At last, it’s what you’ve all been waiting for: healthier funfetti cupcakes minus sprinkles! Just kidding–I know you haven’t been waiting. Also, these have sprinkles. But not too much.
For some time, I’ve been wanting to create a wholesome, all-natural version of funfetti cupcakes. It took awhile to actually get down to it, because I don’t actually really like funfetti cupcakes. But, my lovely friend Hannah does, and it’s a birthday tradition for her to have them. Her sweet girls make her the real deal, tempting with glorious color bursts. This year I wanted to try my hand at a lighter version…the kind you could even eat for breakfast if you scraped off the frosting.
It may seem too embarrassing to admit, but some nights I found myself waking up, brain wrinkled with a torrent of unlikely sprinkles replacements. Would it be very finely grated and chopped beets, and carrots? Little dots of injected purple cabbage juice? Um, no. At least to the cabbage juice.
When I really got down to the business of funfetti play, I couldn’t bring myself to exclude sprinkles altogether, although I am sure somebody has/will with delectable success. But on this occasion I couldn’t help but conclude, aren’t the sprinkles the fun in the fetti?
This is not to say a compromise didn’t emerge. One did. With it being the holiday season, I’m going to call it Christmas magic, though it was actually obvious and convenient. For this batch of funfetti cupcakes–which, truly, could be muffins– I used just 1/4 cup of sprinkles ( a little more for decoration), and enhanced the look and flavor with chopped cranberries and raspberries. Orange juice works as well as non-dairy milk of choice; in fact, I think I prefer it. In any case, it’s worth the experimentation. Trial by error yumminess.
Happy New Year!
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond) or orange juice
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup aquafaba (chickpea liquid) or 1 beaten egg, if not vegan
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cranberries
- 1/3 cup chopped raspberries
- 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles plus additional for decoration
- vegan frosting of choice (I like making one with powdered sugar, tofu, and melted dark chocolate)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
- Mix together flour, maple syrup or sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in non-dairy milk or orange juice, coconut oil, applesauce, aquafaba or egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries, raspberries and sprinkles. Spoon into baking cups, filling about 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool completely and frost.
Remember that time–like ten days ago–when I waxed on a little about Pumpkin Spice Love? You know, pumpkin cheer, pumpkin chili, pumpkin bread, soup, pie…you name it. Well, this pumpkin gingerbread marries all that pure pumpkin sentiment with two of my other favorite things to dive into and borderline obsess over: the holiday season, and aquafaba.
Whether or not you’ve heard of it, you have been aware of aquafaba for a long time. It’s the briny liquid left when you drain canned or cooked chickpeas, and it’s a vegan dream. As well as a vegan-ish dream, apparently, since I suppose that is really the more appropriate term in our household. I was recently introduced to it by my friend Sarah, when she innocently asked me if I’d heard of it. Since then, not only have Sarah and I been indulging in a text frenzy of parallel yet distinct experimental aquafaba journeys, I seem to be making it an unconscious mission to spread the fever. Case in point, quick glimpse of text thread with my cooking queen friend Kristin yesterday:
I could, and will, ramble on much longer about aquafaba awesomeness, but not yet. Because, today Sarah and I pulled off a super efficient and productive aquafaba playdate, yielding five glorious festive creations highlighting supercalegumerific exgarbanzolisciousness. And I’ll need a little time to type that up. In the meantime, consider the warm spice and richness of pumpkin gingerbread that happens to be pretty low sugar (maple syrup and molasses sweetened), easily tweakable, vegan and gluten-free.
This was inspired by a beautiful pumpkin gingerbread from Oh She Glows. I expect you could pull off any favorite flour or gluten-free blend, but I do think that the 1/2 cup coconut flour and 1/2 cup almond flour mix for half of that makes for a really nice, almost custard-like texture that works. I used 1/2 cup chickpea flour and 1/2 cup sprouted rice flour for the remainder, but only because I had a bunch of remnants in bitty bags that were cluttering my cupboard. The combination was just right, but so could have been others. Try and see.
