Friday, November 7, 2014

Vegan maple gingerbread layer cake with cheesecake filling and spiced crumb

vegan maple gingerbread layer cake with cheesecake filling and spiced crumb

I have this thing with animals. All of those cuddly and fuzzy creatures, like little dogs and squirrels and ducks and rabbits; it just brings out the squealing little girl in me. And then of course I chase them. It’s really the only logical thing to do. When you see something so perfectly cute and squeezable, you must chase it, and then you must capture it and hug it.

Not that I’ve ever hugged a duck, of course. Once I chased a duck around a pond in my kayak for, oh, about ten minutes, to no avail. But such is life. 

What the fuck, June. Chasing a goddamn duck. source

I remember the time my mother found a tiny rabbit in the backyard. The cutest thing you’d ever seen. Poor baby was shivering, probably terrified out of its mind after being cornered by two looming, squee-ing humans, unaware that all we wanted was to give that little rabbit a hug. A hug, dammit! Is that too much to ask!

Why can't you just let me hold you?? source

Moving to an independent school has very much encouraged my habit of chasing wildlife. Mostly because it often seems like there are more squirrels than humans on the campus. After arriving an hour early the other day, I began to walk across the green only to find it was infested with squirrels—literally dozens of them, all prancing around and munching on nuts and reading comic books and honestly I don’t know what squirrels do, only that they’re impossibly cute. It was faintly ridiculous.

Of course, it’s not so cute when they run across your feet as you walk to class, sleep-deprived and weary from lugging around your twenty-pound backpack all day. In that case—fuck squirrels.

Squirrel says "Fuck you too." source

But squirrels aren’t all that you can find while walking between classes in the grand outdoors. A few weeks ago, I was sitting by one of those giant tree planters when I saw a ridiculously tiny and adorable baby mouse. Obviously the only logical thing to do in that situation was to pick it up and start stroking its soft fur and whispering “hey little mousy wousy aren’t u a QT”— a higher-pitched voice than I ever thought I could have produced. source

As it happens, that reaction is quite similar to what happens when I take my first bite into a brand-spanking-new cake.

vegan maple gingerbread layer cake with cheesecake filling and spiced crumbs
What, you're saying you don't squeal like a pig over cake?

Now, I am aware that this cake is not nearly as cute as a baby mouse, nor is it exactly the neatest cake I’ve ever made. But hear me out.

What we’ve got here is a buttery, fluffy maple cake, stuffed with the same ol’ Momofuku-inspired liquid cheesecake filling, slathered with gingerbread frosting and sprinkled with (again, a la the Milk Bar) molasses- and spice-infused crumb. How did I end up here? The general story is that I, Baby June, was dissatisfied with the complexity of Vegan Desserts’ simple maple-pecan-gingerbread cake and decided to add a couple other components just for the hell of it. That’s actually the general story of a lot of things on this blog, but whatever.

Thing is, it’s goddamn awesome.

Vegan maple gingerbread layer cake with cheesecake filling and spiced crumb
And you can't argue with that.

I am also fully aware that these pictures are pretty much abysmal and may bring to mind images of the dessert apocalypse, vom, etc. And that’s okay. Or, um, it’s not, but in my defense it was 9 o’clock on a school night and I was a wee bit rushed, since I had to get the cake to the school on the morrow.  The lack of natural lighting does horrors to your colors.

Just trust me. It’s way prettier in real life.

Especially since it doesn’t run away when you chase it. Here’s the recipe.


Vegan maple gingerbread layer cake with cheesecake filling and spiced crumb

Makes one large double-layer 8-inch round cake


Maple cake

Adapted from Vegan Desserts


250 grams • all-purpose flour • 2 cups

35 grams • almond meal • ¼ cup

25 grams • granulated sugar • 2 tablespoons

6 grams • baking powder • `1 ½ teaspoons

2 grams • salt • ½ scant teaspoon

28 grams • canola oil • ¼ cup

240 grams • maple syrup • ¾ cup

180 grams • nondairy milk • ¾ cup

60 grams • unsweetened applesauce • ¼ cup

10 grams • apple cider vinegar • 1 ½ teaspoons

4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, almond meal, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a separate, medium-sized bowl. Pour liquid ingredients into dry and fold gently until fully combined, being sure to mix in all excess streaks of flour.

