Friday, July 25, 2014

Pumpkin Cupcake Muffins with Coconut Glaze

Really... what's the difference between a cupcake and a muffin??  They are both baked in the same tins and look pretty darn similar with the exception of mega amounts of frosting which definitely delineates a cupcake.  But what about a healthy cupcake with a glaze?  Could that not be a sweet muffin?  Or what about a muffin with more of a cake-like texture that is dusted with powdered sugar... could that not be a frosting-less cupcake?

In my mind, I guess I've always felt a muffin is healthier than a cupcake, but I have to admit I've enjoyed a good number of cupcakes that are actually healthier than many muffins.

Turning to the good 'ole internet where any truth can be discovered, I found a definition that makes sense.  According to a post on Seasoned Advice, the cupcake v. muffin question comes down to method...

From a technical point of view, muffins are made by the muffin method, making them small quickbreads. In the muffin method, the wet ingredients are combined in one bowl; and the dry ingredients are combined in another bowl. Then the two are quickly incorporated together with minimal mixing to avoid gluten development. This gives muffins a somewhat coarse crumb.

Cupcakes are small cakes, and are made by one of the traditional cake methods such as the creaming method, the reverse creaming method, the genoise method, the chiffon method, and so on. They tend to have a finer crumb than muffins.
9/9/13 by SAJ14SAJ
Trying to identify our fabulous Pumpkin creation, I attempted to apply the numerous criteria for a proper description.

  1. Created in the muffin method = Muffins
  2. High in sugar and bringing a cake-like crumb = Cupcakes
  3. Frostingless = Muffins
  4. Glazed = Cupcake-like
  5. On the healthier side with pumpkin and some whole grains = Muffins
Still no closer to a proper description, we've decided to go with both.  Part muffin, part cupcake, we bring you a wonderful recipe that will leave you with a title of Best Mom Ever when you surprise you kids with these for breakfast.  But really... cupcakes for breakfast??  So long as they are like muffins, it's all good.

Pumpkin Cupcake Muffins #vegan

Tender, sweet and filled with spice, these cupcake muffins also bring a dose of vitamins with the pumpkin and spelt flour.  The coconut glaze is light and melds beautifully with the pumpkin and spices bringing a bit of tropical love to the table.  Diary free and actually vegan, this recipe works for my whole family (lactose intolerant kids).  Enjoy!
adapted from Hell Yeah it's Vegan
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1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin **
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs oil (we used avocado oil)
5 Tbs low fat coconut milk (we use Trader Joe's brand)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour (may use all all-purpose if desired)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch ground clove
1/4 tsp salt

For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 Tbs low fat coconut milk

For the Cupcake Muffins:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, oil, coconut milk and vanilla.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk just until incorporated.  Be careful not to overmix to avoid "tough" goods.

Spoon into prepared muffin pans - either regular sized or mini - and bake.  For regular sized muffins bake about 17 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  For mini muffins, begin checking around 9 minutes...

For Glaze:
Add sifted powdered sugar to a medium bowl.  Add vanilla, then add 2 Tbs of coconut milk.  Add more coconut milk to achieve desired thickness - we've made two batches, one with a thin glaze and one with a thicker glaze.  Both are popular depending on your taste!!

Drizzle or spread glaze over cupcake muffins and allow to set.  For mini size, Liv simply dipped the muffin into the glaze for more perfect coverage.

** Liv Life Note:  Note that with canned pumpkin you will get varying degrees of "wetness"... sometimes we have pumpkin that actually pours, while other time it comes out in chunks.  You may have to adjust the liquid in the mix to compensate.

 Submitted to An Unrefined Vegan Link up


  1. YUUUUUM! I so wish Patrick liked coconut, I don't get to make too many coconut things because I will be the only one to eat them!

  2. These sound SO delicious. :-) Do you know I can't find canned pumpkin here in Australia? They use pumpkin as a savory food rather than in desserts like we do. :-)

  3. Pumpkin and coconut really sound great together!!

  4. I would rather have a muffin instead of a cupcake. I agree, a muffin is much more healthy. I love your addition of coconut milk, especially in your glaze! They look delicious! Hugs, Terra

  5. Oh my gosh, I want to devour these. I'm knew to baking, but these must be tried!

  6. Pumpkin everything FTW! I cannot wait for fall to try these thats for sure!

  7. Mmmm it doesn't get much better than pumpkin! and with coconut? sounds amazing

  8. I'm just starting to get in the mood for pumpkin, and love this breakfast-dessert! Coconut is a perfect, perfect flavor with pumpkin too!!

  9. Ah! Interesting to learn there is a (albeit slight) difference between cupcakes and muffins! Cool! I have to say, I prefer muffins to cupcakes as they seem moister and healthier. Thanks for sharing this at the Potluck - and for the lesson!


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