I recently was contacted by RSPCA Victoria and asked if I would take part in their Cupcake Challenge. RSPCA host a Cupcake Day in August as a fundraising drive to help raise funds and fight against animal cruelty. Approaching bloggers to contribute a recipe is a great way to inspire people and show how easy and healthy vegan baking can be!
One of my favourites cakes has always been the hummingbird. Heralding from Southern USA, the hummingbird is a spiced banana cake, studded with chucks of pineapple and pecans, and topped with a cream cheese frosting! It seems almost confused in its ingredients, but the flavours just seems to work! I set about making a gluten free and vegan hummingbird cupcake, and with the added challenge of making it refined-sugar free, let’s just say I had my work cut out for me!
Not overly sweet, and almost crossing into banana bread breakfast territory, these cupcakes are moist and fragrant, and loaded with pineapple. Instead of using a processed vegan cream cheese of dubious ingredients, I decided to make a whipped lime coconut cream. Light and zesty, it was a welcome replacement to the standard cream cheese frosting.
What I love about vegan baking is that you don’t need to worry about creaming butter or whipping eggs, it’s simply stir and bake! When you can make something delicious without the ethical or health compromise, why wouldn’t you? It’s for a good cause, so get your aprons on and bake! See here for more info on the appeal. Xx
Ps. A note on gluten free flours: Please don’t be put off by the list of alternative flours in this recipe. I have chosen to write my recipes with individual flour measurements so we don’t have to buy expensive gluten free flour blends. It is of course possible to substitute in 1 1/4 cups of a gf flour blend and 1/2 cup of almond meal in this recipe, but you’ll find that it’s cheaper to buy individual flours at your local bulk whole foods store, and you’ll get more consistent results in you don’t rely on gf blends. In short- I can’t test recipes with every commercial blend out there (which all vary in ingredients), but I can write recipes that I know work using a longer list of flours. Hope that makes sense!
Hummingbird Cupcakes with Lime Coconut Cream
Much of the cake’s sweetness comes from the overripe bananas, if your bananas are a little less ripe increase coconut sugar to 1 cup. I use Ayam brand coconut cream and find 2 x 270ml tins enough for this recipe. It can be a bit hit and miss when choosing coconut cream brands suitable for whipping, you want one that is 100% coconut, or close to, so that they seperate when refrigerated overnight. Make sure you choose coconut “cream” instead of milk, and avoid stabilisers and other additives. I imagine this batter would make a fine banana bread or larger cake, just extend cooking time to 50-60min (not tested), and cool before slicing. To melt coconut oil – stand the jar in a bowl of warm water for 5 min. See main text above for more on gf flours.
Cake base loosely adapted from Minimalist Baker’s One Bowl Gluten Free Banana Bread
Prep time: 20 min
Oven time: 30 min
Fridge time: 1 hour
1 tbls | 15g chia seeds
2.5 tbls | 50ml water
1 cup | 250g mashed overripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
1/4 cup | 60ml coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup | 110g coconut sugar (*see recipe note)
3/4 cup | 190ml plant milk of choice
1/2 cup | 60g oat flour (rolled oats blended to a fine flour, gf if needed)
1/2 cup | 50g almond meal
1/2 cup | 75g brown rice flour
1/4 cup | 40g potato flour (starch)
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 cup | 180g pineapple, roughly 1cm pieces
1/3 cup | 60g raw pecans, roughly chopped
Lime Coconut Cream
2 cups | 500ml thick coconut cream from the top of the can (*see recipe note)
4 tbls | 80ml coconut oil (melted)
2 tbls | 40ml pure maple syrup
2 tsp grated lime zest
1 tbls | 20ml vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Pecans, natural dried pineapple, toasted coconut flakes to serve (optional).
For the cakes: Set your oven to 180C. Arrange your patty pans on a tray or muffin tin.
In a small bowl make your chia “egg” by blending the chia seeds with the water. Stir well and set aside for 5 min.
In a large bowl add the mashed bananas, chia egg and other ingredients through to the milk. Stir well then add the flours and baking powder. Fold through till combined and then mix in the pineapple and pecans.
Scoop the batter in your patty pans to about 2/3rds full and bake them on the middle shelf of your oven for 25-30 min, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack before icing.
Cakes can be made in advance and can be kept airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days. Ice only when serving.
For the coconut cream: After refrigerating your coconut cream tins overnight, without shaking them, open the tin and scoop the thick cream from the top of the tin of coconut cream and put it in a medium bowl. Do not add any running liquid from the can, reserve it for use in your next smoothie.
Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and whip the cream with an electric mixer for 3min till light peaks forms. Refrigerate for an hour till thick, or till use (will keep airtight refrigerated for up to 3 days).
For these pictures I piped the icing using a sandwich bag with a hole cut in the corner (my make-shift piping bag) but you could also use a knife to spread it
Ice your cupcakes just before serving for best presentation, especially in warmer weather, as the cream is likely to melt. Serve as is, or topped with pecans, natural dried pineapple and/or toasted coconut flakes.