Sweet-Tooth Friday: Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut-Ganache

Matt and Christine, Easter 1988

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

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 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!

Stay sweet,
xoxo Christine



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  1. This sounds amazing! I especially like the ganache, since I’m looking for acoconut frosting for this weekend.
    Even though it’s only 830, this convinced me to work coconut and chocolateinto my breakfast
    .-= Evan Thomas´s last blog ..The Birthday Day =-.

  2. Yummm, the coconut ganache sounds wonderful! These are so festive. Very inventive!!!
    .-= JoLynn-dreaminitvegan´s last blog ..I’m still here and with gumbo! =-.

  3. They’re soooo pretty and I love the addition of tea. These are perfect for Easter. Hope you guys have a fabulous weekend
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Asparagus Pasta Bake (With or Without Meat) =-.

  4. oh dear Lord, could these BE any more drool-worthy?! i might just make the coconut ganache and eat it with a spoon. 🙂

  5. I am curious if the flax seed is there for a baking purpose or if it’s just for health. I’ve seen it in alot of your recipes and wondering if I could leave it out if I just don’t have any.
    .-= Bridget@PavementandPlants´s last blog ..Bonus Recipes: Potato Soup and Banana Bread! =-.

    • BellyLaughBaker says:

      Hey bridget,
      When flax is allowed to soak, it sort of gels into a texture similar to an egg white which in turn has a binding effect. I like it for health too. In this recipe I think you could get away with just a quarter cup more of flour since the cupcakes are so mini and less likely to crumble, but with something bigger they might fall apart. You could also try a packaged egg replacer, chia, wheat germ, or tapioca starch. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Brittney says:

    Christine-these look DELICIOUS! Thanks so much for all of your hard work..it’s becoming my Friday afternoon ritual to check and see what STF is going to hold for me..and in turn what I’ll probably end up baking that weekend. Can’t wait to make these!

  7. This sounds delicious! Can’t wait to give it a try
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Pleasing the Most Important Person =-.

  8. Those look amazing and I’m sure taste amazing too! Wow!
    .-= Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)´s last blog ..Humpastry Day – Whole Wheat Strawberry Banana Muffins =-.

  9. Thanks for the tip about how you use the same basic idea for a recipe… we all have our set of ingredients that we tend to use over and over in different forms and combinations, I think! Mmm chocolate cupcakes.

    That photograph is the CUTEST photograph ever. Seeing it made me smile 🙂

    PS Almond extract is one of the best ingredients ever. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. And have none in my pantry. Definitely need to do something about that.
    .-= Sagan´s last blog ..The Thirty Days of Yoga Challenge =-.

  10. OMG! These were amazing! Melt-in-your-mouth good.
    I made the mistake of baking big (regular-sized) muffins, though, and they didn’t hold together so well. (Also, I may have gone overboard with the tea.) Can’t wait to make ’em again next year. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Oh my, i’m drooling! Nom nom nom 🙂 Looks so yummy! I can’t wait to try this at home. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    .-= Sand Sock Girl´s last blog ..“LADIES, LET’S GO FISHING!” – Fishing Seminar April 23-25 =-.

  12. I got to eat one of these, it was great! It’s so nice having vegan desserts to munch on at work:]

  13. Yuumm! the cupcakes smell amazing and taste just as good! However, I couldn’t get the frosting to work out quite as well, and ended up throwing in a bunch of powdered sugar and cocoa powder to keep it from being a liquid.

  14. I doubled this recipe and found it was much too watery and they did not bake correctly, though the taste was fabulous. I had to add about 1-1/2 cups of extra flour, plus some baking powder (for a double batch) to get it to the right consistency.

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