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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Vegan Date-Sweetened Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Chocolate Frosting (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)

A long awaited recipe is finally here... chocolate cupcakes!! Moist, tender, sweet chocolate cupcakes meet decadent silky chocolate frosting. And it's all sweetened with whole dates! The whole-date-sweetened frosting is even pipeable (and there's a second frosting option w/ date sugar that pipes fabulously too). Need I say more? These cupcakes are fairly simple to make, and will be a crowd pleaser for sure. Even kids and sugar-addicted non-vegans will love these cupcakes. Do yourself a favor and make them!




This recipe has been a long time coming! I've had it perfected for a while now but never got around to photographing it. But I finally did it, et voilà! Doesn't that frosting look like a dream?! It pipes like a dream too, despite the fact that it's sweetened with whole dates and isn't a true buttercream.


These cupcakes are sweet, chocolatey, moist, fluffy, and pretty. And oh yeah, I included an option for mini cupcakes (as you can see from the pictures)!




I've really been into the cupcakes lately, as I iterated in a previous post. They're just too fun! FYI: I have been experimenting with new raw cakes and have some recipes leftover from last summer that I meant to post then, but I waited too long until summer was over and the ingredients were no longer in season and have waited until now to post them, so keep your eyes peeled for those.


For these cupcakes, there are 2 frosting options: a light and airy sweet chocolate whipped cream buttercream or a dense rich chocolate fudge frosting. I personally prefer the fudge frosting, but I like both a LOT.


So funny story, see the picture below? This is what a free sample of one of these cupcakes looked like prior to delivering to a client. It had a perfect chocolate frosting rosette on top. I kept the container level the entire way there, and I get out of the car to deliver it, and it falls upside down onto the ground, the cupcake frosting hitting the top of the container and leaving a giant smear where my perfect rosette had been. But I learned that, hey, things aren't always going to go perfectly, and I was just glad the container lid didn't pop off and get all over the ground.



These cupcakes are 100% vegan, gluten-free, and fruit-sweetened, both frostings and all. You'll be blown away by how delicious these are. I've found that chocolate cupcake recipes from some other food blogs that are sweetened with maple syrup and/or coconut sugar taste nowhere near as good as these date-sweetened ones (and that's saying something)! I would even argue that the texture of these cupcakes is better than some of the other chocolate ones out there.


Wanna see some baking experiments happening in The Dimpled Date kitchen? Read on!


Below are two of my newest recipes, "The Stella" AKA marble drink (date-sweetened charcoal dalgona latte) and "The Colbie" AKA black and tan drink (date-sweetened PB choco-charcoal dalgona latte):




The first drink is named after my Australian blue heeler cattle dog, Stella. It's an iced drink with whipped activated coconut charcoal + sweetener + matcha or espresso over chilled plant milk. It makes for an extremely aesthetically pleasing drink.


The second drink is named after my other dog (the OG pup in our family), Colbie, who's a 13 year-old German shepherd mix. It's also an iced drink with the same ingredients as "The Stella," except it also has Choco PB dalgona in it!


And btw I perfected the recipe for my Raw Rainbow Raz Zebra Cake from my birthday and it's ready for the website! Stay tuned for these recipes...


Back to these cupcakes:




I've also been reaping the benefits of honeysuckle being in season. I've already made a vegan honeysuckle "honey," honeysuckle ice cubes, refined sugar free candied honeysuckle blossoms (the flowers of edible varieties of honeysuckle are edible too!), and 2 different simple syrups with my harvest. It's been a bountiful year for it for sure. You may just see a honeysuckle recipe on The Dimpled Date soon.


What's your favorite food that's in season right now? Leave yours in the comments and don't forget to like this post! And also drop your fav cupcake flavor in the comments if you want, too! :)




In other news, I've made paleo cupcakes successfully that are high-protein and that use an unconventional flour.. See if you can guess it before I post my first paleo cupcake recipe! My paleo cupcakes are ultra moist and soft, so make sure you don't miss out on the upcoming post.


For my other cupcake and muffin recipes check out the following:


And that list will just keep on growing. I don't include my Pumpkin Breakfast Muffins in this list only because I'm not too proud of that recipe. It's dry and doesn't have enough pumpkin flavor (those were the EARLY days of The Dimpled Date *sigh*). Hopefully I can get around to re-vamping that recipe sometime soon.





Substitutions


The oat flour can't be substituted, as it's the base of these cupcakes. However I've perfected date-sweetened cupcakes that are grain-free/paleo, coming to The Dimpled Date ASAP. Also, if you're out of oat flour, you can make your own by blending gluten-free rolled (old-fashioned) oats in a food processor or high-speed blender until fine and powdery in a 1:1 ratio (blend the same amount of oats as the amount of oat flour you need, but of course double check that it's the amount you need by measuring. If for some odd reason you need more flour, then blend more oats). Then, you can use it in the recipe right from there. 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 cacao powder can be substituted with cocoa powder. OR it can possibly be replaced with carob powder for a caffeine-free version and different flavor. (*NOTE: I haven't tried this recipe with carob powder and therefore CANNOT guarantee good results). If you tried this recipe with carob powder in place of the cacao powder, let me know how it turned out in the comments!


