Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Green Smoothie Cupcakes

I’m an avid Instagram user, and with the New Year came tons of green smoothie photos in my feed from participants in the 30-day green smoothie challenge. I love everything about green smoothies…the taste, color, texture, and of course, the nutritional benefits. That said, I’m not participating in the challenge because I’m weak sauce. Yup. And I have a tiny personal blender that requires a lot of manual shaking on my part to produce a single green smoothie. Excuses, excuses—I know! But seeing all of the glorious green smoothies on Instagram got me thinking: How cool would a green smoothie cupcake be? Very cool! With the added sugar, these aren’t meant to be super healthy or a replacement for a real green smoothie. They’re just cool, cute, and I suppose healthier than some other cupcakes out there. So, here we go!

Recipe adapted from A Little Nosh

Makes 16 cupcakes

4 cups baby spinach, packed
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a muffin pan or use paper liners.
  2. In a blender or food processor, puree the spinach, applesauce, almond milk, canola oil, and vanilla extract until well blended.  
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the spinach mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined.
  5. Fill each well of your muffin tin about 3/4 full and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before frosting.
2 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons raw cashew butter (I used Artisana)
1 tablespoon almond butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground flax seed meal, for sprinkling
  1. Mash bananas in bowl.
  2. Add the cashew butter, almond butter, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  3. Place a thin layer of frosting on each cupcake and sprinkle with ground flax sead meal.
I wanted the frosting to stay in line with the green smoothie theme, so I didn’t use any Earth Balance butter or powdered sugar. This resulted in a somewhat fluid mixture, so it might be best to let it chill in the fridge before frosting your cupcakes. Also, I added the almond butter to disguise the browning bananas. You can leave it out if you want your frosting to only taste like bananas.

So, how do these taste? Delicious! Other than the spinach, these are your standard vegan cupcake ingredients. You don’t taste the spinach at all, but you do get a wonderfully vibrant shade of green because of it. No artificial food coloring is always a good thing.  This is my way of celebrating the green smoothie challenge. I applaud everyone taking part in it. New year, new you…right? Now let’s eat cupcakes!

Enjoy! :)