Today is my son’s first birthday. I can’t tell you how fast this year has gone. We’re already expecting another baby, and this one is just barely starting to grow up. I feel like I need to apologize in advance for the unusual number of photos in this post, there’s just so much fun to share.
Born a week late at a whopping 9 pounds, Cas has always been our big boy. It was almost sad to never see him as the tiny, fragile newborn that my daughter once was. While Lola and Cas look strikingly similar, one of the things I love about Cas is that he has always been all boy. He’s big, curious, rough, and has a voracious appetite. He took to solid foods like a fish to delicious water.
While he’s still pretty far from walking, he’s starting to talk more, which is really fun. He can say words like Mama, Daddy, and Uh-oh. There are a handful of songs that Lola sings every day, and he has picked up on certain aspects of them where he chooses to sing along. While he can’t match the words he does a remarkable job matching her rhythm.
We are in California today, so we had a party that could include grandparents, aunts and uncles last week. I’m not great at throwing parties, so decorations and party favors were lacking. I decided to focus on the food, making delicious things that my son could gum down as well.
I roasted a couple of chickens, shredded the meat, and put them on store-bought party buns. There were choices of cheese, lettuce, mayo, and mustard to customize the sandwiches. I also put out chips and fruit salad and made baked beans from scratch (recipe to come!).
I was so, so happy with how the cupcakes turned out. I made a vegan chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting and tinted the frosting on Casper’s cupcake blue. I topped half the cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles and I could not get over how cute they were.
So, I didn’t lead with telling you that these cupcakes have avocado in them. I didn’t tell many people at the party either. I’ve found that when people know there are fruits or vegetables in their baked goods they develop a prejudice before they ever bite into it (if they ever do at all). Everyone who ate these cupcakes seemed thoroughly pleased, even above what I would normally expect for a cupcake. The avocado completely disappears under the chocolate and creates a super moist cake.
This cupcake recipe makes 24 cupcakes. If you only want to make 12 just cut it in half. The frosting recipe is intended for 24 cupcakes, but I was being generous in my frosting technique and ended up needing to make 1 1/2 quantities of this recipe.
Happy birthday to my little boy!
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup mashed ripe avocado
2 cups water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
To make the cupcakes:
Place rack in the upper third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 cupcake pans with foil or paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, avocado, water, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the avocado mixture and use a whisk or spatula to thoroughly combined.
Place the batter in a large liquid measuring cup and pour evenly into the prepared paper liners. Fill about 3/4 full. Place the pan in the upper third of the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese for 1 minute to make it soft and pliable. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the butter and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until thoroughly combined. Turn the mixer on low and add the powdered sugar followed by the vanilla extract. Beat until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat on medium speed until all of the powdered sugar is incorporated and the mixture is velvety soft. Use immediately or store in an airtight container for in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Bring to room temperature before spreading on cakes.
Adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook