Here’s a quick treat for those of you who like to sneak out on Mischief Night and liberate pumpkins from your neighboring frat house. Don’t smash them! Remember, eating well is the best revenge.

Very slightly adapted from a recipe in the ever-popular Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, these cupcakes are something like a cross between a pumpkin muffin and a cinnamon bun, making them a perfect breakfast treat after a long night of watching Misfits cover bands.

For anyone who hasn’t cooked their own pumpkins before, here’s a quick recap:

Generally, the smaller and fresher the pumpkin, the better, as its flavor will be sweeter and stronger. Sugar pumpkins are best for eating, but you can use traditional pumpkins if that’s what you’ve got (as long as they’re not huge); you may need to adjust the spices and sweetener accordingly.

  1. Core your pumpkin(s) and scrape out inner seeds and strands as though you were carving a pumpkin. (Later, you can roast the seeds with some oil, salt, and spices for a high-calcium snack, and use the rest of the inner goo in stock.)
  2. Slice each pumpkin in half and place on a baking pan.
  3. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork and the skin starts turning black and is easily peeled back from the flesh. If your pumpkins are older, add ~½ cup water to the pan 10 minutes in to help steam them while they cook.
  4. Peel away the skin and let cool a bit.
  5. Puree in a food processor until smooth.
  6. Transfer to a colander lined with paper towels, cheesecloth, unbleached coffee filters, or thin, clean cloth and let sit overnight. You want to drain out as much liquid as possible; this will result in a firmer and more flavorful product, closer to the texture you find in cans of store-bought pumpkin.

That’s it! Use your puree in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin. If you’re not cooking with it immediately, you can freeze it. I like to process a bunch of pumpkins at once each fall so I have enough to last into the spring.


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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • 1¼ c fresh cooked pumpkin
  • 1 c sugar
  • ¼ c oil
  • ¼ c soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1¼ c flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2½ tbsp margarine, melted
  • 1 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease a muffin pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar, oil, soy milk, and vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and spices.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet; mix until just moistened.
  6. Pour into muffin pan and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat together powdered sugar, cinnamon, melted margarine, non-dairy milk, and vanilla until smooth.
  8. Drizzle cupcakes with icing and refrigerate to set.