This recipe was inspired by a strange craving I had for sweet potatoes, ginger and molasses. Unfortunately, the grocery store was out of canned sweet potatoes when I went, so I tried pumpkin instead and fell in love with the results! The basis of the recipe is a basic cupcake recipe (butter, sugar, eggs, flour) except I replaced the butter with coconut oil, the sugar with natural unrefined sweeteners and the flour with a whole grain based flour. Pureed pumpkin and unsweetened applesauce add some fiber and moisture to the batter, while also contributing wonderfully to the fruity, spicy flavor. I used molasses as my sweetener of choice due to its slightly bitter, rum-like flavor and because it’s an amazing source of calcium.
For the frosting, I went with a coconut milk base with lots of ginger and a hint of orange. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that rival Advil and coconut is an excellent source of medium chain fatty acids, which are digested far more quickly than long chain fatty acids (present in more common sources of fat) and are more readily accessible as energy.
The best part about coconut milk frosting is that it is unbelievably easy to make. All you have to do is buy a can of full fat organic coconut milk and let it sit overnight in the fridge. The cream will float to the top with a perfect frosting consistency and you can just scoop it right off.
Prep Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: About 2 hours
Servings: 12 cupcakes
1 ¼ cups brown rice flour (or a gluten-free flour of your choice)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground nutmeg
½ cup molasses
1 tablespoon of honey
¼ cup virgin or extra virgin coconut oil, melted in the microwave at 20 second intervals
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces canned unsweetened pureed pumpkin (about 2/3 of a can)
½ cup natural applesauce
1 can of organic full fat coconut milk that’s been sitting in the fridge for 24 hours (do not shake it!)
2-3 teaspoons of ground ginger (depending on how spicy you like it)
½ gram of powdered stevia (½ of a packet)
½ tablespoon of honey
A splash of orange juice (not too much)
Zest from one medium sized orange
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine all of the dry ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the molasses, honey, coconut oil and eggs.
4. Add in the vanilla, pumpkin and applesauce.
5. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
6. Taste the batter right now. Adjust the ratios of spice/sweet/pumpkin/salt etc. to be to your personal liking. Also, note that if the batter is too runny, now is the time to add a little flour. The consistency should be thicker than pancake batter, but not like cookie dough.
7. Line a standard sized 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
8. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, dividing it equally between them.
9. Put the cupcakes in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
10. While the cupcakes are baking, carefully open the can of coconut milk. There should be a thick, thick, layer of cream right on top, floating on clear liquid below. Make sure you don’t buy the cheap kind of coconut milk that is super runny and never separates. Carefully scoop out the cream and put it into a bowl.
11. Zest the orange and squeeze the juice from half of it into a cup.
12. Whip the coconut cream with the honey, about a tablespoon of orange juice, one teaspoon of orange zest, ginger and stevia. You can add a little bit of the ginger at a time, adjusting the recipe to your liking. I personally love ginger and made mine a little spicy.
13. Taste it to make sure it’s as sweet as you like and adjust accordingly.
14. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and check to see if they are done with a fork.
15. If the cupcakes are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool completely.
16. Once they are close to room temperature, put them in the fridge for a few minutes.
17. Frost the cooled cupcakes
18. Sprinkle on the remaining orange zest as garnish.