Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes and Frosting

by Gena on June 8, 2012

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Thank you for such an enormous and wonderful outpouring of love on my birthday! You all know how to make a gal feel special. Thank you so much, and I’m glad that the turning 30 theme struck a chord with many of you.

Yesterday, I showed you my absolutely scrumptious birthday gift to myself: chocolate avocado cupcakes with chocolate avocado frosting:

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Inspiration from this recipe comes from the lovely Nicole, who recently posted a smashing recipe for gluten-free chocolate avocado cupcakes on her blog. I thought they were beautiful and ingenious; it had never occurred to use avocado in a baked good, but what a wonderful way to add fat without excess oils or Earth Balance! In the end, I used a mix of avocado and avocado oil in my recipe (Nicole used avocado only), but I still loved the idea of adding a whole foods fat source to a cupcake, all the while keeping it light and fluffy.

I’ve made two iterations of this recipe. My first was a simple, straightforward chocolate avocado cupcake, made with whole wheat pastry flour. It’s totally easy to make, and it’ll be a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The second, a gluten free chocolate avocado cupcake, was a continuation of my vow to master and offer up more vegan and GF baking recipes to you all. This has been a process! Gluten free baking without eggs can be tricky, and it demands its own set of techniques. As you’ll see, my GF variation on this recipe is slightly more complex than my usual baking recipes, but for something delicate, like a cupcake, I can assure you that the extra steps and precision are well worth it.

My GF baking education has been greatly enhanced by this book:

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It was sent to me by Iris of Daily Dietribe, and I’ll be doing a more in-depth review soon. For now, I’ll simply say that, although the book is not vegan, and it is an excellent, general primer for people who are trying to master GF baking, getting to know the various flour mixes, and trying to figure out which flours will work best for which sorts of baked goods. The mix of GF flours I used for this recipe–a combination of sweet white sorghum flour, brown rice flour, and potato starch–was the result of having read this book, and being educated about what different GF flours and starches do.

Since I was using avocado in the cupcake, it felt perfectly reasonable to use avocado on the cupcake, too. I’ve made many a batch of vegan chocolate icing with confectioner’s sugar, Earth Balance or vegan shortening, and almond milk. Truth be told, however, I’d take my chocomole over traditional icing any day. It’s one of my favorite raw dishes, and it’s every bit as good on top of cupcakes as it is eaten with a spoon. You can use any icing you want for these cupcakes, naturally, but I’d encourage you to give the chocomole a shot!

For those of you who are making the traditional, simple version, here’s the recipe.

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Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Chocomole Frosting (vegan, soy free)

Makes 8 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup coconut crystals or demerara sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 avocado, peeled and flesh scooped out
1/4 cup avocado or coconut oil
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp agave syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 3 tbsp warm water

For the icing:

2 large avocados, pitted and flesh scooped out of peel
6 tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder
1/3 cup agave syrup or 6 pitted dates, soaked for 2+ hours and drained
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dash sea salt
Dash cinnamon (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8 muffin tins or line them with cupcake liners.

2. Mix together the flour, cacao, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and sea salt.

3. Place your avocado, water, agave, ACV, and vanilla in a blender, and blend till smooth. Add this mixture, along with the egg replacer, to the dry batter. Beat with an electric hand mixer or with a whisk for about 2-3 minutes (if you use an electric mixer, use the high setting). Pour batter into a greased muffin tin. This recipe yields 8 cupcakes, so pour it into 8 of the tins! Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean (it may take a little more than 15).

4. While cupcakes cool, mix all icing ingredients in a food processor or a high speed blender. Ice the cupcakes and serve!

NB: I usually like dates for my chocomole. That said, I actually preferred the agave version for an icing. Either works, but use your own taste and intuition.

These cupcakes will last for about three days. The icing should be kept cool at all time, so do keep everything in the fridge!

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And now,  the GF version:

Gluten Free Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Chocolate Avocado Frosting (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Makes 8 cupcakes

1/2 cup sweet white sorghum powder
1/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup potato starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup coconut crystals or demerara sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup avocado or coconut oil
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp agave syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 3 tbsp warm water

For the icing:

2 large avocados, pitted and flesh scooped out of peel
6 tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder
1/3 cup agave syrup or 6 pitted dates, soaked for 2+ hours and drained
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dash sea salt
Dash cinnamon (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8 muffin tins or line them with cupcake liners.
2. Mix together the flours, the potato starch, the xanthan gum, the cacao, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and sea salt.

3. Place your avocado, water, agave, ACV, and vanilla in a blender, and blend till smooth. Add this mixture, along with the egg replacer, to the dry batter. Beat with an electric hand mixer or with a whisk for about 2-3 minutes (if you use an electric mixer, use the high setting). Pour batter into a greased muffin tin. This recipe yields 8 cupcakes, so pour it into 8 of the tins! Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean (it may take a little more than 15).

4. While cupcakes cool, mix all icing ingredients in a food processor or a high speed blender. Ice the cupcakes and serve!

