Comforting, hearty flavor of pumpkin and spices, glazed with a rich cashew butter ganache and topped with strawberries macerated in coconut sugar. Goodness of millets in a cake that is refined sugar-free, refined flour-free, and easy to bake too!
If you know me you know that I seldom cheat on chocolate, especially when it’s about cakes and icecreams. However, I’ve resolved to use more alternate and wholesome grains, bake more often and experiment with other flavors too this year, and here I am, implementing those resolutions in the form of this delicious yet guilt-free cake.
This cake was made using barnyard millet flour, whole-wheat flour and palm sugar, thus replacing all purpose flour (APF, a.ka. maida) and refined sugar entirely. Strawberries are in season so I couldn’t resist macerating them in some sugar and topping the cake – you could use nuts instead, or skip the topping entirely.
Why Barnyard Millets?
Quite the tiny wonder grain, Barnyard Millet (also known as Samvat/ Sama) has the lowest carbohydrate & calorie content as compared to all other millets and several other cereals. When unmilled, it is a rich source of protein and B-complex vitamins, potassium and iron. It’s gluten-free and hence ideal for those suffering from Celiac disease. Nutritional goodness aside, these millets are also helpful for farmers. Barnyard millets can be harvested with 45 days of being sown, making it a year-round crop with at least 8 crop cycles. Millet crops are usually free from fungal diseases and require very minimal pesticide usage. What is more, the plant makes for an excellent fodder source. Adopting millets in your usual diet routine can be a bonus from a nutritional as well as ecological point of view.
Palm sugar has a lower Glycemic Index than refined sugar – if you have problem in finding it, you can easily substitute with cane sugar/ jaggery/ honey.
Making healthy alternatives for usual ganache and frosting recipes is my new-found obsession, which is how the ganache I used in this recipe was born. Cashew butter is light and rich, and the flavor compliments the spice kick from the cake just right, minus the sugar overload of conventional ganache.
RECIPE: PUMPKIN SPICE BARNYARD MILLET CAKE WITH CASHEW BUTTER ICING
Makes 2 layers of a 6X6X2.5” layer cake; serves 9
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 cup barnyard millet flour
- ½ cup whole-wheat flour (See Notes for gluten-free recipe)
- 1½ cup pumpkin puree (homemade; see Notes for recipe)
- 2 eggs (substitute with flax egg or yogurt for eggless version)
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp nutmeg powder
- ½ tsp allspice powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 5 cups palm sugar
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup sunflower oil/ ghee
- Salt, to taste
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cashew butter (I used MyProtein’s Triple Nut Butter)
- 2 tbsp palm sugar
- 5 tbsp milk
- ½ cup strawberries, sliced
- 1 tbsp palm sugar
For the topping, combine sliced strawberries and sugar in a bowl. Refrigerate.
Pre-heat the oven at 180°C. Grease and line two 6-inch pans, preferably springform.
In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients, i.e. flour, ground spices, salt, baking soda and baking powder with a spatula.
Combine the wet ingredients – palm sugar, oil/ghee, pumpkin puree, vanilla essence, milk in a separate bowl. Whisk everything together until the palm sugar melts. Crack open the eggs and whisk well.
Slowly and in parts, add the dry ingredients to the bowl with wet ingredients, mix everything together while scraping the sides with a spatula. Take care to mix only well enough to make a smooth batter; do not overmix.
Divide the batter equally and pour into the two greased pans.
Bake at 180°C for about 55 minutes, until it has risen firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the pans from the oven and allow to cool completely. Run a knife along the rim of the pans, release the springform. Run the knife through the bottom and remove gently.
Upend separately into two plates lined with cling-sheet. Set aside for icing.
For the icing, heat the nut butter in a saucepan, stirring continuously until its consistency is somewhat more fluid. Add palm sugar and milk. Keep stirring and take care to not burn the icing.
Set aside and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Spread evenly on the cakes using a rubber spatula to ensure an even coat. Place one cake on top of the other and spread the remaining ganache evenly.
Decorate with the macerated strawberries.
For gluten-free version of this recipe, omit the whole-wheat flour and substitute with ½ cup of cornstarch/ arrowroot flour/ cassava flour
For making your own fresh pumpkin puree, dice a pumpkin into small cubes and steam them in a pressure cooker (without whistle) or in microwave until they’re firm but soft. Allow to cool and blend to a smooth consistency.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per serving)
|Of which, Fiber||2 g|
*Recipe is for 9 servings; all values in grams.