When my sister Janice called to ask me if I would bake my nephew two dozen cupcakes for his birthday party, how could I refuse?  “Sure, no problem,” I told her.  Before hanging up she mentions, “Oh, by the way… I need the cupcakes to be dairy, soy, and nut-free.”  I knew right away that I would use my go-to vegan chocolate cake recipe which is simply fabulous.  But for the frosting, I had to give this some thought. 

My older daughter Abigail has a dairy-sensitivity so I’m familiar with using alternative “butter-like” vegan spreads when making frosting.  However, when I saw a perfectly ripe avocado resting in a fruit basket on the counter, I instantly knew I would use it to make frosting.  Inspired by a recent tweet by Alton Brown for his “natural” colored frosting, his recipe for avocado frosting intrigued me.

For the past year I’ve seen many recipes calling for avocado for its creaminess in sweet desserts.  Typically used as an element in salads, dips, and other savory dishes, I had no idea how versatile avocados could be when used as an ingredient in puddings, cakes, and frostings.

Using Alton Brown’s recipe as a guide, I made an avocado based vegan frosting.  The gorgeous natural green color reminded me of green tea.  But I wondered how it would taste.  Sweetened with confectioner’s sugar with a hint of lemon juice, I was pleasantly surprised by how amazing this frosting was.  It was creamy, not too sweet, and the little hit of lemon juice brightened the frosting just enough to counter balance the avocado flavor.  In fact, if I hadn’t made this frosting myself, I would never have guessed the frosting was made from avocado.  Gosh, avocado… who knew?!

Unable to attend the party, I’m told the cupcakes were a big hit with everyone with many people asking Janice for the recipe – the ultimate compliment.

I’m also including some photos of the budget-friendly decorating ideas from Isaiah’s party to inspire you.

Using her computer and printer she printed off mini colored banners, cut them out and taped them to ribbon to make a fun birthday themed garland.
Want a festive party setting? Inexpensive colored tissue paper is great for making and hanging colored pom poms.
Glue hand cut letters unto large paper circles to create a custom birthday message.

Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes and frosting

  • Prep Time: 10 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 18 min(s)

Dairy, soy, and nut free chocolate cupcakes and avocado frosting.

Ingredients

  • Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil (for soy-free use canola or safflower oil)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • AVOCADO FROSTING
  • 2 ripe medium avocados
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4-5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. CUPCAKES - Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 muffin tins with 24 paper liners.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the water, oil, and vinegar.
  3. Using a wooden spoon or whisk, mix the ingredients together until the batter is smooth.
  4. Fill each cup ¾ full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the center of the cupcake springs back when touched.
  5. Allow the cupcakes to completely cool before frosting them.
  6. Makes 24 cupcakes
  7. FROSTING - Cut each avocado in half and remove the pit. Spoon out the avocado meat and place them in a mixing bowl.
  8. Add 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice. Beat the avocado and lemon juice for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  9. Add 4 cups of the confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth.
  10. Taste the frosting. If you feel it needs more lemon juice, add the remaining teaspoon. If the frosting is not sweet or thick enough, mix in the remaining frosting.
  11. Transfer the frosting into a mesh strainer. Using a spatula, push the frosting through the strainer to remove any lumps of avocado.
  12. Use immediately.
  13. Makes 2 cups of frosting

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  • Mj

    That cupcake- always a fan of a good vegan baked good, and the frosting sounds divine! and what a cute nephew – lucky to have you as an aunt.

  • Janice

    These were so seriously good – im not vegan and i couldn’t tell at all that these were vegan. Also a big plus- the frosting was delish – creamy and melted in your mouth- we couldn’t taste avocado at all! I was skeptical but was blown away at the taste. Thanks sister!!

  • http://www.fairfoods.org.uk Clare

    They look fab – great idea!

  • Erckle

    Vegetable oil is often soybean oil, so these are not soy free.

    • Alice Currah

      Hi Erckle – Thanks for your comment. You’re correct about the vegetable oil. Although you could use this type of oil to keep it vegan, a soy sensitive person should use safflower or canola oil. I’ve updated the ingredient to reflect this.

      Thanks again,
      Alice

      • UNKNOWN

        most soy allergic people are able to eat soybean oil being that the protein has been completely removed. Those that cannot eat KNOW it…I promise, we are those people. Don’t concern yourself too much. BUT I did really appreciate the notation in your recipe. :)

  • Jen

    Just wanted to throw out that you can use unsweetened apple sauce instead of the oil in a 1:1 ratio.

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  • Jessica

    Wow! Cupcakes are amazing! Thank you! I am going to do the same recipe for my son’s birthday cake today. Just wondering if you have tried the recipe with cake flour or if the cooking time should be adjusted. Many thanks, Jessica

    • Alice Currah

      Hi Jessica,
      Using cake flour will not make a difference in baking times.

  • Erin in AK

    Hmmm, adapt the cupcakes to be gluten free & I’ve got the dessert for our next dinner party!

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