Returning from vacation is the hardest thing to do usually. It’s important to spend some time away form the hustle and bustle, but for how long? My mother and I spent a lovely week away exploring the cities of eastern/central Europe. But more truthfully, we spent it sipping on a lot of very good coffee, eating lot’s of pastries and taking in the view at cozy cafes and I, well equipped with my trusty notebook and pen.

There is immense peace in disconnecting, taking a breather and being forced out of your familiar surroundings – you realise what your heart craves, misses and thinks of when there is nothing to do but to spend time with your own thoughts. It’s blissful, motivating and I’ve returned very much rejuvenated. (and also well tanned and rather rounded!).

So this muffin is one of those futile attempts to eat healthy while you’re trying to remove the excess weight, but still crave sweetness. I like these for breakfast, but really, with a cup of afternoon tea works out pretty well too (read: diet out the window). I make these muffins with whole wheat flour and the trick I’ve learnt over the years is that whenever using a heavier grain, try to have a higher liquid moistness ratio to avoid a dense texture. The pumpkin puree helps avoid this situation as well. I also add a bit of orange zest for some tartness to balance off the sweetness, along with the usual suspects that goes with the pumpkins: allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. I choose a combination of brown sugar and honey for sweetness. You could also use maple syrup in place of honey.

You can have this with a bit of jam or jelly, or even a drizzle of honey!

The Recipe
Serves 12


  • 1 cup or 350g pumpkin cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • granulated sugar for topping


  • Boil the pumpkin until tender and cooked through.
  • Drain the pumpkin and once cooled mash it up and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare the muffin tin liners.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the oil, sugar and honey together. Then add the eggs, vanilla and orange zest and whisk for a few more minutes.
  • Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and whisk until combined.
  • Fold in the dry ingredients.
  • Scoop the batter into cupcake liners.
  • Sprinkle some granulated sugar on top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and tin to cool completely.

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The recipes are tried and tested, some are adapted from various places, and a few are passed down; but every one of them comes straight from the heart.