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.
Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes and frosting
Dairy, soy, and nut free chocolate cupcakes and avocado frosting.
- 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
- CUPCAKES - Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 muffin tins with 24 paper liners.
- Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the water, oil, and vinegar.
- Using a wooden spoon or whisk, mix the ingredients together until the batter is smooth.
- Fill each cup ¾ full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the center of the cupcake springs back when touched.
- Allow the cupcakes to completely cool before frosting them.
- Makes 24 cupcakes
- FROSTING - Cut each avocado in half and remove the pit. Spoon out the avocado meat and place them in a mixing bowl.
- Add 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice. Beat the avocado and lemon juice for 2 minutes on medium speed.
- Add 4 cups of the confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth.
- 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.
- Transfer the frosting into a mesh strainer. Using a spatula, push the frosting through the strainer to remove any lumps of avocado.
- Use immediately.
- Makes 2 cups of frosting