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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache

The usual suspects–cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger–accompany pumpkin in these seasonal vegan cupcakes, while bittersweet chocolate ganache gives them a bit of grown-up elegance. Try them for Halloween; orange and black, they look the part.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup nondairy milk, plain or vanilla
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners and set aside.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir the apple cider vinegar into the milk. Set aside to curdle while you prepare the dry ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt.

To the milk and vinegar, add pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk until uniform. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until only a few small lumps remain.

Spoon batter into cupcake liners until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Makes 12.

Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chips or chopped baking squares)
2 tablespoons nondairy cream
1/2 tablespoon vegan margarine (like Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)

Set chocolate aside in a small heat-proof mixing bowl. Bring cream to a boil in the microwave or in a small saucepan and pour over chocolate. Whisk until smooth, then stir in margarine until incorporated. (If ganache begins to stiffen, place mixing bowl in a larger bowl containing warm water and whisk until melted.)

Thinly spread 2-3 teaspoons of ganache on each cupcake and allow to set for at least one hour. Sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg on top of cupcakes, if desired.

Mary Lake is a writer, teacher, columnist for MF&L, and vegetarian blogger: Mitten Machen.

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