Filled Pumpkin Spice Muffins

pumpkin spice muffinsNothing says fall like pumpkin spice, and what better way to feature it than in a warm muffin. The muffin recipe I found is extra special – it has a filling and a topping. The recipe is also part of the #Bakealong Challenge by King Arthur Flour. With it’s creamy cream cheese filling and it’s crunchy streusel topping, I was sold. Besides, I love a challenge.

To adapt the recipe to high altitude I had to modify a few things. I added some flour and reduced the baking powder. I also cut the topping in half – you don’t want to weigh down a muffin at altitude. Next I reduced the temperature and baked them a few minutes longer. For the vegan changes I used yogurt instead of eggs, chose vegan versions of butter and cream cheese, and made the milk a non-dairy version. I wanted to make the muffins on the healthier side (healthy-ish?) so I used a combination of all-purpose flour and whole wheat. Now, on to the muffins …

Filled Pumpkin Spice Muffins adapted from King Arthur Flour
1/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/8 cup organic brown sugar, packed
1/8 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats (not instant)
dash salt
2 TBS vegan margarine, at room temperature
1 (8-oz) tub vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup organic sugar
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt
1/2 cup organic brown sugar, packed
3 TBS vegetable oil
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice; or 1 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground cloves + 1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup + 1TBS Whole Wheat Flour
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers. To make the streusel: Whisk together flour, sugar, oats, and salt. Work in margarine, mixing until coarse crumbs form. To make the filling: Place cream cheese in a bowl and stir in sugar. To make the batter: Whisk together pumpkin, yogurt, brown sugar, oil, agave, and milk. Then whisk in salt, spices, baking powder, and baking soda. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Add flour and mix until well combined.
Drop a scant 2 TBS of batter into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom. Dollop on a heaping TBS of filling (I had some leftover), then cover with another 2 TBS of batter. Sprinkle each muffin with streusel topping. Bake for 25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted towards the edge comes out crumb-free. Remove muffins from oven. When they’re cool enough to handle, transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy within 2 to 3 hours; refrigerate up to 3 days for longer storage. Freeze, well-wrapped, up to 3 weeks.

Until next time, happy baking!

Cream-Filled Chocolate Mini Cakes

cream-filled mini cakesIt’s good to be back in the kitchen. I recently moved house, but the kitchen is unpacked and I am ready to bake. To start things off with a bang, I am making cream-filled cakes. Besides, I have a specialty pan whose design is for such cakes and it needs breaking in.

In online searches I found several recipes for homemade ‘Ding Dongs.’ I borrowed ideas from different ones and put together my decadent beauties. I chose a vegan recipe that included Black cocoa powder. It gives Ding Dongs and Oreos their signature flavor – you’ll know when you smell it. Altering for high altitude was basic – more flour, less baking powder. On a hunch I used less maple syrup so that I would get light cakes that wouldn’t get weighted down by the filling and altitude, and the hunch paid off.

The filling is a cashew cream that has a step done in advance, so start there. The recipe may seem like a lot of work but the cakes are worth it. I inhaled my first one. I am now savoring my second.

Cream-Filled Mini Cakes adapted from The Post Punk Kitchen and Chocolate Covered Katie
For the Cashew Cream Filling:
1 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup water
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 TBS organic powdered sugar
dash salt
For the Cupcakes:
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 cup + 2 TBS all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 TBS black cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
3 TBS pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegan sugar
For the Chocolate Coating:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp coconut oil
Prepare the filling:
In a bowl, cover cashews with water and let sit for 4-8 hours. Drain completely, then combine drained cashews with 1/3 cup fresh water and blend in a high-speed blender until very smooth. Add vanilla, powdered sugar and salt and blend again. Chill in fridge. You will have leftovers you can add to smoothies or atop other baked goods.
Prepare the cupcakes:
Whisk vinegar into milk and set aside for 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 325F with rack in middle of oven. Lightly coat Fat Daddio’s Choco Creme Snack Cake Pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients, including milk mixture and sugar, and beat on medium with an electric mixer. Add dry ingredients to wet in two batches, mixing as you go. Beat for a minute more. Use a scoop to fill the pan cavities 2/3 full. Bake for 17-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pan.
Prepare the coating:
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. When melted, stir in coconut oil.
Assemble the cupcakes:
You will need a cake decorating bag fitted with a large circle shaped tip. Fill bag with chilled filling. Poke a hole in the center of each cake with the tip making sure you don’t go all the way to the bottom. Squeeze bag to fill the center, slowly lifting bag until icing fills to the top. Wipe excess icing off the top of the cake. Place cakes on a rack with waxed paper underneath. Pour coating over each cake using a spoon to either remove excess chocolate or fill in uncoated gaps on the sides. As an alternate, you can dip just the top of each cake into the coating. Put cakes in the fridge to set the coating, about 10 minutes.

Until next time, happy baking!