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Awesome friends? