Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes – and a Celebration

Posted by in Dessert, Gluten-Free, Vegan

“I closed the deal,” she said. “I negotiated the terms on my own”, she said. And I wouldn’t expect anything less of her.

My best friend is one of the most inspiring creatures that could ever grace you with her presence. She has a huge, unwavering capacity for acceptance and understanding. She recognizes the subtle undertones in the emotions and mannerisms of those dear to her and never shies away from offering her heart, ears, and full attention. She is also wickedly bright and sharp and understands how to utilize her countless talents to the best of her abilities. She takes care of herself and accepts herself free of judgement – working solely from the desire to understand and love. She is fearless with her wit, tongue, and knowledge of self. She is the type of woman that you would admire from afar and feel entirely blessed to call a friend.

Choco Coco3

Choco Coco6

In honor of Natassia closing a monumental deal that will fast-track her career goals lightyears into her future (I doubt I am allowed to disclose the nature of her triumphs, so I shan’t), I celebrate her in the best way that I know how. By baking little happy cakes for her. Although, her hard work and prowess has yielded her a much more fitting gift – the ability to grasp her life and career in her well-deserving hands. I honor her achievements in the most loving way I know how.

The act of using your hands to make food that comforts the body and brings us together is an act that is sacred to me in it’s tradition. The ability to pour care and nourishment into a bowl and whisk it into something extraordinary is worth so much more than simply eating to fuel ourselves through the day. Life happens when we create together, dine together, and listen to one another. Our mission at Olive and Pearl’s has always been to nourish and teach those that we care about to honor our souls with healthful, celebratory meals. Life is not always calm or easy, but when we have cause for true joy, the opportunity should be snatched up and frosted.

Choco Coco1

And frosted it I have done. After such a feat, the lady of honor deserves something as rich as her abilities. Our Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes are packed with healthy fats and unrefined, low-glycemic sweeteners. They are loosely adapted from one of Ashlae of OhLadyCake’s recipes, with some major tweaks for our tastebuds and sensitivities. I have used almost every ingredient available derived from the fair coconut along with high-fiber, gluten-free flours. I find that in gluten-free baking, a balance between fatty flour and fibrous, absorbent flours yields the best results. I have given the measurements and ratios below, but if all you have on hand is pre-mixed gluten-free flour, this should work as well. They are also dairy-free and can be made entirely vegan as well if you so choose.

Choco Coco10

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

Makes 12

For the cakes:

  • 1/8 c coconut flour
  • 1/8 c flax seed
  • 1/2 c oat bran (old-fashioned oats will work as well, just give them a good pulse in your food processor until they are ground down)
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 oz dark chocolate
  • 2/3 c coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs (if vegan, combine 2 tbsp of ground flax seed + 6 tbsp warm water in your food processor and blend until emulsified)
  • 1/2 c non-dairy milk + 1/2 c warm water, combined and heated

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray muffin pan with a generous amount of non-stick coconut oil, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flours, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda, set aside. In a small nonstick pan, melt the chocolate and coconut oil over low heat until combined, stirring constantly. Add the coconut sugar and vanilla extract, stirring slowly to ensure the chocolate does not burn. Slowly pour heated chocolate mixture to the flours and thoroughly combine. Add eggs one at a time and be sure to mix entirely so that you don’t get scrambled eggs with the addition of the warmed water and milk. If using flax eggs, combine with batter at this time . Pour water and milk into the bowl and whisk until batter is well incorporated. Divide batter evenly between the 12 prepared muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes (my oven is a bit cool so I baked them for 20. If yours is true to temperature, they could very well be done after 15). Remove pan from oven and let cool entirely while you prepare the frosting.

For the chocolate coconut frosting:

  • 1/4 c coconut cream, or full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 c shredded coconut (I used Trader Joe’s roasted coconut chips)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 oz melted chocolate
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • optional: sprinkle shredded coconut or coconut chips on top of the frosted cakes

In a high-speed food processor or blender, blend coconut cream and shredded coconut until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. I prefer the frosting a bit less sweet but if you find it to be too mild, add a bit more coconut sugar and blend again.

When the cakes are entirely cooled, distribute frosting onto each cake. Keep in a airtight container for up to three days.

Choco Coco4