April is here, and it's one of my most favorite months of the year. Mainly because it is my birthday month and I always like to make a big deal about my birthday (been dreaming about my cake for months now....stay tuned). But it is also a month of many birthdays of friends and family. So April for me is a month of life, birth and celebrating. What better way to celebrate with a special treat? This treat may fool you if you ate it on the first of the month (eh hem). Mostly because it is so tricky with it's sweet, moist and delicious quality without a pinch of sugar. Surprise! Dates are the main sweetness and bananas fill in the blanks. And with a touch of pure vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg you have a cute little cupcake made to perfection. Of course the vegan chocolate chips help out a bunch too...The funny thing about dates is that they are tiny sweet-filled antioxidant-packed 'candies' of nature. They are packed full of vitamins, iron and minerals, and have many health-boosting qualities. They even help your digestion improve and fight off cancer building cells. Amazing! So why not add them instead of sugar, right? I have also found that I have acquired a taste for dates. They are a nice treat just by themselves or with a scoop of seed butter or I have heard that goat or nut cheeses are a nice pair to dates as well. I think dates help baked goods rise better in the oven and also serve as a nice gel when used in gluten-free baking. I have lots of love for dates in cookies, biscuits, breads and now a special cupcake as well.
Date Cream Mixture:
1 cup of chopped pitted dates
1 cup of coconut milk or other non-dairy milk (I love So Delicious for best results)
1 cup of pure water
3 TB of chia seed meal
Soak the above ingredients together overnight or for at least 4 hours and then blend in high powered blender to make a pudding-like cream to add to the rest of the cupcake batter. Then, in a large mixing bowl blend the following ingredients to make your base batter.
1 cup of freshly ground buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of organic millet flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1 ts. of baking powder
1/2 ts. of baking soda
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1/2 ts. of ground nutmeg
1/2 ts. of ground cinnamon
*Date Cream Mixture*
3 TB of light olive oil or grape seed oil
1 cup of mashed banana (about 2-3 small ripe banana)
1/2- 1 cup of chocolate chips (I always use Enjoy Life's brand for no dairy, no soy and best quality!)
Mix all of the dry ingredients together first. I recommend you grind your own buckwheat groats in a high powered blender to get 1 cup of the best buckwheat flour to use. Then after the dry ingredients are mixed add in the date cream mixture and the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix well and then add the chocolate chips last. You can sub dry fruit for the chocolate if you want and can make this cupcake more of a tasty muffin. Pour the batter into a muffin tin and top with more chocolate chips if you are not going to frost with frosting. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.
*The cupcakes are moist and fluffy. They will not disappoint. To keep best you must eat within 2-3 days and leave them on the counter in an airtight container. If you want to freeze, then I suggest you make sure then cupcakes are wrapped tight or in an airtight container.
* I started out making this recipe with a muffin recipe in mind, but then I added the chocolate. I have also make this kind of muffin without the chocolate and with some oats and cranberries to make a nice fruity and crunchy muffin. You can sub out the banana for applesauce and you can add other flavors if you want to experiment.
*If I didn't add the chocolate chips, I would have frosted these cakes with this frosting recipe. You could slice a fresh banana on top of the frosting for decor to :)
*You could easily make this recipe into a cake. I would suggest pouring the whole batter into a bundt cake tin or 9x13 pyrex pan. You would need to bake those cakes between 45-55 minutes. Check on the best baking time for your oven.
This is one of those recipes that you can sub a lot of the ingredients for to make your own variety of muffin or cupcake. I would suggest if you are looking for a sugar-free alternative that you try dates. Really! Add them into your hot cereals and baked goods and I know it make take some time to get off the true sugar taste and addiction, but in the end switching to dates will make you a healthier and happier person!
Much love to you!