Last weekend, Leah challenged me with a recipe creation that involved strawberries and cucumbers; I’m pleased it was a hit not only with her, but those with whom she shared it. Indeed, I liked it… and I had so much fun I asked on Facebook if anyone else wanted to offer up two plant-based ingredients for me to play with this weekend. Danielle, over at Wordyless, gave me cherries and pineapple.
Much like what I did for Leah, I wanted a recipe for Danielle’s challenge that was not just a reflection of the ingredients, but the person who provided them to me. Of course with pineapple and cherries, my head immediately went to Pineapple Upside Down Cake… laaaameeeee. So, early on I decided for Danielle it HAD to be a cupcake.
I knew part of the problem I would encounter was that every time I attempt a cupcake with more than one fruit, it is denser than I would like. The same thing happened here, too, but I will admit this time the texture was better despite it being a dense, slightly chewier–more muffin-like–cake. I knew it would happen, and I know if I swapped the applesauce for oil, or used tofu, it might work better. In this case, however, Danielle is allergic to soy, so it had to also be soy-free (and I’m oil averse in baking).
So the texture isn’t completely cupcakeque, but it is no where near my rhubarb cupcake disasters, so I’m pleased… and I am pleased because the flavor of the cakes is spot on. It is has the subtle hints of cherry and pineapple I was attempting to achieve. There are plenty of cupcake recipes I could have adapted using whole cherries, but that somehow seemed wrong, so I pureed the fruit and that helped infuse the flavor throughout.
What brings this together is the icing. I reserved the liquid the cherries were canned in and used it as my base, with soy free vegan margarine, some pineapple and powdered sugar. Getting this right required several tastings… and the ensuing sugar high sped me through washing the 12 or so spoons I used in the process!
I garnished the frosted cake with a little crushed pineapple and a cherry… I was worried that it would be too much, but it only sealed the deal. So, texture aside, I will be making these again.
Cherry Pineapple Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flax seed meal
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter
1 – 15 ounce jar cherries (not maraschino), juice reserved
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons crushed pineapple (drained)
1/2 cup Earth Balance (soy free) margarine
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Puree approximately 3/4 of the can of cherries (leaving the remaining for the icing and garnish).
- In a mixing bowl combine the cherries, pineapple, applesauce, almond milk, sunflower seed butter, and flax seed meal.
- Add in the sugar, vanilla, almond extract, salt, and baking powder.
- Fold in flour 1.2 cup at a time until all just incorporated.
- Line cupcake pan with liners, spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Fill liners with batter and place in oven. Cook 20-30 minutes (mine were closer to 30).
- While baking prepare the icing by adding half the reserved juice, drained pineapple, 2-3 cherries, margarine and powdered sugar to your food processor (or mixer) and combining until smooth. Depending on the amount of juice reserved, you may need additional powdered sugar. Refrigerate to allow to firm up further.
- When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted will come out clean and they will be firm to the touch), allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Just before serving, spread a thick layer of the icing over top of each cake, top with a little crushed pineapple and half a cherry.