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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Moist Matcha Almond Cupcakes (Vegan, GF, Fruit-Sweetened, Naturally Colored) (for St. Paddy's Day!)

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

St. Paddy's lasts all month this year laddies! And this green recipe is the second in my St. Patrick's Day 2023 series of recipes. It is yet another recipe for those of you who don't like the typical mint or Irish cream flavors associated with the Irish holiday. Nonetheless, these moist green cupcakes with a fluffy green frosting give all the festive St. Paddy's vibes you could dream of. These vegan, gluten-free, and fruit-sweetened cupcakes are easy and just too fun! Matcha and almond pair to create a truly incredible flavor profile. What's more, these cupcakes have hidden veggies and can be made nut-free (but will still contain coconut). And please note: these cupcakes contain a small amount of caffeine from the matcha green tea. Do yourself a favor and make yourself these cupcakes!





St. Paddy's 2023 Dimpled Date recipe #2!! I say we should celebrate St. Patrick's Day for the entirety of March.


You will love this recipe for Matcha Almond Cupcakes! It is vegan, gluten-free, 100% date-sweetened (completely w/ whole dates!), naturally colored, and can be made without nuts (if you omit the almond extract and use nut-free plant milk. However, it will still contain coconut).


These cupcakes are moist and packed with matcha flavor, topped with a sweet creamy and fluffy matcha almond frosting. Oh yeah, and with this recipe, I discovered that it's possible to pipe frosting made with date paste and did it successfully for the first time! (previously I found the only way to pipe date-sweetened frosting was by making it w/ date sugar or using a fudge-like frosting where the dates are blended with other ingredients. Otherwise, I used to just spread frosting made w/ date paste on a cupcake using a knife. But I've found out that it's possible to pipe too!!).





For the decoration, I kept it simple with just a sprinkling of matcha powder on top of the frosting. But if you want, you can make heart-shaped green white chocolates (using my recipe for date-sweetened matcha white chocolate in this recipe), green vegan gummies (or kohakutou, see this recipe for kohakutou AKA crystal gummies and color yours green), crushed almonds, and/or whatever you want to decorate yours with! But you don't have to decorate yours, they will still look amazing with that gorgeous frosting piped on top!


What's your favorite St. Patrick's Day dessert/beverage? Is it Irish soda bread? Baileys Irish Cream desserts? Mint desserts? Potato candy? Irish coffee desserts? Leave your fave St. Paddy's treat in the comments, and you might just see it posted on The Dimpled Date :)





Substitutions


The oat flour can't be substituted, as it's the base of these cupcakes. However I'm working on creating date-sweetened cupcakes that are grain-free/paleo and made with almond flour/coconut flour, so stay tuned. The tapioca flour can be replaced with arrowroot flour or possibly even cornstarch or potato starch (*NOTE: I HAVE NOT tried this recipe w/ cornstarch or potato starch and CANNOT guarantee the same results). If you tried this recipe with cornstarch or potato starch, let me know how it turned out in the comments!


The matcha powder can't be substituted as this is a recipe for Matcha Almond Cupcakes. But everybody has a different taste for matcha, and matcha flavor concentration varies from brand to brand. I used 2 Tbsp here in this recipe using Sencha Naturals's Matcha Green Tea Powder, but you might find that this is too much matcha for your preference. If so, experiment with the matcha flavor and adjust it to your liking. The baking powder and baking soda can't be substituted as they are the leaveners/leavening agents in this recipe. The Medjool dates can't be substituted, but you may use whatever variety of dates you like, such as Medjool or Deglet Noor. The coconut butter can be replaced with creamy unsweetened almond butter, creamy unsweetened cashew butter, or your mild creamy unsweetened nut/seed butter of choice. The sea salt can be substituted with table salt or can be omitted. The vanilla extract can be replaced with an equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean, pure ground vanilla beans, or sugar-free vanilla powder/paste/syrup. I don't recommend omitting the vanilla. The almond extract is key if you want that matcha almond flavor combo, but if you don't want the almond flavor and/or can't do tree nuts/nuts, omit the almond extract and add 1 tsp vanilla extract for simple Matcha Cupcakes.