The baking powder and baking soda are absolutely necessary, as they are the leavning agents/leaveners in this recipe. The sea salt can be replaced with table salt or can be omitted. The dates can't be substituted, but you may use whichever variety you wish, such as Medjool or Deglet Noor. You may sub any nut/seed butter for the cashew butter, such as almond butter, sunflower seed butter, mild tahini, pepita butter, macadamia butter, OR coconut butter for a more mild substituted. Or you could try peanut butter, hazelnut butter, walnut butter, OR pecan butter for a more robust nutty + chocolate flavor. Just make sure the nut/seed butter is unsweetened and preferably unsalted (roasted is fine and creamy/crunchy are both fine). Likewise, the coconut butter can be replaced with any of these aforementioned nut/seed butters OR your nut/seed butter of choice.


The vanilla extract can be substituted with an equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean, ground vanilla beans, OR sugar-free vanilla paste/powder/syrup. Do not omit the vanilla, you need it to balance the chocolate flavor. The flax eggs can be swapped out with 2 chia eggs per single batch of cupcakes OR 6 Tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine) per single batch. The unsweetened almond milk can be replaced with your unsweetened plant milk of choice (homemade or store-bought), such as unsweetened cashew milk, unsweetened coconut milk (thin, from a carton), unsweetened oat milk, unsweetened rice milk, unsweetened hemp milk, unsweetened pumpkin seed (pepita) milk, unsweetened quinoa milk, etc. Alternately, you may be able to get away with filtered water in place of the plant milk. The coconut oil can be replaced with unsweetened applesauce OR pure avocado oil. Possibly, you could try extra virgin olive oil instead with mixed results, but this may impart more of an olive-oil-cake-like flavor.


For the fudge frosting, the dates are absolutely necessary, but you may use whichever variety you wish such as Deglet Noor or Medjool. The full-fat coconut milk can be replaced with your thick/extra-creamy unsweetened plant milk of choice (homemade or store-bought. You might be able to get away w/ thin unsweetened plant milk, but this will affect the consistency). The cashew butter can be replaced with creamy almond butter, creamy peanut butter (for a PB + Chocolate sort of thing), creamy hazelnut butter (for a "Nutella" sort of thing), or your nut/seed butter of choice. Just make sure the nut/seed butter is creamy and unsweetened. The cacao powder can be replaced with cocoa powder OR carob powder for a caffeine-free version. Do not omit it. The vanilla extract can be substituted with an equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean, ground vanilla beans, OR sugar-free vanilla paste/powder/syrup. The sea salt can be replaced with table salt or can be omitted. The cinnamon is perfectly optional, but you may use either Ceylon or cassia. The hot water is also optional, but I wouldn't substitute it.


For the light "chocolate whipped cream frosting," the vegan butter can't be substituted, but you may use store-bought (like Earth Balance or Miyoko's) OR homemade vegan butter. The coconut cream can't be replaced, but you could try omitting it. The cacao powder can be replaced with cocoa powder OR carob powder (for caffeine-free). The date sugar theoretically can be substituted with 1/2 cup powdered maple sugar OR 1/2 cup powdered coconut sugar per single batch, but then the cupcakes will no longer be fully date-sweetened. The vanilla extract can be substituted with an equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean, ground vanilla beans, OR sugar-free vanilla paste/powder/syrup. The sea salt can be replaced with table salt or may be omitted. The unsweetened almond milk can be substituted with your unsweetened plant milk of choice, homemade or store-bought.


A nice garnish for these cupcakes would be my heart-shaped Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate pieces, a chocolate covered coffee bean, a chocolate-covered strawberry, or one of my Chocolate Hazelnut Silk Truffles.




The Latest & Greatest


Keep up-to-date on my newest recipes, and don't forget to like this post!


If you have any recipe suggestions, post them in the comments. I'd love to hear from you!


As always,

Enjoy! <3

-K.



Vegan Date-Sweetened Chocolate Cupcakes (w/ Date-Sweetened Chocolate Frosting 2 Ways) (Vegan, Gluten-Free, 100% Fruit-Sweetened)


Prep Time: 40 minutes (incl. to make either frosting)

Cook Time: 24 to 28 minutes

Total Time: abt 1 hour

Servings: 15 full-size cupcakes (will update post w/ the # of minis it makes)


Ingredients (for the cupcakes):


-1 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour

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

-2/3 cup cacao powder (can sub cocoa powder)

-1 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/4 tsp sea salt

-1 1/2 cups Medjool dates

-1/2 cup unsweetened cashew butter (can sub almond butter OR nut/seed butter of choice)

-1/4 cup softened coconut butter (AKA "coconut manna")

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-2 flax eggs (Minimalist Baker has a great flax egg recipe!)

