Happy Sweet-Tooth Friday! This is Christine, and it’s time to celebrate Spring the best way I know how…with vegan cupcakes! Topped with a luscious coconut-ganache, these chocolate cupcakes will outshine everything in your Easter basket.
My dark (chocolate) secret
You and I have had this dessert relationship going on for almost a year now, so I think I’m ready to give up one of my baking secrets. Ready?
I have one “master” vegan chocolate cake recipe that I use for everything.
Cupcakes, bundts, cakes…you name it. I just swap a few flavor elements and each time it’s like a whole new dessert. It’s easy and reliable without sacrificing creativity. The swappable flavor hotspots in this recipe are the types of milk, hot liquid, and the extracts.
For a springy Peter-Cottontail effect, I knew I wanted this batch of cupcakes to involve coconut. (Funny how around the winter time coconut signifies ‘snow’ instead). I ended up using coconut milk in the cupcakes and organic coconut oil and unsweetened flakes in the ganache— that trifecta of natural coconut flavors results in a lot more satisfying dessert than the cloyingly sweet and artificial coconut flavor you may be used to.
As for the hot liquid, though I usually favor brewed coffee, this time I chose vanilla rooibos tea. You can use any herbal tea that complements the flavors of chocolate and coconut (though chai may taste out of season).
Finally, for the extract I went with a touch of almond. The combination of chocolate, almond, and coconut has Easter written all over it.
When making the ganache, if you want to use color, just add a dab of gel food coloring for a pretty pastel shade— there’s nothing more unappetizing than a neon-frosted dessert. And remember that the ganache is very rich so it doesn’t need to be mounded on top like buttercream; a little swirl with a knife goes a long way.
I’m scared to finally give it up, but here’s one variation of my top-secret vegan chocolate all-purpose-batter…
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut-Ganache
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 4 tbsp ground flax seed
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup organic unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup vanilla-rooibos or any herbal tea
Coconut Ganache Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut milk, about the remainder of the can
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Stir together the flour, flaxseed, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in the coconut milk, applesauce, canola oil, and almond extract until smooth. Slowly pour in the hot tea and whisk until uniform.
Line a mini cupcake tin with cups and spray lightly with baking spray. Pour in the batter about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating the pans around the oven when half way through. Let cool thoroughly before frosting (the coconut oil melts easily).For the ganache, microwave the coconut oil for 10-20 seconds, just to get it soft enough to be able to whisk out the lumps– you don’t want it to be completely liquid. Whisk in the powdered sugar and coconut milk until smooth. Separate into smaller bowls to add food coloring if you want. Spread a small amount of coconut ganache on each cupcake and then sprinkle with the flaked coconut.
This makes about 6 dozen little cupcakes. They freeze well in ziplock bags if you only want to serve half this weekend, though don’t be surprised by how quickly they get gobbled up!
Have a lovely spring weekend! I’ll keep you updated on other variations of this “master” recipe I try out—and let me know what you come up with too!