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I know, I know. Not the best keyword-rich title for a recipe post, but these cupcakes lead to hanky-panky. I thought I better mention that right off.

Sometimes I just can’t help myself. Off-the-wall recipe titles often trump SEO in my world. I understand that’s not the best strategy for improving online search results, but it’s so much more fun. Plus, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to mix cupcakes with sex.

According to a recent study by the Taste and Smell Treatment and Research Foundation, essence of pumpkin is the way to a man’s heart. Or, at least to his boy parts.

Dr. Alan Hirsch and his smart-smelling colleague, Dr. Jason Gruss, conducted an in-depth plethysmographic (don’t even ask) study on the food smells men find most sexually stimulating. Empirically documented through hemodynamic testing (so to speak).

The results are in and guess what, ladies? No need to wear high heels or buy expensive perfume (not that I do either). Just stick a doughnut in your pocket, munch on some licorice and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice in your hair. You’ll be irresistible.

But, be careful. I’d think twice before setting bait for the doughnut guys.

The Top 10 Odors Male Volunteers Responded To
actively responded to, like in a physically noticeable way)
1. Pumpkin pie and lavender
2. Doughnut and black licorice
3. Pumpkin pie and doughnut
4. Orange
5. Lavender and doughnut
6. Black licorice and cola
7. Black licorice
8. Doughnut and cola (doughnuts and cola? seriously? who are these guys?)
9. Lily of the valley
10. Buttered popcorn

So — the way to a man’s heart (with a stop here and there) is through pumpkin pie spice and doughnuts? I bet men wish the reverse was that simple.

Doughnuts versus shiny, sparkly things.

Men are from Mars via Dunkin’ Donuts and women are from Venus via the jewelry store (or in my case, Bent Gate Mountaineering).

Here’s a recipe for love ~
Gluten-free pumpkin pecan boyfriend bait cupcakes
(I threw in some chocolate so the ladies would also be in the mood)

what you need
1 and 1/2 cup Pamela’s Gluten-Free Baking & Pancake Mix
1 and 1/2 teaspoon 5-spice blend *
1/3 cup organic Turbinado sugar (or another form of sugar)
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (I used Madagascar vanilla — sniff and swoon)
1 and 1/2 cups pumpkin purée (I used Farmer’s Market canned organic pumpkin pie mix, it smells divine)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional, but recommended for obvious reasons)

what you do
• In a medium bowl, whisk together Pamela’s mix with the 5 spice blend. Set aside.
• Place melted coconut oil and sugar in mixer bowl and mix on medium speed until well blended. Blend in eggs (one at a time), vanilla and pumpkin pie purée.
• Slowly add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well blended.
• Fold in chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
• Fill paper-lined muffin tins 3/4ths full and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 22 to 26 minutes (depending on your oven temperature), or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. You can also use silicone baking cups.
• Cool on wire rack and see what happens.

* I use Frontier Chinese Five Spice powder. Oh my gosh, the research team should have set their standards higher than doughnuts and popcorn. This stuff is heavenly. It’s a bit exotic though, so if you want to play it safe, use cinnamon (1 teaspoon) and nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon).

* I didn’t make this research story up. Here’s the official study. Anybody up (no pun intended) for a gluten-free version of this research?

You might also like the smell of garam masala and Moroccan stew. Very sensual.

Peace, love and sexy cupcakes.
P.S. I almost forgot. These cupcakes are wonderful! Top with cream cheese frosting or vanilla ice cream and serve at your own risk. And selectively.

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59 Responses to “gluten-free pumpkin pecan boyfriend bait”

  1. LOL! And I’ll validate this! Now you will receive all kinds of new spam since you included the word sex in your post:)
    Queston (serious for a moment) – what distinguishes a muffin from a cupcake?

    • Melissa says:

      Karen — gosh, I tiptoed around so many of the words and didn’t think about the sex word. You’re so right. I avoided other words and the details of the study, which you have to read. It’s so funny, but takes some time to load the site. Be patient, it’s worth reading.

      Funny you ask about the muffin/cupcake wordage. I wrote this post yesterday with that whole theme as the centerpiece, then a friend forwarded this study my way and I just had to change course. But I think we call cupcakes muffins so we can justify eating them for breakfast. =) Cupcakes are sweet, muffins are more like cornbread or something.

  2. Kit Broihier says:

    These look awesome! And hey, I’m all for using whatever means necessary (nothing illegal tho!) to snag her man. Very funny post. You make me laugh every time!

