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The idea for this vegan cupcake recipe popped right into my head one May afternoon. I was sitting on our patio experiencing one of the greatest joys in life- fresh, local, organic strawberries picked in season. I genuinely cherish the moment I taste the first strawberry of the season every year, and as I was noshing I thought about the great pairing of fruits that go with strawberries...
... strawberry kiwi
... strawberry lime
... strawberries and chocolate
... strawberries and whipped [coconut] cream
... when I happened upon strawberry banana. Now, for some people, this is the ultimate fruit combination. I feel my generation was on the cutting edge of fruit pairing, (perhaps because I still remember when blue raspberry became the rage) and so I feel like WE came up with the concept of putting strawberries and bananas together. But, that's probably just my ego talking.
Strawberries and bananas go so well together. You throw a banana in a blender and a handful of frozen strawberries, tosh in a splash of coconut water and whirl for the most amazing quick smoothie. You can add decadence by blending in some vegan vanilla ice cream for a strawberry banana milkshake. You can eat a delicious fruit salad of just the two fruits and a touch of orange juice to keep the bananas from browning.
So, why couldn't you make strawberry banana cupcakes?
I nearly popped up out of my seat when I thought of these cupcakes (I didn't because I was too busy eating fresh strawberries). When I searched for a vegan cupcake recipe, I couldn't find one. I wanted the strawberries and bananas to mix together into an amalgam of banana bread and strawberry cake, and no one else had the recipe, so I made it myself.
I have to say, I was proud of the finished product. This vegan cupcake recipe is sublime.
Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare your cupcake pans with liners. This vegan cupcake recipe should make 12 cupcakes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed bananas, strawberries, oil, sugar, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla, and stir well.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir to make sure it's all mixed together. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir just until no dry ingredients remain.
Carefully transfer the cupcake dough to the paper liners, filling them about 3/4 of the way to the top.
Bake for 22 minutes- 24 minutes, until a fork inside comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them sit in the pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
To make the strawberry puree, smash about 10 strawberries with a potato masher. Use a fork to transfer over the strawberry pieces that remain, but allow the liquidy part to stay in your mashing bowl. You don't want much of the juice because it will water down the frosting.
Cream the butter in a stand mixer until fluffy. Add in the vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Add in the strawberries and mix until incorporated. Last, gradually add in the sugar so it doesn't blow all over your face. Whip for about 5 minutes, until thick peaks form.
Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before trying to frost them or the frosting will slide right off the top in an ugly mess.
It seemed like a really good idea to make a second frosting in banana flavor to mix things up. I created this recipe, and it worked well enough, but the frosting still turned out a bit brown. In my head I was picturing a bright yellow frosting atop the pink of the cupcakes. I think next time I would just use banana extract and a vanilla frosting recipe.
Immediately after you mash the bananas, add the lemon juice to them. This will keep them from turning very brown and giving you an ugly frosting.
Cream the butter and salt until fluffy. Add the bananas to the butter and mix until incorporated. Gradually add in the sugar until peaks form and then frost your cupcakes.