Delicately spiced with a tender crumb these little cakes are perfectly fine to eat by them selves, un-iced if you are strictly dairy-free. Or if you are in for a real tooth achingly sweet treat, go for the full shebang. Cream cheese icing, smooth caramel sauce and crunchy sweet toasted pumpkin seeds. —Emma Galloway | My Darling Lemon Thyme
To make the caramel sauce; place the sugar, water and lemon juice into a heavy-based pan. Bring slowly to the boil over medium heat. Do not stir, simply swirl the syrup around a few times until the sugar has dissolved. Boil until the syrup turns a light golden amber colour, remove from the heat and at arms length pour in the cream (it may splatter so take care) and vanilla. Swirl to fully incorporate. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool.
To make the cakes; Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease either 1x12 hole friand tin (you will have to cook the mix in two batches) or 2x 12 hole friand tins if you have them. Sift all the flours, baking soda and spices into a large bowl. Using a whisk, give it all a good few mixes to fully combine the flours (important for gluten-free baking). In another smaller bowl, whisk the sugar and oil until blended. Beat eggs in, one at a time, until the mixture goes all lovely, thick and glossy. Combine the pumpkin puree and the cold water and stir into the egg mixture. Pour into the dry ingredients, and mix to fully combine. Spoon mixture into friand tins (like I said before, you will have to bake in two batches if you just have one 12-hole tin), and bake for 15-20 minutes or until risen, golden and cooked through when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool in tins 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the toasted pumpkin seeds; place seeds into a small bowl, add just enough of the egg white to coat lightly. Toss with the sugar, spread out onto a lined tray in a single layer. Bake at 180 C/350 F for 5 minutes, remove and mix, cook for a further minute or until golden and crispy. Set aside to cool.
To make the cream cheese icing; beat the cream cheese and softened butter together until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar, zest and juice and continue to beat until fully incorporated.
To assemble cakes; once cakes are cool, ice with cream cheese icing, drizzle over a little caramel sauce and sprinkle on some toasted pumpkin seeds.
* To make the pumpkin puree; roast chunks of peeled and seeded pumpkin (you will need approx 1/4 large crown pumpkin for this recipe) with a touch of vegetable oil at 190 C/375 F until cooked through. Puree with a stick blender until smooth. You can pass the mixture through a sieve using a metal spoon if you want a really smooth puree. Cool before using. This stage can be done 1-2 days before you need it, if you want to cut down on cooking times. Pumpkin puree can also be frozen and defrosted when needed.