Hi guys! It’s about time I posted, right? I swear that every day that has gone by since my last post, I’ve been wanting to share this recipe with you! Because who doesn’t love Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Lavender Cream Cheese Frosting?! #amiright ?
And I swear the reason I haven’t been posting is because I’m delinquent. It’s because SO MUCH HAS BEEN GOING ON!!!!
For example, I (finally) finished my research project at the end of August, had a week off to decompress, and then jump right back into my last stage (i.e. internship) (a.k.a. educational serfdom). I spent 2 months in an Ortho-private/private rehab clinic in Dorval learning the ins and outs of being an independent physio (or at least that’s what I felt like I was doing then. Right now, I feel like I haven’t gone to school at all…but that should get better. I hope).
The team I worked with made me laugh every day. And for that, if nothing else, I’m going to miss them SO FREAKIN’ MUCH! One of the physios comes up with nicknames for all of her patients. Nicknames like Peaches, Grumbles, the6, Archie, Big Bird, the list goes on. Of course, she can get away with it because she’s adorably Asian. I can’t say people would have the same reaction if I did it, so I’m not even gonna try.
And even though my supervisor was, well, less-than-conventional as physios go, I learned a lot and we got along really well. He works from more of a mechanical-put-the-bones-back-into-place-and-everything-will-be-dandy kind of model, whereas I work more from the release-the-muscles-to-coax-the-bones-back-into-place kind of model, so between the two of us we functioned like two sides of the same coin. I think he even learned stuff from me too.
In sum, we both walked away from my stage with new information and skills. It was pretty fun. At one point, we had a case that didn’t respond to purely mechanical or purely muscle release models. We actually made stuff up to treat her. She thought we were nuts (and we would probably qualify) BUT she was a good sport, and there were days where she left the clinic telling us how much she loved us because she felt so much better! I would call that a win! Wouldn’t you?
After my stage (and I mean I RIGHT after) I did an INTENSE 3-day Sports First Responder Certificate course to not only update my CPR but, more importantly, open doors for myself in future so that I can cover sports events as a physio!!!! That’s right guys (and in case you missed it in that sentence), as of October 26, 2017, I was officially done school. And as of November 1, 2017 I was an officially-licensed physio in the province of QC, Canada!!!! Woot woot!
I had a week off between finishing school and starting work (precisely to wait for my license to activate). The original plan was to get this Celebration Cupcakes! post up for you guys during that week off, but, well, let’s just say last week was not a relaxing vacation.
I spent one half of the week dealing with a tax return SNAFU and then the other half stressed AF because my transition to working as a physio has not been exactly smooth. At all. It’s no one’s fault in particular (and, let’s face it, I don’t deal with change all that well anyway), but MAN every day for the past week has been a rollercoaster.
Thank God the BF was here in MTL to tell me that I will be ok. I needed it. Usually, I take the “Be strong and grit through” approach to whatever shit life slings at me (it’s part of the CrossFit mentality…or maybe I’ve always been this way and CrossFit has honed my mental toughness), but this past week was too much. I hate to admit it, but this week, I did not handle things as well as I should. I pretty much fell apart. Several times. So there you go. Officially NOT a superhero. Or an emotion-less cyborg. Glad we cleared that up.
And do you want to know what I realized during this hellscape week where I cried almost as much as I’ve managed to hydrate? (Not entirely joking, by the way.) Despite having spent the past two years working my ASS off in school (as well as two jobs and training on top of that) thinking that I had been too busy to make friends or have a life, I actually managed to build one HELL of a support network here in MTL (and miraculously, long distance ones in TO and in Europe too). Every (and I mean EVERY) single person that I’ve shared what I’m going through this past week has stepped up and come to my aid in some way shape, or form.
I used to wonder if people who talk about gratitude are doing it because they feel like they should, that it sounds like the right thing to say, or that it’s part of the process of them thinking that they’re actually feeling the gratitude, but I actually know what it means to feel gratitude now. (That sounds bad, right? Regardless, it’s the truth.)