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks, Kit. I appreciate your comment. These cupcakes are awesome, but totally sweet treats. I’m doing a quick green smoothie detox after messing with the recipe for the past few days. I made them for a Christmas party, and as you know, this stuff doesn’t serve us well in the long run. Yes, big difference between pumpkin puree and pie mix. I used the pie mix and cut back on sugar in the recipe. There’s cane sugar in the pie mix. I make my own pumpkin puree from sweet pumpkins from my CSA, but I didn’t have enough and was making a pie for Thanksgiving (which ended up on the inside of the oven door when I dropped it taking it out of the oven) and these cupcakes. I guess you’d have to adjust according to what you’re using. These are all-out cupcakes, sweet and birthday worthy.

  3. Kit Broihier says:

    Oh, and one point to make–pumpkin pie mix/filling isn’t the same as plain pumpkin puree. Ok to use either here, right?

  4. Alta says:

    I’d have to sub the Pamela’s for something else (you know there’s dairy in that mix? How lame is that?) but I am SO making these. I love the idea of adding 5-spice. I’m a huge lover of that spice mixture and garam masala. And pecans. And pumpkin. Probably these won’t be a boy bait for me so much – hubby isn’t that into sweets – but they’re definitely a bait for me!

    • Melissa says:

      Alta, yeah, I knew that. Bummer. I love the stuff (Pamela’s) although I do mix up my own flour blends from time to time. The Pamela’s stuff is just so easy to have on hand. I’m totally into the 5-spice stuff right now. It just seems to go with the season to me. I love the stuff. Happy holidays!

    • Dia says:

      I’ve been drooling over pumpkin cookie, cupcake, this & that recipes – always do this time of year! Made a heavenly vegan pumpkin pudding for TG – wasn’t too sweet, & mixed well in my AM smoothie …
      I’m also a 5 Spice & Garam Masala fan – just mixed up some red curry powder that I’ve been loving (had pumpkin curry for lunch using it – sauted leeks, garlic, celery root & fennel from my CSA share, & used some pumpkin I’d baked earlier in the morning)
      Also love the coconut oil in the mix, & probably puree some of the pumpkin with coconut milk & ground flax/chia seed (rather than egg) like I used in the pudding – do want to try these!

      • Melissa says:


        Great comment! Thanks for all the tips and tricks. Love the idea of a pumpkin smoothie. I just got a sugar pumpkin in my last CSA share. Am baking it right now (it’s all of 5:30 AM and the house smells like pumpkin) to add to a smoothie later this morning. Thanks!


  5. I needed a good laugh. Melissa, I think you should forget about SEO.

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks for the support! You know, if we don’t laugh on a regular basis, life can get a bit intense at times. As for SEO, I keep telling myself it’s important, but my mischievous side always wins the argument.

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Melissa and SEO News, Gluten Free Emily. Gluten Free Emily said: Gluten Free For Good gluten-free pumpkin pecan boyfriend bait: I know, I know. Not the best keyword… #GlutenFree […]

  7. Oh I could use a little bait for sure, but not for a boyfriend. I have a great husband which I think I’ll keep. Pamela’s has rice in it but I don’t think Bob’s Red Mill does. If that’s true I’m making these tonight for dessert.

    For dinner I’m trying out some roasted beets, carrots, potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips. I hope they work out. I’ve never eaten a rutabaga and I’m not sure hubby has either so I’ll need those cupcakes as a reward for putting up with my veggie adventures.

    Love the title by the way.

    Oh and your Moracan Stew was a big hit with my veggie son. He told me to add less dates if not adding meat. His professional opinion. Every 21 year old has one right.

    Yeah Sexy Cupcakes!

    • Melissa says:

      Diane, I agree with your sentiments. It’s just that “husband bait” or “male bait” didn’t have the same ring to it. =) Boyfriend bait sounded much better. So, your hubby can be your boyfriend too. Oooh, roasted root dinner at Diane’s house. Sounds delish and my kind of meal! I’d be right over if you weren’t so far away and I hadn’t committed to a one day (yes, mild commitment, I know) green smoothie cleanse. I’m going to make a jalapeno smoothie for my dinner, recipe courtesy of my raw food, nutritionist friend Diana. I made myself sick testing this pumpkin cupcake recipe. Seriously, I totally fall off the wagon when stuff like this is sitting around my kitchen. And once you start sliding down that rabbit hole, it’s a high speed tailspin. Sugar and baked goods. Ugh, a love/hate relationship!

