Double Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes
I have always loved to bake, ever since I was a young girl. But back then everything was made with white flour, and lots of sugar. I don't eat gluten anymore, and I don't eat anything with lots of sugar either - so when I bake now, I like to upgrade the recipe - without compromising on taste. This cupcake recipe does not disappoint!! I've even snuck in some heart healthy ingredients to boost the nutrition even more - like avocados, raw cacao, and beet powder (learn about the heart health benefits of beets and avocados). You won't know they are in there. The avocados add a creaminess to the cupcakes and the frosting, and the cacao and beets boost circulation and lower blood pressure!
Now, to set expectations a bit - this is not going to be as sweet as a store bought cupcake - to me, those are sickly sweet. In America - I believe manufacturers sweeten things too much. It's a smart marketing ploy - because the sweeter a food is, the more your taste buds get adjusted to and crave super sweet foods. Sugar is addictive, and so super sweet foods create repeat customers. But poorly controlled blood sugar is the #1 reason for weight gain and metabolic dysfunction. In this recipe, I cut down on the sugar by using monk fruit - a natural sugar alternative, which allows you to keep the sweetness, without the calories, and without using chemicals (like artificial sweeteners - those work against the metabolism). Monk fruit has zero calories and no sugar. But I still do not make these as sweet as the average American cupcake - because I don't like that!
I don't replace all of the sugar with monk fruit however - because I prefer to use monk fruit to cut the sugar down, not replace it. So I do use a little bit of two different natural sugars - maple syrup, and coconut sugar. You could try replacing all of it with monk fruit if you prefer (LMK if it works).
An interesting thing happened on a trip to Tahiti recently that confirmed my suspicion that we are conditioned to eat foods way too sweet in the U.S. At our hotel, they would put a basket of pastries on our breakfast table every morning - after ignoring them for days, one day I noticed a donut, and was curious if it would be like an American one. I pulled a small piece off the donut, and I was surprised to find it was just barely sweet, not at all like a donut you would get here in the U.S. I was pleasantly surprised!
Once you allow your tastebuds to adjust a little bit - slightly sweet is much more enjoyable that the kind of sweet that hits you over the head. If you are struggling with sugar addiction - you are not alone - I've been there, and I have a solution - My Break Up with Sugar Program.
These cupcakes are super moist and delicious, and I hope you enjoy them!
1 small avocado (ripe, discard pit and peel)
1.5 cups almond flour (blanched)
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons of maple syrup
1 Tablespoon organic Beet powder (you will not taste it at all, beets just boost circulation and lower blood pressure, it can be omitted)
8 Teaspoons of monk fruit powder (I use Lakinto organic)
1/3 cup dairy free milk (such as Ripple milk, almond, oat, or coconut milk)
1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar (helps with leavening)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I like Real Salt brand)
1/3 cup coconut oil (melted, if solid)
1 small avocado (ripe, discard pit and peel)
2 Tablespoons raw cacao powder (use 3 T. if you want it really dark)
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
2 Tablespoons dairy free milk (I use Ripple unsweetened)
1 Tablespoons dairy free yogurt (I use Forager cashew milk vanilla)
1/4 teaspoon salt (I use Real Salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla (I prefer alcohol free vanilla for the frosting)
5 Teaspoons of monk fruit powder (I use Lakinto organic)
3 Tablespoons of coconut manna (sometimes called coconut butter) - can replace with nut butter if you can't find coconut manna, and if you want a nutty flavor.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put cupcake liners into your muffin tin (if you don't have liners, lightly grease with coconut oil, you can also dust over that with raw cacao powder if desired).
Put the following into a food processor: the avocado, palm sugar, maple syrup, monk fruit powder, vanilla, dairy free milk. Process until smooth, scraping down sides a couple times.
Add in the rest of the ingredients (except coconut oil), and process until smooth.
Add in the melted* coconut oil at the end, and process until combined.
Scoop batter evenly into the liners (I like to use this scooper) - about 3/4 of the way up, should make about 12 total.
Put into your preheated oven, cook for 23-25 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.
Put all of the ingredients (except the coconut manna) into the food processor. Process until smooth (scraping down the sides a couple of times).
Melt the coconut manna*, and then add it to your food processor, and process until it is smooth.
Put frosting into a baggie, or glass dish and put it into the refrigerator until ready to use. Allow it to warm up for about 10 minutes after taking it out of the fridge before frosting the cupcakes.
Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Can also be frozen.
You can use your favorite nut butter in place of the coconut manna if desired.
For a raspberry chocolate frosting - add a 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries (thaw slightly) to your frosting, process thoroughly in food processor, top with a single raspberry.
Add shredded coconut or finely chopped nuts to the tops of your frosted cupcakes.
*When you first open a jar of coconut manna, it can be hard, and the oil might be separated on top. You will want to warm it up in order to stir it together. To do so - put the jar into a 4 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup (or another glass container that will not break when hot water is added), pour hot water around the jar (about 3/4 of the way up), and wait for 10 mins. At this point, it should be softened, and you should be able to stir it with a knife. You can also do this to warm up your coconut oil as well. Other ways to melt it - in an oven safe glass dish put into the oven, a toaster oven, or microwave. If using the oven or toaster oven - realize that your dish will be very hot, so you will want to use an oven mitt to remove.