The Quest for the Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffin, Batch 2

30 Sep

Now, I may not have made this clear enough before: I don’t know what a pumpkin spice latte tastes like. I think they’ve existed since before I quit eating sugar, and I’ve probably tried one. I have no memory of what it wastes like. I have had sugar free pumpkin spice syrup. It’s not very exciting, so I imagine it’s nowhere near the real stuff. Also, I hate pumpkin pie. I think it’s the tragic redheaded stepsister of sweet potato pie, and a waste of good pumpkin that could go into soup. So, after last week’s good-but-taste-nothing-like-a-latte muffins, I kind of. . .went off the rails thinking about how I could improve the recipe. What I’m telling you is, the final recipe for this week kind of doesn’t even a little bit resemble a pumpkin spice latte, probably. It has no pumpkin. It has more coconut, because we know sweet potato and coconut are a match made in heaven (remember the pudding soup? If you don’t, go look it up. It’s that kind of weather again). It has some prunes and hazelnuts. It has some allspice. It’s more of a. . . Dirty Chai-Spiced Sweet Potato Coconut Hazelnut Muffin with a Cream Cheese Center. It’s not vegan anymore (it’s hard as shit to find vegan cream cheese in this town) but it easily could be. It’s still gluten free. But C, you ask, is it DELICIOUS?

They’re definitely very good. They’re a little sweeter than the pumpkin version, and a little spicier. They’re crazy moist and dense. The texture is fantastic. The hazelnut flavor might be a little overpowering. I possibly should have stuck with walnuts or pecans. The coconut is not at all overwhelming, it just gives a nice depth of flavor. I DO wish I’d been able to find dates, since I think that almost chocolatey flavor that dates have would have really upped the ante flavor-wise. The cream cheese filling is an absolute winner, especially with the fresh ginger. I will be happy to eat these, and have a good idea where to go if/when I do another batch (cardamom. Life is better with cardamom). In the meantime, if you like a dense, moist, semi-sweet spice cake, try these!

  • 1 1/3 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp allspice (it turns out I’m out of cardamom? How does that happen?)
  • a couple of pinches of cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 1/4 cup sweet potato puree (roasted sweet potato + a splash of coconut milk + prunes. I wanted to use dates or figs but there weren’t any at the store. Stupid small town)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • a mixture of 2 tbsp flaxmeal + 6 tbsp unsweetened vanilla soymilk
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • Hazelnuts

Cream cheese filling: 

  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese (or vegan cream cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 tspn fresh grated ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, (or in a large bowl, using an electric mixer), beat together the sweet potato puree, applesauce, and canola oil. Beat in the egg substitute. Beat in the coconut milk. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in 2 batches, slowly beating just until incorporated. Gently fold in hazelnuts.
  4. Fill each muffin cup a little less than halfway. Smooth batter. Spoon 1 heaping tsp of cream cheese mixture into center. Top with remaining batter. 
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20-23 minutes. Place muffin tin on a wire rack and let muffins cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove muffins from tin and cool completely.

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