It FINALLY feels like fall in Southern California so I am celebrating with these vegan pumpkin cupcakes! I just couldn’t bring myself to make pumpkin anything or cozy dishes while it was still 80 plus degrees over here. And even though I catch myself wanting to say, “OMG, it’s so cold!” (when it’s under 60 degrees–I know, I am a major wuss) I’ve been stopping myself and remembering that this cold crisp weather was exactly what I was wishing for a few weeks ago.
These cupcakes are the perfect thing to bake if you want your place to smell like warm spices and get in the mood for the upcoming holidays! I love that you can make these guys with minimal tools–no electrical appliances needed so you can bake these just about anywhere where there’s an oven, a large bowl, and a whisk or spoon. They also keep very well and I actually preferred how the cupcakes and coconut milk whipped topping tasted on the second and third day. I kept them refrigerated on a plate wrapped with paper towel and either ate them immediately out of the fridge or if I had the patience, I would let it get to room temperature first before devouring.
Most pumpkin cupcakes are topped with a cream cheese frosting but I wanted something that wasn’t as heavy. I decided to pipe coconut milk whipped cream on top for a lighter frosting option to make the cake more reminiscent of pumpkin pie. I am sure you have seen the Pinterest posts about how you can turn a can of coconut milk into whipped cream and it totally works! It was pretty cool and I’m glad I finally got to try it. Before I started, I did some research and came across Tasty Yummy’s super helpful Tutorial Tuesdays post. She does a wonderful comparison between different brands of coconut milk and what the results look like. I used her tutorial to choose a coconut milk that would yield stiff peaks as I wanted to be able to pipe it on the cupcakes. A few things that I discovered about coconut milk whipped cream…
1.) It was very easy to pipe and totally held together. I was worried it might melt or get soft but it never did. Quite the opposite–if you put it in the fridge it will harden so that it keeps its form but when you bite into it, it is still light and creamy.
2.) I felt like adding vanilla extract gave it a weird flavor so I would opt out of using that next time and removed it from the ingredients list.
3.) I also feel like powdered sugar tastes funny in any type of frosting so for a sweetener I chose agave nectar. I started with a teaspoon, tasted it, and continued sweetening from there.
4.) It does have a coconut flavor so I was afraid my boyfriend who dislikes all things coconut would not like it. I asked him to try just the cupcake first, then jut the frosting, then together in one bite. He actually couldn’t tell the frosting was made from coconut and liked the lightness of it. I was also a little worried he might feel like the coconut and pumpkin clashed, but he said that was fine too (on the second and third day I felt like I couldn’t taste the coconut flavor anymore)! So even if you are not a huge coconut fan, it might be worth a try but if you feel like playing it safe I would use another non-dairy whipped topping or the more traditional cream cheese frosting.
Above is the type of coconut milk I used and how it looked in the can, scooping it out, and what the liquid looked like once I got all the solid parts out. I think I will try another brand next time to see if I like the flavor or texture better. Have you tried whipping up some coconut milk? Let me know which brands of coconut milk you like and if you have any tricks or tips!
I hope you enjoy these pumpkin pie inspired cupcakes and I’m looking forward to cooking and baking more seasonal fall foods!
Tools Needed: 1 large mixing bowl, a whisk, 1 or 2 cupcake pans, paper liners, and a wire rack (optional). For the frosting you will need an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, piping bag, and a piping tip. I used a round tip about 1/2″ in diameter.
Recipe Notes: I use Ener-G brand egg replacers when I bake. After looking up the weight of an average egg, I was able to determine that 1 1/2 egg substitute recipe = 1 egg. So when using this egg replacer, I use 2 1/4 tsp of powder + 3 TBS of warm water to make one egg. I figured this out because in the past I have felt that 1 egg replacer didn’t seem like it was enough to substitute the liquid you’d get more a regular egg. I’ve been using the above formula for some time now–it seems to work well and I have not run into any issues.
The cupcake recipe is a vegan version of Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Cupcakes.