted baked goods. The rest of the dough is rolled up in a piece of baking paper in the freezer, waiting to be thawed out when things get too hectic and baked goods become warranted again. In the meantime I guess I’ll begin the printing of boarding passes and wrapping of gifts, knowing that very soon I won’t have any time to bake or read or bemoan the time it takes to write a book. Christmas is coming.

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Ingredients:

125g butter
½ caster sugar
1 egg
2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp finely ground coffee beans
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
200g dark chocolate
½ cup roughly chopped roasted cashews (salted or unsalted)

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar. Combine with egg. Gradually mix in flour, spices and coffee. Finally, add dark chocolate and cashews. Either form into balls and squash onto lined baking tray right away or roll into a tube of baking paper and store in freezer or fridge until needed. If using baking paper method you can unwrap dough as needed and slice into rounds. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 160 degrees fan forced. Leave to cool for ten minutes before moving from tray.