Friday, February 10, 2012

Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes With Chocolate Cashew Icing - A Dessert For Your Valentine!

Love is in the air this Valentine's day with
vegan chocolate, chocolate chip cupcakes!

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Valentine's Menu
We always eat at home on Valentines Day. Restaurants seem to up the price and slash the quality on this holiday so we like to plan a romantic menu and enjoy cooking together while sipping an extra nice bottle of champagne.
I'm not yet sure of this year's menu but I am sure that it will include something chocolate. Cupcakes seem to be the big thing now so I decided to make some. I used the cake recipe I developed for the German Chocolate cake I posted a while back. For icing, I thought I'd try just adding cocoa to raw cashew cream. 

Most chocolate icings (vegan or not) use 2 cups of powdered sugar with butter or vegan margarine. Although I admit that they are a bit easier to make and set up stiffer, I just can't seem to bring myself to use that much sugar in a recipe. So this icing is made mostly from cashews and dates with some cocoa and a little coconut butter to give it some structure.  I licked so much of it out of the bowl while making it, I decided that, with a little modification, I will post it separately as a raw vegan chocolate pudding!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Cashew Cream Icing
[makes 12 cupcakes]

For the frosting
3/4 cups cashews (soaked 6 hours or overnight)
3 Medjool dates (soaked 6 hours or overnight -reserve soak water)
3 tablespoons reserved soak water 
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 packets stevia or more to taste
2 tablespoons unrefined, virgin coconut oil, softened 

For the cake
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Sucanat or organic cane sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened, non-GMO soy milk
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips 

Make the frosting first:
Rinse cashews and drain well. Place in a Vitamix or other high speed blender. Drain dates but save all the soak water. Place dates, 2 tablespoons of the soak water, vanilla, cocoa, stevia and coconut oil in the blender and process until very smooth, scraping down the sides and stirring frequently. Add another tablespoon of soak water only if needed. 
Once smooth, put in a small bowl and refrigerate for an hour or until it starts to stiffen.

Be patient. The frosting will eventually be this smooth.
Keep stirring and scraping down the sides. 

To make the cupcakes: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with 12 muffin paper cups.

Make a flax egg by combining ground flaxseeds and water in a small bowl or cup. Beat with a small fork and set aside. Beat again from time to time until it becomes gooey.

In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, mix sugar, soy milk, applesauce , vanilla, olive oil and flax egg. Beat with an electric hand mixer until thoroughly combined.

Add mixture to dry ingredients and beat with an electric hand mixer until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide batter into muffin cups and bake in a preheated oven for about 14 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick in the middle of the cupcake and it comes out clean.

I like using an ice cream scooper to scoop the batter.

Remove from oven, gently remove cupcakes and place on rack until completely cool.

Cool completely on a rack before icing.
Refrigerate after icing

When cool, ice with frosting. Decorate with 1/2 raspberry and chocolate sprinkles. Refrigerate for several hours.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Per iced cupcake: 234.7 calories, 12.3 g fat, 4.2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4.4 g protein, 30.3 g carbohydrates and 3.9 g dietary fiber.

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