Imagine tender cupcakes topped with a decadent buttercream that you can enjoy almost guilt-free. Enter these whole grain, vegan maple cupcakes topped with a rich, buttery frosting that’s not only free of butter, but also refined sugars! Yes, both the little cakes and the buttercream are sweetened exclusively with pure maple syrup.
These amazing vegan maple cupcakes were created by my good friend Ricki Heller of RickiHeller.com. She is a cookbook author, professional recipe developer, holistic nutritionist and anti-candida crusader with expertise in plant-based, sugar-free, and gluten free diets.
This is one of her earlier recipes, which is wheat-free but not gluten-free, and it was inspired by none other than a good quality, pure maple syrup:
Growing up in Quebec, I assumed maple syrup was as common as my father’s ex-girlfriend (well, that’s what my mom used to say about her, anyway). So I never really thought much about maple syrup as anything but a substitute for sugar, used whenever a certain type of sweetness was required; it never occurred to me to showcase the auburn ambrosia as the primary flavor in its own right. Not until, that is, I received an amazing sample of Coombs Family Farms Pure Organic Maple Syrup in the mail. I was agog as soon as I inhaled the stuff and immediately set about creating.
The resultant vegan maple cupcakes have an incredibly light crumb and a warm, decadent maple aroma. Ricki uses coconut oil rather than butter in both the single-serve cakes and the frosting, and rather than powdered sugar, she adds a bit of dairy-free milk powder to bring the topper together.
Special Diet Notes: Vegan Maple Cupcakes
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.
- ½ cup plain or vanilla dairy-free milk beverage (your choice of type)
- ½ cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)
- ⅓ cup melted coconut, sunflower or other light-tasting oil
- 1 tablespoon finely ground flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1⅓ cups light spelt flour (can sub all-purpose flour or white-wheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅔ cup organic refined coconut oil, soft at room temperature (see note)
- ⅔ cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch fine sea salt
- ⅓ cup soymilk powder, rice milk powder, or dairy-free coconut milk powder
- 1 teaspoon finely ground chia seeds, optional (see instructions)
- To make the cupcakes, preheat your oven to 350ºF (180C).
- Line 10 muffin cups (for large cupcakes) or 12 muffins cups (for small cupcakes) with paper liners, or spray with nonstick spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk beverage, maple syrup, oil, vinegar, flax seeds, vanilla, and vinegar until well combined.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk just until combined; do not overmix.
- Using a large ice cream scoop or ⅓ cup (80 ml) measuring cup, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in one of the center cupcakes comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
- To make the buttercream, add the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt to a mixing bowl and beat with a mixer until combined.
- Slowly sift in the milk powder and blend on low speed to incorporate. Then blend on high speed until the mixture becomes lighter, both in color and texture, and fluffy. If it seems too soft to hold a peak, add the chia seeds and beat to incorporate; let stand 2 to 5 minutes, then beat again before using.
Freezing Option: The cupcakes and frosting may be frozen separately. Defrost each in a covered container in the refrigerator overnight before using.