Lost and Found

Organization doesn’t come naturally or easily to me. Growing up, my favorite filing system was to stash nearly everything in my designated “junk drawer.” Cramming everything from silly putty, scribbles on torn half-sheets of paper, old holiday decorations, underwear, and beyond occupied that small space; a veritable stew of everyday detritus. Delving into the depths of the junk drawer was a journey into uncharted territory. Each exploration through that wild mishmash was a genuine treasure hunt, yielding long-forgotten favorite toys or memories of happy occasions. The junk drawer was my earliest attempt to save everything near and dear to me, which ironically resulted in many more of those items getting lost.

You’d think I would learn from such a noteworthy mistake, and yet the junk drawer lives on, only in a digital format. Computers and memory disks and burned CD’s all have a random sampling of of past works, essays from high school mixed freely with more recent recipes and photos. Though the situation has improved greatly over the years, I still find myself sorting out the mess, sometimes stumbling upon a gem worth polishing back to its original luster.

Such is the case with these Oatmeal Cream Cupcakes. Originally shared merely as a photo in a review post, it was a killer recipe that was meant for prime time, not just late fringe. Shockingly little was said about the sweets themselves, which is a real shame considering what a hit they were, despite the failings of the original frosting. Inspired by oatmeal cream pies, a classic childhood treat that I never actually had. Compact, portable, and boasting comforting, simple flavors, it’s easy to understand their appeal even without firsthand experience. Soft, chewy oatmeal cookies can do no wrong, and with a smidgen of creamy frosting uniting two in harmony, such a fool-proof formula elicits a feeling of nostalgia even for this outsider.

Rather than going through the fuss of scooping, rolling, and patting out cookies, it just sounded easier to convert that concept into cupcakes. Having the opportunity to hone the original recipe further to better suit my evolving tastes, perhaps becoming lost in the virtual junk drawer wasn’t such a terrible misfortune to befall this file. Now, if only I could find the others missing in action…

Oatmeal Cream Cupcakes

1 1/2 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, pulsed in food processor
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine, Melted
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
3/4 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Optional Add Ins: For a less literal but more exciting approach to the original creme pie, consider adding up to 1 cup total of toasted, chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, and/or raisins.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 8-Ounces Package Vegan Cream Cheese
5 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine
2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 12 standard muffin tins with cupcake papers.

Pull out your food processor and toss in the rolled oats. Briefly pulse to break them down, keeping the flakes fairly coarse, much like instant oatmeal. Transfer to a large bowl and add in the flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger, whisking thoroughly to combine.

In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, melted margarine, both sugars, non-dairy milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry, and stir with a wide spatula until just combined. A few remaining lumps are fine, as long as there are no large pockets of dry goods.

Divide the batter evenly between your prepared tins, filling them each about 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake for 18 – 22 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centers of the cakes pulls out cleanly. Cool completely before applying frosting.

Make the frosting by simply beating together the “cream cheese” and margarine in the bowl of your stand mixer until smooth, adding in the sugar and vanilla, and then whipping on high speed for a minute or two, until homogenous, light, and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically to make sure that everything is fully incorporated. Pipe or spread to your heart’s content.

Makes 12 Cupcakes

Printable Recipe


28 thoughts on “Lost and Found

  1. Oh you should see my computer…my files in random order on my harddisk and 2 external hard disks,so hard to find sometimes for what I am looking for;D
    Really nice soundin cupcakes :)

  2. Looks really good! I’m looking forward to making them gluten free too!
    Just received your Vegan a la mode cookbook as a gift, my mouth is watering just looking at the pictures! Thanks for creating it!

  3. Hannah, these cupcakes look great…I would love to have one now…
    Great picture!
    Have a wonderful week ahead :D

  4. Well I’m certainly glad these were eventually “found”!! I loved those oatmeal creme pies as a kid but would NEVER eat them now! Well…maybe in your cupcake form!

  5. You’re such a great writer Hannah! Another of your many talents!
    I’m the opposite to you in that I’m hyper-organized. Mess stresses me out!
    Love that you turned a cookie into a cupcake :)

  6. Ah yes, the junk drawer, or as I like to call it, the black hole.
    Great concept for a cupcake! I’m a huge fan of oatmeal muffins so it only makes sense that I will love these.

  7. Yum, I’m going to try these tonight! Though I may just make them with a different frosting cause I don’t have any cream cheese on hand. Do you think these would be good with vanilla frosting as well?

  8. I’ve only just converted to oatmeal cookies – why did noone tell me how great they are til now? – so I’m betting oatmeal cake is similarly in the realm of awesome!

  9. i did used to love the little debbie snacks way back when. i’m sure they don’t hold up though, so I’m all about trying these cupcakes instead :)

  10. Never had an oatmeal cream pie but if these little babies are anything to go by, they must be amazing. Cheers for sharing these with us Hannah and thoughtfully providing us with the recipe to replicate them throughout our social circles (or just eat them all in the cupboard ;) )

    1. Is it possible that your ingredients are too warm? Try stashing the frosting in the fridge for a few hours before whipping it a second time. It’s definitely a soft frosting, and the summer heat could be too much for it to handle.

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