Pumpkin Desserts

When Summer ends and the cool Fall breeze returns, it is a wonderful time at our house! We immediately start gathering pumpkins. From local pumpkin stands or the grocery, you are sure to accomulate a lot of pumpkins in the Fall. Why not eat them too? There is something magical about carving into a pumpkin and showing the kids all of the edible parts of a pumpkin. Letting their hands explore in the seeds and their muscle being used to scoop out the gooey parts. Letting them practice cutting the flesh. Watching them learn to follow a recipe to turn their pumpkin into something delicious! Practical life skills, mathematics, listening, patience, it is all learnt during a baking session with pumpkins. Below I have listed some of our favorite recipes that use pumpkin. Of course you can use organic canned pumpkin in the recipes if you are unable to process a whole pumpkin. I hope you enjoy these, and please comment with your favorite pumpkin dessert!

Pumpkin Caramel Swirl Muffins

Last year my daughter (3 years old at the time) asked for Halloween cupcakes. I immediately thought pumpkin and went on a search to find a muffin that could easily pass for a cupcake. Sure enough, I found the perfect one. These are beautiful and smell amazing! I am not a fan of cupcake liners for the added waste and since it was just for our family, I used our silicone muffin pan. This pan, purchased on a whem from Target’s Valentine’s Day discounted shelf, has been perfect. Nothing sticks to it! I highly recommend finding a silicone muffin pan and skipping the liners whenever possible. Back to the muffins! I’ll admit I was a little nervous about the swirl. Last time I put a swirl in anything I was making brownies from a box many many years ago. A swirl from scratch- “OK. I can do this”. And I did. Not hard at all. These were so tasty and will become a tradition for Halloween cupcakes in our house for years to come. Click here for recipe link. Don’t worry the link is correct- just scroll down and find the muffin version. There you will also find instructions for making the caramel swirl.

Pumpkin Pie

This pumpkin pie is not technically challenging or time consuming. I love to make this pie for the Fall season. It’s so delicious that my family always asks for more. And because Brandi Doming does such a great job at keep the recipe simple, I don’t hesitate in making it! Check out this link for the recipe. You will not be disappointed!

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Pumpkin Fluff

This is a tasty treat! It is so much fun for the little ones to make. Have fun with the presentation as well. You could easily serve this in a pumpkin at a get together. It goes perfectly with Vegan Vanilla Wafers, recipe by Elavegan. However, you can also find store bought vegan wafers at Health Stores or Trader Joes. Ginger snaps are another delicious pairing option. Just dip the wafer or cookie in and enjoy!



One 15 oz can of pumpkin

1 Instant white chocolate pudding mix

One 8 oz container of Cocowhip by So Delicious

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp of all spice


In a medium size bowl mix all ingredients well. Chill for at least 2 hours. Serve cold.

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Pumpkin Bread

So if you’ve already checked out the pumpkin caramel swirl muffins, you may have already found a pumpkin bread recipe to enjoy. But if you are still looking for one or maybe you aren’t interested in the gluten-free option above. Here is a very delicious pumpkin bread! It is simple to make and turned out great. We all devoured it! Be sure to check the ingredients, as you may not have spelt flour on hand, but otherwise, it is straight forward. I look forward to reading your comments! Recipe link below.

Click this link for the recipe.

Raising Vegan Tip- After using pumpkins for decoration or food, but sure to compost them. You can easily chop them up and add to an existing compost bin or you can bury them. By burying them in a garden bed or side yard, you will replenish the soil and by next Fall you will find your own pumpkin vines growing!

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1st Birthday: Cakes

The first birthday is a huge milestone. Some choose to do a small intimate celebration, while others want to have a large birthday bash. Either way, it can be easily done plant-based. This post will first discuss our desserts chosen for a large mostly adult party followed by our son’s 1st birthday, where we celebrated with just the 4 of us.

For our daughter’s 1st birthday (pre-pandemic) we had a family and friends party to celebrate the big day. We chose flamingos as our party theme. I think once the theme was selected it all fell into place. My first tip- settle on a theme. There can be so many to chose from. Scrolling through Pinterest feeds, I quickly became overwhelmed. But the pink flamingo felt right. Our little one gravitated to pink even at a young age, and still does today! We also knew the party would be outside and we wanted it to feel easy and colorful. That is how we came up with “Flamingo Fiesta”. I used Zazzle to create custom invitations. There are several platforms for creating custom invitations. Zazzle.com just happens to be one I am most familiar with and enjoy the freedom it provides. After the invites were complete, next came the smash cake!

