Photo courtesy of Michal Sierens
These delicately sweetened, vegan and gluten-free cupcakes were created by Michal Sierens of @michalsie in celebration of our collaboration with Raaka Chocolate. Raaka's unroasted cacao powder, used here, is the same powder that we use in our Zucchini Double Chocolate baking mix, and adds a bright and fruity depth of chocolatey flavor.
Michal's innovative use of sweet potato to make a creamy, oil-free and naturally sweetened frosting is truly genius and delicious! Don't forget to add the chopped Raaka baking chocolate and flaky sea salt to these cupcakes for additional flavor and texture!
For the chocolate cupcakes:
- 1 package ‘Okina Classic Base mix
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup milk of choice
- 1/3 cup Raaka cacao powder
- 3 tbsp brewed coffee
For the pecan frosting:
- 1 medium to large white-flesh sweet potato (Hannah or Japanese variety), roasted and cooled
- 1/4 cup pecan butter
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
(You can also add a splash of almond milk if needed for consistency, but should be pretty thick)
For the date caramel:
- 8-10 medjool dates, soaked in just-boiled water for 15 minutes
- 1 tsp maca powder (optional; gives it sort of a caramel flavor)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
To make the cupcakes, follow the steps on your 'Okina Classic Base package, adding the additional cacao powder and coffee. Then, bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool.
To make the frosting, first roast the sweet potato whole (wrap in foil and baked on 400°F for about an hour). Once cooled, remove the skin and add the flesh to a food processor, along with the remaining frosting ingredients. Process until a smooth mixture is achieved, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Set aside.
To make the caramel, pit and soak the dates in just-boiled water for about 15 minutes or until softened. Drain (reserve the liquid) and add to a food processor along with the maca powder (if desired) and the vanilla. Process until a smooth paste is achieved, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. You can add some of the reserved soaking liquid if needed to get a smooth consistency.
Spread a small amount of the date caramel on top of each cooled cupcake as a thin layer. Then, frost each cupcake with the pecan frosting, building up the sides but leaving a small indentation in the center. Fill that indentation with an additional spoonful of the date caramel. For a finishing touch, top each cupcake with chopped toasted pecans, chopped Raaka maple dark chocolate baking coins, and a flourish of flaky sea salt!