Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, Lightened Up

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.

With the chill that’s been in the air the last few days now, I’m finally getting a desire to eat some of the foods and flavors that we typically associate with fall.  Enjoying a pumpkin latte at Starbucks is pretty high up there on my list of favorite things to do and I have been know to also order a pumpkin spice cream cheese muffin to go with it.  Nothing like a little pumpkin overload.  😀

Now, I know that those muffins contain a whopping number of calories, fat and sugar, but they are so delicious.  As an occasional treat they are OK,  but I would like to enjoy them more frequently in a healthier version.   As luck would have it, I recently came across a recipe on-line for a copycat of the pumpkin muffins, and so with that as a basis, I set out to lighten it up, and see if I could still retain the luscious taste of the original muffin.


In my opinion these are pretty close to the original.  If not an exact duplicate, they are close enough to be equally enjoyable, and a whole lot healthier.  My makeover included replacing the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat, replacing much of the oil with applesauce, reducing the sugar, and using low-fat cream cheese for the filling.  In addition, I made a crumb topping that includes oats for extra texture and a little more fiber.  These muffins have been a hit with everyone who has had them, and I feel much better about sharing them, knowing that they are not such calorie bombs!.

The on-line recipe makes a total of 24 muffins, which is way too many for me and Mr. D., so I cut it in half and made only 12 muffins.  The full recipe is presented here for those of you who like to make larger quantities, but can easily be halved if you want to.  The muffins freeze very well, and rewarm nicely in the microwave.   In fact, they are more spicy and intensely flavorful when warm.


Yield:   24 muffins


For the filling:

  • 8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. honey

For the muffins:

Five spices plus cocoa and molasses make them intensely flavorful.

Five spices plus cocoa and molasses make them intensely flavorful.

  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2  tsp. ginger
  • 4  tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

For the topping: *

  • 4 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour
  • 7 Tbsp. old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 Tbsp. turbinado (coarse) sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces


1.   Make the filling:  combine the cream cheese and honey in a small bowl.  Beat with an electric beater until smooth.  Scrape onto a piece of wax paper, and shape into a long roll (log), not any wider than a muffin cup.  Place into the freezer to chill while you mix up the batter and fill the pans.

Make filling, roll into a log and chill it.

Make filling, roll into a log and chill it.

2.  Make the muffins:  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients ( flour through baking soda).

In  another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, oil and applesauce.  Blend well.  Add to dry ingredients, and stir just until incorporated.

3.  Make the topping:  combine all ingredients except butter in a medium bowl.  Whisk to blend.  Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two forks until mixture is course and crumbly.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Have the topping all made and ready.

Have the topping all made and ready.

4.  Assemble muffins:  fill each muffin cup with a small amount of batter ( 1 – 2 Tablespoons) just to cover bottom of the liner.

A little batter in the bottom of each cup.

A little batter in the bottom of each cup.

Remove filling from freezer and cut into 24  slices.  Place one slice of filling in each muffin cup.

Put a slice of filling into each cup.

Put a slice of filling into each cup.

Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing it on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.

Cover with remaining batter.

Cover with remaining batter.

Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each muffin.

Sprinkle on topping.

Sprinkle on topping.

5.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.  A toothpick inserted near the center should test clean. (Avoid the cream cheese filling.) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Imagine biting into one of these!

Imagine biting into one of these!

This will be extremely difficult to do, but the filling gets very hot, so please resist temptation.  😀

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins,  unbelievably delicious.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, unbelievably delicious.

*  Topping is completely optional.  These muffins are great with or without the topping.  Chopped walnuts or pecans could be mixed into the topping, or sprinkled on top in place of the topping.

P. S.  I wish I had made 24, because now they are all gone and I just have to make more.

SOURCE:   Heavily adapted from Food.com


Harvest Pumpkin Scones

Harvest Pumpkin Scones

Harvest Pumpkin Scones

I do love pumpkin!!!  So I’m wondering why it is that I seem to bake with it only in the fall.  I know fall, October and pumpkins just go together, but pumpkin is available- the canned variety–all year long.  Are you like that, too? I think it might be that pumpkin’s bright splash of color matches the vivid colors of autumn around the country.  And as the landscape turns drab, pumpkin is still there giving us a lift.

Right now I have about six recipes lined up that include pumpkin,  so if they turn out well, I think you’ll be seeing the results of my baking in the coming weeks.