The next few
weeks months are going to be tough. And to be quite honest, the other reason I couldn’t quite bring myself to post a recipe for Celebration Cupcakes is because I still don’t really feel like celebrating. But, just because things feel like they are circling the drain now, doesn’t negate the fact that I actually DO have things to celebrate. For example, I finished school (for the third, and last time…In theory). I can now write MScAPT after my name (if I wanted to be pretentious). I finished what I hope is the last bloody research project I will ever have to put up with. A friend and I actually got a third paper published over the summer (in the field of forensic anthropology, a.k.a my first master’s). The blog turned 1 (which makes me feel like an asshole for not getting this post up, but c’est ma vie).
And there was something else…Oh yea, and I turned 30 in the middle of August. Eep. lol.
So yea…I guess some Celebration Cupcakes! are in order.
And man-oh-man do these cupcakes fit the bill! For me, when I think about celebrations and cake, I imagine the birthday cake my Mum has made for the bro and I every year since I can remember. (The bro’s and my birthdays are separated by three days so it was always one cake for the two of us). Six layers of chocolatey cakey goodness with raspberry buttercream on the inside and chocolate buttercream on the outside. Can’t really go wrong with that.
BUT when it came time to planning my Mum’s 60th birthday bash a few years ago (Dad flew me home from Boston to cater the party), I wanted to do something a bit different. So I took our birthday cake recipe and took it up a few notches. I made it a bit richer and, in so doing, also bumped up the moisture factor to create this delicate, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake. Then I created a salted caramel filling, and covered it in ganache and a fleur de sel praliné…Yup…that cake was pretty good.
Unfortunately, I created that version of the cake, with all of its gluten-y dairy-ey and egg-ey goodness, prior to the development of all of my food intolerances. So…another adaptation was in order for my Celebration Cupcakes!
But this time, I was also hankering for Cream Cheese frosting. But how to make Cream Cheese Frosting without the Cream Cheese…? The answer, Daiya. Daiya vegan cream cheese is my saviour folks. If you guys have never heard of this company or its products (and you live in Canada), look for it the next time you’re in the supermarket. It’s usually in the healthy section. It’s so freakin’ good and it means that us culinary lepers aren’t completely shut out in the cold on the dairy front. (PS…I am not sponsored by Daiya. I’m just SO HAPPY that there is a soy-less vegan dairy alternative out there that I can actually eat!)
And, as for the lavender bit? Well, I just so happened to have been developing this recipe right around when folks at Jean Talon Market were beginning to sell this year’s crop of edible lavender.
And thus a recipe was born. Enjoy folks! I (and several of the bona fide taste-testers in my life) certainly have been!
Celebration Cupcakes! | Chocolate Cupcakes with Lavender Vanilla Frosting
Celebration Cupcakes! | Delicate and decadent chocolate (gluten-, egg-, & dairy-free) cupcakes with (vegan) Lavender Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting. Sounds like a celebration to me!
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 30-35 mins
- Total Time: ~ 50-55 mins
| Cake Things |
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp Arrowroot starch
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp Oat flour
- 1/4 cup Chickpea flour
- 3 tsp Egg Replacer (I use Ener-G Egg Replacer)
- 3/4 tsp Xantham gum
- 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp Table Salt
- 4 oz high-quality Semi-sweet Chocolate (Vegan option: use vegan chocolate)
- 2 tsp Instant Coffee
- 1 cup Hot Water
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1/4 cup Nutiva Buttery Coconut Oil/Coconut Oil
- 5 tbsp Lard (Vegan option: Use 5 more tbsp of coconut oil, for a total of 9 tbsp)
- 1/2 cup Coconut Cream (from 1 can of full-fat coconut milk)
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
| Frosting Things |
- 1/4 cup Nutiva Buttery Coconut Oil/Coconut Oil, chilled
- 6 oz Daiya Cream Cheese (or other vegan cream cheese), chilled
- 3 cups Icing Sugar
- 1/4 cup Arrowroot/Tapioca Starch
- 1 tsp Vanilla Paste/Extract (The paste is better and prettier if you have it, but it’s not 100% necessary)
- 1 pinch Salt
The night before…
- Place can of coconut full-fat milk in the fridge.