As you can see, the only big difference here is using a mix of GF flours, potato starch, and xanthan gum versus using whole wheat pastry flour. If you want, you can use 1 1/2 cups of an all purpose GF flour blend, such as the Bob’s Red Mill blend or the King Arthur blend. These will work just fine, but my personal feeling is that the Bob’s blend works best for denser baked goods, like quickbreads and muffins. I don’t love it for really delicate stuff, like cakes and cupcakes. If you’re accustomed to GF baking, you may have your own preferences, so please feel free to modify.

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I’m sure that many of you are wondering whether or not you can taste the avocado in here? Well, you can probably taste it in the icing. But not in the cake! You won’t taste a thing, but you will get the benefits of all those wonderful, polyunsaturated fats. Win, win.

These cupcakes epitomize the creativity that comes from using whole foods in your baking. I hope they make you (or someone close to you) as happy as they made me. I rarely bake anything fancy for myself, but I’m so glad I treated myself to these.
And if those weren’t enough, one of my post-bacc friends made me a raw, vegan birthday cake, all from scratch. He used this recipe!

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So incredibly sweet–literally and figuratively! I’m a lucky birthday girl!

Before I go, I have 6 winners to my giveaway to The Seed!

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As usual, I forgot to announce them in a timely fashion. My winners are:

Sara
Danielle
Julie
Fellow Hoya
Lexi
Libia
Gwen

Winners, please contact me so that I can get you guys set up, and don’t forget to find me and say hello at the conference!!

Have a great start to the weekend.

xo

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy June 8, 2012 at 11:43 am

wow thank u for sharing a GF version!! much appreciated! they look outrageous!! mmmmmm!

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JL goes Vegan June 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

Don’t tell on me…I just licked my computer screen.

Happy belated birthday!

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Kathryn June 8, 2012 at 11:50 am

Looks scrumptious! Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to the “Ener-G egg replacer”?

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Gena June 9, 2012 at 9:49 am

You can try flax meal, though I don’t love it for lighter cakes & cupcakes.

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Nicole June 8, 2012 at 11:51 am

Happy belated birthday to you, Gena! I’m also finding GF vegan baking to be an interesting challenge, and I’m glad my cupcake recipe inspired you to create something new. Your versions look fabulous. I love the frosting.

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Gena June 9, 2012 at 9:49 am

Thank YOU for such wonderful inspiration!!!!

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Aurelia June 8, 2012 at 11:51 am

Gotta love the fact that the birthday cake’s recipe starts with, “Yesterday was my 20th birthday! Yay!..or not?! I’m getting old and it’s not a nice feeling.”
I don’t want to read what this blogger will have to say about turning 30…

Anyway, happy belated birthday! The cupcakes look great, can’t wait to give them a try.

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Averie @ Averie Cooks June 8, 2012 at 11:53 am

I did a giveaway for Iris’ books last week on my site! They are so helpful…love the tips and recipes…glad you’re enjoying them, too.

And these cupcakes. And frosting. WOW! Avocado makes anything so moist and creamy; love that you used it in these!

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Heather June 8, 2012 at 11:56 am

Happy BIrthday Gena! What a wonderful bday treat! Those cupcakes look wonderful. Mmmm, I could definitely eat a whole bowl of chocolate avocado frosting :)

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Gena June 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

I could live off of chocomole. Almost. It is so good.

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Anna June 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm

What is coconut crystals or demerara sugar? Do they have less calories than regular sugar?

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Skye June 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm

These look UNBELIEVABLE! Thank you so much for taking the time to create and test a gluten-free version, too. I love how thoughtful you are for your readers who have different dietary needs! :)

Quick question: does the frosting recipe make just the right amount to frost the cupcakes, or is there any extra?

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Gena June 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

There’s a bit of extra!

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Kati June 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Do you think a flax or chia seed “egg” would work instead of the egg replacer? I want to make these ASAP but don’t have egg replacer handy!

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Gena June 9, 2012 at 9:51 am

Yes, you can certainly try that!

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janet @ the taste space June 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I was lucky to sample Nicole’s version and they were delicious. Fudgy, moist and chocolately without any taste of avocado. I love all the birthday treats! Yum!

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Beks June 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Thank you SOOOOOO much for posting this! They look so wonderful! I can’t wait to make them myself!

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Stefania @ Revitalize with Stefania June 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm

wow, that all looks amazing. Now I need to hunt down some chocolate for this craving until I get around to baking these…

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Lisa @ The Raw Serenity June 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Bceuase I only eat whole foods I have always used avocado in replacement of oil and “butter” and its suprising well the recipes turn out!
These little cakes look great!
I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday, you certainly deserved to be spoilt!
Lisa x

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Amy June 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Look amazing! I just tried chocomole recently and it’s safe to say that I’m obsessed.

Question: You don’t mention the 1/4 C. oil in your instructions, but is it safe to assume that you blend that together with the other wet ingredients?

Have a great weekend Gena!

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Gena June 9, 2012 at 9:52 am

Yes! Sorry about that.

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bitt June 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm

never tried baking with avocado. these look great. save me a GF one! I really want that book too. love brittany’s blog, a lot of her baked goods are dairy and egg free therefore vegan too.

