It’s the end of October already; can you believe it? Here in New Mexico, the weather is definitely beginning to show the change of seasons with a noticeable chill in the air and the familiar smell of wood smoke on the breeze. Halloween is just around the corner. The bastion of a thousand bad horror films, the favorite day of any little ghost or goblin ever to wear a costume and beg for candy. What would the end of October be without all the fake spiders, jack o’ lanterns, trick or treaters, ghouls and ghosts. . . and sugar. Frightful! It’s enough to make anyone scream; especially when everyone slowly descends from their megalithic sugar comas the next day, struggling to regain even some semblance of being human!
Okay, maybe I exaggerate. But seriously, could this be the year to rethink the candy, nix the nougat, and embrace something new for your Halloween feast? If you or someone in your family has food allergies, especially finding commercial candy free of anything bothersome can be a real challenge! Even many chocolates, and certainly most gummy candies, contain some form of wheat. Don’t let that get you down, fright night can still be frightfully fun. For a children’s party, think of bobbing for apples, creating fun masks from cardboard or paper bags, hosting a treasure hunt, or a ghoulishly fun mummy wrap.
In the spirit of the day, we present these cupcakes as an alternative; cute, fun, spooky, and sure to please any little vampire or ghoul who happens to drop by.
Made with canned pumpkin, chock full of spices, and just slightly sweet, these little cakes taste just like pumpkin pie, a sure sign of the season. They are a great dessert to make with kids, who can let their imaginations run wild. Create hedgehogs or owls, as we did, fun or spooky faces, or any number of other designs. This recipe would be a great treat for any holiday throughout the fall and winter season.
We used toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, along with chocolate chips for the decorations, but toasted slivered almonds would also make a wonderful topping. The cupcakes themselves are dairy free, but we also wanted to make the topping dairy free as well. Alas, at least on this attempt, no luck. Coconut cream is supposed to whip up just like whipping cream. . . until it doesn’t and instead becomes a slightly watery foam. Oh well. Maybe better luck next time. Anyway, if diary is an issue, I think pumpkin butter, spread thinly as a topping, would also work very well. If any of you experiment with this, let us know what you think. What are some of your other favorite toppings??
Spooky Pumpkin Cupcakes
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom
- 1/2 cup sucanat
- 1 Tbsp. rice bran
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup canned full fat coconut milk
1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and spices. Add in the sucanat and rice bran, and blend.
2. Mix in the coconut milk, canned pumpkin, and two egg yolks, until a batter forms.
3. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
4. Slowly fold the egg whites into the batter, a spoonful at a time, until completely blended.
5. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
6. Line a medium-size muffin tin, and fill each cup to the top with cupcake batter. Unlike gluten rich muffins or cupcakes, in which you need to only fill each cup 1/2 or 3/4 of the way allowing it to rise, gluten free alternatives do not need the same rising room, and therefore need to be filled all the way.
7. Bake the cupcakes for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool thoroughly before decorating.
Toasted Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds:
- 2 Tbsp. sucanat
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup whole raw sunflower seeds
In a frying pan over medium heat, toast the seeds with the sucanat, stirring continuously until the sucanat melts and everything is well coated, but not until it browns! Remove and place on a plate to cool.
Chocolate Cream Cheese:
- 2 oz. cream cheese ( about 1/4 packet)
- 1 Tbsp. raw chocolate powder
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. water
In a mixing bowl, whip together the cream cheese, honey, chocolate powder and water until light and fluffy. Set aside.
White chai cream cheese:
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. So Delicious Coconut milk
- 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
In a mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheese, honey, coconut milk, cardamom and vanilla, until light, fluffy and combined.
To create the Owls.
Cover the cupcakes with the white chai cream cheese mixture. Use the toasted pumpkin seeds to create circles on the top half of the cupcake, forming the eyes. Fill with the toasted sunflower seeds, leaving a tiny space in the center for a chocolate chip. Create the owl’s beak using a chocolate chip, or a raisin.
To Create the Hedgehogs
Spread a thin layer of chocolate cream cheese on the top of the cupcake. Cover about 3/4 of the cupcake top with the toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, leaving a small space a the front for the face. Create the face using either raisins or chocolate chips for eyes, and an upturned chocolate chip for the nose.
Watch as everyone marvels at your creative abilities while devouring these delightful treats.
Have a Safe and Spooky Halloween everyone!