Pecans aren't something I tried until my early 20s. Truth be told I don't think I even tried peanut butter until I delved into vegan eating 6 years ago. Nut butters sounded too American and my diet was strictly beige, cheese-based and took 3 minutes to heat up in the microwave. Food wasn't exciting to me, it was a nuisance and something cheap to keep me full while I sustained my very busy life of partying. Everyone assumes plant based eating is restrictive but my mind is now open to using a whole new world of ingredients that I wouldn't have known about if I wasn't forced to seek out new recipes. Although I still eat some processed treats, I would have never thought twice about making a 'healthy' dessert out of nut butters and dates in the past. I would have sniggered at anyone doing so and would have just not understood the concept of ruining good things like cupcakes with 'healthy' ingredients. Nowadays I get a buzz out of making something sweet and satisfying that is also full of nutrient dense ingredients. Hence my recipe below!
I was tempted to call these cupcakes 'raw' but I do sort of feel that slightly undersells them for how tasty they are. 'No bake' is more appropriate but I like to think these are still healthier than your average no-bake cake. This recipe can easily be adapted into a regular cake recipe by using a circular cake mould instead of cupcake moulds (and it's probably easier!) but I like the way these looks. Please make sure to use a silicone mould though as these sorts of cakes have a tendency to stick!
This recipe might look a bit fiddly at first but it really only consists of two steps and then setting. I am super proud of the caramel icing, it's one of my favourite things I've ever made and if you have a sweet tooth you are going to love this! These cupcakes can be frozen although I'm not sure how long they take to defrost.
MAKES APPROX 12-14 mini cupcakes (depending on mould size)
What you need:
- Food processor
- Icing bag
- Silicone moulds
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 300g dates
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 1/3 vanilla pod
- 400g medjool dates
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup coconut butter or oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp maca powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Soak your medjool dates in warm water to soften and set aside. The longer you soak, the smoother the caramel will be
- Blend all the base ingredients in a food processor until a crumb like consistency forms. If the base is too dusty it won't stick together so if you need to add a little more dates or maple syrup until it's sticky enough.
- Remove blended base and press into your silicone cupcake moulds. It doesn't need to strictly be cupcake moulds, any small circular shapes will do. I find it's easier to do this part with my fingers as you can really press down.
- Start melting down the coconut oil or coconut butter. I prefer not to use oils but either or will work well. You can melt this over some hot water, in a dehydrator or maybe you're lucky enough to be in a hot country and you don't need to do this at all!
- Remove the skins and pits from the soaked medjool dates and add to food processor
- Blend all of the caramel ingredients in the food processor (minus the coconut butter/oil) until silky smooth. Add the coconut butter at the very end.
- Add the caramel into a piping bag and ice your base the same way you would a regular cupcake! WARNING: This part is seriously messy and I hope you have a better piping bag than me. I'm assuming the better bags are less of a pain!
- Top with a pecan.
- Set in freezer for 1 hour minimum.
This recipe is vegan & gluten free.