Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkiny vegan cupcake goodness (Gluten free too!!)

Alexander had a Halloween party for the first grade classes at his school this year. Since we were potentially inviting 60-ish children I decided on a potluck. My fear was that we would end up with 60 desserts, so I asked the other parents to please bring healthy snacks, and I would provide the dessert.
I wracked my brain for something all the kids would like, that I could whip out 60 of without too much work. The answer, Cupcakes of course! I decided on pumpkin cupcakes because they seemed festive, and work well with or without frosting, and I made them all vegan so I didn't have too much stress about having multiple sections of cupcakes; with dairy, with gluten, without eggs, etc. I made half gluten free and half with traditional organic flour. Surprisingly for me, I enjoyed the gluten free ones more than the traditional, although both were really delicious.
As an activity at the party I left the cupcakes undecorated and let the children decorate them with candy corn, gummi worms, colored icing, and sprinkles, they had a great time doing this, and really enjoyed the cupcakes.
We also played a couple Halloween games, we had a three team race to create toilet paper mummies, we built a giant spider web from yarn, and I had a few tables set up for children to make clothes pin bat or spider decorations to take home.
Everyone who attended seemed to have a really good time, and I was happy to have a chance to meet parents and children that I haven't gotten a chance to interact much with. Our school combined 3 kindergartens into 2 first grade classes this year, so I am still learning who everyone is, and missing the families who ended up in the other first grade class. I am hoping to keep up the effort to keep the two classes mingling over the years to come.
Alexander loved having so many children playing here in his home, and helping to plan the details of the party; we're thinking this may be an annual tradition. :)

Here is the recipe for the Vegan Cupcakes, and I found this fantastic product that made converting the recipe to Gluten free absolutely simple;
It was so easy, and I didn't have to mix 7 different kinds of flour ahead of time. Another parent in the class said there is another brand at Whole Foods market that is similar, but costs less so I'll have to check it out next time. it was also suggested to make  a big batch of my own multipurpose flour ahead of time and keep it stowed in the freezer, which I may look into depending on how often I end up baking Gluten free.

In this recipe I simply replaced the all purpose wheat flour with the Gluten free all purpose flour, and they turned out just perfect with no further tweaking.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Adjusted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Yields 12 cupcakes


- 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1/3 cup light olive oil
- 2/3 cup organic sugar
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vanilla soymilk (with 1 tsp of Apple cider vinegar added and set for 2 minutes to create a 'buttermilk consistency)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup unbleached white flour or Gluten free all purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill a muffin tin with muffin cups.

Stir together the first six ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together the remaining ingredients; then gradually incorporate dry ingredients with wet, about 1/3 of a cup at a time until well incorporated.

Line muffin pans with paper liners, and fill them about 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven, and let them cool before frosting.

I didn't frost mine, but I think a basic traditional or vegan Buttercream would be great on them, or just sprinkle them with cinnamon and powdered sugar for a lighter dessert.

Fluffy (Vegan) Buttercream Frosting (Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

- 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
- 1/2 cup Butter or for vegan Earth Balance, or other nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (watch for Casein if you're going vegan)
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cream or soy creamer

Beat the shortening and margarine/butter together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.

Add the vanilla and creamer, and beat for another 5 minutes until fluffy.

Frost at room temperature, either with a spreader, or pipe it on with a pastry bag. Either way it's just delightful on many kinds of cakes and cupcakes!!



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