Maple Pecan Cupcakes

Maple Pecan Cupcakes

Maple Pecan Cupcakes

Did you watch the Grammy’s on Sunday night? I did. And was taken by how much of a production it was this year.

From the opening number by Taylor Swift (awesome, by the way) to the torrential downpour on stage for fun.’s number (seriously, why would you do that on purpose) all the way through to the final performance with LL and friends.

A. total. production.

PS—how about those jewel adorned nails by Miranda Lambert?!

chopped pecans for maple pecan cupcakes

You know what doesn’t have to be a production? Cooking.

Or baking, for that matter. Though, with me baking usually turns into a production of epic proportions.

Not for these cupcakes.

maple buttercream frosting for maple pecan cupcakes

Even the idea seemed to flow naturally.

It started with the question: what kind of cupcake can I make that doesn’t involve chocolate? It moved into a search for cupcake flavors (hello, Pinterest). And ended as a tried and true flavor combination (why, yes, maple pecan granola, you are my favorite.)

When I started to Google recipes for maple pecan cupcakes, I was kind of shocked that they didn’t exist. Seriously. THEY DIDN’T EXIST.

Such a crime.

maple pecan cupcakes getting frosted

What did exist, was a plethora of recipes for maple walnut cupcakes a la Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

I guess that just meant it was time to get creative. I used a vanilla cupcake recipe from my pal Ashley over at Dairy Free Cooking as my base, and then played around with a vegan buttercream frosting.

The results? Abso-freaking-lutely amazing.

maple pecan cupcakes

These bad boys are incredibly moist, sweet (but not too sweet), and good enough to make you want to eat all 18 in one sitting. I was exercising restraint by eating only 1.5 in the first sitting.

Happy baking!

maple pecan cupcakes

Maple Pecan Cupcakes
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Maple Pecan Cupcakes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 18
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans plus 1/4-1/2 cup for garnish

For the frosting:

  • 5 tbs Earth Balance or vegan margarine
  • 3 tbs vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs almond milk

Instructions

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line muffin pan (or two) with cupcake liners and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the almond milk and lemon juice, whisking until combined. (Mixture will curdle.) Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  5. In another (medium) bowl, combine almond milk mixture with the canola oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until just combined.
  7. Pour batter into cupcake liners about two-thirds full.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean.
  9. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.
  10. Repeat with remaining batter.

For the maple buttercream:

  1. Cream Earth Balance and vegetable shortening together with hand mixer.
  2. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  3. Add maple syrup and combine completely. Frosting should start to be creamy and smooth.
  4. Add almond milk to achieve desired texture (smooth and light).
  5. Frost cupcakes.
  6. Garnish with chopped pecans.

Allergen Information

Nightshade Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, and Egg Free.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes

Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes

Do not. I repeat. Do not make these cupcakes.

They are way. too. good.

And will make you want to devour an entire pan without coming up for air or sharing a single crumb with your loved ones. Which, in turn, could lead to fights. Or a separation. Or even a nasty breakup.

Which is precisely why I didn’t post these on Valentine’s Day. Call me a closet romantic.

These cupcakes also make me want to send several thousand love letters to the loverly Blake over at Life is Cake (Eat it up). She is the one who turned me on to these bad boys. And turn me on, she did.

These cupcakes are the perfect combination of salty and sweet.

So perfect, that I think it has officially blown away my love for all things chocolate and peanut butter. And makes me want to write in all caps, italics, and bold.

BECAUSE HOW ELSE CAN I GET MY POINT ACROSS THAT THESE LITTLE CUPS OF SALTED CARAMEL-Y CAKES ARE INSANELY AWESOME?!

Who knew that sea salt would mellow out the sugary sweet caramel in the most perfect way. Or make it so that you could eat an entire plateful without being sent into a sugar coma. Or reduce you to a quivering mess the minute the salty caramel-y sweetness hit your lips.

Or…

Sorry, what?

I got distracted.

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Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 1 stick Earth Balance or other vegan margarine, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup raw sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp caramel extract
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup crushed pretzel pieces

For the frosting

  • 5 tbs Earth Balance or vegan buttery spread
  • 3 tbs Spectrum vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp caramel extract
  • splash almond milk
  • 1/4 cup pretzel pieces
  • sea salt

Instructions

Make the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the Earth Balance and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Beat in the caramel extract.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and almond milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  7. Stir in the pretzel pieces.
  8. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17-20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Always check a few minutes before the stated baking time. Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry.)
  9. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  10. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.*

Make the frosting:

  1. Cream Earth Balance and Spectrum (vegetable shortening) together with hand mixer.
  2. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time
  3. Add caramel extract
  4. Add splash of almond milk to achieve desired texture (smooth and light).

Putting it all together:

  1. Once cupcakes are completely cool, frost with the caramel frosting.
  2. Top with pretzel pieces.
  3. Crack {or sprinkle} your favorite sea salt on top. (I used Pink Himalayan)
  4. GO FIND A ROOM WITH A DOOR, LOCK YOURSELF IN IT. AND EAT TO YOUR HEARTS CONTENT.

