Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Pupcakes {Happy Birthday Neko!}

Neko's First Birthday | Will Cook For Friends

Neko turned one over this past weekend, which, according to the internets, is like fifteen in dog years. So… I guess that makes him a teenager, now?

That certainly explains why his room is so messy. And he never returns my texts. Why doesn’t he love me anymore? *sobs*

Just kidding. This is why pets are awesome.

Seeing as Neko is, well, a dog, he couldn’t have cared less that Saturday was his birthday. I had put a party hat on him and was taking pictures, so as far as he knew it was just like any other day. That is, until I gave him these pupcakes.

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Pupcakes | Will Cook For Friends

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits | Will Cook For Friends

Pup-friendly cupcakes, made with pumpkin (good for digestion) and peanut butter (good for deliciousness). Topped off with a peanut butter and cream cheese frosting, and decorated with his favorite homemade dog biscuits (clearly made even more delicious by me hand-engraving his name into some of them, which he totally cared about. Yes, I realize this may be an early sign of mental illness. Yes, I’ve come to terms with it.)

When I first put the party hat on him, he gave me the saddest, most forlorn look I’ve ever seen. Apparently, party hats aren’t his thing. His sadness was short lived, though, and he forgot about the hat all together when I presented him with his first pupcake.

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Pupcakes | Will Cook For Friends

Neko's Birthday (that look on his face is: I think I ate my pupcake too fast!)

That look on his face is the exact same look I have when I’ve eaten my dessert so fast I don’t even know what happened to it. Although, if the desserts I ate were as healthy as these, I’m not sure I’d have to feel guilty about it.

Here’s the scoop on the ingredients list:

  • Brown Rice, Oat, and Quinoa flour — just like humans, not all dogs can digest wheat very well. Plus, these gluten-free flours pack a lot more protein and nutrients than their wheaty counterpart. If you know your dog is fine with wheat and don’t want to splurge on specialty flours, you should be able to substitute all-purpose, or white whole wheat flour, without a hitch. (I haven’t tried, though, so let me know how it goes if you do.)
  • Pumpkin Puree — awesome for doggy digestion, and does double duty keeping the pupcakes moist. Can be substituted with pureed sweet potato, which is also shown to help gut health.
  • Peanut Butter — delicious and nutritious, packed with healthy fats and proteins. Be sure to use all natural peanut butter, with no added sugar.
  • Eggs — protein, protein, protein!
  • Ground Flax Seeds — full of omega 3’s, these are great for overall health, and help promote a strong, shiny coat.
  • Coconut Oil — more healthy fats to help aid in the digestion of vitamins and minerals.
  • Honey — in small doses, honey can be good for dogs in the same way it can be good for humans, with its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Keep in mind that dogs don’t usually have sugars in their diet, though, so these pupcakes should be fed as a treat only. Don’t overdo it — just like people, dogs can have too much of a good thing!

And of course, this should go without saying, but always be careful when giving your dog something new. Even though these ingredients are healthy and dog-friendly, all dogs will react differently. Give your dog just a taste and wait to see how it sits with them before treating them to a whole pupcake!

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Pupcakes | Will Cook For Friends

Seeing as these are made with all natural, healthy ingredients, you know I had to try one. I was surprised by how not awful they were: a little dense, and not very sweet. A bit like a whole wheat peanut butter muffin. I wasn’t a fan of the frosting (Neko LOVED it, though, so that’s what counts), but other than that, really not bad.

Full disclosure, I ate a second one for breakfast the next day. Yeah.

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Pupcakes | Will Cook For Friends

After gobbling up two of these bad boys, Neko got to go to the dog park to play with all his buddies. He must’ve been supercharged by the pupcakes, because he ran for almost an hour before he was finally tuckered out.

Then he came home and crashed on the futon for one of the most epic of naps ever:

Most Epic Nap Ever

If that isn’t a good birthday, I don’t know what is.

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Pupcakes
(Makes 9-10 regular sized cupcakes)

1/4 cup brown rice flour*
1/4 cup oat flour*
1/4 cup quinoa flour*
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (or sweet potato puree)
1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter, with no added sugar
2 large eggs
1 TBSP ground flax seeds
1/4 cup unflavored coconut oil, melted

For the frosting:
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 TBSP natural creamy peanut butter

Homemade pumpkin and peanut butter dog biscuits, for topping the cupcakes (click here for recipe)

*If you know your dog is okay with wheat, you should be able to substitute these flours for unbleached all-purpose flour, or white whole wheat flour. I haven’t made them this way, though, so let me know if you try it.

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners (or lightly grease with baking spray).
2.    In a bowl, whisk together the fours, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
3.    In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin puree, peanut butter, eggs, flax seeds, and coconut oil until smooth. Add the dry ingredients, and mix until no dry spots remain.
4.    Scoop batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each spot almost to the top. You have enough batter to make 9-10 pupcakes. (If you have smaller dogs, I suggest halving the recipe and using a mini cupcake tin.)
5.    Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpic inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before applying frosting and treating your pup.
For the frosting:
1.    In a bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Use a spoon or offset spatula to spread about 1 TBSP of frosting onto each pupcake.
2.    Optionally, top with a pumpkin and peanut butter dog biscuit that has been meticulously hand-engraved with your dogs name. You know, or not.

Unfrosted pupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, or in the fridge once frosted.

Note: These pupcakes should be fed as treats only. I suggest giving just 1-2 pupcakes per day for larger dogs, and only 1/2-1 pupcake for smaller dogs. If you have a very small breed, try halving the recipe and baking the pupcakes in a mini-cupcake tin (keep on eye on them, as the baking time will vary). As always, be careful whenever you give your dog something new. Let your pet try just a taste and wait at least a few hours to see how it sits with them before giving more. If your dog has any negative reaction at all, do not feed them more. If possible, test individual ingredients before hand to make sure your pet doesn’t have any sensitivities to them.


Want more adorable puppy pictures? See Neko’s 6 month puppy update (pup-date, if you will), here: 6 months of Puppyhood

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7 Responses to Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Pupcakes {Happy Birthday Neko!}

  1. shannon August 19, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    aw, happy birthday to Neko! that kid is all legs. i love how you made him cupcakes: of course you did. :)

    • Willow August 19, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

      Hahaha, yep. You know me. :P

  2. Julie December 21, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    I just made these today but I was missing some ingredients so I made some substitutions and it came out great! I did not have pumpkin so I used applesauce. I did not have those flours so I tossed some oatmeal in the blender and used 3/4 cup of that. I did not have coconut oil so I used a little less than 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Happy Birthday Boo and Lassie!

    • Willow Arlen December 21, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

      Awesome! The applesauce is a great idea. Hope your pups had a wonderful birthday!

  3. Adriana April 1, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    Loved Nekos faces so much :)


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