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Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Cashew Frosting

Jan 31, 2023 ● By Laura Theodore
Chocolate cupcakes.

Photo credit: Laura Theodore

Wow! That’s the reaction you’ll get when you serve these divine cupcakes. Packed with chocolaty flavor and topped with a decadent cashew-based frosting, no one will ever know they are vegan and gluten-free!
Yield: 18 cupcakes
1 cup raw cashews
¾ cup water (for soaking cashews)
1⅓ cups nondairy milk, divided
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp vegan cane sugar
¾ cup vegan dark chocolate chips (55% to 70% cacao)
2 Tbsp flax seeds
2½ cups quick cooking, gluten-free rolled oats
1⅓ cups vegan cane sugar
¼ cup almond flour, plus more if needed
cup unsweetened cocoa powder
tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1⅓ cups nondairy milk
cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
To make the frosting, put the cashews and water into a bowl. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Drain the cashews and rinse in cold water.
Heat 1 cup nondairy milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until simmering. Put the soaked cashews, 1 tablespoon oil, and 3 tablespoons sugar into a blender, then add the chocolate chips. Pour in the simmering nondairy milk and process for about 20 seconds. Add ⅓ cup cold nondairy milk and process until completely smooth. Refrigerate the frosting for 3 hours to firm up.
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin and a six-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
Put the flax seeds into a high-performance blending appliance and process into fine flour. Transfer the flaxseed flour to a large bowl. Put the rolled oats into the blender and process into fine flour. Add the oat flour, 1⅓ cups sugar, almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the flaxseed flour, and stir with a dry whisk to combine.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add 1⅓ cups nondairy milk, ⅓ cup oil, and vanilla and stir to incorporate. (If batter seems loose, add 1 more tablespoon almond flour.)
Divide the batter evenly among the 18 muffin cups. Bake for 32 to 37 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely. Pipe or spoon a generous amount of frosting over the top of each cupcake. Covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator, leftover cupcakes will keep for about 3 days.
Laura Theodore is a vegan PBS chef, cookbook author, podcaster and co-creator of the award-wining PBS television series Jazzy Vegetarian, airing every Thursday at noon on Lakeshore PBS, in Chicago.

Recipe adapted from Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine That’s Easy and Delicious, 10th Anniversary Edition, by Laura Theodore, © 2022. Distributed by BPC. Reprinted with permission.