Thursday, October 18, 2012

CAKES & VEGETABLES - PART IV - PUMPKIN - Mini Pumpkin Muffins and Pumpkin Biscuits

Pumpkins are the most famous of all the winter squashes, and are most associated with Halloween lanterns. Inside the hard orange or yellow skin, the bright orange flesh is sweet. They are a particularly good source of fiber, as well as a range of vitamins and minerals. Make sure that you go for pumpkins that feel heavy for their size, with a smooth, firm skin. Smaller pumpkins tend to have more flesh. Pumpkins do tend to have tough skins, some elbow grease is usually needed to get into them.

To safely get to the flesh, put the pumpkin on a thick tea towel to keep it steady, then use a large strong knife to cut it in half, then try to work in sections until you reach the bottom. Once one side is cut, turn the pumpkin around and cut down on the other side, until it is split in two. Using a large metal spoon, scrape and scoop out the seeds and any stringy parts.

Blend the flesh into smooth, thick soups, finished with a swirl of cream. Or bake small pumpkins and stuff with rice and spices such as cinnamon, chilies and cumin. Or roast thick slices and serve with an Italian style tomato sauce. Baking with pumpkin does not mean you have to limit yourself  to pumpkin pie, go for pumpkin breads, sweet rolls, cookies or cakes. Stir puréed pumpkin into a cheesecake filling. Roasted pumpkin seeds are great on their own as snacks and can be incorporated into flapjacks and biscuits, or used to garnish tarts, cakes or ice cream. You could also bake these wonderful Mini Pumpkin Muffins.

Recipe for Mini Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients for the Mini Muffins

  • 1 cup self-rising flour (such as King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour)
  • 2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar (I used Tate & Lyle)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I mixed my own using cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger)
  • 1 eg (L), organic or free range
  • 1/2 cup puréed pumpkin (I used pumpkin purée from a small Hokkaido pumpkin)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used homemade vanilla sugar)

Ingredients for the Decorations

  • 24 marzipan or sugar flowers
  • a few pieces of dark chocolate


  • mini muffin pan (24 muffin capacity)
  • mini paper liners (24 mini liners)

Preparation of the Mini Muffins

1. Preheat your oven to 350° degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line 24 mini muffin cups with grease proof paper liners.
3. Mix flour, golden brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in large bowl.
4. Whisk egg, canned pure pumpkin, vegetable oil, sour cream, and vanilla extract in medium bowl.
5. Add the wet ingredients mixture to the dry ingredients and carefully stir to fully combine.
6. Spoon or scoop the pumpkin batter into paper liners (batter will almost fill liners).
7. Bake the muffins for about 16 to 18 minutes and transfer to a wire rack for a few minutes.
8. Remove the muffins from the pan and let them cool completely on a rack.

Decoration of the Mini Muffins

1. In a small bowl, melt the dark chocolate, either over a water bath or in the microwave, let cool a bit.
2. Using a small brush, dab a bit of the cooled chocolate on each muffin and place a decorative item such as a small marzipan flower on each muffin. Let set for a few minutes until the chocolate hardens.

Pumpkin purée is not readily available in cans around here so when I need some for baking, we take a trip to a nearby pumpkin farm and buy a few pumpkins while admiring their displays. There is a vast array of pumpkins and squashes available there and you can choose between different tons of varities, sizes, and colors…

…and the owners go out of their way to display them in interesting ways…

There are piles upon piles of turban pumpkins…

…and “pumpkin pigs"….

There is also a “pumpkin buffalo”…

…and a “pumpkin tractor”..

Not only the  kids love going there and looking around while I choose my pumpkins. This is really a fun place to visit around fall!


Since I bought way too many pumpkins and had some pumpkin purée left over from the mini muffins, I decided to bake some Pumpkin Biscuits as well.

The recipe for these bright orange Pumpkin Biscuits can be found on Monet`s delightful and beautiful blog called “Anecdotes & Applecores”. Thank you, Monet, for sharing this wonderful recipe! The Biscuits were delicious with farm fresh butter and their color was incredible, kids and adults alike devoured them when I served them alongside an autumnal soup.

PART V of my CAKES AND VEGETABLES SERIES will feature a very moist Old- Fashioned German Potato Gugelhupf which the kids have declared to be their new favorite cake!


  1. I love today's post! Pumkin all over it. :D How adorable these mini muffins are! I love the rich color on your pumpkin biscuit too! It was also fun to see the variations of pumpkins shown in this post. SO MANY!! I love the pumpkin arts too. :)

  2. Those pumpkin displays are just too wonderful :-)
    And such cute muffins.

  3. Oh how lovely! Thank you for sharing this with me. By far my favorite post of the week. And I'm glad your pumpkin biscuits turned out so well :-)

  4. Wonderful photos! Your mini pumpkin muffins are adorable and I just love the color of those biscuits. I want to try making those this weekend.

  5. Those pumpkin animals are just incredible! Like the little flowers on top of the muffins Andrea!