Ultra Concentrated Joy and Birthday Cupcakes

My sister turns 16 today.  Holy guacamole!  I am amazed by the woman she is becoming- self-aware, light-hearted and hysterically funny.  And tall.  She has a few inches on me now.  I remember meeting her at the hospital-  I was the first child allowed to hold her, and I was so overwhelmed with love for this little person that all I could do was cry.  I used to hate when adults would get all sentimental over that sort of thing, but now I totally get it.  It is a gift to watch someone grow up and it requires constant marveling.

The sister requested Nutella cupcakes for the day, so I got to work.  I have a cooky, totally unprovable theory that food does what you believe it will do.  I wanted to make vegan cupcakes, so I decided to try the Raspberry Tiramisu Cupcakes from Chloe Coscarelli.  I rarely follow a recipe exactly, but I decided to give it a go.  I was too suspicious of the recipe and the recipe knew it.  Epic fail!  But, as the photo suggests, there is great joy in making mistakes in the kitchen.  So I laughed and began round 2.

Round 2 used whole wheat pastry flour, granulated sugar and soymilk.  Better, but still too flat.

Because I’m a crazy perfectionist, I went for Round 3.  Third time is the charm!  I used white spelt flour, powdered sugar (which helps them form) and water- since we were out of soymilk at this point.  Fluffy perfection!

After all of that, store bought Nutella isn’t vegan.  Oops!  Still better to have a mostly vegan cupcake.  I didn’t use the recipe for homemade nutella in the frosting, but I’m including it if you want to make a 100% vegan cupcake. -Amanda

Nutella Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

3/4 cup white spelt flour

1/2 cup organic powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons water or non-dairy milk

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon white vinegar

For the Nutella Frosting

1/4 cup nutella

1/4 cup non-dairy butter

1/3 cup organic powdered sugar


1.  For the cupcakes:  Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.  In a bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking soda.  Mix wet ingredients and pour into the dry.  Mix until just combined.  Fill cupcake liners 1/2- 2/3 full and bake about 20 minutes, or until set.  Set aside to cool.

2.  For the frosting:  In a stand mixer, beat all ingredients together until fluffy – about 1 to 2 minutes.

3.  To assemble:  Dollop the frosting on top of each cupcake.  Garnish as desired and enjoy with ultra concentration!

Homemade Nutella

1/4 cup almond or hazelnut butter

2 tablespoons cacao powder

2 tablespoons maple syrup


1.  In a food processor, combine until smooth.

Note:  If making hazelnut butter, toast hazelnuts at 350 Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, or until they become fragrant.  Pour into a food processor and puree until smooth- about 10 minutes.  You will need to scrape the sides a few times.

Note 2:  Ultra concentrated Joy?  Seriously?  This must have been a man made marketing scheme from the 60’s to brainwash housewives into loving after dinner dish washing.


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