Makes one 8-inch round cake layer, and about 1 1/2 cups of frosting.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Cut a piece of parchment paper in a circle to fit exactly into the bottom of a 8" round cake pan. You do not need to line the sides -- the cake will pull away as it bakes.
While your dates are soaking, place the water and the ground flax in a small bowl and whisk. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Place the non-dairy milk and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk. Set aside for now.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Drain the dates (discard the soaking water) and place them in your blender. Stir the water/flax mixture then add it to the blender, along with the non-dairy milk/vinegar mixture, pumpkin, maple syrup and vanilla. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients that you set aside earlier, and whisk until blended. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and smooth the top with a spoon so it's level.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean and the sides have pulled away from the edges of the pan.
Cool completely then frost with room temperature frosting (recipe below).
Note: To easily remove the cake from the pan, slide a butter knife around the edge of the cake where it touches the sides of the pan. Place a plate upside down on top then flip it over. The cake should transfer easily to the plate, then you can carefully pull off the parchment paper.
Place the cashews and dates in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes over low heat. Drain and discard the water, then place the cashews and dates into your food processor.
Add the cocoa powder, coconut milk, maple syrup, coconut sugar, almond butter and vanilla extract. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
Frost your cooled cake while the frosting is at room temperature. (If you store the frosting in the fridge, it will thicken. Set it on your kitchen counter to return it to room temperature before using.)
Store the frosted cake in your fridge, loosely covered.
Depending on how thick you spread your frosting, you may have some left over. It’s delicious on toast or apple slices!