      Thanks, Diane. As always, I love your input.
      P.S. I think it’s awesome that your son is eating Moroccan stew, dates or no dates.

      • So I made these cupcakes tonight but I have to confess I was told they were not cupcakes without icing. So I topped them with a little chocolate icing. I know, so bad but oh so good. So like you now I have to get rid of these cupcakes and not by eating them.

        The root roast turned out great. Scott ate his before he found out what was in there.

        I like the idea of a whole day of just smoothies. I’d love to hear more about that. And a jalapeno smoothie sounds amazing. This time of year feels like one big rabbit hole.

        Keep sharing those great recipes!

  8. OK, jalapeno smoothie? Buzz kill! 🙂

    • Melissa says:

      Karen, I never got around to the jalapeno smoothie yesterday, but at my friend Diana’s urging, I’m going to try my own version today. I’ll keep you posted.

  9. Christi S says:

    I had to laugh because my husband HATES pumpkin pie. He loves sweet potato so it may just be something in the “pumpkin pie spice” blend that he dislikes – or it could be psychosomatic which is what I think.

    We also both hate licorice so the licorice would be a turn-off for both of us.

    I know these things are not exact science but it is still pretty funny.

    • Melissa says:

      Christi, We each have our own taste and smell likes and dislikes, that’s for sure! I didn’t get the licorice part either. That is a huge turn off to me. Ugh. But all and all, your right, it’s pretty funny. And if you read the research, it really was “science-based” which makes it all the more strange. Life is interesting, that’s for sure!

  10. Diane says:

    These look fabulous! With my own adaptations (can’t have pecans or milk) these should be yummy!! My hubby likes curries and such, so garam masala may be the way to go!!

    • Melissa says:

      Diane, I couldn’t agree more, garam masala is one of my favorites as well. Do you like Chinese 5 spice? It’s divine. The smell is almost intoxicating! =)

  11. Coco-Emily says:

    Oh this post made me laugh Melissa! Where does one get doughnut perfume anyhow? 😛 I am not surprised by these results however. My hubby always gags when women walk by with strong smelling perfume on, but loves it when I put a little vanilla essential oil on my neck. The cupcakes sound delicious too! And please do tell us about this jalapeno smoothie!

    • Melissa says:


      I’ve MISSED you, sweet girl! And your hubby is a smart man. One of the women on Facebook who commented about this post also said she put vanilla oil behind her ears. Hmm? That’s a new one for me, but I’ll be trying it soon!

      As for the jalapeno smoothie. I haven’t perfected that yet. My initial try wasn’t great, but I think there’s potential there.


      • Coco-Emily says:

        Hi Melissa 🙂 Just saw your response. I miss you too!!! (And all my other GF bloggie friends). I am strongly considered starting another blog. I am afraid I’ll spend more time then I have on it and that’s what always holds me back! You know how time consuming they can be.
        Just wanted to say Merry Christmas to you and yes, the vanilla behind your ears trick works, if you like Australian men that is 😉 Love you friend! XoX

  12. What a cute post, Melissa. I think I read that survey a few years ago. The one that says men are drawn to the scent of pumpkin so much. Don’t you think that means a pumpkin and spice cologne isn’t far behind.

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks for the comment. I’m sure you’re right. In fact, if we did a Google search, I’m sure we could come up with some pumpkin and spice perfume somewhere!

  13. I’ll take 40 of whatever you’re having my friend!

    And I can personally confirm the buttered popcorn…it makes my hubby very corny. 😀


    • Melissa says:

      Heidi girl,

      As always, you crack me up! I must admit though, I did eat 3 of these cupcakes in one day. They are that good. Having said that, I felt like poo and needed a 4 day cleanse to follow. So, you don’t want 40 of what I had. Just keepin’ you safe and healthy, sweet friend.


  14. Okay…this explains so much when it comes to my husband….LOL
    I have every ingredient and am totally going to make these! What a way to bait the hubby! 😉
    Melissa, how I love you! This post just so brightened my day. Thanks for this!
    Here is to some pumpkin pecan cupcake induced hanky panky!

    • Melissa says:


      What a way to brighten my day (or, in this case, very early morning)! Thanks for your comment and the feeling is mutual. Let me know how your version comes out (the cupcake part, that is). 🙂

  15. Hi Melissa

    Oh it’s been way too long since I’ve paid you a visit! And what happens when I finally get around to it? A sex post! Ha!

