Back in 2011, I posted a blog about my new favorite recipe at the time — Two Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins. It’s been six years since then and these muffins are still one of my favorite recipes. But after years of making these muffins, I’ve learned lots of new tips and tricks and figured it was about time to share some of these upgrades with my readers.
In this post I will:
- Revisit the original recipe for those who missed the first post,
- Give a recipe that uses yellow cake mix, in case you can’t find a spice cake mix,
- Reveal super secret third ingredient that is guaranteed to take your muffins to the next level,
- And offer three add-in options to spice up your muffins.
Even though these muffins are crazy simple, they also taste delicious! These are a staple at my fall football watching parties and are a favorite among the adults and kids alike.
I recently had a baby and can attest that these muffins are a perfect snack/gift for new moms. They are easy to make, freeze well and you can eat them one-handed! My baby girl has a milk/soy protein allergy and these muffins are dairy and soy* free, so they are a sweet treat that I can actually enjoy!
*The mix does include vegetable oil which says it includes partially hydrogenated soybean oil. But for most infants with a milk/soy protein intolerance this shouldn’t be an issue. My pediatrician said it was okay and Annie hasn’t had a reaction to it.
The Original Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffin Recipe
The basic ingredients for the pumpkin muffins are still the same:
- One box of spice cake mix
- One 14-ounce can of pumpkin
Scoop out into muffin tins and bake for 18-22 minutes at 350 degrees.
It doesn’t get easier than that! You don’t even have to have a mixer to whip these up. About a minute or two of stirring with a wooden spoon will get the batter good and ready to bake. (I use a mixer because I’m lazy.)
The Yellow Cake Version
In my original post I mentioned that you can also use a yellow cake mix and add cinnamon and nutmeg and I got a lot of questions asking about this. Here is a recipe I’ve tried that works pretty well:
- (1) Box Yellow Cake Mix
- (1) 14 oz. Can Pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves
But, personally I prefer the spice cake mix. After all, it doesn’t require using or washing any measuring tools!
Note: Make sure to check the ingredient list if you use a different cake mix – it may or may not be soy and dairy free. The Duncan Hines version I’ve checked and it is.
Secret Third Ingredient
In my original post I warned people against adding the eggs, water and vegetable oil that the cake box mix calls for. But a few years ago I thought, why not just see what happens when I add an egg?
Turns out, an egg is an incredible add.
Now if you don’t have one, it’s not necessary, but when you add one it makes all the difference. What’s different? Read on.
One of the things that I noted in the original recipe is that the batter doesn’t quite make two dozen muffins – more like a half a dozen. Adding one egg thins the batter enough to get you at least 6 more muffins, for a total of 18.
If you don’t add an egg, the muffins don’t rise like traditional muffins or cupcakes. So they end up with a spiky shaped appearance that can make them, well, not as pretty. Adding an egg helps them rise and gives the final muffin a more traditional smoother appearance. (Add two eggs to get very smooth muffins which are easier to ice if you plan to add frosting.)
Adding the egg doesn’t just help the appearance of the muffins. I think it also improves the taste. Without any liquid ingredients the muffins are a bit dense. Adding an egg makes them lighter and fluffier, which I think provides a better overall flavor profile.
Three More Mix-in Options
Over the years, I have experimented with adding different mix-ins to spice up the original recipe. Here are three of my favorites.
1. Chocolate Chips
Some commenters have asked if you need to cook longer when you add mix-ins, but the answer is no. The muffins generally take the same amount of time with mix-ins or not.
2. Raisins & Crushed Walnuts
Generally I think of the muffin as more of a breakfast item. Since these are a sweeter treat they could technically be considered a cupcake.
In an effort to make the muffins a bit more breakfast-y and healthy, I’ll often mix in raisins and walnuts instead of chocolate chips. The raisins add a nice burst of flavor and the nuts a nice crunch. Try whipping up a batch for your next brunch. You won’t be disappointed.
3. Cream Cheese Frosting
So technically this is an add-on, not a mix-in. But it’s a definite fan favorite. This is my husband, Andrew’s pumpkin muffin of choice! Cream cheese frosting perfectly compliments the pumpkin and gives it a sweet fall flavor.
Have you tried this recipe? Have any other mix-ins you love? Leave a comment below!