|Avocado Cupcakes with Chocolate Orange Buttercream|
These drop-dead-delicious cupcakes were inspired by two things:
1) A sudden longing for the gourmet cupcakes at Butter Lane in New York City.
2) Realllyyy cute cupcake liners at Target.
In the world of desserts, I generally shy away from cupcakes. All too often, they have dry bases and tooth-achingly sweet buttercream (and too much of it). Also, they've become trendy beyond reason, so I've found myself flexing my rebellious muscles and ignoring the cupcake craze. However, one exception to this is Butter Lane in NYC's East Village. Butter Lane knows how to bake a cupcake! My favorite combination is their banana bread base with chocolate buttercream—the cake is perfectly moist with a tender crumb, and the modest amount of buttercream is just sweet enough. It's a two or three bite dessert, maximum.
When I spotted some adorable cupcake liners a few days ago, I was transported back to that tiny, cozy bakery and their almost just right cupcakes. I say almost, because they're still made with refined flour, sugar and (I'd wager) lots o' butter. I enjoy grass-fed butter in moderation, but I wanted to create an alternative cupcake that is butter-free and even more delectable.
To achieve this, I used...wait for it...whoops it's in the recipe title...pureed avocado! I know this sounds a little kooky, but I promise you do not taste the avocado in the slightest! I worship avocado for its versatility and health benefits, such as monounsaturated fats that have been shown to improve cholesterol levels.
Instead of refined white flour, I used spelt flour, which is more nutrient-dense and easier to digest (white flour is often a stomach irritant). I also included my favorite sweetener, coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is packed with minerals and low on the glycemic index. Fresh orange juice and mashed banana add a touch of natural sweetness as well as acidity.
To top it all off, literally, I created an unbelievable chocolate orange "buttercream". Again, I used avocado, which provides an incredibly smooth and thick texture without a noticeable flavor. A generous scoop of cocoa powder combines effortlessly with orange zest for a flavor that is as refreshing as it is rich. I absolutely did not eat the leftover Chocolate Orange "Buttercream" with a spoon while watching Unique Sweets on the Cooking Channel. Oh who am I kidding. It was heaven.
I am so thrilled to share this cupcake recipe with you, which elicited escalating "mmmm"s from my fiancé, the take-it-or-leave-it dessert guy. The next time you have any remote excuse to contribute something to a birthday, office party or your own life happiness, I truly hope you will try these out!
*NOTE: These must be served room temperature. Refrigerate between eating but allow to sit out for at least 1 hour before consuming for maximum flavor and texture.