    This was very interesting study indeed. Funny, I always thought vanilla was a major turn-on for men and that didn’t seem to make the Top Ten. The shocker for me is popcorn. How random is that??

    Oh my goodness, these cupffins look fabulous. I just happen to have a CSA pumpkin on my countertop begging to be used. My children will go wild. Ditto on the 5 spice. I just saw something recently where someone added Chinese 5 spice to their burgers for a little exotic twist. Yum!

    This time of year kills me. It’s one sweet after the next. This morning I woke up craving a big fat salad of greens. So, that’s what I had. I just keep telling myself that if I go on a mini baking strike until Jan 1st I’ll be ok! that is, until the *next* recipe has to be tested!

    all the best

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks for this newsy update. I’ve missed you and need to stop by for a visit. Wish you were in smoothie drinking distance (or cupcake eating distance) so we could really visit. One of these days!

      I don’t get the popcorn thing either and I’m with you on the perils of holiday baking. I actually went on a short cleanse after messing with this cupcake recipe. Ugh, the baked goods get me. I agree, raw veggies are the antidote.

      Five-spice in burgers? Wow, sounds exotic. I love it in a Moroccan dishes with meat, so it makes sense.

      Happy Holidays!

  16. Jim Riemenschneider says:

    More than ready for my sweet wife to make these :~)

    Our 9 year old says he doesn’t care if you call them muffins or cup cakes, he likes them, lol.

    • Melissa says:


      I’m sure your 9 year old will go for these and you’ll benefit as well! 🙂 Yes, who cares if it’s called a cupcake or a muffin. Easier to justify eating them if they are “muffins” though. That can be dangerous!

  17. Dianne says:

    So if these are boyfriend/husband bait, can we call them Stud Muffins? LOL 😉

    • Melissa says:


      That comment of yours is BRILLIANT! My gosh, I wish I had thought of the stud muffin connection. I may be using that in the future, but I’ll give you credit!

      I’m still chuckling.

  18. Becky says:

    These look scrumptious! I’m allergic to coconut oil (even these cupcakes won’t make a full-body rash look sexy). Any substitute suggestions that will keep the flavor yummy? Thank you!

    • Melissa says:


      If you don’t eat dairy, try some Earth Balance instead of the coconut oil. They even have a soy-free version that uses olive oil. Check it out. Earth Balance works great in baked goods.

  19. And all this time I have been wasting thousands of dollars on high heals and Chanel Number 5 – could have just bout a $2.00 can of pumpkin and been sexy as hell! Thanks for the tip, you may have just changed my life 🙂

    • Melissa says:


      I’m loving this as well. You can wear slippers instead of high heels as long as you sprinkle some pumpkin pie spice in your hair. Much less expensive and oh-so-easy, as you mention!

      Hope all is well. Sending good energy your way. xo

  20. Melissa–You are the bomb, as usual! You always manage to find studies that go with some awesome recipes. 😉 My head is too congested today to come up with anything clever in response. I do like Dianne’s idea on calling these Stud Muffins, but one probably shouldn’t do that in front of the boyfriend though–could be a deterrent to the hanky panky part. Men don’t like to used that way. LOL I’ll say that my “boyfriend” (aka Mr. GFE) goes crazy for pumpkin goodies, licorice, and buttered popcorn. The licorice is a turn off to me though, so that doesn’t work well. Great, great post, girlfriend! Back to my homemade chicken noodle soup that I’m having for breakfast …


  21. Melissa says:


    Thanks, my friend. I’m always reading science studies, so when I run across one that strikes my fancy, I have to figure out a way to run with it. OMG, I love Dianne’s stud muffin comment. Wish I had thought that one up!

    Hope you’re feeling better! Have Mr. GFE make you some chicken soup and hot tea. The pumpkin cupcakes can wait until you feel better. 🙂


  22. lo says:

    Boyfriend bait?
    Why, I always thought that was bacon!! *confused* 🙂 Or maybe that’s just MY boyfriend.

    Love the reading here, as always, Melissa. And that recipe doesn’t look too shabby either!

    • Melissa says:


      Bacon, burgers, cheese, muffins — I say, whatever it takes, girl! Brown sugar goes with bacon, how about pumpkin pie spice? You’re the creative cook, let me know if that works!

