a happy birthday

this evening, I sat by an open window
and read till the light was gone and the book
was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could easily have switched on a lamp,
but I wanted to ride the day down into night,
to sit alone, and smooth the unreadable page
with the pale gray ghost of my hand.

-Ted Kooser
[This poem reminds me of my dear friend, Melody, (happy birthday!) who is frequently reading, and writing, and dreaming of stories. She is a fantastic writer, in fact, you should read some of her work! You can find a lovely piece here.]

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting
adapted from The Healthy Chef

I made these cupcakes for a dear friend, who has a very limited diet. She eats gluten free, and mostly vegan [although eggs and  yogurt are okay in small amounts]. These cupcakes are tailored for her. I found this recipe for cupcakes on Pinterest, but deviated from the original quite a bit. My version has a bit of yogurt, coffee, and sugar in it. Oh, and a nice big handful of chopped chocolate. [It was her birthday, after all].
This recipe made 9 cupcakes for me. The frosting will make much more than needed, so you can halve it or just make a lot more cupcakes. These cakes are a bit crumbly, so chill them before frosting [overnight is just fine].

And just a note, I *loved* these cupcakes with the frosting, but just liked them without. My kids and husband gobbled them up just fine, however, both ways.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

1 ½  cups almond meal
¼ cup unsweetened good quality cocoa powder
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola or olive oil
1/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup strong coffee, cooled
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease or line a muffin pan.

Whisk together the almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Combine the eggs, vanilla, oil, yogurt, coffee, and sugar, and pour over the dry mixture. Mix well to form a smooth batter. Add the chopped chocolate and mix to combine.

Spoon  the batter into into the prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out almost clean [just the tiniest crumb]. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Peanut Butter Frosting
adapted from Joy of Cooking

This recipe calls for soy milk, but rice or almond milk will work just as well. You can omit the Bourbon if desired. 

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

3 oz Tofutti ‘cream cheese’, room temperature
1 1/2 tbsp natural margarine spread [Earth’s Best has margarine in stick form that works well], room temperature
1 tsp vanilla or 1/2 vanilla bean scraped
3 tbsp soy milk, and more if needed

1 tablespoon bourbon [optional]

2 2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Beat peanut butter, Tofutti, margarine, vanilla, soy milk and bourbon until just blended. Add powdered sugar slowly and beat on medium high until smooth. If the frosting is too thick, add more soy milk until desired consistency is reached.

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19 Responses to a happy birthday, with gluten free chocolate cupcakes + vegan peanut butter frosting

  1. Erin says:

    Your photography is always so gorgeous- I just love the first photo of the cupcakes! Also, I love that these cupcakes are made with almond meal!

  2. kankana says:

    Thanks for introducing such an amazing blog. Enjoying her writing!

  3. ooooooooooooh i’m in love *.*

  4. Oh my! These sound positively fabulous!

  5. Laura says:

    Well you are probably the most lovely friend ever. These sound wonderful, Sarah. The photos are so perfect; full of thoughtful sentiment and warming goodness.


  6. Jeanine says:

    yum! I love new non-dairy baking ideas… I want to grab one of these right now through my computer screen…

  7. this frosting sounds delish!
    I am slowly, but surely trying to ease away from gluten, in an effort to keep
    my arthritis at bay.

  8. london bakes says:

    I’ve never had much success with flourless cupcakes made exclusively from almond meal so I’m definitely going to have to try these and obviously I’m a sucker for the peanut butter frosting. Such lovely pictures too – I completely agree with Laura’s sentiments.

  9. Abby says:

    Ohh my I’m in love with that mountain of frosting on each and every cupcake!

  10. These would be perfect for my gluten free friend although I’m pretty sure everyone would love them and noone would even know they were allergy friendly! They look wonderful – wish I could reach into my screen and grab one.

  11. Melody says:

    Oh goodness, I can’t stop nibbling on the left overs! So delicious, so wonderful! Thanks again!

  12. sara forte says:

    I’m going to make these muffins on sunday! I have some mushy bananas, so maybe I will sub the banana for the yogurt and see how that goes. Now I just have to figure out where to hide them for myself so Hugh doesn’t eat them. So beautiful, my friend.

  13. Kathryne says:

    Happy birthday to Melody! These cupcakes look scrumptious. My girl friends here are gluten free so maybe an occasion will arise for these soon.

  14. Fabulous photos and that icing looks YUM!

  15. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    I have a friend with the same dietary restrictions and it is impossible to bake for him! I can’t wait to wow him with this recipe! I LOVE these photos they are so beautiful!

  16. Kasey says:

    These sound amazing! I’m a recent convert to the chocolate/PB combination, but I have learned to love it so. Beautiful photos, as always.

  17. Courtney says:

    Love that you made these gluten free, & that you added coffee to them! Yum!! Also, you’re little cupcake flags are adorable 🙂

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