Strawberry and Coconut Vegan Cupcakes

StrawberryCoconutCupcake

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

StrawberryCoconutCupcakeBite

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strawberry + rhubarb crumble muffins, a recipe made for mixing it up

rhubarb

Are you a list writer? Or more of a free spirit, able to roll through life and summon the gods of ‘winging it’?

I confess, I am a bit of a list writer. Believe me, I often wish it weren’t so. But writing things down helps clear my mind for other, more fun things. Otherwise I am constantly reciting the things I need to do, hoping not to forget anything. Pen and paper help me out with that. But when it comes to food, that’s where my hidden free spirit is really allowed to shine.

StrawberryRhubarb

Yes, this may mean that I am always without one thing we really need, but hey, this just inspires extra creativity, right? When it comes to savoury food, I hardly ever have a plan when I start to cook. An idea, yes, but rarely an end. Maybe this is why I find it hard to ever cook a recipe as it is written, and why it is even harder for me to write one, because I usually end up throwing in a bit of this and a pinch of that, never really measuring, just going with the flow… anyway, here is a recipe just for the likes of me, where you can add whichever fruit takes your fancy and it will always turn out super delish.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble Muffins customised from Classic Earth Market muffins found in Wholefood Baking by Jude Blereau

CookedMuffin

  • 1 quantity cinnamon and nut crumble topping
  • 400g fruit of your choice, chopped into good-sized chunks
  • 130g white spelt flour
  • 145g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 75g rapadura sugar or raw sugar
  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml buttermilk, kefir milk or yoghurt
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled a little

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place paper cases into a 12 hole muffin tin.

For the dry mix, place the flours, baking powder and sugar in a bowl and give it a good whisk, breaking up any lumps. Add your chopped up fruit (keep it chunky so you get good fruity bits in your cooked muffin) and stir gently, giving the fruit a light coating so it doesn’t clump together. I used rhubarb and strawberries as they were calling my name, but here is where you get to make it your own! Choose whichever fruit is calling to you, bananas, berries, plums, figs… you get the idea, it’ll all be good. If your fruit is on the fragile side, we’ll add it later so it doesn’t get smooshed.

For the wet mix, place equal amounts of the two milks in a measuring cup to make 185ml. Add in the egg, vanilla and cooled, melted butter and whisk together.

Fold together the wet and the dry mixes gently, until just combined. Here is where you add that extra milk if you feel you need to. And if your fruit is fragile you can fold it in now too.

MuffinMix

For the topping combine 70g raw nuts (I used walnuts), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut and 2 tablespoons rapadura sugar in a bowl. Please, please make the topping!! It makes these muffins a bit more special, and adds great texture. Trust me, do it!

Spoon the muffin batter into your cases, and sprinkle generously with the crumble topping.

ReadyForOven

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove from tin and cool on wire racks.

I must confess I didn’t have any wholemeal spelt, so I used only white spelt, and substituted in 40g hazelnut meal which I did have hanging around. Yes, I can never play it straight when it comes to cooking.

TrayBaked

And when you think they are just cool enough to eat, make yourself a cup of tea, call the kids into the kitchen and enjoy a quiet moment of freshly baked goodness.

These muffins aren’t super sweet, but they are beautifully light and pretty delicious. And as per usual when it comes to muffins, eat them as soon as you can! The same day is best, but if it is the following day, give them a gentle warm in the oven and they will breathe life anew. Enjoy.

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