Aug 15, 2012

healthy {vegan} chocolate cupcakes with brown sugar frosting

I have discovered the secret to lifelong happiness.  Would you like to hear it?

I thought you might.

It's healthy cupcakes!  For reals.  A couple of weeks ago, my parents took us to a new cupcake store in town (a it!).  Anyways, they only use whole wheat flour and unrefined sugar, while being organic and low fat (and some are even vegan or gluten-free).  They even post the calorie count next to each cupcake (from about 180-250 per cake).

Sounds too good to be true, huh?  It's the kind of thing that sounds great in theory and then tastes like cardboard, right?

Nope, these are the real deal.  I've had them twice already with a group of people and each time everyone left with a satisfied sweet tooth and a bit of shock at the surprisingly healthy deliciousness.

I'm pretty sure I could open one of their store franchises tomorrow and be perfectly happy the rest of my life.  Have you ever seen an unhappy customer in a cupcake shop?  That's what I'm saying.

Anyways, I came home and decided I needed to try to imitate those cupcake delights.  So, I pulled out my favorite vegetarian/vegan cookbook (from the best vegetarian restaurant in the world, The Grit in Athens, Georgia).  I loosely based this recipe off of their vegan chocolate cupcake recipe, with several changes to make it a healthy vegan cupcake.

The cakes themselves aren't very sweet.  Add more honey or agave to make sweeter cakes.  But if you're planning on frosting them, there's no need.  The creamy frosting is sweet enough to make the cupcakes sweet (without being overly sweet) and delicious.  If I didn't know otherwise, I would think they were the standard 500-calorie wonders you find at the average cupcake shop.  Sneaky, I know.

Healthy {Vegan} Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from The Grit Restaurant Cookbook
Makes 12

  • 1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c honey/agave (based on vegan preference; up to 2/3 c for sweeter cakes)
  • 1/2 c applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c strong coffee
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cupcake tin with wrappers.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Once incorporated, add the honey/agave, applesauce and vanilla.  Using a hand mixer, mix ingredients on low just until everything's moist.  Slowly add the coffee as you mix on medium speed.  Once the coffee is mixed in, add the vinegar and mix it in just until combined (it'll start to bubble a bit like a 2nd grade baking soda and vinegar science experiment...this is how you know you did it correctly).  Use just over 1/4 c batter to fill each of the cupcake wrappers.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center no longer has crumbs stuck to it.  Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

Brown Sugar Frosting
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes

  • 1 stick of butter-flavored vegan margarine (or butter)
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
Combine ingredients in a stand mixer.  Whip frosting until light and fluffy.  Pipe frosting onto cupcakes with a large star tip or eat it right out of the bowl.

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