On baking day…
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Line a muffin pan with muffin cups.
- Sift flours, Egg Replacer, xantham gum, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and table salt into a large bowl.
- Fill a small pot with about an inch of water and place a metal bowl over it/Grab a double boiler. Place pot/double boiler over medium heat, and place the chocolate in the bowl to melt.
- In the mean time dissolve your instant coffee in the hot water. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
- Once the chocolate has melted, add it, as well as the vanilla, sugar, coconut oil(s) and lard to the coffee in the mixing bowl. Whisk mixture until the coconut oil and lard have melted and the mixture is uniform.
- Pull your coconut milk out of the fridge, and WITHOUT shaking it, open the can, and measure out your 1/2 cup of coconut solids. Mix with lemon juice in another mixing bowl.
- Alternate adding your dry mixture and the coconut-lemon mixture to the chocolate mixing bowl. Incorporate with a whisk.
- Pour batter into muffin cups so that they’re about 2/3 full.
- Bake for 30-35 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely before trying to frost them.
While the cakes are cooling, it’s time to make your frosting!
- Cream your coconut oil and cream cheese in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer or with hand held egg beaters.
- Add the icing sugar and arrowroot/tapioca starch 1/2 cup at a time, making sure it’s fully incorporated before adding more.
- Finish things off by adding the vanilla and salt.
- Continue beating the frosting until it’s fluffy.
- Pull out your pastry bag with your favourite tip (or a ziploc bag) and fill it with the frosting.
Frost them cupcakes!!! Then sprinkle each cupcake with a pinch of lavender.
| Recipe Notes |
- So as you may have noticed from the recipe, you can make this recipe 100% vegan if you use vegan chocolate and only coconut oil. BUT the number 1 rule with chocolate in baking is that you have to use a chocolate that you would be happy to eat on its own. If it’s too nasty to eat alone, why waste ingredients baking it into other things?!
- Speaking of coconut oil, if you can find (and afford) the Nutiva Butter Coconut Oil, buy it! That stuff is the shit. If not, regular coconut oil will do the trick too.
- Edible lavender can be slightly tricky to find, but a good baking supply store or a farmer’s market should have it. If you live in TO, you can go to the place that has everything at the St. Lawrence market. They have it (and hibiscus flowers). At Jean Talon, I went to this one vendor who sells handmade soaps, etc.
| Substitution Notes |
- If you’re a lucky gluten-ivore, you can try this recipe using 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour instead of the arrowroot starch, oat flour, chickpea flour, and xantham gum!
- Similarly, if you’re good with dairy, you can use 1/2 cup sour cream instead of the coconut cream and lemon juice!
- I wish I could tell you egg-eaters that there was an easy sub for the eggs, but to do so would screw up the liquid:dry ratio and I wouldn’t be able to guarantee results, SO I’m going to suggest that you find yourselves some Egg Replacer.
| Allergen Notes |
- Now, as I’ve mentioned before oat flour is technically gluten-free but, oats are often grown in fields beside wheat and can become cross-contaminated. SO…people with severe gluten intolerances/allergies may have trouble with regular oat flour if they don’t get certified gluten-free oat flour like Only Oats Pure Whole Grain Oat Flour or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour.
- Also, those who have intolerances to corn will not be able to eat regular icing sugar from the store and will, instead, have to make their own. The good news is that I have a recipe for you! The frosting isn’t AS smooth as when you use icing sugar, but it’s definitely better than no frosting at all!!
And…that is that is all that there is for this post folks! I swear I’m building dedicated blog time into my life so that I can post on a more regular basis. I hope you guys have an amazing week!
Per usual, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, leave them below in the comments section, or feel free to email me! I would love to hear from you!
Ciao for now!