This recipe is one of the first I tried.  Mainly for two reasons:  1) I haven’t made scones in quite a while and these sounded really good to me, and 2) the recipe needs only part of a can of pumpkin, so I can make something else with the remainder.  A sort of two-for-one deal.  I try to match up recipes that each use only part of a can, so no pumpkin goes to waste.  Otherwise I freeze the part I didn’t use for a later date.


This recipe did not let me down in the least.  I knew that my expectations were met when they came out of the oven, a deep-gold color and with an aroma of all the spices they contain.  Besides the cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg, I included some crystallized ginger and cinnamon chips to take their flavor over the top.   These are way-good.  :D.  Make them soon and see if you don’t agree.



Yield:   12 scones


Whole allspice

Whole allspice

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice**
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 to 2 cups minced crystallized ginger, cinnamon chips, or chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs

    Ground fresh allspice

    Ground fresh allspice

  • coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping

**  I use whole allspice and grind it fresh as needed.  The flavor is so much stronger and better than when you purchase the already ground variety.


1.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.

Mix together all the dry ingredients.

Mix together all the dry ingredients.

2.  Work in the butter using a pastry cutter or your fingers, just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly;  it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.

Some larger pieces of butter are ok.

Some larger pieces of butter are ok.

3.  Stir in the ginger and/or chips, if you’re using them.

Mix in crystallized ginger and cinnamon chips.

Mix in crystallized ginger and cinnamon chips.

4.  In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth.  Add to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.

Mix together the eggs and pumpkin.

Mix together the eggs and pumpkin.

5.  Line a baking sheet with parchment;  or, if no parchment paper on hand, use the baking sheet without greasing it.  Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.

6.  Scrape the cough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half.  Round each half into a 5 – 6 inch circle, about 3/4’s-inch thick.

Divide dough into two 6-inch circles.

Divide dough into two 6-inch circles.

7.  Brush each circle with a little milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.

Brush with a little milk or cream.

Brush with a little milk or cream.

Coarse sugar (left), cinnamon sugar (right).

Coarse sugar (left), cinnamon sugar (right).

8.  Using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.

Cut each circle into 6 wedges.

Cut each circle into 6 wedges.

9.  Carefully separate the wedges from each other just a little, with about 1/2″ space between them, at their outer edges.

10.  For best texture and highest rise place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered.  While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425*F

11.  Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

Isn't that a beautiful rise?

Isn’t that a beautiful rise?

12.  Remove from the oven and serve warm.  Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature.  Reheat briefly in the microwave, if desired.

A pretty golden color.

A beautiful golden color.

P. S.  If you’re making your own pumpkin puree from a fresh roasted pumpkin be aware that fresh pumpkin has a lot more liquid in it than canned, and should be drained throughly.  You may use a colander, lined with coffee filters, or several layers of cheesecloth.

SOURCE:   King Arthur Flour

Magic Pumpkin Bars

Magic Pumpkin Bars

Magic Pumpkin Bars

It seems now that Fall weather has set in recipes featuring pumpkin in some form or other are flooding the air-waves, web and periodicals.  Well, not to be left out, I wanted to get in on the fun of baking something with pumpkin.

You know what magic cookie bars are, right?  They’re also known as 7-layer bars.  But I like to call them magic cookie bars because 1) they don’t always have 7 layers, and 2)  the sweetened condensed milk performs the magic by tying all the layers together.


Let’s start by reviewing all the layers in this version,  OK?

1. Gingersnap Crust.   I think that gingersnap and pumpkin are a match made in heaven.  They were made for each other.

2.  The chips.  White chocolate chips, preferred for color contrast and silky texture.  However, the day I made these bars I plunged into making them without checking and found I was out of white chips, so used chocolate instead.  But then, chocolate also goes well with pumpkin.  So use what ever kind you prefer or have on hand.

3.  Pecans, (or any nuts, really).  You gotta have them, especially in a fall dessert.

4.  Coconut.  This is totally optional, but it’s usually found in magic bars.

5.  Toffee Bits.  In my opinion, you can never have enough of these.  See #3.

6..  Pumpkin.  Come on……they are called pumpkin magic bars.

7.  Sweetened condensed milk.  The top and final layer;  the tie that binds it all together!   In this recipe it gets mixed with the pumpkin and some pumpkin pie spice and poured over the top.

