Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

I'm almost fairly certain that you saw this recipe, saw the word pumpkin, and thought "Enough is enough. Thanksgiving is over.  Fall is done.  Pumpkin season is, too.  Let's move on to gingerbread."

I fully support your thoughts on that.  But here in Phoenix, things like weather and seasonal flavors have a mind of their own. The day after Thanksgiving I drove home from K's to find that the tree across the street from my house had just exploded with gorgeous yellow leaves.  Trees do that here, they just sort of decide when they feel like being dressed in reds and yellows, or when they want to bring forth their own green (as a freshman in college, I found this to be the most curious and confounding thing. I still do). So I spent several minutes jumping and crunching in the leaves in the gutter, and then decided that I wanted to make one last pumpkin flavored item.

yes, I am still wearing my fall pants. no judgement.

I wanted to feel the joy that comes from eating something pumpkin when it is actually fall out and also to use up the last of my homemade pumpkin spice and puree that I really don't want to have sitting in my pantry all year reminding me of the season I always miss out on.

Serendipitously, our mother recently sent us all a text proclaiming the goodness of this recipe, the lack of fat, and finally the details of how to accomplish it.  If you'll recall from earlier guest posts by our Mum,  she's quite busy but eager to share with her daughters any new discoveries she makes in the kitchen.  As the first of the family to make the recipe, I'll allow her to share it with you in a similar fashion to her typical guest post/recipe sharing: via an enthusiastic text message.

Later notes from Mum: she made them with walnuts in the batter and cinnamon and nutmeg in the frosting and they were "stupendous". 

A few things:

1) Mum calls them muffins.  You could totally call them muffins, too, if you went without the generous slathering of cream cheese frosting that I went for.

go ahead, lick the spoon. you know you want to.

Or you could go for the cream cheese frosting, add a little maple syrup to really outdo the fall flavor, and garnish the top with your leftover pumpkin spice.  But just be real and call them cupcakes, eh?

2)  I took Mum's advice and added a handful of pecans.  I could pretend that I am totally the sort of pinterest-esque cook that ran outside to my pecan tree (I really have one of those, it's lovely) and cracked them fresh and tossed them in.  But instead I'll level with you and admit that cracking pecans is actually quite difficult, and today, I just wanted simple and easy (which these cupcakes totally fulfilled).  I'll level with you, and then we can all go back to pretending I'm that type of cook when I pin this in a few minutes.

tree-picked pecans not used in the making of this recipe

3) I called them vegan because you remove the eggs and replace with pumpkin, but for it to be truly vegan one would need to check the box mix before baking and not add the cream cheese frosting (clearly).  These could easily be gluten-free, also, if one found a gluten-free box mix instead.

There.  I'll eat this under my pecan tree and then go put up the Christmas stockings I bought for my roommates and make some gingerbread or something. Promise.  Holiday season, here we come.

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