Pumpkin walnut loaf cake

It’s pumpkin season and there are so many delicious recipes that you can make with pumpkin purée: pumpkin spice latte; dips; soups; breads; scones; pancakes; cakes; and more!

I normally make my own pumpkin purée right on the stovestop because the canned version is difficult to find where I live. And, when available, it is usually in specialty shops where the price is grossly inflated.

Making pumpkin purée is simple — it involves steaming and processing cubed pumpkin flesh. It’s also purer than most canned versions. There are no additives and no salt. Just pumpkin. You can read how I make the purée below.

This morning, I made an amazing pumpkin loaf cake with light spelt flour, fresh pumpkin purée, cashew cream and walnuts. It’s wholesome, moist and spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. The entire house smells wonderful! It’s also naturally sweetened with pure apple sauce and high-quality granulated sugar cane. Suitable for vegans and non-vegans, it tastes great as is or with crème fraîche. Enjoy!

Pumpkin walnut loaf (vegan)

Pumpkin walnut loaf cake

Dry ingredients

  • 2 cups light spelt flour (farine d’épautre claire)
  • 2 tablespoons (tbsp) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) baking soda
  • ¼ tsp ground clove
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinammon
  • One pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup (100 grams) walnuts, coarsely chopped

Wet ingredients

  • 1 cup pure pumpkin purée, canned or homemade* 
  • 8 tbsps granulated raw Mascobado sugar cane (Note: This loaf is intentionally not sweet. If you prefer sweeter, then add more sugar).
  • ¾ cup cashew cream
  • ¼ cup grape seed oil -or- canola oil -or- light vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsps pure apple sauce (no sugar added)

*Making pumpkin purée

Homemade pumpkin puréeI normally use a pack of pre-diced pumpkin flesh available in the refrigerator section in supermarkets. Sometimes I’ll buy a small pumpkin and carve out the flesh myself.

Put the cubed pumpkin flesh into a pot and add a few tablespoons of water. Heat this up on stovetop and cover stirring from time to time. Let this steam on low heat until the cubes are soft, stringy and fork tender. It could take anywhere between 15 to 25 minutes. When done, if you find that you have too much water at the bottom, just strain it through a sieve. With a handheld blender or a NutriBullet (which I love!!), process the softened cubes until you obtain a smooth purée. Pour into 1 or 2 glass jars and cover tightly. It will keep for several days in fridge. You can also freeze it directly in the glass jar for up to three months, as long as you leave a 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) free space below the top of the container and you let it thaw in the fridge before using it.

Procedure to make the pumpkin walnut loaf cake

Oven 180°C / 350°F.

Grease and flour one loaf pan (26X8 cm -or- 10X3 inch).

In a big bowl, sift the flour and add the baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt and walnuts. Mix and set aside.

In a medium-size bowl, hand whisk the pumpkin purée with the granulated sugar cane. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Add the cashew cream and whisk until well blended. Add the oil and whisk. Add the apple sauce and whisk until all is well blended.

Pour the wet ingredients into the big bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk until the batter is well blended.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly.

Bake in pre-heated oven on middle rack for a total of 50 to 55 minutes.

Half way through baking time (at 25 minutes or so), with aluminium foil, make a tent that loosely covers the loaf and bake until it reaches the 50-55 minutes total baking time.

Pumpkin walnut loaf cake

Cashew cream
Cashew cream

For the cream (vegan option)

  • 1¼ cups cashew cream
  • 1 to 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • A pinch of pure vanilla powder/extract
  • Some water

If your dates are not very fresh and moist, put them in a small bowl of hot water and let them soak for 3 minutes to soften. Take out, strain water and roughly chop them. Set aside.

On stovetop, heat up the first 4 ingredients in a small pot (put 2 dates if you prefer a sweeter taste or more lemon if you prefer a tangy taste). Bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to low. With wooden spoon, stir and bang the dates until they dissolve and small specks remain. Add some water and/or extra lemon juice so that the cream isn’t overly thick. To make it super smooth, whizz the cream with a handheld blender or a NutriBullet, although this may not be necessary. Transfer cream into a sauce serving pot and pour on top of cake portion.

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

14 thoughts on “Pumpkin walnut loaf cake

  1. Hi Julie,
    The pumpkin recipe sounds delicious but I never heard of spelt flour before. can you substitute all purpose flour instead.
    Keep the soup recipes coming as I do like a change from making just chicken soup. I find soup and tea great comfort things in the winter.

    1. Hi Grandma! Thanks! Yes this pumpkin loaf cake is incredibly delicious and not sweet. Add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter taste, though I’m against encouraging people to add more sugar to their foods! Grandpa would love it. John had a slice (again!!) for breakfast with his coffee this morning. He works non-stop these days, but he smiles a lot! 🙂 Must be all that good baking and our 20-year-old cat Pico that keeps him going! Try and substitute with all purpose flour, but you should be able to get light spelt flour in Canadian supermarkets. Check out Bob’s Red Mill Light Spelt Flour. Here’s the link: https://ch.iherb.com/pr/bob-s-red-mill-light-spelt-flour-22-oz-623-g/35696

    1. Aaahh, thanks! This spicy pumpkin loaf is really nice for breakfast/brunch. In fact I had some this morning with my coffee. I will also make it for Christmas morning!

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