Our neighbors, and friends, went away a week or so ago. I call them Pal and Am, fondly, but they are really Al and Pam. We have an arrangement with them where we watch each others’ cats when any of us are out of town, but this time Cookie, their older cat, was a little under the weather. I won’t go into details, but I did suggest trying to give her some puréed pumpkin.
I didn’t promise it would work, which is good, because neither of the cats even tasted it. The potassium I was supposed to give Cookie was nasty—if it tasted anything like it smelled, the poor girl was in trouble. Luckily, the poor kitty’s bad day was someone else’s delicious baked treat…
The long and the short of it is that I had a lot of pumpkin purée left over. I found it in the fridge today and decided to make these chocolate-chip pumpkin cupcakes that just happen to be vegan. One of the many reasons that I make vegan cupcakes is because the recipe book I have has recipes for 12 cupcakes. Martha Stewart, listen up. Not everyone needs to make 38 effing cupcakes in a batch. I’m not hosting a bake sale for the local grade school, I’m trying to bake some treats for the weekend. Even 12 seems a bit much when there’s only two of us.
Luckily, our neighbors are always appreciative when I bake. I think, in the past, there have been cupcakes passed to Al without Pam even knowing that the cakes existed, because he ate them so quickly. So I know that Al is always a willing recipient of extra cupcakes…plus, I had the pumpkin leftover from their cat, so it seemed fitting to share.
So I whipped these up today in addition to making the batter and frosting for pink velvets, requested as a birthday present by my lovely niece. I’m still waiting on the verdict of their tastiness from next door, but I’m fairly certain it will be positive. Al’s never sent anything back. I gave them five cupcakes—one for Pam, and four for Al. That’s how it’s gonna go down anyway.
By the way, feel free to use real butter and milk in these if you want. But why not try some vegan cupcakes for once? You might like them!
I did adapt this cupcake recipe, so it’s not quite the same as Isa’s. I think they came out a bit fluffier than when I made them exact to the recipe. Plus, I changed the topping. Isa called for cinnamon icing. Cupcakes need more than “icing”—that’s for coffee cake! Let’s have some real chocolate frosting here. Really.
CHOCOLATE-CHIP PUMPKIN CUPCAKES
1 cup canned, puréed pumpkin
1/3 cup oil
1 Tbs ground flax seed in 3 Tbs water, blended til thick and creamy
3/4 granulated sugar
1/4 cup soy or coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used Whole Foods’ dark chocolate chunks)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, blend together pumpkin, oil, flax seed mixture, sugar, milk and vanilla. I used a stick blender to mix it properly. Sift in the flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and salt. Use a whisk to blend them in, not a mixer. Once the mixture is combined, add the chocolate chips.
Divide the batter between your 12 cupcake liners. Bake for 22 minutes, but I always set the timer for 20 and see how they are before setting an exact time. Cool on a wire rack and let fully cool before frosting.
CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
2 sticks of Earth Balance butter
6 oz of 70% chocolate
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 Tbs coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, and let cool. Cream together with the butter until well mixed.
Add the powdered sugar in 1 cup increments and beat well, adding a little splash of milk after each addition.
When all ingredients have been combined well, add the vanilla and beat until light and fluffy—about 3 minutes with a mixer.