Chocolatey Carob Cupcakes

In case you haven't heard, October isn't just for pumpkins and black cats - it's also the month that Spabettie and I are dedicating to our long abiding love of carob! Last week, she did a roundup of great carob treats - perfect for this time of year when you want to eat all the treats, but want to retain a working level of self respect. 

Kristina (of Spabettie fame) and I have been talking about this for a while now, as we share many common passions - delicious, innovative vegan food, elderly care reform, and last but not least, all things CAROB. We both agree that carob gets a bad (or worse, NO) rap despite its fabulousness. Where's the carob love, people? The answer, finally, is RIGHT HERE. And it will be here ALL MONTH. 

I adore carob for its rich, smooth taste, but also for its surprising health benefits. It's high in fiber, alkalinizing, calcium-rich, and high in potassium. It can be used in all kinds of desserts and drinks, and if you want a chocolatey feel and taste, here's a little trick for you - simply cut the amount of cocoa you use in half, and substitute carob! No one will even know the difference, and you'll be getting all the great benefits of carob.

So join us this month, wontcha? Share your favorite carob recipes, and help Kristina and I bring back this sleek and sexy 70's hotshot to its full glory!! 

Use the hashtag  #BringinCarobBack and we'll come find you . . . our love of carob uniting us however far we may be. And now for . . . 

Chocolatey Carob Cupcakes (YUMMM)

Recipe adapted from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth

These cupcakes are a great way to have your chocolate, and carob too. Plus, all the non-vegans will leave dairy forever once they try these. 

Dry Ingredients:
1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)
1 cup organic “white” sugar (not powdered)
2 tablespoons carob powder, sifted if lumpy 

1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch process cocoa), sifted if lumpy
1 level teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup melted coconut oil 
1 cup nondairy milk 

Freaky Frosting:
5 tablespoons (⅓ cup) plus 1 teaspoon non-hydrogenated margarine
2¼ cups plus 4 teaspoons organic powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1/4 cup carob powder, sifted if lumpy 
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
⅓ cup nondairy milk 

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Oil a 9 x 9-inch pan or a dozen muffin cups. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Make sure each is lump-free and mixed very well.

2. Mix them together, but do not over-mix. Note that the batter will taste a bit odd at this point, but don’t be alarmed—any hint of vinegar will magically disappear once the cake is baked!

3. Pour into your oiled baking pan or muffin cups and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. For cupcakes, this should take about 20 minutes. For cake, it will usually take 30 minutes or more.

4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before you frost it.

5. To make the freakishly good frosting, whip the margarine in a large bowl (using electric beaters) until it becomes somewhat fluffy. Slowly add in the remaining ingredients one at a time, in the order given. Beat at high speed until very fluffy, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. At this point, you will want to refrain from the temptation to shrink down to the size of a peanut and take a chocolate bath. You may regret it later. Next, refrigerate the frosting until the cake has cooled.

6. Frost your cake! Ideally, let the frosting warm to room temperature before serving the cake. Decorate with edible flowers, raspberries, strawberries, chocolate shavings, or anything else that makes you smile.

Makes one 9 x 9-inch cake; GF (with substitution)/Purple (according to the health guidelines in my books and program