A Fall Pumpkin Treat and a Bake Sale for SARA Animal Sanctuary

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Who doesn’t love the fall? The leaves begin to turn deep orange and red colors. Sweaters make their way out of the bottom drawer and onto our shoulders to keep us warm during  nippy evening strolls with our dogs (also wearing sweaters) through Central Park — wait — this is not the New York of When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail. This is Austin, and our Zilker Park is still recovering from the throngs of people treading all over it for the Austin City Limits music festival. Yes, this is Austin, where pretty falls days are scattered between “unseasonably” warm days. What do we do in Austin to remind ourselves (and our dogs) that it is indeed Fall? We go to vegan bake sales, buy pumpkin-laced goods, and raise money for SARA Animal Sanctuary in Seguin!

Austin blogger Lazy Smurf recently reported that SARA Animal Sanctuary has fallen on hard times and particularly needs help paying their electric bill. Ms. Smurf has organized a vegan bake sale to benefit SARA Animal Sanctuary this Sunday October 21 at Counter Culture. If you can not attend the actual sale on Sunday then you can still sign up to donate baked goods and make plans with Ms. Smurf for a Friday or Saturday drop off. Alternatively, you can simply make a direct donation to SARA Animal Sanctuary. However you decide to help, please join the facebook event and invite all of your friends. Volunteers from the sanctuary will be present to answer questions, and Counter Culture will feature live music from Ken Atkins and the Honky Tonk Kind to entertain you during their popular weekend brunch. All in all, Lazy Smurf and Counter Culture have put together a pretty neat event for an awesome cause. And just to remind myself that is indeed fall, I plan to contribute something made with delicious pumpkin.

Obviously, I have been in a pumpkin mood tonight, so I took action and made the tempting cake you see pictured at the top of the page. To read about my experience making a vegan version of the pumpkin poke cake from the Something Swanky blog, click through to the next page.

Ashton from Something Swanky has created a clever little recipe she calls “Pumpkin Better Than…Cake.” To make a vegan version of Ashton’s cake, all you have to do is make sure you buy vegan versions of her ingredients. However, you will need to make your own sweetened condensed milk. If you follow SunnyB’s recipe from the And Love It Too blog then you should be in good shape.

My Vegan Ingredients List:

1 box of Dr. Oetker Vanilla Cake mix (You could also use Cherrybrook Kitchen, Simply Organic, or Wholesome Chow if you wanted to do a gluten-free version.)

1 14.5 oz can of pumpkin (I used Farmer’s Market Organic brand — they have BPA-free can liners.)

1 box of MimicCreme Healthy Top vegan whipping cream (You could also use one of the Soyatoo! products or make your own from scratch.)

I replaced the sweetened condensed milk, Heath Bits, and caramel sundae sauce from the original recipe with:

2 cans of Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk cooked with 1/2 a cup of agave nectar (I used amber agave for a richer flavor.)

1 chopped up Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt Dark Chocolate bar (You could get crazy and throw in a Chick-O-Stick to further imitate Heath Bits.)

1–2 spoonfuls of Lundberg Brown Rice Syrup (If you wanted to go more decadent then I know you can find a good recipe for vegan caramel sauce on the web.)

This cake is fantastically simple to make. All you do is combine the cake mix and the pumpkin; bake according to package directions; poke holes in the cake; pour home-made sweetened condensed coconut milk on top; chill it; spread the whip, candy, and syrup on top; and then chill it some more. Ashton has other tips and tricks that she would like you to know, so do look at her recipe instructions.

My spoon made bigger holes than I anticipated.

SunnyB’s recipe for Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk is really great. However, I did wind up bringing the heat to a boil and then reducing the heat to medium in order to effectively cook the sauce down. She instructs you to bring the heat to medium and then reduce it to low. Maybe my electric range is to blame?

My husband LOVES this cake. In fact, he claims it is the best cake he has ever eaten! Making a vegan version of this cake is just a teensy bit less convenient since you have to make the sweetened condensed milk and maybe the whip yourself. If you complete those tasks the day before then it really is a snap to assemble. This cake has definitely awakened my desire for all things pumpkin. Thanks to Ashton from Something Swanky and SunnyB from And Love It Too for writing some great recipes.

I think we will find plenty more pumpkin treats at the bake sale for SARA Animal Sanctuary this Sunday. Will I see you all there? I think I’ll make some pumpkin cookies, because this cake will be long gone by Sunday! What are you making for the bake sale?

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