Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Espresso Cream Cheese Frosting

pumpkin spice cupcakes with espresso cream cheese frosting
pumpkin spice cupcakes with espresso frosting

With Thanksgiving only a few days away, ovens are being heated up across the United States. Cooks and bakers are frantically creating dishes that can be made ahead so the Big Meal is a little less stressful. But they’ll need breakfast (or a snack) that day too, and this tasty treat should still echo the flavors of the holiday. Iconic Pumpkin Spice can make an appearance long before the feast is at its end in the form of a pick-me-up cupcake for a harried chef to nibble on.

To come up with a snack or breakfast item that contains fall flavors, I modified a cake recipe to become a cupcake recipe. For high altitude I adjusted the amounts of baking soda and flour. To make the baked good more suitable for breakfast, its nutrition was elevated by using a combination of whole wheat and all purpose flour. I also topped it with a frosting rich in espresso flavor for a caffeinated morning boost. You may think a cupcake is too decadent for breakfast, but I see it as a reward for getting up so early to prepare the festive meal.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Espresso Cream Cheese Frosting adapted from Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake and Banana Cake with Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

for the cupcakes
1.5 cups non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1.75 cups + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1.75 cups vegan granulated sugar
1.5 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the frosting
1/2 cup (112 grams) vegan butter (not margarine), slightly softened
8 ounces vegan cream cheese (the firmest you can find)
2.5 to 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1.5 to 2 tablespoons espresso powder (depending on how strong you want the flavor)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Fill 21 cups of two muffin tins with paper liners. Combine the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the curdled milk, pumpkin puree, oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until combined.

Use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter into the 21 cups, filling them 2/3 full. Bake for 27-29 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Set the muffin tins on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. After that, tip the cupcakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle blade. Beat on low to medium speed until softened. Add the cream cheese and continue beating at low to medium speed until blended.

In a small bowl, add the espresso powder and 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir to combine. Add this liquid to the bowl of the stand mixer and briefly beat to combine. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating on low to medium speed until fully blended. Use all 3 cups if the frosting is too soft to pipe onto the cupcakes.

When the frosting is blended and fluffy, spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and frost the cooled cupcakes. Cover and store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 5 days so you have them for Thanksgiving.

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving and happy baking!

Cranberry-Studded Pumpkin Breads with Streusel

cranberry pumpkin breads with streusel
Cranberry-Studded Pumpkin Breads with Streusel

‘Tis the season for pumpkin and pumpkin spice. But, to be honest, I’m only a fan of pumpkin spice when it’s in pumpkin bread. To get on board with the seasonal flavor, I had to make pumpkin bread soon. In order to make things more interesting, I added dried cranberries inside the bread and streusel on top. Now that’s a bread combination that would make anyone a fan.

The pumpkin bread recipe is an adaptation of a vegan cake recipe I found. To make it high altitude friendly, I reduced the baking powder and oil, and split it into smaller loaves, all of which created beautifully domed breads. The added sweet streusel topping and tart cranberries played nicely off of each other, but didn’t overpower the pumpkin and spice flavors. These tasty mini breads would look great on any fall holiday table.

Cranberry-Studded Pumpkin Breads with Streusel adapted from Pumpkin Spice Cake

Topping
2 1/2 TBS vegan butter (such as Flora Plant Butter)
1/2 cup vegan sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 cup sweetened roasted almonds, chopped (such as Monk Crunch Cinnamon)
Mini Breads
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp powdered ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 TBS vegetable oil
1 cup pumkin purée
1/2 cup + 1 tsp almond milk
1 cup dried diced cranberries (such as Patience Fruit & Company’s with no added sugar)

Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly spray 3 mini loaf pans with cooking spray. To prepare the topping, melt the butter in a pan over low heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, flour, cinnamon, and almonds. Stir in the melted butter, making sure to leave some streusel clumps. Set the topping aside while you prepare the bread batter.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Whisk in brown sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together vanilla, oil, pumpkin purée, and almond milk. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until evenly moistened. Mix in the dried cranberries. Transfer the batter to prepared pans and spread the topping over all loaves.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack. Tip out of loaf pans, trying not to lose the topping. To store leftovers, cool completely and wrap well. Will keep at room temperature for several days, or in the freezer for longer storage.

Until next time, happy baking!

Choosing the almond flavor for the streusel
Choosing an almond flavor for the streusel

Molasses Spice Pumpkin Bread

molasses spice pumpkin bread

molasses spice pumpkin bread

This time of year we are inundated with so many things flavored with pumpkin spice. It can be a bit much, but when I saw a pumpkin bread recipe with loads of flavor, including the ubiquitous spice blend, I knew I wanted to try it. The depth of the molasses flavor is brightened by the powdered spices and makes a delicious quick bread. This post is just in time for American Thanksgiving so you can share these mini loaves with friends.

This recipe was already vegan so I didn’t have to make ingredient swaps. For altitude I added flour and non-dairy milk while reducing baking powder. The molasses flavor was a tad overwhelming so I reduced it and added more granulated sugar. The mini size is perfect for high altitude – the loaves won’t be quite as tall as sea level bread but they will look great, especially with the topping layer.

Molasses Spice Pumpkin Bread adapted from Silk’s blog
1 1/4 cups + 1 TBS all purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 TBS pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup + 1 TBS organic sugar
1/4 cup organic light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup + 1 tsp Almondmilk
1.5 TBS molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
Topping
2.5 TBS organic sugar
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400F. Grease and flour three 5″x3″x2″ mini loaf pans. In a large bowl, add flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt, whisking together to combine. In another large bowl, add sugars, pumpkin puree, oil, milk, molasses, and vanilla, whisking until combined. Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. Evenly distribute batter between prepared pans, filling each about 2/3 full.
Make topping by combining sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Evenly sprinkle over each pan and swirl with a knife. Place pans on a baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until tops are set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow bread to cool in pans for 15 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Bread will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Until next time, happy baking!

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
STREUSEL TOPPING
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
FILLING
1 (8-oz) tub vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup organic sugar
MUFFINS
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!