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April June 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I think I will have to make these for my upcoming birthday. Yum and I can’t say no to avocado.

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Iris June 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Thanks for the shout out! Those cupcakes are really making me hungry right now…it’s been a while since I’ve made an avocado frosting, and I you just inspired me to make it happen!

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Libia June 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Hey Gena!!

I just wanted to let you know that I entered the giveaway by accident because I don’t live in New York :( I commented in that post for other reasons! I’m so embarrassed, it is kind of funny though, Is the first time I’ve ever won anything and it was an accident :/

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Gena June 9, 2012 at 9:52 am

Ha — that’s OK. Thanks for letting me know, Libia.

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Food and Fashion June 8, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Avocado frosting is a classic here, discovered in a book of Ani Phyo, it’s just so smooth and nobody would guess what’s in it. Just perfect!

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Katy June 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Thanks for posting, yum! One question when you get a minute. Did you mean 3/4 teaspoon or 3/4 Tablespoon of baking powder? (It just says 3/4 baking powder on both recipes). Sorry to bother you w/ such a little thing, but I figure minute amounts of acid are important in baking, and I’d love to make them for my mom’s birthday and not mess them up;)

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Gena June 9, 2012 at 9:56 am

3/4 tsp! So sorry — fixing now.

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Hannah June 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm

These look to die for! Thanks, Gena. Happy Birthday again =) … also, that is so nice one of your post-bacc friends made that cake for you. It’s beautiful and that’s one of the best gifts you can get!

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Pure2raw twins June 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm

yum, love cupcakes! glad you had a wonderful birthday full of yummy cake!!

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em June 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm

happy belated gena!
hope it was a good day; that raw cake looks amazing. i admire you so much for this journey of unknowns and uncertainties; you will certainly do amazing things no matter where life takes you.

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Hannah June 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Happy belated birthday, Gena! I hope you plan on treating yourself all weekend- You deserve it!

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Michelle June 8, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Happy Belated Birthday! Love your site

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Yesim June 8, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Hi Gena, this looks so yummy, cannot wait to try. Is the baking powder 3/4 tbs?

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Gena June 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

teaspoon! Sorry — I’m fixing that now.

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Kari @ bite-sized thoughts June 9, 2012 at 1:37 am

Oh yes…these are just wonderful!

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Abby June 9, 2012 at 7:48 am

I’ve seen different versions of this before. Considering those are two of my favorite things, I’m placing my order with you now for delivery for my birthday in August ;)

And Happy Belated Birthday! Welcome to the 30 Club!

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Christine (The Raw Project) June 9, 2012 at 10:49 am

These look simply amazing, thanks! It’s been so long since I’ve had a cupcake that I might just need to break down and try this! :-)

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Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See June 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

I think there’s drool on my computer screen..Is that a problem?? Not if chocolate avocado cupcakes are involved :D

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sophie June 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm

…just wanted to wish you a Happy belated Birthday. All the very best to you. May all of your wishes come true.

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Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! June 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Avocado cupcakes? glorious! looks like a fantastic birthday treat – hope you had a wonderful day :-)

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Indulgence Foods June 9, 2012 at 11:08 pm

yum, I love cupcakes! So much…

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Elenore Bendel Zahn June 10, 2012 at 9:11 am

Happy B-day!!! (I know..late..) anyhow I hope you had a great time (it seems you did;)…

Good to know I have a fellow L.O.T.R nerd in you:) So we can bounce quotes back and forth;)

Super Sunday loving hugs!

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Valerie @ City|Life|Eats June 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm

These cupcakes as are so so wonderful. :)

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Aisling June 11, 2012 at 8:58 am

Hi Gena, I’ve not commented on your blog before but I love getting your emails and your recipes are fantastic and so inspiring, thank you so much :-) I really appreciate you posting a GF version of this recipe, but I am highly intolerant of xanthan gum, have you any suggestions for an alternative to the xanthan? Other than the xanthan the cupcakes sound amazing, would love to be able to try this recipe out! :-)

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles June 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm

How sweet of your friend to make you a birthday treat! Thanks for the GF book suggestion. I feel like I’ve just mastered vegan baking WITH gluten, and now I’m at a loss for how to handle it gluten-free. I’m excited to delve into the realm of using more whole foods like avocado in my recipes!

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lian June 22, 2012 at 7:36 pm

yay! this is the #1 search on google for ‘avocado cupcakes.’ just the blog/recipe i was looking for, actually :)

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Jessica September 2, 2012 at 9:35 am

Hi Gena, I think the idea of using avocado in chocolate is marvelous. I made frozen raw desserts using cacao and avocado which had a pretty good shelf-life due to me freezing it. I was wondering how long these cupcakes with the frosting lasted? Thanks! :)

-Jessica

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Amber March 12, 2013 at 9:30 am

Hi, I was wondering if palm sugar or turbinado could be a replacement for coconut crystals/Demerara sugar and also could I replace an egg for the Ener-G egg?
Thanks! Trying to make these for my daughters 8th birthday!

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