  23. Jenny says:

    Made these tonight. They didn’t rise/puff up at all in the oven so they are a little denser than I’d hoped, not sure what I did wrong/can do next time. The flavour was really good and when the boyfriend got home (they were just out of the oven) he stopped dead in his tracks and said “THAT…smells really good”. Then when he was eating one he kept asking about ingredients then asked if he could eat several… pretty hysterical how easy this bait really is! Anyway next time I want to do something to encourage a little fluffiness in the texture (high altitude doesn’t help either). Thank you for the recipe!!! Cream cheese icing would definitely hit the spot on these.

    • Melissa says:


      Thanks for your comment. I laughed OUT LOUD at that one! I’m not sure what to say about the fact that they were denser than expected. Hmmm? Did you use Pamela’s Gluten-Free Baking Mix? If you substituted something else that did not have the proper leavening agents, the cupcakes wouldn’t rise as expected. Pamela’s has the right mix of everything. I’m at high altitude as well, so unless you’re in Leadville, CO, I doubt it would matter that much if you’ve got the right flour blend. At least you know there is great potential there!


      I appreciate your sense of humor and great comments!

      • Jenny says:

        Thanks Melissa, I might have used another GF mix, admittedly. I didn’t realize Pam’s had leavening agents I thought it was just flours so I bet that’s it! And I’m 30 minutes from Leadville in Avon… was that just a really good spooky guess????? Crazy! You are gifted in cooking and clairvoyence, awesome.

      • Melissa says:

        Whoa, that is weird. Good guess, huh. We’re close as I’m in Golden. I’m in Vail every once in awhile. Yes, Pamela’s has baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and xanthan gum. All those ingredients help with rising power and general texture. I like Pamela’s because it’s so easy to use. It’s made with almond meal as well as rice flours (brown and white) and some starches. Can’t remember as I’m not looking at the label. I think there’s also buttermilk in the mix. It’s the best I’ve found if you just want to keep a bag on hand to make muffins or pancakes. This mix makes the best waffles and pancakes. Seriously good. Even gluten eaters love the waffles and pancakes. =)

        Take care and thanks for the conversation!

  24. hmmm…hopefully they work on husbands, too.

  25. Amalfi Girl says:

    How did I not know about this blog? Love this post (boyfriend bait-adorable).

  26. Bethany says:

    I love this! My friend always has spice-scented candles going in his apartment…hmmmm. I always thought it was because they matched his decor. Guess it goes a little deeper than that 😉

    Question…I am sugar-free as well as gluten free. Can I sub in brown rice syrup or agave nectar and reduce the coconut oil? I know using syrup I need to reduce the liquid somehow…but haven’t experimented enough to know exactly how to do it. Any ideas??

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Bethany,

      Thanks! Hmmm? Maybe he’s not entirely sure why he’s so taken with the spice candles. You’ll have to explain it to him. =) I’m sorry, but I won’t be much help with the brown rice syrup or agave question as I don’t use either, but it sounds like you’ve got a good plan with reducing the coconut oil. There’s an exchange on the back of the Pamela’s Product bag on the muffin recipe (honey for sugar) that gives you a guideline. I just made these up and they ended up being a HUGE hit. Check the muffin recipe on Pamela’s and go from there. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!


  27. I have been meaning to tell you for weeks that this is THE favorite muffin recipe of all time in our house…sex or no sex! I have made it with and without the chocolate chips; added blueberries and goji berries, too. I am on my last pumpkin for awhile…but thank you for so many pleasant mornings! XO

  28. Saundra says:

    Just found this recipe — the title definitely made me curious!! I’ll have to try these tomorrow for sure. I have pumpkin in the pantry!
    Just as a side question — am I missing something in your blog as to how to make your recipes printer friendly? Thanks for sharing.

    • Melissa says:


      No, you’re not missing anything. I don’t have the “print recipe” feature. I’m going to be having my blog redone in the next couple of months and hope to add that to the new look. Thanks for stopping by! And yes, my blog titles are often a bit off-the-wall. Not exactly designed for SEO! Oh well, it’s more fun that way. =)

  29. […] Chickpea crackers, and I hope to post a step by step picture version, and Melissa’s Pumpkin Pecan Boyfriend Bait, and her Sweet and Spicy Moroccan Stew, too. I posted a review for Adopt a Gluten free Blogger […]

  30. […] average Joe. I still have more of Melissa’s recipes that I’d love to try – her pumpkin pecan boyfriend bait being my first choice. (I’m a sucker for anything pecan.) Soon, I hope, this will appear in […]

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