Recipe for {Good} Trouble: Pumpkin Muffins

I loved this show when I was nannying. I’m a little sad my guy never watched it. Yours might like it, though! If you decide to click through, I might make a penny in affiliate link revenue. Just between us.

Pumpkin is a superfood. Pretty sure Beast knew that. I don’t know if Hamilton would have approved of the chocolate chips, but I like to think so. This recipe makes me happy, first because these muffins are gorgeous: sproingy, not too sweet, a little spicy… but also because every time we bake them, I recall this sweet little show from Nick Jr.’s line up ten years ago.

The original recipe I used called for a cup of pumpkin, but there were two problems there. There are nearly two cups of pumpkin in a can, and the recipe made 14 muffins, which bothered my sense of symmetry.

I’ve fiddled a little and come up with a nearly doubled recipe that uses the whole can of pumpkin and makes 24 perfect muffins. We freeze half and the other half keep for 5 days or so in a Ziploc on the counter.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


Preheat the oven to 350°F, line two standard muffin pans with paper liners {I like to give the paper liners a quick spritz with cooking spray, but that’s totally optional}.

In a smallish bowl, combine:

  • 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 3 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t. ground cloves

In a large bowl, combine:

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)


  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 2 t. vanilla extract

Blend the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring until everything is combined and relatively smooth. Divide the batter evenly between 24 muffin liners. They will be full, but it’s okay. This batter doesn’t spread too much.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, depending on your oven. They should bounce back a little when you press gently on their domed tops.

Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes. I usually let them cool a little before noshing freezing.

The Angry Birds Cake

It’s not all books and fiction and navel-gazing about my writing career over here, oh no! This past week was my son’s birthday, and he requested an Angry Birds cake, “With three stacks like a wedding cake, Mama.” (Clearly the child has seen me make too many of those!)

bad piggies, angry birds pigs, fondant angry birds, fondant cake decoration
Kingy, Lala, and Squealy

I began with some store bought rolled fondant and a few images in a Google search. These guys aren’t complicated, but the assembly takes some fiddling. (It took me about four hours–spread out over three nights–to do all the fondant characters.) I’m particularly pleased with how Lala (For the new folks, my son’s favorite plush pal is a minion pig he calls Lala.) came out.

TNT box, angry birds TNT, angry birds pigs, fondant angry birds, fondant cake decoration
TNT Crate

So, for those of you asking about the particulars, this is actually two boxes of vanilla cake mix, split between three round pans, a 9″x2″, an 8″x3″, and a 6″x3″. I made one batch of vanilla Italian mousseline buttercream frosting, per the Whimsical Bakehouse ratio, which took care of the filling, the crumb coat, and the color work, but I am efficient and stingy with frosting, so I’d advise anyone trying it to go with two batches, or to make a separate filling.

fondant Angry Birds, Angry Birds cake, Angry Birds cake decoration
Yellow, Bomber, Red, and the Blues

The birds were a lot of fun to construct, but I have a couple of tools I find essential for fondant–without them? Maybe less fun. One: an Exacto precision knife with a fine, slanted blade. Two: artist-quality fine detail paint brushes. Three, Ateco gel food coloring (though Wilton gel coloring will do nicely) for both coloring white fondant for the non-standard (read: not pre-mixed) colors, and for painting detail onto the finished figures. Pro-tip, use confectioner’s sugar for rolling and shaping the way you’d use flour with bread dough. Keeps things from sticking, and you can use a dry paint brush to take away any excess on the surface of the figures.

With all that done in advance, and the cakes baked and frozen a week prior, it was time for frosting, assembling, and putting on the finishing touches, which for this one, were piped edges and a few more fondant models for set dressing… Et voilà!

angry birds birthday cake, angry birds cake, angry birds cake decoration
The finished product!

I won’t lie, I’m really proud of this one, but the true test of my success was the huge grin on Felix’s face when he saw it all put together and ready to go.

Because It’s Sunday, And I Can

I’m posting another cake photo!

This time my Small Boy’s 5th birthday cake. He asked me for a pug cake, which I did by stenciling the negative space on a pumpkin carving template out of black rolled fondant. Then, he asked if he could have a bomb, just like the one I did for Lex’s birthday cake last weekend.

Et voilà, Pug Bomb Cake!

pug cake, birthday cake, stenciling with fondant, modeling with fondant, child's birthday cake
© 2012 Cameron Garriepy

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Buck’s Landing, the first in this connected series of romances, today is the day to do it. I’m donating a portion of the proceeds from all sales this week to benefit a family rebuilding their savings and adoption fund. Recent political developments in Washington are the first step, but my friends have a long road ahead to truly hold equality in their hands.

One Cake to Rule Them All

When my godson was tiny, I promised him any kind of birthday cake he wanted, every year, pretty much until he’s too big to think that’s cool. This past weekend, I celebrated his 9th birthday with him, and delivered on his request for a Lord of the Rings cake.

Ring of Power cake, One Ring cake, LOTRCake

The cake itself is a simple affair: Smitten Kitchen’s Best Birthday Cake, moist vanilla cake with rich chocolate frosting, super easy. The ring is made from Wilton Sugar Sheet, cut into strips and airbrushed with Wilton Gold Color Mist. When the airbrushing dried, I used a black Wilton Food Writer Edible Color Marker to write the inscription on the airbrushed sugar sheets. I drew my inspiration from Peter Jackson’s interpretation of the Ring. The bottom is edged with chocolate sprinkles, and the whole cake got an airbrushing before I did the white lettering on the top, which is an approximate transcription of “Happy birthday Gavin” into the Tengwar alphabet. (Yes, I am a nerd. Moving on.)

Thinking back on some of the other projects G’s asked me to tackle, I’m thinking perhaps I should be worried he’ll up the ante again next year?