Fudgy, chewy.  I love the way all the layers blend together.

Fudgy, chewy. I love the way all the layers blend together.


Yield:  12 -16 bars


Get all the ingredients ready.

Get all the ingredients ready.

  • 25 gingersnaps
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 1/4 cup toffee bits
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice


1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a 9 x 9-inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

2  Grind gingersnaps to a fine crumb in a food processor.  Mix with sugar and melted butter.  Press into prepared pan.

3.  Sprinkle with white chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, and toffee bits over the top of the crust.

4.  Whisk pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and condensed milk in a small bowl or measuring cup and pour over the top of the bars.

All layered up and ready for the oven.

All layered up and ready for the oven.

5.  Bake for 29 – 31 minutes, until edges have started to brown.  Cool completely before cutting.  Using edges of foil, lift completely from the pan to a cutting surface and using a bench knife or other sharp knife, cut into 12 or 16 squares.

Use the foil "handles" and lift the whole square out of the pan for ease in cutting.

Use the foil “handles” and lift the whole square out of the pan for ease in cutting.

Looking sooo good!

Looking sooo good!

These are surprisingly not too sweet.

These are surprisingly not too sweet.

SOURCE:  Crazy For Crust

Good Morning Breakfast Cake

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

In the morning there are often “sleepy-heads” who take their time about getting to breakfast.  If it’s your job to marshall the troops in the morning, this cake might just be the magic that gets everybody up and on their feet.  What, cake for breakfast, you’re asking?  Yes!  This one has all good things in it to jump start the day.


Starting with pumpkin providing carotene and fiber, add eggs for protein, some walnuts with their heart-healthy oil, a topping that’s heavy on the oatmeal (but I won’t tell if you won’t), and milk.  The flavor is outstanding–not sweet, just right– and the crumb will melt in your mouth especially if served warm.

I baked this cake on a Saturday afternoon intending it for Sunday morning, but we could not ignore the wonderful aroma of it baking.  When I asked Mr. D. if he would like a piece with coffee he replied, “I thought you would never ask.”   It was as flavorful and satisfying as the aroma promised and we both wanted another piece.   (But we didn’t).



SERVINGS:   About 12

INGREDIENTS  for the cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick ) unsalted butter (If you use salted butter, cut back on the salt.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  •  3 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

    Making the crumb topping

    Making the crumb topping

For the TOPPING:

  • 2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter


1.  Preheat oven to 350*,   grease or spray a 8″ x 11″ baking dish.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients  (flour through salt) and set aside.

3.  In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter till light and fluffy.  Gradually add in the sugar and continue creaming.  Add the eggs one at a time scraping down the sides of the bowl after each.

4.  Add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix in well.

5.  Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk just till incorporated.

6.  With a spoon, stir in the nuts.    Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Cake batter in the baking dish.

Cake batter in the baking dish.

7.  Prepare the crumb topping:  In the medium bowl, measure out the oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Whisk together. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives.   Sprinkle over the cake batter in the pan.

Sprinkle on the crumb topping.

Sprinkle on the crumb topping.

8.  Bake at 350* for 45 – 50 minutes.  Test with a toothpick or cake tester for doneness.

Just out of the oven.

Just out of the oven.

Please have a piece while it is still warm to fully appreciate this wonderful cake!

So good warm with a cup of coffee.

So good warm with a cup of coffee.

Pumpkin-Spice Cookies

I am still baking with pumpkin on Day #2. of living without a refrigerator.

They look good.  How will they taste?

They look good. How will they taste?

I keep running into recipes that promise fantastically delicious baked items using just two ingredients.  That’s what I said, only two ingredients(?) and one of them is a boxed mix of some kind.  With all this pumpkin puree on hand and needing to be used, I decided to give this concept a test run with this recipe for cookies.  Some of you may remember that I made a two-ingredient recipe once before and that was this one.

For this recipe all you need is a box of Spice Cake Mix, and a can (or two cups) of pumpkin puree.   It couldn’t be simpler.

Two ingredients;  that's all you need!

Two ingredients; that’s all you need!

Empty the cake mix into a large mixing bowl.  Whisk to remove lumps.  Add the pumpkin.

Add pumpkin to cake mix.

Add pumpkin to cake mix.

Stir well and voila,  a thick spicy dough for cookies.

Makes a nice thick dough.

