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Vegan Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream for the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cookoff

Posted Mar 02 2012 4:08am
Chocolate cupcakes may seem redundant when we have already made brownies with chocolate buttercream and chamomile cupcakes for the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cookoff. Still, when I got to choose a recipe to make for Blogger's Choice Week of the challenge, this is the recipe I kept going back to. I have been wanting to finally try baking up a vegan chocolate and avocado pairing so Joy's Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream seemed like the perfect opportunity.

These cupcakes turned out incredibly moist and delicious. Sadly, the frosting wasn't quite a win for me. It kept separating and seemed somewhat greasy and a bit grainy. I used the Earth Butter sticks and followed the recipe, then I tried adding more powdered sugar, refrigerating it and re-mixing, freezing it, etc. but it wasn't quite as buttery and fluffy as I would have liked and it doesn't look that pretty. Of course it also had to compete with my memories of Joy's incredible chocolate buttercream with Ovaltine in it that topped the brownies on week one, and I don't think it could have done that even if it had turned out perfectly. All in all, these cupcakes were still excellent and no one would guess they are vegan--always a plus.

Joy the Baker says, "This is the part of our baking journey that will make you raise your eyebrows at me. Yes, this fine chocolate cake has avocado in it. Avocados are so rich and creamy that I like to consider them the vegetable equivalent of butter. This vegan cake recipe uses both oil and avocado to create a moist, tender, and sturdy crumb. Combine the cake with vegan chocolate frosting, and you've got quite a treat. You won't have to tell a soul that there's avocado in the cake, unless of course, you want to brag. You can double this cake and frosting recipe to make one 2-layer 8-or9-inch cake."

Vegan Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes w/ Vegan Chocolate Buttercream
The Joy the Baker Cookbook
(Makes 12-14 Cupcakes)

Cupcake Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup mashed ripe avocado (about half an avocado)
1 cup water
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
(I added 2 tsps espresso powder)

Cupcake Directions
Place rack in the upper third of the oven, and preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with foil or paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, oil, avocado, water, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the avocado mixture and fold with a spatula until well combined. The batter will be so loose that you can pour it into a measuring cup to dispense into the cupcake molds. Fill each cupcake liner until it’s about two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cakes cool for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Frosting Ingredients
3/4 cup Earth Balance butter (or any vegan butter in sticks), at room temperature
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tbsp soy milk

Frosting Directions
Place butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the butter on medium speed until soft and pliable. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl, and add the cocoa and sugar. Turn mixer on low to slowly incorporate. Add the vanilla and soy milk. Increase the mixer speed to medium or medium high and beat until frosting is soft and fluffy.

Spread onto cupcakes with a butter knife and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Frosted cupcakes can last in fridge for up to 4 days.

Notes/Results: I think I said it all above--the very moist and delicious cakes get a thumbs up and will definitely get made again. The avocado disappears completely when you bake them and I love how it replaces most of the oil and egg with healthy fats. I did add some espresso powder to the cupcakes--just for a little depth of flavor, and I topped them with chocolate-covered coffee beans. I'll probably try the frosting again--maybe it was just a bad frosting karma day. And, I promise that I will be making one more recipe from the book for my final review next week that isn't a cake or brownie. ;-)

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*This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef *

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