Monday, June 16, 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Chocolate Frosting

Hello, my name is Emily and I'm a chocoholic. I'm not ashamed of my addiction and I've learned to accept this diagnosis as a hereditary trait that is shared by both my mother and sister. Together, we bond over hot cocoa and Butterfingers, quickly turning to 'eat some chocolate, you'll feel better' as our go-to advice. Now that I'm older, my sister has been smart enough to teach me the ways of adult chocolate which involves chocolate martinis and I have returned the favor with chocolate bourbon cake. Together, we can make it through this often embarrassing addiction.

Getting ready with some flour and cocoa
Now that I have your attention with 'chocolate', surprise! This recipe is actually vegan. Don't run away, I promise the cupcakes are delicious and just because they're vegan doesn't mean you should run screaming towards the cookies. I was intrigued by this recipe because it uses avocado as the butter/oil substitute. I'm a fan of the popular motto that cocoa is a plant and chocolate comes from cocoa therefore, chocolate is a vegetable so adding avocado made this even healthier in my  mind. Of course, I tasted the batter just to be sure. This recipe also uses vinegar which was really what I was concerned about however, it actually added a nice zing to the batter, almost like pop rocks.

Does this look any different from non-vegan batter? Didn't think so
Here's the fun part: I invented the frosting (sort of)! Woohoo for modifications!! It really wasn't that big of a deal but I'm pumped. My roommate recently ordered a vast quantity of coconut oil so I've been researching cooking uses. Apparently you can use it to make whipped topping and frosting. I want to also experiment frying with it since it's fatty but more on the side of 'good' fat and would add a nice flavor to something like shrimp. Back to the frosting though, it calls for coconut water to thin the frosting. I'm not a fan of coconut water, I've tried it plain and I've tried the mango variety and I think they're strange. I would prefer to just drink water!

Sweet sweet maple water
I recently went to spin class at Handle Bar (I'm discovering a small addiction to spin class with the pump it up vibe) and had a blast! Afterwards, they had fruit and water as well as a vendor for Pure Maple Water. A friend of mine did a whole review of Maple Water here but I decided it would make a great substitute in this frosting recipe. Maple water tastes sweet but not overwhelmingly so, not like some artificial fruit drinks. The recipe only requires 2 Tablespoons of the water so I was free to drink the rest.

The frosting looks a little crumbly until the water is added
This frosting was a hit! I was baking these for some very healthy friends so I wanted to emphasize that the cupcakes were vegan (not a hit) so made with avocado (this was the hook) and the frosting was a healthy variety. It still has powdered sugar but is definitely much better for you than most frosting which use a block of cream cheese or two sticks of butter. The only downfall would be if you're making something that doesn't go with coconut because coconut oil is bound to taste coconutty, sorry!

The final product in all its chocolatey goodness 
Ultimately my frosting only covered half of the cupcakes so I had a bunch of vegan cupcakes sans frosting which is basically a muffin, right? So sans frosting, these make a great breakfast on the go.


Cupcakes (from Joy the Baker)

  • 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup mashed avocado (about half an avocado)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. This recipe makes about a dozen cupcakes.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, vegetable oil, avocado water, vinegar and vanilla until well-combined. You can also use a rubber spatula or spoon for this task.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until combined. You want to ensure that now flour mixture is left unsaturated.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake pan so the cups are a little more than half-way filled.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cupcakes to cool before frosting.

Frosting (for 12 cupcakes)
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 5-6 Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of maple sugar water (or coconut water)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  1.  Cream the coconut oil and powdered sugar together until smooth. You may need to warm the coconut oil to make it pliable.
  2. Little by little, add the cocoa powder and continue to mix together with a hand mixer.
  3. Add the maple or coconut water and vanilla and cream until smooth. 
  4. Add sugar to taste, if necessary.

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