How to make pumpkin spiced muffins for a delicious Halloween-themed treat

Gemma Simmonite of the Gastrono-Me cafe shares her recipe for pumpkin muffins, giving you and your kids a Halloween taste without actually having to eat an actual vegetable.

There are plenty of squashes that are utterly delicious to eat. Our regular gardening writer Mark Diacono wrote an entire piece on them just a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, pumpkin isn’t very close to the top of the deliciousness list. Thankfully, there are ways to make them work in a more palatable manner — as this recipe, from Gemma Simmonite of the Gastrono-Me cafe in Bury St Edmunds, shows.

Many might disdain Trick or Treating as an American import, but like it or not it’s part of our shared traditions too by now. And given how much the little ones have missed out on in 2020, it only seems right to whip up a batch for the children.

‘They are super easy, and literally taste like autumn thanks to the addition of pumpkin, the warming spices and nuts,’ says Gemma.

‘You can buy pumpkin puree in tins, thanks to our American cousins, but if not available in your supermarket simply boil prepared cubes of pumpkin until till tender, then blitz in a food processor.’

Recipe: Pumpkin spiced muffins

Ingredients (makes 10-12)

For the muffins

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  • 255g Plain Flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 100ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 45ml honey
  • 100g cooked pureed pumpkin
  • 90ml vegetable oil
  • 50g sultanas
  • 50g chopped nuts (reserve a little for topping) – I used pistachios and cashews

For the crunchy sugar topping

  • 2 tablespoons of Demerara sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of melted butter
  • More nuts for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 200c, 180c fan or gas mark 5-6.

In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, spices and sugar.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the fork, add the milk, oil, honey, and pumpkin puree and stir to combine.

Pour all of the liquid mix into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined and there aren’t any flour traces visible. On the last few stirs, add the sultanas. Remember a good muffin mix is a lumpy mix!

Spoon the muffin mixture into the prepared cases, fill over half full to ensure a well risen and full muffin.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops spring back, or a toothpick comes out clean.

For the topping, mix the sugar and melted butter and coat the top of the muffins, then sprinkle with the remaining nuts.