Monday, November 21, 2011

GF & DF Pumpkin Cupcakes & Lemon Vanilla Frosting

With only a few days until Thanksgiving I felt one more pumpkin post was required. I could think of nothing more perfect than a cupcake and I must admit that these are delicious. Plus these lovelies come with a story…

I was asked to bake cupcakes this past weekend for my beloved yoga studio, The Funky Buddha. This was my first baking request, that didn’t come from a friend or family member, and I was incredibly excited to be the local baker of choice. But as many first experiences in my life, they can be a bit dramatic, and this one was no exception.

Fast forward to my home, I’m baking away and everything is moving smoothly. The cupcakes are out of the oven and cooling and now it’s time to make the frosting. Enter Problem #1: The missing ingredient. Soy butter. This is a necessary component for making frosting. The soy butter is what gives the frosting the ability to stiffen up and stay in place, otherwise what you get is a tasty glaze. As fate would have it I only have ⅓ of the amount of soy butter I need.

Enter Problem #2: Time. I have 30 minutes to finish my cupcakes and not enough time to run to the store.  I decide to make due with what I have… and as expected, instead of frosting I end up with a yummy but incredibly messy glaze. Sigh.

With only minutes to spare I load up the cupcakes, jump into the car and head to the studio. Enter Problem #3: Faulty cupcake containers. I’m quickly driving down the street, and I fly over the speed hump (aka speed bump) and one of the containers takes a mini launch into the air. Oh dear. I know that the cupcakes are loosely packed and I’m dreading looking into the containers.  

I slowly drive the rest of the way to the studio and gingerly check the damage. Two of my (already not so perfect) cupcakes have fallen over and one completely flipped top-side-down. The time has run out and it’s time to deliver my first order…

Something to know about me is that I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I could have delivered these cupcakes and never said a word, but my pride was wounded. With a slightly heavy heart I pick up my cupcakes and head into the studio. Carrie, sweet Carrie, is working the front desk and offers her help. Together we clean up the mess, to the best of our ability, and Carrie very kindly offers to eat the evidence of the overturned cupcake.

Why am I sharing all of this? Because sometimes I take myself entirely too seriously and at the end of the day my life does not depend on a cupcake. As a matter of fact, the cupcakes were very much loved and a second order has been requested. This time I plan on stocking up on soy butter, sturdy containers and giving myself a bit more time… and did I mention how seriously good these cupcakes taste? You really have to try them. I promise they are worth ALL the effort. ;)

GF & DF Pumpkin Cupcakes
by Laura Friendly
Start to finish: 55 minutes (including baking time)
makes 12 large cup cakes

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • ½  tsp salt
  • dash of fresh nutmeg

  • 15 oz. pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk, room temp
  • 4 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, nutmeg and salt. Add in pumpkin, eggs, coconut oil, coconut milk, vanilla and maple syrup. Whisk together well, until batter is smooth. (A kitchen aid mixer or a hand mixer would work well).

Pour the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin liners. The batter is thick so you may need to press it down into the muffin liners and smooth out the tops of each cupcake. Bake in the center of a preheated oven, until dome shaped and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 25 minutes, depending upon your oven.

Cool the pan briefly, then gently pop out the cupcakes and continue cooling on a wire rack.

Once completely cooled, frost the cupcakes and cover in an air-tight container. They are best eaten the first day but if you are making them ahead of time, they can also be wrapped individually and frozen (prior to frosting).

note: if you would like a slightly sweeter cupcake, use sweetened coconut milk in place of the unsweetened coconut milk.

Vegan Lemon Vanilla Butter-Cream Frosting
by Laura Friendly
Start to finish: 15 minutes
makes enough frosting for 12 cupcakes

  • ⅓ cup soy butter, room temp
  • 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place butter into a large mixing bowl and beat until it is fluffy (using a hand or stand mixer).

With mixer running slowly, add in 2 cups of powdered sugar, ½ at a time, and beat until crumbly. Scraping down the sides of the mixer as often as necessary.

Beat in lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Slowly add in remaining powered sugar, beating slowly, until fully incorporated. Use immediately.

note: If the frosting seems too thick, add a little more lemon juice (1 tsp at at time) until it becomes spreadable. If it’s not thick enough, add in more powdered sugar (1 tbsp at a time) until it’s stiff but still spreadable.


  1. Great story Laura. You are so sweet, and I'm sure your cupcakes were too.

  2. Thank you Laura. You'll have to try one next time. :)