“Oh my gourdness, it autumn!”–as seen on Country Living
“Let’s give them pumpkin to talk about!” as seen on Elite Daily
On October sixth, I wrote about when life hands you bad tasting, bitter ingredients turn them into a sweet slice of cake. In response to that piece, a reader named Bonnie, sent me an email asking for the made-from-scratch pumpkin cake recipe to which I referred in the article. When I read her email, I was touched by the fact, someone beside my parents and husband read my column! Furthermore, I felt fortunate that she would take time out of her busy schedule to send me an email. Then, I was gourd-smacked. I didn’t have a recipe to share with her. Oh my gourdness!
I didn’t have the guts (gourd it?) to tell her that when I wrote the original piece, I based my so-called recipe on my knowledge of ingredients of recipes for other cakes, muffins, as well as pumpkin pie. The closest I ever came to baking a pumpkin cake was actually pumpkin muffins for Maddie, my daughter. It soon became one of her favorite fall recipes which was made from a spice cake mix and blueberries. Still, I couldn’t go(urd) breaking Bonnie’s heart. She asked for a recipe. I had to harvest something.
In the meantime, Maddie, who now lives at home, attends Marshall University as an art major, and works at La Famiglia at the MU student center, was showing me photos of the latest chalk art she had completed promoting the restaurant’s pumpkin cannoli’s. In fact, her store manager had recently made one for Maddie to taste, and Maddie described in great detail how gourd the pumpkin cannoli tasted. Maddie further added that she told her manager that the manager should try my pumpkin blueberry muffins.
Maddie’s chalkboard art for La Famiglia at Marshall University Student Center
Hmm. . . I needed to patch some Zs on this thought. After a good night’s rest, a new idea vined through my mind. Why not create my own made-from-patch recipe for pumpkin blueberry muffins that could also double as a 9 x 13 cake if one desired? I patched together some gourd research and soon enough, a new recipe was born, or should I say, carved.
Of course, I had to bake up a trail patch to taste. Since I have celiac disease and should not eat wheat, I went with a gluten-free variation. However, it should be noted that any all-purpose flour will work here just as well. Additionally, I am not big on using a lot of oil in my food, mostly because it tends to create reflux which I prefer to avoid. That said, you can always replace the applesauce with oil or melted butter if you prefer baking with a bit of fat. Plus, with a variety of potential stir-ins, this recipe serves as a Jack-of- all-lanterns as there are many ways in which you could carve it up.
Whether you are craving something a little sweet, or someone has asked you, “What’s cooking gourd-looking?” Your answer can come straight from the vine! Scoop out a bit of time to bake, and let the gourd times roll! Wishing you all of the pumpkin gourdness of fall!
From my pumpkin patch to yours, I wish you happy, homemade, and hauntingly gourd pumpkin treats!
P.S. Thank you, Bonnie, for your gourd inspiration. Your email was the pumpkin of my pie, and it added spice to my life!
(Almost) One bowl Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins (or cake) with optional add-ins
1egg or “flegg” (1 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 2 ½ tablespoons of water stir together and allow to sit for 15 minutes)
2 cups all purpose flour or oat flour (I used oat flour to keep it gluten-free, but you could also use any gluten-free all-purpose flour)
1 cup brown sugar (Can substitute with other sugar or sugar replacement.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 can (15 ounce) pure pumpkin
½ cup unsweetened applesauce (Can also use oil or melted butter if preferred.)
½ cup milk (I like to use plant based, but any milk is fine.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or powder (I love vanilla powder for a more rich, vanilla taste.)
Optional stir ins: blueberries, cranberries, raisins, craisins, walnuts, even chocolate or white-chocolate chips
White sparkling sugar or cinnamon-sugar
If making a “flegg,” mix first and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare 12 muffin tins by lining with paper, oil, or nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients until flour and spices are well blended.
Stir in egg (or flegg), pumpkin, applesauce, milk and vanilla until just combined without over-mixing.
If using an add-in, gently fold into batter.
Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
Sprinkle muffin tops with white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow muffins to cool on wire racks before serving
Can also pour batter into a prepared 9 x 13 pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If choosing this variation, allow the cake to cool, and then frost if desired.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator or can freeze for up to a month.