On that note, remember that time–also ten days ago, that same time I was talking about before–when I implied I would make an effort to post recipes I wanted to record even if there wasn’t time to say a whole lot about them? This is me attempting to follow through on that. Happy Thanksgiving!
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 6 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea water)
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup gluten-free flour blend of choice (I used 1/2 cup chickpea and 1/2 cup sprouted rice)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamonm
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Combine first five ingredients (pumpkin through aquafaba) in a medium-sized mixing bowl and blend well.
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir well.
- Stir in raisins and chopped ginger, if using.
- Pour the batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
This recipe has it all. It’s divine. It’s simple. It’s quick. It can be tailored to taste in seconds according to whim. What it doesn’t have–in this post, I mean–is a selection of pictures to accompany it and do it justice.
I didn’t expect to feel compelled to post this dreamy concoction…little F’s turning four-years-old dream birthday cake. There are so many things I didn’t expect to be mulling over lately. Most of all, despite being perpetually nostalgic and overly conscious of time, I didn’t expect quite how much it would floor me that my baby is now FOUR. I didn’t expect to find myself still freelancing, out of the classroom, at this point. Somehow over the years opportunities have kept emerging that have allowed me to keep juggling and prioritizing a flexible schedule I’ve loved. Somehow years of being steadily conditioned to flux hasn’t kept me from being any less surprised when things appear, nor any less disappointed when they end. But somehow the flow keeps going, and it’s all OK.
More than OK. Four is FABULOUS. Four is imaginative, bold, cuddly but increasingly self-assured. Four is taking initiative and sharing the play, wonder and discovery. Four is forming opinions with innocence and genuine reflection. Four deserves this birthday cake…and so does any age after. There is no doubt this cake method is the base of new evolving traditions in our house.
This recipe is owing hugely to this amazingly scrumptious recipe and post from the brilliant Minimalist Baker. And a very liberal take/modified version of this incredible chocolate banana bread turned cake from Chocolate Covered Katie bliss. I short-cutted the simple method even further by laying down three slim layers of the cake/bread mixture in three identical loaf pans lined with parchment paper and baked all at once. All you do after the layers cool is lay down a slightly softened layer of vegan ice cream of choice, top with the second cake layer, then another ice cream layer, then final cake layer; cover with foil or container lid and freeze. When it’s time to serve, let soften enough to invert out of the pan on a plate. I topped with rich, gooey melted dark chocolate with a little bit of coconut milk. Add a candle on top…absolute birthday decadence guaranteed to bring on lasting satisfaction from the wide-eyed appreciative reaction alone. (By the way, our choice of ice cream was a layer of So Delicious almond milk cookies and cream ice cream and another layer of So Delicious coconut milk oregon berry ice cream…swoon!)
This cake was the perfect way to round out a perfect birthday week for one very excited four year old. From waking up to a spangly decorated house on birthday morning to windblown first-time Go Kart excitement as a family in the afternoon to a special 2nd annual birthday hiking party with lovely little friends on the weekend following…everything about turning four has been pretty much magical. This cake complements all that–layers and layers of joy you just want to sink your teeth into and linger over.
Of course, my heart is overflowing and sometimes achy. Because, four came–and will go– so darn fast. Some days I want to sob my heart out with the kind of ice cream diving dose worthy of any respectable rom-com. This cake is good for that, too.
- 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips, melted
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 pints non-dairy ice cream of choice (We loved mixing So Delicious Coconut Milk Oregon Berry with So Delicious Almond Milk Cookies and Cream)
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup almond milk
- Preheat oven to 350 F and line three 9×5 loaf pans with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine first six ingredients, mashed bananas through melted chocolate. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda baking powder, and cocoa powder. Pour dry into wet, and stir until just evenly combined. Transfer to the loaf pans and spread out evenly.
- Bake approximately 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into loaf layers comes out clean.
- Top one of the cake layers with ice cream (keeping in the pan). Carefully remove second layer from parchment and place on top of ice cream layer. Top with another layer of ice cream and place the final cake layer on top.
- Cover and freeze at least one hour. Let soften 20 minutes before serving.
- Melt dark chocolate with coconut milk in a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. To serve, invert onto a serving plate and top chocolate sauce.