Pumpkin and walnut cupcakes

Pumpkin and walnut cupcakes

Something for Everyone
Ben Dearnley

These are particularly moist and delicious cupcakes – the pumpkin flavour is barely noticeable. If you prefer, you can use lemon instead of orange for the icing. Alternatively, you can skip the icing altogether and eat them more like a muffin. If you’d like to freeze these, don’t put the icing on until after they’ve thawed.


Quantity Ingredient
2 eggs
60ml milk
100g brown sugar, (see note)
or 100g rapadura sugar, (see note)
125ml walnut oil
or 125ml olive oil
or 125ml coconut oil, (see tip)
125g pumpkin, grated
55g ground almonds
40g walnuts, chopped, (optional)
150g wholemeal self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
or 1/2 teaspoon mixture of both

Orange cream cheese icing

Quantity Ingredient
150g cream cheese, softened
40g icing sugar, sifted
3 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1 orange, finely zested, (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a twelve-hole muffin tin with paper or silicone cases.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar and oil. Stir in the grated pumpkin, ground almonds and walnuts (if using). Add the flour and cinnamon, and stir until just combined.
  3. Divide the mixture among the paper cases and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the orange cream cheese icing, beat the cream cheese, icing sugar and orange juice together in a mixing bowl until well combined and smooth. Add a little more orange juice if you like a stronger flavour.
  5. Spread the icing over the top of the cooled cupcakes, topping each with a little orange zest, if liked. The cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container.


  • For a nut-free version you can replace the almonds with a ground seed mix.

    When selecting coconut oil, choose a virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil will turn from a liquid to a solid at 24°C, so if your oil has solidified, gently melt it before using it.

Baby’s serve

  • Because these cupcakes contain some added sugar, I recommend waiting until your baby is over 12 months before offering them to her. If you do wish to give her a small taste, skip the icing and offer them to her as a muffin, broken into pieces.

Toddler’s serve

  • As with baby’s serve, you may wish to skip the icing to avoid the extra sugar. Simply serve as is, cut up as needed.


  • Rapadura sugar comes from the dried whole natural juice of the sugar cane. Because it’s not separated from its molasses content, it retains its natural nutrients. Brown sugar, on the other hand, typically has the molasses stripped out and then some of it is added back in. It also tends to be cheaper and more readily available. Nutritionally, the difference between them is not immense, but if you want a less processed sugar, rapadura is a good option. When purchasing, take note of its country of origin. It can be difficult to source local rapadura sugar, so you might prefer to choose brown to avoid using an imported product.
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