Firstly, please excuse my appalling icing skills. It’s never been my forte, I’m afraid but I promise it tastes really good! That’s the most important thing, right? These cupcakes are inspired by an old (non-vegan) recipe of mine for chocolate lavender cupcakes. I adored these cupcakes and have been meaning to make a vegan version for a while now. So here they are!
The recipe is based on Nigella’s “accidentally vegan” Dark Chocolate Cake – which is DELICIOUS. I’ve made it numerous times now and have adapted it so much in the process (not that it needed it but just because I can’t leave a recipe alone) that I’ve created my own version of it using spelt flour and coconut sugar. I’ve also tested her recipe using gluten-free flour and it works very well, I’m pleased to report. So feel free to use equal amounts of gluten-free flour for these cupcakes if you wish to make them gluten-free. The cupcakes are rich, despite the chocolate flavour coming from just cocoa powder alone, and fluffy yet gooey. Chocolate cupcake perfection! The buttercream is sugar-free and is simply made with a good-tasting dairy-free butter (I use Vitalite) some powdered xylitol and a drop of natural purple food dye. Mother’s Day is in a couple of weeks time here in the UK (March 6th) and these cupcakes would make a wonderful baking gift. My mother certainly approves! You could even serve these as part of a vegan afternoon tea for your mum.
- 1 tbsp dried lavender buds + extra for decoration
- 125g good-tasting dairy-free butter
- 200g xylitol, mixed in a blender on high power for a few minutes until it turns to powder*
- A small amount of natural violet food dye (optional)
- 175g spelt flour or all-purpose gluten-free flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
- A pinch of salt
- 50g cocoa powder
- 225g coconut sugar**
- 275ml hot water
- 60ml sunflower oil (or other mild-tasting vegetable oil)
- 1½ tsp apple cider vinegar
- Heat 2 tbsp of the dairy-free butter in a small saucepan with the lavender buds. Strain and allow the butter to re-solidfy in the fridge or freezer.
- Once the butter has set again, mix it with the rest of the butter in a stand mixer along with the powdered xylitol and a small amount of purple food dye until you have a thick, fluffy buttercream. Keep refrigerated until use.
- Preheat the oven to 180c. / 350f. and line a muffin tray with 12 cases.
- Mix the first five ingredients together until well combined.
- Stir in the remaining wet ingredients until the mixture is smooth and lump-free.
- Divide the mixture equally between the 12 muffin cases and bake for 15 minutes. Use a cake tester or skewer to test the middle of the cupcakes come out clean. If not, bake for a further 5 minutes.
- Leave to cool before frosting.
- Transfer the frosting to a icing bag and pipe on top of the cupcakes. Decorate with dried lavender buds and serve!
**Coconut sugar is a natural, low GI alternative to brown sugar that you can find in most health food stores. If you prefer, you can use brown sugar in it's place 1:1