-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (can sub unsweetened plant milk of choice)

-1/2 cup melted coconut oil


Ingredients (frosting option #1: chocolate fudge frosting):


-1 cup Medjool dates

-2 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk/coconut cream

-1/4 cup unsweetened creamy cashew butter (can sub creamy almond butter OR creamy nut/seed butter of choice)

-6 Tbsp cacao powder (can sub cocoa powder)

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-pinch sea salt

-pinch cinnamon (optional)

-1/4 cup hot water


Ingredients (frosting option #2: light chocolate whipped cream frosting):


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

-1/4 cup coconut cream

-1/2 cup cacao powder (can sub cocoa powder)

-2/3 cup date sugar (date sugar made from dried & ground dates, NOT date palm sugar)

-2 tsp vanilla extract

-pinch sea salt

-1/4 cup unsweetened plant milk


Directions:


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-sized muffin tin with cupcake liners and/or line a mini muffin tin with mini cupcake liners (for mini cupcakes). Soak the Medjool dates for the cupcakes in hot water for 5-15 minutes. Ensure you've softened the coconut butter, melted the coconut oil, and made the flax eggs.


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


3. Blend the soaked & drained dates in a food processor until a uniform paste forms, stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary.


4. Add the rest of the wet ingredients EXCEPT the almond milk and coconut oil to the food processor (so add the cashew butter, softened coconut butter, vanilla, and flax eggs). Blend until well-incorporated, stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary.


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 cupcake batter into the cupcake liners, filling each just shy of the top. If making mini cupcakes, scoop just enough batter into each mini liner to reach just shy of the top. You can either make entirely full-size cupcakes, entirely mini cupcakes, or a combo of both. The number of cupcakes will change based on which one of these options you choose though. Lightly and gently tap the base of the muffin pan(s) against the countertop, to remove any air bubbles. Smooth the tops as necessary.


8. Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven (at 350 F) for 24-28 minutes for full-size OR 12 minutes for mini cupcakes, or until a knife/toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.


9. Allow the cupcakes to cool.


10. While the cupcakes are cooling make the frosting:


11. For frosting option #1 (chocolate fudge frosting w/ whole dates): soak the dates in hot water for 5-15 minutes. Once the dates are soaked, drain off the water and add the dates to the food processor or high-speed blender. Add the rest of the frosting ingredients EXCEPT the hot water (so add the full-fat coconut milk, cashew butter, cacao powder, vanilla, sea salt, cinnamon) to the food processor/blender. Blend until smooth, thick, and creamy, scraping down the sides and re-blending as necessary. Test the consistency of the frosting by adding a little to a piping bag and attempting to pipe a shape or two. If it's too thick, add the hot water to the rest of the frosting in the food processor and blend. If the frosting is too thin, omit the hot water and chill the frosting in the fridge until pipeable, at least 15 to 20 minutes.


12. For frosting option #2 (light chocolate whipped cream frosting w/ date sugar): soften the vegan butter in the microwave for 5 to 7 seconds until just softened but still firm. Add the softened vegan butter and coconut cream to a large glass mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl. Using a hand-mixer with the glass bowl or the stand mixer, beat the vegan butter and coconut cream until creamy, 3 minutes. Then turn the speed to high and beat 1 to 2 more minutes until creamy and fluffy. Sift in the cacao powder and date sugar and add the vanilla and pinch of sea salt. With your hand-mixer blades or a spatula, try to gently mix in the date sugar and cacao powder into the butter a little bit before blending, so you don't have a cloud of ingredients rising out of your bowl. Blend on a lower speed setting until incorporated, about another minute. Lastly, add the plant milk and blend on a low speed for 30 seconds, until just incorporated. If the frosting is too soft to pipe, refrigerated until firm enough to pipe, at least 15 to 20 minutes.


13. When your frosting of choice is firm enough, add to a piping bag fitted with a coupler and/or your piping tip of choice, or you can spread your frosting onto your cupcakes using a knife. Frost your cupcakes, piping them however you want or spreading it on in whatever fashion you please. See pictures for inspo.


14. As a finishing touch, you can add one of my heart-shaped Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolates, one of my Date-Sweetened Choco Hazelnut Silk Truffles, a chocolate-dipped coffee bean, a chocolate-covered strawberry or cherry, dark chocolate shavings or curls, healthy chocolate sprinkles, a mini version of one of my Chocolate Almond Butter Crunch Energy Balls (just roll them smaller to make mini), or whatever toppings you please. Or you can leave them plain! Serve with a tall glass of unsweetened vanilla plant milk, a dairy-free white Russian or vegan chocolate martini, an iced chocolate maca latte, or whatever you wish or serve on its own. Enjoy!


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


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