These cupcakes are super healthy with fresh zucchini in the cake – topped with an icing that, yes, has sugar (vegan powdered sugar), but if you want a non-sugar version, I also provide an easy chocolate recipe below using only coconut milk and dark chocolate.
And those sprinkles? They are VEGAN!! I bought them at Sweetapolita – this post is NOT sponsored, she doesn’t know who I am😀
In this recipe, I tried to explain a bit the reason behind certain ingredients so if you don’t happen to have them all on hand, you might still be able to have vegan cupcakes in your life today! I hope you enjoy my cupcake party, and if you remake, tag me on Instagram pretty please?!
Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 12-16)
- 3/4 cup zucchini, grated with skin (I use this grater)
- 1 1/2 cup oat flour (or your choice gluten-free flour)
- 1/2 cup cacao powder (I use this brand)
- 1/2 cup plant milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (called ACV)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder (optional but helps cupcakes rise more)
- 2 tbsp unsweetened almond butter (or your choice nut/seed butter – it supplies extra healthy fat)
- 2 tbsp flax seeds (ground is best) + 6 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp coffee (optional to enhance chocolate flavor)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla powder (I use this brand)
- pinch of salt
Vanilla Icing (pictured)
- 3+ cups vegan powdered sugar (I use this brand, vegan means no bone-char)
- 3/4 cup vegan butter, softened or melted in a pan
- 1 tsp vanilla powder (I use this brand)
- 4 tbsp plant milk (or amount needed to achieve desired texture)
- 1 can (13.5-oz) full-fat coconut milk (I use this brand)
- 1 pkg (10 ounces) ounces vegan chocolate chips (I use this brand) *
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper linings
2. In a cup or bowl, combine milk and ACV to activate. The vinegar reacts with baking soda and triggers carbon dioxide to lift the cake!
3. In another cup, combine the flax seeds with water, stir and let sit for 10 minutes to create flax eggs
4. Grate the zucchini, and squeeze moisture out once in a paper towel.
5. Now, we are ready to mix it up!! In a large mixing bowl, mix up wet ingredients: ACV/milk mixture, flax egg mixture, almond butter, maple syrup.
6. In a smaller bowl, combine dry ingredients, flour, cacao, baking soda, baking powder, salt, vanilla powder. Stir very well to be sure the soda and powder are distributed well.
7. Slowly add the dry mix to the wet, in thirds, mixing well between each addition.
8. Add in the zucchini and coffee and mix again – you don’t want to over mix because the batter will become rubbery; on the other hand you might be able to see chunks of zucchini after baking if you don’t break down the zucchini. If that will be a turn-off, add the zucchini with wet ingredients in step #5, and blend until the zucchini disappears into the liquid base.
9. Pour the mixed batter into cupcake cups, filling each cup about 1/2 way. If you want cupcakes with larger muffin-tops, fill 3/4 – but I like flatter cupcakes to make an easier foundation for mountain-top frosting swirls!
10. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
11. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.To make the frostings:
Vanilla icing: I used a mixer but a blender can also be used – put in the powdered sugar first, then add softened (even melted) butter, vanilla, and add in milk a tbsp at a time (a bit more or less) until you achieve the creamy texture you want. Blend again until creamy. To keep this frosting from hardening as it cools, I soak a paper towel in water and cover the bowl completely with it and leave it on the kitchen counter. I still have to stir up the frosting for smoothness once it is cooled and ready to use.
Chocolate Icing:Heat the coconut milk in a bowl on top of boiling water. Once the coconut milk is steaming but not boiling, pour in bag of chips, turn off heat, and keep stirring until chocolate is melted. Don’t let a speck of water enter the mixture or it will curdle! Let both cupcakes and icing cool before frosting.
*NOTE: I used to love “accidental vegan” ghiradelli chocolate, but this year there is a question that they might be making their chocolate in a plant that might have milk products residue. So unhappily I am trying to switch all my chocolate recipe recommendations from Ghiradelli to Enjoy Life, or to create homemade chocolate. I will post more about this later. But feel free to comment here or on my IG if you have a good vegan brand to share.
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