Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan! Gluten-Free!) & Coconut Icing

I'm both laughing at myself and patting myself on the back for even trying to make vegan and gluten-free cupcakes this week. While we have ample vegan and gluten-free coverage on, let's just say it usually doesn't come from my corner of the test kitchen.

Two weekends ago, however, I became enamored of a cupcake brought to our summer-kick-off party by a local farmer. She showed up with a giant sheet pan full of these gooey black and white confections and didn't tell me until later that they were not only vegan, but gluten-free to boot.So this week I went to work, trying to make a cupcake that was both vegan and gluten-free, but without the specialty ingredients often found in recipes like this: egg replacer, soy powder, xanthan gum and the like. The result? Pretty good. I still prefer my wheat flours and buttercreams, but I'm not willing to give up just yet. This certainly isn't the final product, but at this point, it's time to turn this project over to you dear readers, committed vegans and gluten-free girls and boys.

Give it a whirl and tell me how we can make these things even better. Meanwhile, I'll go back to do what I do best, which generally relates to bread and butter.

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Vegan/Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Icing makes 1 dozen

For the cupcakes:
2 tablespoon ground flax meal
1/3 cup warm water
3/4 cups brown or white rice flour
1/2 cup teff flour
3/4 cups granulated cane sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

For the icing:
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted

Prepare the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F with rack in the middle. Line 12 standard (1/3 cup capacity) muffin cups with paper liners.

In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and warm water. Set aside to gel, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients with a whisk.

In another mixing bowl, combine the almond milk, sunflower oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and beat vigorously for about one minute. Stir the boiling water into the mixture. The mixture will be quite runny.

Pour mixture into the prepared cupcake pan. Bake 25 minutes, or until set in the middle. Set aside to cool before frosting.

Prepare the icing:

Place coconut oil in a bowl and beat vigorously to loosen. Add powdered sugar and beat to combine. Stir in almond milk, vanilla, and lemon juice until well-combined.

Frost the cooled cupcakes with the coconut icing then sprinkle each cupcake with a spoonful of flaked coconut.