I’ve got two weeks left of my winter vacation until I begin my spring semester of classes and until then, I’ll be whipping up tons of recipes and getting as creative as possible. While I love blending green smoothie bowls and tossing plant-powered salads, I need to check back into reality and make sure that desserts sneak their way into my week somehow. After all, sweets here and there are necessary on making our worlds go ’round and keeping us from binging on a whole tray of cookies in sweet desperation (pun intended). Sweets with high fructose corn syrup and preservatives, however, are not so necessary.
Rather than using artificial dyes like Red #40, Blue #1 and Yellow #5 that are usually pumped into our cupcakes at the grocery store and most cupcake bakeries, I thought I’d make cupcakes with fruit-dyed frosting. Blackberries, in fact.
Now if fruit is involved in the frosting and the cake itself is made from Simple Mills’ Vanilla Cake mix comprised of coconut and almond flours (healthy fats and fiber)… this is pretty darn close to a smoothie bowl or fruit salad with nuts on top. Am I right?
I remember my freshman year of college when everyone came to Chicago for the first time to live and our first few weekends here my friends and I wanted Sprinkles on the regular. Granted being the health-nut and dairy-free obsessed chickpea I was at the time, If I indulged it was in the vegan red velvet. As time went on, I had one too many of those vegan cakes to even enjoy it anymore. To be honest, the massive amount of frosting was just a sugar overload for me.
I didn’t even think about regular frosting or a cupcake until this winter when until Dollop Gourmet reached out to me to try some of their Madagascar Vanilla Bean frosting. With 11g of sugar per 2tbsp, this frosting has almost HALF of the sugar compared to Betty Crocker’s Rich and Creamy Vanilla. Of course it’s still a ton of sugar but having a treat with family and friends during the holiday is oh so important! On top of that, the ingredient list is 6 words long while Betty’s got more than 10 including the ones you couldn’t even name or distinguish if ya tried.
Now to be honest with you, I’m not one to dye my food. It’s not too often that I bake a dozen cupcakes to begin with but when I do, I figure I might as well throw some berries in the frosting to pull together a light pink hue of frosting.
I went into this recipe thinking blackberries would produce a light blue to purple hue. Who am I kidding? Blue fruits don’t produce blue color. Did I not learn anything through my four years of high school studio art? Guess not! Oops.
The blackberries turned out producing a pink frosting but still came out tasting sweet and delicious. Now I prefer less frosting so the cake is not overpowered but some of us with a killer sweet tooth will want to dive head on into this bowl! Feel free to do your thang.
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 box of Simple Mills Vanilla Cake Mix
- 12 cupcake liners
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or coconut oil/olive oil spray
- ½ cup of Dollop Gourmet frosting
- 3 blackberries, set aside
- ½ cup blackberries, additionally
- Combine your eggs, coconut oil, water and vanilla extract until mixed. Blend in the cake mix until batter is nice and thick.
- Preheat oven to 350º and place cupcake liners in a cupcake tin. Spray with coconut oil spray or rub actual oil in them to prevent sticking.
- Pour the cupcake liners about ⅔ full and bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Mine cooked for 17 minutes.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes. While cooling, make frosting. Microwave 3 blackberries in a ramekin or small dish until the blackberries begin to bleed. This will be your "dye" for your frosting.
- Slowly pour the microwaved berries into ½ cup of frosting and mix well! If need more color, microwave another berry but make sure not to add too much or the liquid will make the frosting too thin.
- Once the frosting is mixed, use about 1-2 tbsp per cupcake (if you like to thin or thick) and follow by one additional blackberry on top for decoration. You can use a few if you'd like!
- Enjoy 🙂
These cupcakes are moist, fluffy and the frosting melts right into your mouth, complimenting the cake to a T. With half the sugar of a Sprinkles cupcake, you’ll want to get your hands on a dozen of these golden tickets.
If you’re headed out to a New Year’s Eve party tonight, these are an easy 30 minute treat to whip together right before you head out. Heck, while they’re cooking you could be doing your hair and makeup for the night.
P.s. these are entirely gluten and dairy-free and can be made vegan if you were to swap the eggs for flax eggs!