The flax eggs can be substituted with 2 chia eggs OR 6 Tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine) per single batch. You may use any kind of unsweetened plant milk. Use nut-free unsweetened plant milk, such as unsweetened oat/rice/soy milk for nut-free. The coconut oil can theoretically be replaced with either avocado oil OR unsweetened applesauce (*NOTE: I HAVE NOT tried this recipe with avocado oil OR applesauce and therefore CANNOT guarantee the same results). If you tried this recipe with avocado oil or applesauce, let me know how it turned out in the comments! The cinnamon can be omitted. The spinach/kale is completely optional and is for additional color + a nutritional boost, so you can omit it (the cupcakes will still be green anyways).


For the matcha almond frosting, the vegan butter really can't be substituted as it forms the base of the frosting. Use whatever kind of vegan butter you'd like though, such as Earth Balance or Miyoko's (use soy-free as needed). The coconut cream contributes to the texture of the frosting, but you may omit it. The Medjool dates can be replaced with a lighter date sugar (such as Date Lady brand name), starting with 1/3 cup and adding additional date sugar 1 Tbsp at a time to taste, per single batch. Alternatively, you could try using powdered coconut sugar OR powdered maple sugar for the frosting, starting with 1/4 cup and adding more to taste 1 Tbsp at a time per single batch. Or you could try using pure liquid monk fruit extract for a sugar-free frosting, adding just 5 to 8 drops (liquid monk fruit is SUPER concentrated, so go sparingly) and adding more to taste 1 drop at a time. The matcha can't exactly be replaced as these are matcha cupcakes with matcha frosting. However, you can omit it for an off-white vanilla/almond frosting on top of your cupcakes. The almond extract is key for the matcha-almond duality flavor of the frosting, but you can omit it and use 1 tsp vanilla extract. The vanilla extract can be replaced with an equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean, pure ground vanilla beans, or sugar-free vanilla powder/paste/syrup. I don't recommend omitting the vanilla. The sea salt can be replaced with a pinch of table salt or can be omitted. The green natural/vegan/GF/sugar-free food coloring is optional and not needed if you make a matcha frosting. If you want though, you can add natural/vegan/GF/sugar-free green food coloring (such as Supernatural Kitchen brand name) to the frosting little bits at a time until you've reached your desired shade of green. You may use any kind of unsweetened plant milk for the frosting. Use nut-free unsweetened plant milk for nut-free.





More Lucky Recipes on the Way!


Keep posted for the latest and greatest of Dimpled Date St. Paddy's Day recipes (and more!).


Have any new recipes you want to see? Leave your suggestions in the comments!


As always,

Enjoy!

-K.



Moist Matcha Almond Cupcakes (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Fruit-Sweetened, Naturally Colored) (For St. Paddy's Day!)


Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 22 to 24 minutes

Chill Time: 30 to 45 minutes (for frosting)

Total Time: at least 1 hour 22 minutes

Servings: 12 cupcakes


Ingredients (for the matcha almond cupcakes):


-1 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour

-1/4 cup tapioca flour (can sub arrowroot flour)

-2 Tbsp pure matcha green tea powder

-1 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1 1/2 cups Medjool dates, soaked in hot water 5 to 15 min

-3/4 cup softened coconut butter (can sub unsweetened creamy almond butter OR unsweetened creamy cashew butter OR mild unsweetened creamy nut/seed butter of choice)

-1/4 tsp sea salt

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-1 tsp almond extract (omit for nut-free)

-2 flax eggs

-1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk of choice (use nut-free if needed)

-1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted

-pinch cinnamon

-handful fresh spinach OR fresh kale (optional // for additional color + nutritional boost)


Ingredients (for the matcha almond buttercream):


-1 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance or Miyoko's)

-1/4 cup coconut cream (the hardened white cream from a can of full-fat coconut milk/a can of coconut cream that's been refrigerated for at least 12 to 24 hours)

-1 1/2 cups Medjool dates (see "Substitutions" section for options w/ date sugar and other sweeteners)

-1 1/2 to 2 tsp pure matcha green tea powder (to taste)

-2 tsp almond extract (omit for nut-free)

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-pinch sea salt

-2 to 3 Tbsp unsweetened plant milk (use nut-free if needed)

-natural/vegan/GF/sugar-free green food coloring (such as Supernatural Kitchen brand // optional // for a brighter green color)


For garnishing:


-a sprinkle of pure matcha powder

-see post, above, for more ideas


Directions:


1. Ensure you've put a can of full-fat coconut milk/a can of coconut cream in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Make sure you've soaked the dates for the cupcakes in hot water for 5 to 15 minutes. Be sure the coconut butter is softened, the flax eggs are made, and the coconut oil is melted. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-sized muffin tin (a 12-cup tin) with cupcake liners OR grease each of the muffin tin cups with vegan butter, coconut oil, or 100% avocado oil spray if you don't have cupcake liners.


