Vegan Pumpkin Muffins with (ahem!) Cream Cheese Frosting

You'd never know these pumpkin muffins are vegan based on their taste or texture. Of course, they're not exactly the picture of health, either — but hey, we first made them for Halloween. You can leave them nude or frost them with your favorite frosting. They're great either way.


If you substitute fresh pumpkin purée for canned in this (or really any) recipe, make sure that it's from a sugar pumpkin and that it's very thick.

Somebody needs a time-out

This morning I had to lock myself in my bedroom for a few minutes to get away from my children. It was like that old IKEA commercial where the mom says, "Somebody needs a time-out!" and then goes and lays down in her IKEA-furnished sanctuary of a bedroom. It was a lot like that commercial, actually, because we have sort of an unacceptable amount of IKEA furniture for people who no longer fall into the Young Alumni category at our alma mater.

World Vegan Day

While I was locked in there, I was, of course, checking Twitter. And that's how I learned that today is World Vegan Day, which kicks off November as World Vegan Month. Who knew?

90% of this story is true

Now, it's true that the word "vegan" can sometimes make me want to lock myself in my bedroom for a few minutes. For one thing, the idea of swearing off broad categories of anything in this world, food especially, 100% forever, is not supported by my operating software. I'm no tragically boring middle-of-the-roader, but I'm also not a 100-percenter.

I'm a 90-percenter, I think. For example, this weekend I attended a fantastic two-day workshop on raw vegan food (more on that in a later post), and on the way home I popped into our local organic grocery. Everything I bought would qualify as vegan, as is often the case these days. But when one of the vendors asked which of his handmade cheeses I wanted to sample on the way out, I said "all three, darling!" and I kissed him on the mouth. Ninety percent of that story is true.

90% plant-based

Okay, so it's true that I'm not vegan. But it's also true that the more I learn, the more I firmly believe in a whole-foods, almost totally plant-based diet. Ninety percent plant-based, at least, to put a stake in the ground. And that's why I rashly decided, while locked in my bedroom, to announce a little blogging project here today. (That and the fact that I needed a project, maybe.)

Every single day in November, I'm going to post a vegan recipe or tip, either new or from the archives. If you know me at all, you already realize there will be no meat substitutes and no recipes that use quotation marks or purposeful misspellings. (No "cheese," and no cheez, promise.) Just the same old good food as always.

I bet you'll find that where the archived recipes are concerned, you never noticed that most of them were vegan. I know I didn't. But I'm glad they are.

Vegan pumpkin muffins (with cream cheese frosting)

Just to be totally confusing, this first recipe is for an incredibly delicious and nicely textured vegan pumpkin muffin, but with extremely non-vegan frosting. Feel free to substitute your favorite vegan frosting if you’re into that sort of thing. Me? I’m happy to use my weekly ten percent on a couple of bites of the goodness below.

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

You'd never know these muffins are vegan based on their taste or texture. Of course, they're not exactly the picture of health, either — but hey, we made them for Halloween. Makes about 22 muffins without walnuts, and 24.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serves 22


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups gently packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (or just under two cups thick puree from a fresh pumpkin)
  • 1 cup safflower oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit with one rack about 1/3 of the way up from the oven's bottom and another about 1/3 of the way down from the oven's top. Place a total of 22 (or 24, if using walnuts) paper muffin cups in two standard 12-muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup, and water.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold the ingredients together. Fold just until there are no pockets of flour that haven't been incorporated into the batter, and then stop. Fold in the chopped walnuts, if using.
  5. Use a medium ice cream scoop to fill each muffin cup a little more than halfway. Bake for 15 minutes with one muffin tin on each oven rack. Then switch the positions of the tins and bake for about 10 minutes more, until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool muffins in tins on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, then remove muffins from tins and cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting (or a vegan frosting of your choice), if desired.


Adapted from Joy the Baker's excellent recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 299 Total Fat:: 18.6g Carbohydrates:: 32.7g Fiber:: 1.7g Protein:: 2.3g