Peach Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Frosting (Vegan)

Friday, February 3, 2012


As some of you know, I am no stranger to the cupcake. I have baked plenty for family, friends and work-related crowds, where some people have been known to ask if I was sure I didn’t get them from a bakery. (Leaving my reaction uncertain: to take it as a complement that these people think the cupcakes looked as good as the ones from a bakery, or as an offense in that they thought I was actually incapable of producing them?) In any event, I was enticed by the idea for these cupcakes because I liked the challenge of it: to make vegan cupcakes tasting as good or better than my ordinary fare.


I’m not vegan, but we make a lot of vegan and vegetarian dishes. Yet one of the bigger challenges for me has been vegan desserts and baking, because I’ve been afraid to stray from a recipe that I have tested and that I know works (and also knowing that precision is important in the chemistry of baking, as every ingredient is there for a reason). Maybe I'm simply afraid of failure, but I have discovered from my scientist husband that experiment is an essential part of learning, and that failure is an essential part of most experiments. So I have experimented, and I’ve learned that in order to make successful vegan dishes, particularly desserts, one only needs to know the purpose of the non-vegan ingredient you're replacing. And besides, who can go wrong with peaches and coconut?



Here I was experimenting with two different recipes at once: the cupcakes and the frosting. For the cupcakes, I started out as I would for a carrot cake, which doesn't call for milk or butter (using vegetable oil instead), leaving only eggs to get rid of. I substituted the eggs with apple sauce, adding more baking powder to compensate for the leavening quality of the eggs that I would be losing.


For the frosting I used coconut milk as my base. My frame of reference for this was cream cheese frosting. The only trick is to have the coconut milk be of a similar, thick consistency as that of cream cheese, to be able to whip it properly. As a result I used only the solids from the coconut milk (it's good to refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight to help it separate).


I was pleased with the final result: one thing that Tony said when he tried one of these cupcakes, when I told him they were vegan, was "I'm surprised," muffled by a mouthful of the cupcake.


Peach Cupcakes (Vegan)
(Makes 12 cupcakes)

You will need:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plain apple sauce
1 15 oz can peach halves (sugar-free or naturally sweetened)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with fluted cups. In a medium bowl, combine together flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder and set aside. In a food processor or a blender, purée the peach halves (discard the juice or use it elsewhere), and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat sugar and apple sauce with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined, 1-2 minutes. Add puréed peach halves, canola oil and vanilla, and beat until well-blended and the oil has emulsified, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in batches, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
3. Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 30 minutes or slightly longer if needed, until cupcakes are a rich golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 1 minute before transferring the cupcakes to a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.

Coconut Cream Frosting (Vegan)
(Frosts 12 cupcakes)

You will need:
1 15oz can of coconut milk
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp triple sec or other liqueur

1. Before using, refrigerate the can of coconut milk for several hours or overnight. The solids will have separated from the liquids, with the solids on top. Carefully spoon out only the solids onto a bowl (use the liquids elsewhere or discard). Add confectioner's sugar and triple sec, and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes, until ripples form and the consistency is smooth and creamy. Always refrigerate until needed. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.


  1. I've always loved vegan desserts :] and when they look as yummy as this, no complaint whatsoever! I love the coconut milk frosting. I will certainly have to try the frosting out sometime as I always never buy cream cheese!

  2. These look amazing! I'm always amazed at how great vegan baking can look! I've had my fair share of failures too though, haha. I especially love the coconut cream frosting on yours - yum!

  3. So, any idea about how many oz your solids weighed in at? I think the amount of solids you get varies from brand to brand. My frosting ended up coming out more of a glaze that didn't really want to set. It was delicious, but definitely nothing like your picture.

  4. CLG, I didn't weigh the solids so I don't know. About 2/3 of the 15 oz can were solid in my case and the rest watery. I did find it a lot more finicky to work with than cream cheese. Make sure it's whole fat coconut milk rather than low fat, and that you literally use only the hard solids (not watery or even the gooey parts). I also found it best to work with when it's ice cold (I popped it in the freezer after I spooned it for a few minutes, before mixing it with sugar).

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  6. I'm not a good baker, but I find that vegan baking agrees with me. Maybe it's the simplicity of the ingredients. Whatever it is, it always works. These cupcakes look amazing! Will definitely try this recipe.

  7. These look amazing! I am definitely going to try this out this weekend!

    The Urban Umbrella

  8. How do you store them overnight or more? I made these cupcakes and the frosting seems like it would melt away or go bad if I left them out overnight. Thanks!

  9. Gülay, they should be refrigerated if you're storing them overnight. The cream should also hold its shape if refrigerated as it will firm up.

  10. Gorgeous cupcakes I've featured this recipes on my blog! I hope you don't mind! If you don't agree with that please contact me and I will remove it. All the best.



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