Oh, the changes a year can bring! It was this time last year that the inspiration to start blogging came about. A few months later, I bought my domain and started writing, styling and photographing; a passion I never knew I had. I’ve learned so much in the last year, and not just about cameras, the logistics of blogging…or how to survive on little to no sleep as a new parent!
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, I recently noted how my blogging endeavor has become an unexpected spiritual practice of sorts. At the end of the day, all you see is the finished product… a bunch of lovingly perfected photos and carefully staged spontaneity. Not that what I do is fake by any means, it’s all real, my stories, recipes and creative process. However, behind the scenes are more than just laughs, full bellies and messy dishes. Trying to capture that perfect moment/recipe/essence can be tiring and tedious, especially when I feel I have so much left to learn.
My latest lesson has been understanding that growth comes from recognizing that nothing is ever going to be 100% “perfect”. With that understanding, there is freedom that arises…freedom to explore my creativity, develop at my own pace and enjoy the fleeting little moments which are beyond precious. And yes, this wisdom translates to all of my life. Lessons aside, I love it all and can honestly say that connecting with all of you via social media and through your comments is an absolute joy! For my birthday, I simply ask for many more years of just this. Thank you for being a part of my passion and for sticking around with me; I love sharing with you and hope you enjoy what I bring to the table (literally and figuratively).
Anyway, enough about that. You came here for cupcakes (and so did I). I’m happy to present to you what I consider to be my best cupcake recipe. The base is a beautiful vegan vanilla cupcake with an awesome crunchy top (love that). And, of course, I’ve piped the top with a decorative chocolate lavender frosting made from a base of cashews. There is nothing like this frosting; perfectly sweet with lovely flowery notes cradled in a luscious chocolate base. Lavender pairs so well with chocolate, in my opinion; it’s flowery heat tempered perfectly by the soft sweetness of the chocolate frosting. Plus, lavender makes a perfect cupcake sprinkle… I guess some things can be 100% perfect (kidding).
These vegan vanilla cupcakes are a lovely little celebration cupcakes in every way and I hope you love them.
Of course, with any recipe that contains nuts or nut products, be sure to notify anyone who may have a nut allergy before sharing these.
VEGAN VANILLA CUPCAKES w/ CHOCOLATE LAVENDER CASHEW FROSTING
A sweet vanilla cupcake base with a terrific crunchy top, covered in velvety chocolate lavender cashew frosting. To make the frosting, note that the cashews require 2 hours of soaking time, so be sure to start the process the day before you plan to make the recipe. Use a food grade lavender flower and note that adding additional lavender "sprinkles" does increase the lavender flavour; a little goes a long way, so use somewhat sparingly. With any recipe that contains nuts or nut products, be sure to notify anyone who may have a nut allergy before sharing these.
Vanilla Cupcake base
- ¾ cup coconut oil softened
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 3 tsp egg replacer powder + 6 tbsp water
- 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp aluminum free baking powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 ¼ cups almond milk
Chocolate Lavender Cashew Frosting
- 1 ⅔ cup raw cashews soaked 2 hours
- ½ cup coconut oil melted
- ⅛ tsp dried lavender food grade
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 4 tbsp filtered water
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
Optional (but recommended)
- Food grade lavender flowers for sprinkling
For the Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 375'F. Line a muffin tin with compostable liners. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the egg replacer powder and water. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat the coconut oil and cane sugar on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add in the egg replacer mixture and vanilla and beat until combined.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir just until combined. Add half of the almond milk and stir just until combined. Repeat until all the flour and milk is incorporated. Be sure not to over-mix the batter.
Scoop the batter evenly into your prepared muffin pan and bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes in the pan. Carefully remove from the pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Frosting:
While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Add the cashews and the remainder of the ingredients to a high powered blender (I use a Vitamix) or a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides occasionally.
Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl and place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and stir vigorously. The mixture should have a frosting like consistency (spreadable while holding a peak). If it seems too soft, simply freeze for another 10 minutes and stir again.
Place the prepared frosting in a piping bag fitted with a open star attachment. Pipe and add a sprinkle of lavender flowers, if desired.
if you prefer, you can use whole wheat flour in this recipe. Feel free to use any decorative piping you wish, or simply spread the frosting on with a knife. You can prepare the cupcakes in advance and store them in an airtight container until you're ready to frost them. I recommend blending the frosting the same day you plan to serve the cupcakes; this will help preserve the luster of the frosting. Store in the fridge until ready to serve, especially on warmer days as the coconut oil may melt resulting in a drippy frosting.