Divide batter evenly between pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden-brown in color and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pans for ten minutes before removing and letting cool completely on a wire rack.


Cheesecake filling

Adapted from this cake


225 grams • nondairy cream cheese • 8 ounces

150 grams • granulated sugar • ¾ cup

12 grams • cornstarch • 2 tablespoons

2 grams • kosher salt • ½ teaspoon

62 grams • nondairy milk • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and mix on low speed for 2 minutes; then add the sugar and mix for another one or two minutes until completely incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cornstarch and salt. Add milk in a slow, steady stream and whisk until homogenous. Slowly drizzle into cream cheese mixture and mix for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheesecake is smooth and loose.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for about 15 minutes. The cheesecake should be firmer and more set around the outer edges of the pan, but the center should still be jiggly. Cool completely before using.


Gingerbread frosting

Adapted from Vegan Desserts


170 grams • nondairy margarine, softened • ¾ cup

270 grams • powdered sugar • 2 ¼ cups

20 grams • dark molasses • 1 tablespoon

4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon

2 grams • cinnamon • 1 teaspoon

2 grams • ground ginger • 1 teaspoon

1 gram • cloves • ¼ teaspoon

1 gram • allspice • ¼ teaspoon

1 gram • nutmeg • ¼ teaspoon

45 grams • nondairy milk • 3 tablespoons


Place margarine in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat until smooth. Slowly spoon in powdered sugar with mixer on low speed and beat until incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and whip on medium-high speed until fluffy and wonderful.


Spiced pie crumb

Adapted from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook


120 grams • all-purpose flour • ¾ cup

9 grams • granulated sugar • 1 tablespoon

1.5 grams • kosher salt • ½ heaping teaspoon

2 grams • ground ginger • 1 teaspoon

2 gram • cinnamon • 1 teaspoon

0.5 grams • cloves • ¼ teaspoon

58 grams • nondairy margarine, melted • ¼ cup

13 grams • molasses • 2 teaspoons


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, salt, and spices. Add melted margarine and molasses and mix on low speed until the mixture starts to cluster together.

Place clusters on baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown but still slightly moist. Let cool completely before using.




1 recipe maple cake

1 recipe cheesecake filling

1 recipe gingerbread frosting

1 recipe spiced pie crumb


Place maple cake on a cutting board or other frosting surface. Cover with cheesecake filling about half of the spiced pie crumb. Top with the other layer of cake. Frost the entire cake and top with remaining pie crumb. Slice, serve, and munch.


vegan maple gingerbread layer cake with cheesecake filling and spiced crumb
See that white tray? My mom bought that last year from the Christmas Tree Shop when I made a Yule Log.

Again—I must impress to you that this cake is not hard. The recipe is long, yes, but each component can be assembled separately and, in the case of the cake, cheesecake filling, and pie crumb, even days in advance. You don’t have to be like me and whip this all up in a single cake-making marathon. That’s only for people who are, you know, hardcore.

Because cake is totes hardcore, obviously.  


  1. Gingerbread layer cake, squirrels and baby mice - yes! This made me smile so much :D And I almost let out a little EEEEP when I saw the mouse, it's sooo adorable :D
    Here in Glasgow there are actually quite a few squirrels too, they don't seem to mind the city life as long as there is a patch of park for them to live on :P I hope the writing is going well, aaand that you have an awesome weekend! I spend my day off in Ikea today, being über Scandinavian in my jumper and reading the books they had on the shelves in the exhibition-flats, I've decided I'm gonna move in there... Makes sense!

    Anyway thanks for such a good recipe and such an amusing read, you're quite the awesome one :D x

    1. Ah that is awesome! I would've thought you would appreciate Ikea :) And I agree, I thought I was going to die holding that impossibly cute <3

  2. Your home-made maple cheesecake cake looks delicious! Found it on the Pretty Pintastic Link Party!

  3. This cake sounds so decadent, but looks very, very delicious! The spiced pie crumb really has me intrigued! I need to give it a try. I'm thrilled you came over and linked up your delicious recipes at the Sunday's Recipe Wrap-up Link Party! :D

  4. I have a new fav0rite bl0g! Thanks f0r sharing!