Some of my most vivid memories from childhood storybooks are food related. I’ve always been particularly fascinated by the seemingly ubiquitous pink layer cake with a berry or cherry or whatever on top. Strawberry Shortcake, the book about the school teacher elephant who lives the good life in her classroom, after hours, has a particularly inspiring bathtub tea party picture that as I recall featured pink cakes.
This year my birthday falls on a Friday and I teach a 10:15am spin class in Silverlake. As bribery to my friends and students for coming out to ride with me for my birthday class, I used the fantasy cake from my childhood to create a tasty example of 80/20. The cupcakes are a sweet treat but not junk food and the pink comes in the form of my personal favorite: cream cheese frosting. As an adult who is very into fitness and wanted a cupcake I felt good about feeding to a room full of people after they just exercised for 45 minutes, I kept away from some of the higher glycemic ingredients: refined wheat flour & white sugar. Coconut came to the rescue here and gave the cake a nice fluffy texture while providing protein & fat. A whole bunch of eggs boost the protein content and give the cupcakes some serious richness and contribute to their golden color.
Birthday Cupcakes with Pink Frosting *grain free, dairy free*
3/4 Cup Coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
9 large eggs
Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender, pulverize the coconut sugar until fine. If coconut oil is solid, gently warm until liquid, but not hot. I found this super easy to do with two mixing bowls and a hand mixer, but a stand mixer would also work. If you are looking for an upper body workout, you could do it by hand.
Whip the coconut oil and pulverize coconut sugar until combined. Break all the eggs together and mix into the coconut oil and sugar, one at a time to incorporate each egg. When all the eggs are added, blend until creamy. Sift the coconut flour into another bowl and add the salt, vanilla & baking soda. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and blend. Line a cupcake pan with undyed parchment muffin liners and scoop in 1/4 C of the batter to each one, an ice-cream scoop works well for this. Conveniently this recipe makes 12 cupcakes. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes. Set your oven timer for 10 minutes. After 10, turn the tray in the oven, keeping on the same oven sheet and bake another 10 minutes. Ovens vary, but after the first 10 minutes the cupcakes should be firming up and lightly browning at the edges. The middles will still be kinda soupy. After the pan rotation and 10 more minutes the cupcakes will be just cooked and not dry or heavy. Do not over-bake! Use the timer. Or they will suck. Allow all cupcakes to fully cool before attempting to frost. Cupcakes can be frozen but will dry out a bit. I plan to leave them to cool and store on the counter overnight, unfrosted and have zero leftovers as I only made 12.
Pink Strawberry Frosting
1/4 C Coconut Sugar
2 blocks full fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 to 1 C heavy cream (start with 1/4 C increase in incremeants until consistency is acheived)
One at a time pulverize the strawberries and coconut sugar in a blender until fine. Beware of breathing in a strawberry and/or coconut sugar dust cloud when opening lid. In a deep bowl whip together the strawberry powder, fine coconut sugar and cream cheese. This may make a tiny mess but don’t sweat it. Thin the mixture with the cream and it will also help keep your frosting in the bowl. Whip it up until it’s fluffy. Boom! Pink frosting for any occasion.
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