Sign up

Pumpkins - They're Not Just for Carving

Thanksgiving and Halloween are just around the corner, which means pumpkins are back in season! Here are some great recipes from Julie van Rosendaal using everyone's favorite October ingredient.

Pumpkin Waffles (or Pancakes)

This batter makes great waffles, but can be ladled into a hot skillet to make pancakes as well. If you'd like to use freshly grated ginger instead of powdered, add it to the wet ingredients instead of the dry ingredients.


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
pinch allspice
2 cups milk or buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin purée
¼ cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla


In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, pumpkin, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk just until blended.


To make waffles: preheat your waffle iron, spray it lightly with nonstick spray or brush it with oil, and cook according to the manufacturers' directions. (I use a scant ladleful - or about half a cup - per deep Belgian waffle.)


To make pancakes: preheat your skillet over medium heat; spray with nonstick spray or brush with butter or oil, and then wipe it off with a paper towel. (This way you'll get your first pancake right, rather than the first one being a "tester".) Ladle on about 1/4 cup of batter and cook until a few bubbles start to break through the surface and the edges appear dry. Flip and cook until golden on both sides.


Keep pancakes or waffles warm in a 250F oven while you finish cooking them. Serve warm topped with blueberries and maple syrup; leftovers can be popped in the toaster for a quick weekday breakfast.


Makes about 10 waffles or 15 pancakes.

Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Grated zest of an orange (optional)
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup golden raisins and/or dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


1 8 oz. (250 g) pkg. light or regular cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 cups icing sugar, or enough to make a spreadable frosting
2-4 Tbsp. water, or enough to make a spreadable frosting


Preheat to 350F and spray two or three 9" round cake pans (or a Bundt pan) with nonstick spray.


In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice and nutmeg. In another bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs, ginger, vanilla and orange zest.


Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture along with the pumpkin and stir with a spatula until almost combined; add the dried fruit and nuts and stir just until blended. Scrape into prepared pan(s) and bake for an hour, until the tops are springy to the touch. (It will be closer to 45 minutes for three layers, or an hour and ten minutes for a Bundt.) Cool in the pan on a wire rack.


To make frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth; add about a cup of icing sugar and beat until smooth, then add more, and 2 tablespoons of water, and keep beating until you have a smooth, spreadable frosting.


Once cakes have cooled, invert them onto the racks out of their pans, flip them back over and slice most of the domed top off using a long, serrated knife. Frost with the cream cheese frosting.

Pumpkin Hermits

2 cups all-purpose flour or half all-purpose, half whole wheat

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup butter or non-hydrogenated margarine, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup canned (or fresh) pure pumpkin

1 large egg

1/4 cup dark molasses

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup dried fruit: raisins, dried cranberries and/or chopped dried apricots, or a combination

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F.


In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.


In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, pumpkin, egg, molasses and vanilla until smooth. Add flour mixture and stir by hand until almost combined; add raisins or other dried fruit and stir just until blended.


Drop large, rounded spoonfuls of dough 2" apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until just set - springy to the touch around the edges, but you still leave a slight dent if you touch them in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Makes 2 dozen cookies.


Julie is a best-selling cookbook author, food writer, cooking instructor and the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio. She lives in Calgary with her husband and son. Watch for her cooking show, It’s Just Food, with co-host Ned Bell on Access TV and CLT stations across Canada. For more information, visit

Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2022 Calgary’s Child