My kids have pretty strong opinions about cake.
This should come as no surprise really, given the amount of cake that is often being whipped up and going out of our kitchen. Always eager ‘helpers’, they often come up with their own combinations and drawings to articulate exactly what they mean. There were some pretty fancy numbers being dreamt up this year, let me tell you.
Speculation was rife as to what kind of cake everyone was going to have for their birthday. Some prefer tradition, whilst others have constantly evolving ideas throughout the year; the anticipation was huge.
Finally, after the usual intense brainstorming of ideas, it was decided that strawberry cupcakes with raspberry icing would suffice. But only if they were in the style of a fairy garden. Vision AND flavour, you see what I mean.
No worries, strawberry and raspberry, a berry-licious combination, as Strawberry Shortcake would say. The only challenge now, to make one that all our kinder friends can eat. Nut free, dairy free, egg free.
I got my substituting brain on, and remembered a birthday cake from my own childhood. A strawberry and coconut cake, which we baked in a heart shaped tin. Inspiration drawn, I got a-baking.
Strawberry and Coconut Vegan Cupcakes
(nut free, dairy free, egg free)
- 120g spelt flour
- 140g raw sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 40g coconut butter (not coconut oil), the more fragrant the better
- 120ml coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- egg replacer to the equivalent of 1 egg
- 100g chopped strawberries
Put out all of your ingredients, and allow them to come to room temperature. Cross fingers for a day that is not too cold so your coconut butter will be soft and pliable (please use coconut butter versus coconut oil. The butter is made with the whole coconut flesh, not just the pressed out oil, this gives it a much more voluptuous consistency as well as maximum tropical flavour! My favourite by far is Niugini Organics; they work with local communities in PNG to produce their coconut butter, so not only is it totally delicious, it’s good for karma points too.)
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with some pretty cases.
Measure out your flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and coconut butter into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on slow until the mixture looks uniformly sandy, without any large lumps and bumps.
Pour in the coconut milk and the splash of vanilla, and mix until well combined. Add your constituted egg replacer and give it a spin on medium speed until everything is nice and smooth.
Stir in your chopped strawberries, or if they are a bit on the cold side, drop them directly into the cupcake cases (so you don’t give that coconut butter a cold shock!)
Divide the mixture amongst the cupcake cases, it will be runny but don’t worry! These cupcakes turn out sweet, delicious and fragrant and not at all dry (if someone knows a better word than ‘moist’, then please, let me know).
Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean. My cupcakes didn’t go very brown, I think this is to do with using coconut butter rather than normal butter, so don’t rely on ‘golden brown’ being your indicator for the cupcakes being done!
Let the cupcakes cool down a touch before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
Now, I wish I could give you a super awesome dairy-free and delicious frosting recipe. Unfortunately I can’t. I did experiment using coconut butter, icing sugar and fresh raspberries to create a super yummy and good for you frosting, and…. it was an epic fail. It went straight to the chickens. So instead I had to default and use a standard frosting recipe, just substituting dairy-free spread (I used Nuttelex) and coconut milk instead of cow’s. A dash of raspberry oil (from some macaron-ing days) added the required raspberry element. I would have way rather used fresh raspberries, but after one botched attempt, I just needed to get these babies done. I’ll put conquering that frosting recipe on the to-do list, and if you have an awesome dairy-free frosting that doesn’t use vegetable oils, then please let me know!!
Oh, and decorate to your heart’s content xx