Makes a nice thick dough.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoons-full onto parchment-lined baking sheets.  Using a cookie scoop makes uniform size cookies.

Drop dough by teaspoons onto baking sheets.

Drop dough by teaspoons onto baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 350* oven for 13 – 15 minutes..  Cool on cooling racks.

After baking.

After baking.

These cookies are cake-like in texture, rather dense, and chewy.  Ok, now the truth comes out.  I added 1 more ingredient:  1/2 bag of Heath Toffee Chips.  The cookies would be very good –nice and spicy–without adding anything but the toffee bits made them just that much better.  At this stage they were pretty terrific,  but then I went and frosted some of them with cream cheese frosting (using up what was in that old refrigerator, remember?) and for the remainder after the frosting was gone,  I sprinkled them with confectioners’ sugar.   Oh, La-La-La!

Looking good just dusted with confectioners' sugar.

Looking good just dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

:)  :)  :)  :)

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Sorry, no pics of the frosted ones.  I gave them to my husband to take to his Lodge meeting for the guys.  Get them out of here before I eat them all!


  • 1 box Spice Cake Mix
  • 1 can pumpkin or 2 cups homemade pumpkin puree

Empty cake mix into a large mixing bowl.  Whisk to remove any lumps.

Add pumpkin and mix to combine well.  (Here’s where you get to add any other “goodies”, like nuts or chips.)

Drop by heaping teaspoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake at 350* for 13 – 15 minutes.  Mine took almost the full 15 minutes, but start checking them at 13 minutes.  If undercooked, they well be doughy.    I got a total of 30 cookies.

SOURCE:   Duncan Hines.com

Pumpkin Butterscotch Granola Bars

Pumpkin Butterscotch Granola Bars

Are you tired of recipes with pumpkin?  I hope not, because this is another one, and as long as no one raises a red flag and shouts STOP, they’ll probably keep coming.  You know me and pumpkin by now, so as long as a recipe has the “P” word in it, I’m on it.

These are the BEST Granola Bars I have ever made.  I know that because my husband told me so, and I believe what he says.  🙂

Seriously, they are awfully good tasting, but also hold their shape without crumbling and cut nicely when cool.  They make a nutritional after school snack, or lunch box treat.  You can wrap them individually in wax paper or parchment paper and freeze them so they are available to grab on short notice.  Actually mine never made it to the freezer, because as you are chewing the last bite of the first one, your hand will be reaching for another one so in my house they didn’t last long.  Give them a try and I think you’ll agree with me —they are the best!


YIELD:  makes 20 – 24 bars depending on how you cut them.

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare a 13″ x 9″ pan with a sheet of parchment paper  lining the bottom.

2.  Get these ingredients ready:

  • 4 cups oats, preferably old fashioned whole oats, but quick oats work, too.

    Get all the ingredients ready in advance.

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas ( I used toasted sunflower seeds)
  • 11 ounces butterscotch chips ( 1 bag)

3   In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, and vegetable oil, mixing until the oats are well coated.

4.  Add the honey and the  brown sugar, pumpkin and cinnamon and salt and mix to combine.

5.  Add the almonds and pepitas and mix in.

6.  Stir in the butterscotch chips.

7.  Transfer the granola to the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.

8.  Bake the bars at 325 degrees for 30 minutes and then press down hard with a spatula.

9.  Bake for another 20 minutes.

10.  Let cool completely before cutting into bars.  Wrap individually and store in an air-tight container, or freeze.


SOURCE:    blog:  Heather Christo Cooks

Pumpkin Ginger Scones

Pumpkin Ginger Scones

Pumpkin used in baked goods seems to be gaining in popularity.  It is one of the most common flavors of Fall and gets used right through the Holidays.  Most typically it gets made into pies and served as dessert, however I am seeing more and more recipes for pumpkin used in breads, muffins and scones.  I love pumpkin in any form, I am also crazy about scones and as most of you know by now, crystalized ginger.  So when this recipe with those three magic words as its title found its way into my house recently I was preheating the oven before I got to the end of the recipe.

An absolutely lovely breakfast item they are full of flavor from the spices and dried fruit, and they also have a pleasant bite from the ginger bits that will get you going in the morning.  They are extremely easy to mix together, bake up in a jiffy, and you can be enjoying them within an hour.  They are wonderful warm from the oven, but also reheat nicely in the microwave.  This is another recipe you might want to have handy for Thanksgiving morning.  If you are having house guests, set out a basket of muffins and scones, hot coffee and juice and let your guests help themselves to breakfast.


