I’ve shared before my challenges with sugar-free baking. I am not a fan of fake sweeteners in baking (in anything actually) and finally had success with a cake recipe. This week’s Sweet is free of refined sugar and is also vegan. I began with a recipe from the Babycakes cookbook, one of my favorite cookbooks of all time, and modified it a bit. The original recipe is here. Delicious!
Pineapple Coconut Refined Sugar Free Cupcakes (Makes 6 to 8 or 6 large and 10 minis)
1 cup garbanzo fava bean flour blend
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/4 c. corn starch
1/4 c. arrowroot
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1 t. salt
1/3 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. pear sauce (I use Trader Joe’s pear sauce, each container is 1/2 cup, pre-measured for you!)
2 T. vanilla bean paste (a trace of sugar here but I do not own sugar free vanilla)
zest of 1/2 lime
6 oz. pineapple juice
1/3 c. honey
1/3 c. agave
1/4 c. finely shredded coconut (I used this)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Whisk together flour, tapioca starch, corn starch, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Add the oil, agave nectar, honey, pear sauce, vanilla bean paste, coconut and lime zest. Mix until combined. Heat the pineapple juice in microwave for 30 seconds, then add to mixture. (Heating the pineapple juice helps the coconut oil to incorporate better.)
Pour batter into each prepared cup, filling almost full. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. Cupcakes will brown slightly and test clean with a toothpick.
Move to a wire rack after allowing the to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
1/2 cup Unsweetened Finely Shredded Coconut, divided
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup dry soy drink mix (or soy milk powder, I use the drink mix available in bulk at Whole Foods)
1 T. coconut flour
2 T. agave nectar
2 T. honey
1 T. vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 cups coconut oil
2 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
In food processor combine almond milk, soy milk drink mix, coconut flour, agave nectar, honey and vanilla bean paste. Blend for 2 minutes. With food processor running on low, slowly add the coconut oil and lime juice. Mix in 1/4 cup of the coconut.
With remaining 1/4 cup of the coconut, toast in a skillet on your stovetop or on a cookie sheet in the oven. I like the stovetop method.
Frost cupcakes using a knife or your preferred method and sprinkle with toasted coconut. This frosting isn’t as stuff as a buttercream made with powdered sugar, so I had a little trouble using it with my frosting tool, but it did work and was delicious!
(I topped these cupcakes with a sugar-laden pirate themed candy. It is not vegan nor refined sugar-free.)
This week’s Sweet Friend is Mark. Mark is my friend Sheila’s husband and he’s a pirate. He doesn’t have a peg leg, a hook for a hand or a parrot but he is most certainly a pirate. No doubt he is currently seeking a sailing vessel.
Mark puts up with or maybe encourages the shenanigans his wife and I get ourselves into. While we haven’t had to call him for bail money yet, I think he would show up, if for no other reason than to let out his hearty pirate laugh at our expense. Mark laughs a lot and I think that’s a good quality in a pirate. He also plays the guitar and the mandolin and probably 7 or 8 other instruments I am forgetting. And he sings. Because that’s what pirates do, right?
In my struggle to find sweets suitable to my dietary restrictions, I have developed a better understanding of what many of my friends go through with their own dietary concerns. It is difficult to celebrate any occasion without food and sweets are central to that. Mark has Type 2 Diabetes and I have watched on several occasions as those around him struggle to find a way to celebrate that is also in line with what is best for his long-term health, because they want him around to celebrate with for a very long time. I’m glad baking has brought these challenges about for me…and glad to have friends to share the results with!