about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily



    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

Pumpkin Spice Cake W/ (Vegan) Cream Cheese Frosting.

In the weeks that led up to Cullen’s birthday, I had cake ideas floating around my brain all day long.  I originally planned to do three different flavors, since I knew I was baking three separate cakes.  I even baked a few test runs of apple spice cake (delicious!).  But as the date got closer, the reality of cooking all the lunch food, plus three separate cakes set in, and I decided to simplify by picking my favorite flavor.  There was no question as to which one was best.

Pumpkin Spice Cake with (Vegan) Cream Cheese Frosting by Daily Garnish

Frosting presented it’s own set of challenges, from vegan-izing to coloring – we went through a LOT of powdered sugar this month.  In the end, I’m glad I stuck with it.  The only thing that really mattered to me was that I had a homemade cake for Cullen.  It was carved by hand and the icing was full of crumbs, but it was baked with love and enjoyed with friends and family.  What more can you ask for?

Pumpkin Spice Cake with (Vegan) Cream Cheese Frosting

by Emily Malone

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

    For the Cake
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup maple sugar (or sub regular cane sugar)
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup Earth Balance or butter
    • 2 eggs (whole)
    • 1 cup canned pumpkin
    For the Cream Cheese
    • 1/4 cup Earth Balance or butter
    • 1 tub (8oz) vegan cream cheese (I used Follow Your Heart brand)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 pound powdered sugar
    • food coloring (optional)


    For the Cake

    Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients (including sugar).  In a stand mixer (or you can also use a mixing bowl and hand mixer), combine coconut oil and butter and beat until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and eggs and continue to mix until smooth. The coconut oil might look a little lumpy since it hardens when cooled, and that’s okay – it will melt evenly during baking.

    With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet, and beat until just combined.  Grease an 8×8 square pan (an 8 or 9 inch round pan should also work), and pour batter in – use a spatula to spread evenly to the sides and smooth the top.

    Bake for 25-30 minutes (I found 28 to be the sweet spot in my oven!), or until the top is golden brown and starting to crack.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

    For the Frosting

    Clean and dry your stand mixer bowl while your cake is baking. Then add the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla and beat until fluffy.  Some of the vegan cream cheeses are a bit funky – I prefer this Follow Your Heart brand.  The ingredient list doesn’t scare me, and I find it to be the most realistic in taste.

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    Sloooooowly add the powdered sugar a bit at a time. If you add it too fast, the dust will go everywhere! Add the entire 1 pound bag – it seems like a ton (and it is), but it’s needed for the frosting to stiffen. Add food coloring if needed, and then transfer the entire batch to a refrigerator-safe container. Chill for at least 6 hours before using – you want the icing to be firm.

    My original plan was to use natural food colorings, which I sought out and paid a pretty penny for at our local health food store. 

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    I did a test run a few weeks prior, and the natural food colorings were a disaster.  No matter what I tried, everything came out looking like the color of a band-aid.  Not very appetizing. 

    I was hoping for really bright, bold colors to match Cullen’s birthday shirt, and ended up scoring these color gels by Duff Goldman at Michael’s.  Not quite as “natural” as I had hoped, but the colors were perfect, so I went with it. 

    Pumpkin Spice Cake with (Vegan) Cream Cheese Frosting by Daily Garnish

    Okay back to the directions…

    When you frost the cake, frost immediately after taking the icing out of the refrigerator. Once frosted, place the cake back in the fridge or another cool spot (I put mine in a cake stand on the back patio!), and allow the icing to set for 15-30 minutes.

    Once the icing has set, you can bring the cake back into room temperature. Mine sat out the whole day afterward and were delicious!

    Pumpkin Spice Cake with (Vegan) Cream Cheese Frosting by Daily Garnish

    Decorate, slice, and serve!

    Pumpkin Spice Cake with (Vegan) Cream Cheese Frosting by Daily Garnish

    In all my cake baking, I wish I had thought to photograph a piece that is actually sliced.  It was absolutely delicious.  To make Cullen’s cakes, I just baked all three in square pans and then carved the letters out by hand once they had cooled.  Frosting was messy and tricky, but I don’ think Cullen noticed. 

    Pumpkin Spice Cake with (Vegan) Cream Cheese Frosting by Daily Garnish

    The inside is moist and fluffy with just a light sweetness – a perfect balance to the sweet frosting.  I think this would be great for a Halloween party, or even as a Thanksgiving dessert if you’re looking for alternatives (or additions to!) pumpkin pie.  Or if you have a fall baby like me, spice up a traditional birthday cake!

    Pumpkin Spice Cake with (Vegan) Cream Cheese Frosting by Daily Garnish

    All of our cakes disappeared by the next morning, which is always a good sign of a successful treat.  As always, enjoy!

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    Homeward Bound.

    I am writing this as I’m headed home – currently somewhere over the Rockies – but there’s still a bit more to share from our trip.  Thanks for indulging me with these trip recaps and photo bombs.  Believe it or not, I have many many more photos I’m not including – I can’t help myself!  Journaling our travels is something I love to do, and they are always some of my favorite posts look back on years later.   

    Casey’s conference started Monday morning, so Cullen and I have been going it solo for the rest of our trip.  One of my good friends here took Monday off from work so we could hang out, so we spent the day lunching and walking around Old Town together!