YIELD:  Makes 8 scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

    Essential ingredients: pumpkin, raisins, and crystalized ginger.

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick ) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup raisins ( use golden, dark, or some of both )
  • 1/2 cup crystalized ginger cut into fine dice
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg


1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment, or lightly grease a scone pan.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.  Cut in the butter until it’s the size of peas.  Stir in the raisins and ginger bits.

3.  Stir the pumpkin, vanilla, and egg together and add to the dry mixture, mixing until the dough comes together.  Pat the dough into a circle on the prepared baking sheet, or scoop into the wells of your scone pan.

4.  Cut the dough into 8 wedges with a greased bench knife or other knife.  Pull the scones back away from each other to give them 1/2″ space between them.  Bake for 14 – 17 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve warm or cold.  (They are best warm!)

Fresh out of the oven, just waiting for YOU!

SOURCE:    The Baking Sheet,  King Arthur Flour,  Holiday 2012

Pumpkin-Apple Streusel Muffins

Pumpkin-Apple Streusel Muffins

I’ve just eaten one warm from the oven..I was patient just long enough to photograph them and then I HAD to have one.  Oh,Boy,  are they good!  Fall spices, apple and pumpkin married together, not too sweet, a tender crumb, and a crunchy crumb topping.  What else could you do to these to make them any better?   I think these are perfect anytime you want to have one.  At breakfast with coffee?  Mid-morning coffee break?  For Lunch with yogurt or cottage cheese perhaps?  For dessert after dinner—as I said, anytime at all.  You must make these now, before there’s no more pumpkin left on the store shelves.  You’ll be sorry if you don’t.
The recipe makes a batch of 18 muffins.  I thought that was a lot for just two of us, so I made half a recipe and got nine muffins. Now I wish I had made the whole thing and froze some.  Guess I’ll just have to make more to have on hand for Thanksgiving morning.




  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour  ( I used half white flour and half whole wheat)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups apple finely chopped


  • 2  Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons butter

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 18 muffin cups, or line with paper liners.

2.  Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  ( flour through salt)

Dry ingredients.

3.  Mix wet ingredients together in a medium bowl.  ( eggs, oil and pumpkin puree)

Wet ingredients.

4.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just to moisten.  Fold in apples.

Mix everything together. Fold in chopped apple.

5.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.

6.  Mix together the streusel ingredients to form coarse crumbs, and sprinkle on batter.  Pat lightly to adhere.

7.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.  Cool slightly in pans and then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.   Ha!  if you can wait that long!

SOURCE:  adapted from all recipes.com

Pumpkin Cake

Using some of the pumpkin I cooked and pureed myself, I made this cake for my husband’s birthday. Although the title of the recipe is  ordinary this cake is anything but.  From the bottom up to the top there is something extraordinary going on.  My recipe card for this cake has a smily face sticker on it and the words, “exceptionally good” to remind me of how much we and others like this cake whenever I make it.  It is tried and true, and always dependable.  One year, several years back, I made it for my husband to take to work for a pot-luck luncheon at Thanksgiving, and ever since I get requests for “that good cake”.  One of his co-workers has since ordered one from me each year for Thanksgiving.  So I am confident when I say “it will come out good, and you will like it”.

The bottom-most layer of the cake is a crumb crust.  The recipe specifies graham cracker crumbs, but we here have an allergic reaction to graham crumbs, so I substituted ginger snap crumbs instead.  Now I always make it that way; ginger snaps just seem to go so much better with pumpkin.  The cake layer is a pumpkin spice cake, and I have played around with changing some of the quantities and ratios, but it always comes out good.  The frosting is a cream cheese frosting.   Who doesn’t like that?

The recipe makes a large cake baked in a 15″ x 11″ pan, in which case pieces are more like squares with a crumb crust;  or you may use two smaller pans, 1 8″ round, and  1  8″ square and the pieces will be taller and cake like. I really like that aspect.  What I usually do is bake the two smaller size cakes, then I have 1 to keep and 1 to give, or 1 to eat and 1 to freeze, you get the idea.  OK, enough said,  here’s how to make it—–


  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs or ginger snap crumbs.  One sleeve of ginger snaps, pulsed in a processor makes about 2 cups.
  • 7 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix all these together for the base.  Press into the bottom of baking pan or pans of choice.  Bake 5-6 minutes.  Let cool.


