This week I started yoga classes and ate quinoa 'superfood' for the first time and I am feeling rather proud of myself. This wholesome living is, of course, completely isolated from an incident involving a tin of danish butter cookies and my heartfelt late night goodbye to Friday Night Lights, a TV show I become quietly addicted to two months ago. ('Hey Y'all' to all the Tim Riggins fans out there). In my defence the cookies come in this adorable tin with toy solider design and are butter-meets-sugar heaven. My favourites are the squares ones covered in granulated sugar... Anyway like I said this has nothing to do with that.
Vegetables in our sweet stuff is a new major food trend. I like the thought of healthy-ing up my baking and messing around with flavours at the same time. I tackled beetroot chocolate cake first here and now it is my go-to crowd pleasing chocolate cake. Now I am going all the way and cutting out butter and eggs with these vegan avocado cupcakes. I am not a fan of using oil in baking, I think it leaves an after taste even when using vegetable or sunflower oil, but you only need 2 tablespoons here so there is no impact on taste. The moist avocado acts as a butter substitute giving a moist light crumb.
You definitely wouldn't know there was avocado in them. Probably best to only tell the guests after they leave their cupcake cases like this:
From Joy the Baker
1 1/2 cups plain flour sifted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking/bread soda
1 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/4 cup mashed ripe avocado (around 1/2 medium sized avocado)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking and bread soda and salt into a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl mix sugar, oil, avocado, water, vinegar and vanilla extract.
3. Add the flour mixture to the avocado mixture and mix well to ensure there are no hidden pockets of flour.
4. The batter will be very light. Fill the cupcake liners to over 2/3's full. The batter will not rise too much.
5. Make for 18-20 minutes at 350oF/180oC until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool for ten minutes once out of the oven then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.
This cream cheese chocolate frosting is moreish and devine and a big winner with those who find normal buttercream too sweet as it is made with unsweetened cocoa powder.
For the frosting: Frosts 12-14 cupcakes
From Joy the Baker cookbook
100g cream cheese
1/2 cup (100g) unsalted butter
1/8 cup cocoa powder unsweetened (I use Bourneville)
pinch of salt
1 cup icing sugar sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp milk
1. Allow the cream cheese and butter to soften at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
2. Beat the cream cheese allow with an electric beater until soft and pliable. Add the butter and beat until the butter is broken down and mixed with the cream cheese. Add the cocoa powder and beat for 30 seconds until incorporated.
3. Add the salt, icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Beat until well combined- 3-4 minutes.