    The Old Town streets are pretty narrow, and the shops are all tiny and congested – adorable, but not very stroller-friendly.  So we went back to babywearing this week, and we have both loved it!  At home, I do most of our walking with the stroller these days, but even at almost a year old, Cullen has been loving the Ergo these past few days. 


    He was so cozy that he even took a few afternoon naps passed out on my chest.  If he happened to fall asleep while we were out, I would just walk up and down the neighborhood while he continued to snooze.  Good exercise for me, and good rest for him!


    I had planned to take Cullen out on a mommy-son dinner date, but after walking 6 miles through Old Town with an extra 21 pounds strapped to my chest, I was WIPED by the time I got back to the hotel.  I ended up sharing grapes, hummus, and pitas with Cullen. 

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    Followed by this delicious chocolate graham cracker bar after he went to bed.  I didn’t feel like sharing.

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    Tuesday was another active day out!  After breakfast and Cullen’s morning nap at the hotel, we ventured out to meet up with Lisa and Caroline again. 

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    The four of us headed to the new Teaism in Old Town.  I had been to Teaism up in DC when we lived here, and I was so excited to hear one had opened down here.  I imagine we would have done some serious damage here had it been open when we lived here.

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    I ordered a side of sweet potatoes with miso sauce for Cullen.  He loved it and ate the entire bowl.  I snuck a few bites too – absolutely delicious.  I’m going to remake this very soon!

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    I saw bubble tea on the menu and ordered it immediately.  For some reason it didn’t even occur to me while I was drinking it, but I’m fairly certain this was made with milk (duh – it looks pretty milky).  I haven’t had significant amounts of dairy in a while now, so this explains why my stomach felt so off last night.  It was absolutely delicious though – worth it.

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    For lunch, I ordered the tempeh burger.  I’m actually not usually a huge fan of tempeh, but the menu description sounded good enough to make me want to give it a shot.  I’m so glad I did!  This was one of the best “burgers” I’ve had to date. 

    It was also GIGANTIC.  I have a monster appetite, and even I couldn’t eat all this food.  There were two thick slabs of deliciously marinated tempeh, with a giant portabella mushroom sandwiched in between.  I ditched the top piece of bread since this was so big – it didn’t need it!

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    The food was outstanding, and I’m already wishing I could have it again.  My only complaint was lack of high chairs.  I made it work by letting Cullen sit on my lap, and did my best to dodge his swipes at my plate.

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    Both babies were really well behaved at lunch, but I knew they were itching to stretch their legs and play.  We packed them up and walked down to one of my favorite Old Town waterfront spots to let them run around.

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    When I was newly pregnant, I used to walk the dogs past this park and playground several times each day.  I tried to look into our future, and picture myself playing with our baby there, meeting mom friends, and chasing him around the grass.  It took a little longer than I thought it would, but we made it back there eventually.

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    As the one year mark approaches, I have to finally give in and admit that my child desperately needs a haircut.  We have reached the point of full blown mullet.  It’s ridiculous.  I am holding onto his baby hair for a few more days!

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    He and Caroline were too funny together.  I mentioned it before, but it was hilarious to watch Cullen get totally whooped by a little girl.  Chasing down her target…

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    Distracting with conversation and a pretty smile…

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    Making her move…

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    Despite her tackles, they had a lot of fun together, and Lisa and I had a blast snapping pictures and watching them play.  We finished up at the park and walked along the waterfront for a bit.

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    When we lived here, we had almost no outdoor space – just a small patio.  So I walked our dogs several times a day, and almost always walked them over here.  It actually felt kind of weird to be back in Old Town without them!  They loved this path.

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    But our newest family member was here having fun and seeing all mom’s favorite places.

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    The trip would not be complete without a stroll past my old place.  Looks exactly the same – they even have a flag up!  There was also a chewed up dog bone on the front porch.  Sniff.  I loved this row house so much.

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    Cullen fell asleep in the Ergo while we walked, so I said goodbye to Lisa and Caroline and headed toward home.  Halfway there, Casey called to say he was done a bit early and headed our way.  Since Cullen was already napping, I figured I’d just stay out and keep walking up and down the streets.

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    Casey and I ended up walking a few more miles together.  His conference schedule was really busy, so I was thrilled to get a few unexpected hours together outside of the hotel room.  We walked along King Street and ran into Ashley!  She has been such a great friend to me for several years, and I’m so happy we’ve stayed close despite our physical distance. 

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    We looped around to the waterfront and back.  This place is just so beautiful.

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    By the time I finally got back to the hotel room, my legs were aching.  After feeding Cullen and getting him to bed, I mapped out the day’s walking route out of curiosity.  Over the course the afternoon, I ended up walking almost NINE miles, and over half with Cullen strapped to the front of me.  No wonder my feet are so tired!

    I ate a huge box of grain salads, veggies, and tofu from the Whole Foods hot bar and then crashed on the couch to watch the debates and wait for Casey. 

    Now I’m headed home, and probably landing soon.  We survived the first four-hour leg to Salt Lake City, and now we’re on the shorter leg toward Seattle.  Casey and I ended up being separated for this flight, and he wins husband of the year award for strapping Cullen into the Ergo and taking him to his seat.  The plane is silent, so I hope they are both getting some sleep!  It actually feels really strange to be flying without a baby.  Although I do have one directly behind me, and another across the aisle – too funny.

    See you back on the West Coast! 

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