These pumpkin cupcakes are perfect for a creepy halloween dessert. They are even well suited for Thanksgiving – without "bugs" for a true-to-the-tradition pumpkin dessert or with bugs for a pilgrim-with-old-flour experience.
Now, these cupcakes are not mean. My parents used to tell us kids that when you make fun, it's supposed to be fun for both parties – and that ALSO counts for Halloween. So, the "bugs" are not real (I heard you sigh).
Yet, the concept is very realistic – at least for me. In the Philippines, where I live currently, the climate is ideal for growing bugs in the flour . . . and rice . . . and pasta. My first experience with a bug in the flour was when I cut open a roll – and discovered a mean little black bug planted smack on the cut surface – yuck! (Just wonder how many bugs we ate before we discovered that one.) Then we learned to sift the flour – and hope for no extra protein in the bread for the future!
So when you bite into the adorable and innocent cupcakes and discover a few scattered black THINGS (grrr), the association is not so far away. If you're having problems, a cute little "Beware of Bugs" sign should make it clear. This is not the place where you expect seeds like in lemon-poppyseed bread – no, not in pumpkin cupcakes. Yet, the "bugs" are nothing more than a few scattered black sesame seeds or flaxseeds (I hear you laugh in relief) – but you will not tell your guests THAT. Let them figure that out. . . .
The trick is just that the seeds are few and randomly scattered – not something that seems to be added on purpose or belong in these cupcakes – and not something you will discover too easily! Imagine Mr. A happily gobbling down his cupcake, only to hear Mr. B tell him he found three bugs in his cupcake – AFTER Mr. A finished his!
Have some fun – or omit the "bugs" (aka seeds) for a truly innocent and cute fall dessert.
Step 1: Gather the Ingredients
For the Cupcakes:
1/2 c. cooked, mashed pumpkin, sweet potato, or carrot (100 g.)
3/4 c. sugar (90 g.)
1/4 c. oil (50 g.)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. turmeric, for color, optional
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. orange zest powder
1/2 tsp. black sesame seeds or flaxseeds, "bugs"
3/4 c. cake flour (80 g.)
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
For the Frosting:
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. buttery spread, margarine, or butter
about 1/2 Tbsp. vegan milk or dairy milk
NOTE: The recipe will be more precise if you weigh instead of measure the ingredients.
NOTE 2: This recipe is suitable for vegans.
Step 2: Make the Batter
Whisk together pumpkin, sugar, and oil in one bowl.
Add salt, turmeric, cinnamon, orange zest, and seeds and whisk till the sugar has been fully dissolved.
Sift together flour, corn starch, and baking powder in another bowl. Add half of flour the mixture to the batter and whisk till smooth. Add remaining flour and mix only till smooth.
Step 3: Bake the Cupcakes
Immediately spoon the batter into four large cupcake liners and bake at 400° F for 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. OR. Spoon into six medium cupcake liners and bake at 400° F for 20 min.
I made the cupcake liners/molds myself with aluminum foil folded double and shaped over the bottom of a 1/2 c. (1 dl.) measuring cup, which resulted in four large cupcake liners.
Step 4: Make the Frosting
Mix powdered sugar, cocoa, and buttery spread with a fork. Add milk a little at a time, stirring until the frosting has a soft, spreadable consistency. Refrigerate until using.
Step 5: Serve the Cupcakes!
Let the cupcakes cool fully before frosting them. I made a "Beware of Bugs" sign from brown paper taped onto a toothpick to make the association clear.
Serve and have fun! These cupcakes can be stored covered in the refrigerator for one day.
For more recipes like this, visit www.creativevegancooking.com