Allergen Information

Nightshade free, dairy free, and soy free.
 

* Do not be an impatient fool like me, and start to frost them before they are completely cool. The frosting turns into a puddle and will not stay on the actual cupcake. See Exhibit A.

Blissful Brownie Cupcakes

Blissful Brownie Cupcakes

I think it’s fair to say that I have a bit of a brownie obsession. I like them from a box. I like them with sweet potatoes mixed in. I even like them when they are covering a cookie. So it was only natural that they take on cupcake form.

The idea for these amazing delights came from one of my favorite Pittsburgh foodies: Jessica from How Sweet It Is. If she could do it, so could I.

Good thing we were having a dinner party. We just had to make a dessert. The only question was: chocolate or peanut butter frosting to go on top.

We decided to do half the batch in chocolate, and half in peanut butter.

Team Peanut Butter won out at the dinner party, but Team Chocolate was pretty darn good too. So good, in fact, that I had chills with each bite. And that, dear friends, has only happened one time before. Over chocolate peanut butter pie.

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Blissful Brownie Cupcakes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tbs almond {or rice} milk

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbs almond milk

Instructions

To make the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and place rack in center of oven.
  2. Line 12 muffin tins with paper or foil baking cups.
  3. Melt the chocolate and Earth Balance in a double boiler {or microwave on 15 second intervals}. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. Stir in the sugar.
  5. Add the vanilla extract
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  7. Mix in the flour and salt until well blended.
  8. Evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups.
  9. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake has moist crumbs.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  11. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing of your choice.

Peanut Butter Frosting:

  1. Use hand mixer and blend together all ingredients until smooth and creamy, adding more or less almond milk to achieve the desired consistency.

Chocolate Frosting:

  1. Melt the chocolate and Earth Balance in a double boiler (or glass bowl in microwave at 15 second intervals).
  2. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy; about 2 minutes.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. Add the almond milk and beat until frosting is smooth and desired consistency.

Allergen Information

Nightshade free, dairy free, corn free, and soy free.

Banana Cupcakes (Dairy Free)

Banana Cupcakes (Dairy Free)

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Elvis got me in the mood for some banana cupcake magic (his birthday was January 8th). And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome these were.

I went with a caramel frosting for the top, but bet that peanut butter frosting and a little chocolate sauce drizzled on top would have been divine. I’m actually getting hungry just thinking about that.

The great thing about this recipe (at least for me) is that it calls for four bananas. If you’re anything like me, you have a mutiny of frozen bananas just waiting to be put to use. And when I say mutiny, we easily have 20 bananas in there. Seriously.

Many thanks for Martha Stewart for the inspiration.

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Banana Cupcakes

Banana Cupcakes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 -16
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick Earth Balance, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas about 4 ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 tsp caramel extract
  • 5 tbs Earth Balance or vegan buttery spread
  • 3 tbs Spectrum shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or any other flavor of choice
  • splash milk soy, rice, almond

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and caramel. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix).
  5. Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting:

  1. Combine Earth Balance and Spectrum in a large bowl and mix together with hand mixer on medium speed.
  2. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  3. Add caramel extract.
  4. Add splash of milk to achieve desired texture (smooth and light).

Allergen Information

Nightshade free, dairy free, and soy free (so long as not using soy milk).

Coconut Cupcakes (Dairy Free)

Coconut Cupcakes (Dairy Free)

What better way to start of 2011, than with an amazing cupcake recipe.

I had intended to make vanilla cupcakes to bring with us for our new year’s festivities, but ran out of vanilla extract after the first batch. All I had on hand was coconut extract and some shredded coconut.

Weird, considering I don’t like coconut all that much. Must have gotten them from my Mama.

I will say this: I am thrilled that I ran out of vanilla extract. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have thought to make these.

Inspiration for the cupcakes came from this recipe.

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Coconut Cupcakes (Dairy Free)

Delicious and moist Coconut Cupcakes that are dairy free, egg free, and vegan.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup coconut milk we used leftover So Delicious Coconut Creamer
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the frosting:

  • 5 tbs Earth Balance or vegan buttery spread
  • 3 tbs Spectrum shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • splash coconut milk

Instructions

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
  2. Whisk together the coconut milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle.
  3. Add the sugar, oil, and coconut extract to the coconut milk mixture and beat until foamy.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay).
  6. Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way.
  7. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

For the frosting:

  1. Combine Earth Balance and Spectrum in a large bowl and blend with hand mixer on medium speed.
  2. Reduce speed to low, and add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  3. Add coconut extract.
  4. Add splash of coconut milk to achieve desired texture (smooth and light).
  5. Once cupcakes are cool, frost with the coconut frosting. We added some shredded coconut to the top for added flair.

Allergen Information

Nightshade free, dairy free, egg free, and soy free.