It’s half term here in the UK so parents up and down the country are trying to keep their small people occupied. Having seen the number of people at the farm shop buying or picking their own pumpkins, making Jack O-lanterns for Halloween is probably number one on the activity list!
I used love helping the kids design and carve their scary pumpkin faces. Although more often than not I seemed to do most of hard work 😉. Once finished, apart from a huge pile of squidgy-covered pumpkin seeds, we also ended up with lots of pumpkin flesh (that’s sounds wrong for a vegetable!). Hating food waste, it usually ended up in soup, which is always a good option. But hovering at the back of my mind was the question – can I make cake with this? Yes is the answer – of course 😊
Pumpkins grown for carving tend to be bigger than your normal eating ones. The flesh is wetter and a little more stringy too. But that means there’s fibre in the mix, so don’t let that put you off. You can make pumpkin purée really easily with these leftovers – here’s how.
Making pumpkin purée
You can steam the flesh and then purée it. Or, to help dry it out and get the sugars a little caramelised, roasting is an excellent choice. You don’t even need to add any oil, just chop it up, bung it in a roasting tin (lined with non-stick baking paper if it’s not a good non-stick one) and pop it in the oven for 25 minutes or so. Once cooked, leave it to cool then pop in a food processor or blender jug and whizz it until smooth. Job done.
These tasty spiced pumpkin muffins make excellent use of pumpkin purée. They’re easy to make, so why not use this as another activity to do with the kids if it’s pouring with rain and everyone’s getting a bit bored? They’re also not just for children, so if you don’t have any to hand, you can still make them 😉
If you don’t want to make your own pumpkin purée then you can sometimes find canned purée in larger supermarkets and specialist stores. It’s definitely not as readily available in the UK as the US. If you do go for this option, make sure it’s not got any added sweeteners or emulsifiers – these are extras you don’t want. And if you don’t have pumpkin to hand, squash works just as well so there’s plenty of opportunity to give these moreish muffins a go.
As with all my bakes, these spiced pumpkin muffins can be made gluten free using a good gluten free flour mix. They’re low in added sugar and use minimal oil. You could make them completely oil free if you wish by adding in extra pumpkin purée. The muffins won’t be quite as light and fluffy but they’ll still taste awesome. I’ve added some raisins as added texture and sweetness. You could omit these if you don’t like dried fruit. Chopped pecan nuts are also a great option, either with or without the raisins. It’s up to you!
The spice amounts should be used as a guideline – add more or less of each depending on your taste. If you have a newly opened jar of ground ginger then take care as it might well be a bit frisky and dominate the overall spice mix. You can find specialist pumpkin spice mixes so feel free to use this if you prefer.
If you’re making these for a Halloween party, you could cover the top completely with icing and draw on a spider or web with a black icing pen. I like them just with a drizzle of icing zig-zagged over the top, although they’re so tasty, they’re equally delicious just as they are.
I hope you enjoy these lovely family friendly spiced pumpkin muffins. Do let me know if you make them, and how you get on.
Spiced pumpkin muffins
- large jug
- large bowl
- 12 space muffin tin
- muffin wrappers optional
- small bowl if adding icing
- 360 grams pumpkin puree **
- 90 mls olive oil or extra pumpkin puree for oil free
- 150 ml soya milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 100 grams coconut sugar or molasses
- 280 grams wholemeal self-raising flour or self-raising gluten free flour
- 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground all spice
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 50 grams raisins or pecan nuts roughly chopped or both
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp water used a few drops at a time
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Place the muffin wrappers in each hole in the muffin tin (if not using wrappers, grease well with oil but as it's a low fat recipe they may still stick)
- Mix the pumpkin puree, olive oil, soya milk and lemon juice together in the large jug. Stir well to combine.
- Add the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and spices to the large bowl and mix well to combine.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together quickly, adding the raisins and/or pecan nuts half way through. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure all the flour is incorporated, but don't worry if there's a few lumps.
- Quickly spoon the mix into the muffin cases in equal amounts - you should have enough mix to fill it just below the top of the tin. Tap the tin on the worktop then place in the middle of the oven.
- Bake for 17 minutes then check to see if the muffins are cooked by piercing with a skewer. If it comes out clean, they're ready. If not, pop back in for another minute or so.
- Once ready, remove from the oven, leave to settle in the tin for 5 minutes then pop the muffins out onto a cooling rack.
- If drizzling with icing, mix the icing sugar with a few drops of water at a time until you get a drizzling consistency. Once the muffins are cooled, drizzle a little over the top of each muffin and they're ready to serve.
- Keep in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. Un-iced muffins will freeze well.