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Obviously birthday cakes are a regular feature of a birthday party, but what do you do for a one-year-old? My husband and I had been following a plant-based baby-led weaning for our daughter. She had never had refined sugars, artificial food dyes, and was strictly vegan. I came across some pretty fun cake alternatives- birthday smoothie, birthday (healthy) muffins, and birthday fruit plate. I appreciated the idea of the healthy alternatives, but also really wanted the fun of a smash cake. So I chose a vegan recipe that kept refined sugars to a minimum and no artificial dyes. Thankfully, her grandmother offered to make the smash cake. She was kind enough to work with a recipe I provided and did an amazing job. Keep scrolling for the recipe.

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Apple Smash Cake Recipe:

3/4 c avocado oil

1/2 c maple syrup

1/3 c brown sugar syrup

1/2 c unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 c organic cake flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 c chopped apples


Preheat oven to 325F and spray olive oil on two 8″ cake pans

Add avocado oil, syrups, and vanilla extract to a lareg bowl and mix well. Add applesauce and mix again

In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients and then add to the wet mixture. Do not overmix.

Fold in the chopped apples to coat evenly

Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, until clean toothpick from center.

Cool for 10 minutes.

The frosting was Vanilla Buttercream by Veggie Balance. link for recipe here.

So the big questions- Did she smash it? Did she eat it? Well, she put her hand in it, had a few bites, and tried to feed us. It was adorable. There is something so special about a little one offering to share. Warms my heart. It was a beautiful smash cake and a beautiful moment!

Next came the adult cake. I decided to go with a local vegan bakery. We were traveling out of town for this party and I did not want the added stress of baking and decorating a vegan cake in someone elses kitchen. Fortunately, I found an Atlanta, GA based bakery, Dulce Vegan Bakery & Cafe and ordered a custom cake. One of our family members lived in the area close to the bakery and was able to stop by for a taste test- Vanilla was her favorite, so that’s what I ordered! One of our family members was kind enough to pick it up on their way and it arrived in perfect condition! It was amazing!!

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Next, the final dessert- cupcakes. I am not sure I could have a party and not have a chocolate dessert option. I had just discovered a delicious vegan chocolate cupcake and had modified it for a little kick. I named it a Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcake. Click this link to find the recipe. So delicious! Luckily, her other grandmother offered to make these cupcakes the morning of the party! So we ended up with a lovely and tasty dessert table. It was covered in pink flamingos and filled with plant based ingredients.

But what if you are having a small family celebration? Keep scrolling for our son’s 1st birthday.

If you are planning a 1st Birthday Party during a pandemic (like we did for our son) you’ll likely be keeping it intimate with family only. We had a wonderful time celebrating our son’s 1st birthday despite our original plans being cancelled due to COVID-19. Mickey Mouse was a favorite at the time, so we went all out decorating. Even his birthday outfit matched the theme. Be sure to scroll down to see his adorable onesie. We elected to do an even healthier smash cake than our daughter’s. I use this recipe to make muffins, mini cakes, or fun shaped cupcakes all the time. The kids consider it to be a special treat, and I know they are still getting a nutrient packed snack from it.

Banana Applesauce Smash Cake Recipe:

Double or triple for full sized dozen muffins or 9″ cake.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mash 2-3 large ripe bananas, mix with 1/4 c. applesauce, 1 1/2 T avocado oil, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Large bowl combine 1/3 c. whole wheat flour, 1/3 c. oat flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp baking soda.

Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix.

Pour into oiled or silicone cake (or muffin pan).

Cook for 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting I used the same Veggie Balance Vanilla Buttercream.

Our son loved the smash cake and would have probably eaten the entire thing if we had let him. In fear of an upset stomach, we portioned it out a bit. He had a great time digging into it and devouring it!

For the rest of us, I used a silicone miniature Mickey Mouse cupcake pan, which I had found on Poshmark. Used the same recipes for the smash cake and frosting. We all enjoyed the cakes and celebration!

Raising Vegan Tip Look for decorations at a local Thrift Store, Local Buy Nothing Group, or on second-hand online markets- such as Poshmark. Also, when done with decorations, pass on the love by donating via Buy Nothing Group or to local Thrift Stores. Extend the life of the decorations!

Check back for the next post- 1st Birthday: Lunch Menu

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