  • 1 2/3 cups sugar,  or I use 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs,  or 2 eggs and 1/2 cup egg substitute product
  • 1 can pumpkin, or 2 cups homemade pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil.  I use 1/2 cup and it comes out fine.
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, or 2 teasp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

1.  Mix the first 4 ingredients together with a whisk.

Mix wet ingredients together with a whisk.

2.  Mix the dry ingredients together:  flour through salt

3.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients with a whisk.  Blend them well, but do not over mix.

Combine wet and dry ingredients.

4.  Pour over the crust.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.

6.  Cool completely then frost with cream cheese frosting and decorate as desired.


  • 8 ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Makes about 2 cups

In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Gradually beat in the sugar and mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  If the consistency is too stiff, thin with a drizzle of milk or cream.  If it is too soft, refrigerate until frosting is spreadable, about 15 minutes.


 This is my husband’s half-eaten piece.  He couldn’t wait for me to photograph it!

Time to Make the Doughnuts!

Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts

I’m not a doughnut person. Glazed, sticky, sweet doughnuts don’t do anything for me. Neither do filled doughnuts, like lemon cream, custard, or raspberry.  Ok, if you twisted my arm I would eat one, and most probably like it, but I don’t go out of my way for doughnuts.  Am I being clear here?   That’s why it’s so surprising that I was all over this recipe when I first came upon it.  I think because they contain pumpkin.  Pumpkin anything will get me every time.

Pumpkin is one of those winter squashes I have been writing about.  They’re everywhere at this time of year.  But when cooking or baking with pumpkin  you don’t want to use the Jack-O-Lantern type, but instead use the small sweet ones called Sugar Babies (or similar name).

“Sugar Baby” Pumpkins

The flesh of these cuties is bright orange, sweet, and smooth, and while the canned version is very convenient, it is not difficult to cook the real deal yourself.  So if you’re making your own pumpkin puree, cut the pumpkin in half, remove seeds, then bake or steam it,  scoop out the flesh, and puree it using a processor, blender, or hand blender.  This can be packed in measured portions and frozen, ready for however you will use it.

When choosing a pumpkin, make sure it’s firm and without soft spots. Under cool conditions pumpkins keep for months without rotting–they love a 50-60 degree porch.  In fact some get sweeter over time, so you need not feel pressured to cook and bake on the same day you buy the pumpkin. And remember the health benefits of this squash: it’s packed with fiber and is a great source of vitamin A.

Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to try using fresh pumpkin–it’s not hard to do–but if not, the canned version is certainly acceptable.  The recipe that follows is for pumpkin cake doughnuts.  With their bright orange color, moist texture, and pumpkin flavor, these baked, not fried, doughnuts are the perfect thing to have with a cup of coffee or a glass of apple cider.

The amount of dough this recipe makes is generous, and I was somewhat limited in pan choice since I only have one doughnut pan which holds six doughnuts.  So I improvised and used a mini bundt pan, only filling each well a third way full. Still having more dough to use, I poured the rest into a six-cup muffin pan, and sprinkled the tops of them with cinnamon chips.  In total,  I got 18 doughnut-bundt-muffins.  No matter what shape they’re in, they taste fantastic.  Perfect for Fall!


YIELD:  (per recipe)  12 doughnuts


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus 1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg and ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons flour
  • coating:  cinnamon sugar


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 2 standard doughnut pans.  If you don’t have doughnut pans you can bake these in muffin tins, or other similar pans.  They just won’t look like doughnuts.

2.  Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt and baking powder until smooth.  Hint:  mix spices and baking powder with the sugar using a whisk for good distribution.

3.  Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.

4.  Fill the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full; using a scant  1/4 cup batter in each.  If you’re making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full;

5.  Bake the doughnuts for 15 – 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean.  Muffins will need to bake for 23 – 25 minutes.

Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Chips

6.  Upon removing from the oven let the doughnuts cool in their pans about 5 minutes, then loosen their edges and transfer them to a rack to cool.

7.  While the doughnuts are still warm, gently roll them in a cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat.  For muffins sprinkle the tops heavily with the cinnamon sugar.  Store at room temperature for several days

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

SOURCE:  King Arthur Baking