2. Whisk together the dry ingredients (oat flour, tapioca flour, matcha, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon) in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.


3. Blend the soaked & drained dates into a uniform paste in a food processor, scraping down the sides & re-blending as necessary. Add the fresh spinach/kale (if using) and blend until well-incorporated.


4. Add the softened coconut butter, flax eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract to the food processor and blend until combined.


5. Transfer the date mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir manually until somewhat combined (it won't fully combine yet and that's OK).


6. Add the plant milk and melted coconut oil and stir until smoother, moist, and well-combined (try not to over-mix). The batter is supposed to be thick.


7. Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners/greased muffin tin, distributing the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Smooth the tops and tap the pan a few times to release air bubbles.


8. Bake in the preheated oven (at 350 F) for 22 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool.


9. While the cupcakes cool, make the matcha buttercream frosting: soak the Medjool dates in hot water for 5 to 15 minutes. Then, blend the soaked & drained dates in the food processor until a paste forms, scraping down the sides & re-blending as necessary. You REALLY want to get the date paste uniform, as this will eliminate any large chunks of dates and make piping easier later. Set aside. Soften the vegan butter in the microwave for 5 to 7 seconds or until just softened yet still firm and solid. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the softened vegan butter and coconut cream until creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until creamy and fluffy. Add date paste, matcha, vanilla, almond extract, and sea salt and beat on a low speed setting until incorporated, about another minute. Add the plant milk and beat on a low speed setting for another 30 seconds. Add desired amount of the natural/vegan green food coloring (optional // to color the frosting a brighter green) and beat on the lowest speed setting for 30 seconds to incorporate the color. DO NOT over-beat the frosting. Over-beating the frosting will cause it to lose flavor and sweetness. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a coupler (or a piping bag fitted with a piping tip, but twist the piping bag above the tip and seal it off w/ a clothespin or rubber band so frosting doesn't leak through the piping tip), secure, and move to the fridge to chill for 30 to 45 minutes. No more, no less. If you don't have a piping bag, then just transfer the frosting to a bowl, chill in the fridge for 30 to 45 min, then spread on top of the cupcakes using a butter knife.


10. Frost the cupcakes: check to see if the frosting is done chilling. If the frosting is still too soft (check by trying to pipe), allow to chill another 10 min, then check again. If the frosting is a little too firm yet, defrost at room temp and check the consistency every 5 minutes by trying to pipe a few shapes until it's ready. Once the frosting is done chilling, pipe frosting on top of the cupcakes using your desired piping tip(s) (be sure to cut off the excess piping bag and fit with a piping tip if you used a coupler or remove the clothespin/rubber band if you just used a piping tip). If you reach a piece of date while piping, simply pipe over a small plate/dish until the date chunk passes, then continue piping. Be generous with the frosting because this recipe makes a lot. You can pipe little buttercream flower buds, rosettes, or swirls on top of your cupcakes. Get creative and have fun!


11. Decorate the tops of the frosted cupcakes with a sprinkle of matcha powder, heart-shaped green white chocolates (using my recipe for date-sweetened matcha white chocolate in this recipe), green vegan gummies (or kohakutou, see this recipe for kohakutou AKA crystal gummies and color yours green), crushed almonds, and/or your desired decorations. Or leave as is!


12. Serve with a hot/iced matcha latte, homemade vegan/refined sugar free matcha boba, an amaretto cocktail, Irish coffee, or Baileys Almande Almondmilk liqueur (which is 100% vegan and gluten-free now!). Happy St. Paddy's! Enjoy!


Store leftover unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temp for up to 2 days, then store in the fridge. Store leftover frosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge. Store all frosting leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.


Please Note:


-I can't calculate nutrition facts because the nutrition calculator I've been using is having a lot of issues. It keeps glitching, so I can't provide the calculated nutrition here unless I hand calculate it. Right now, that is too much for me to do. I hope that changes soon (or I find a better nutrition calculator)


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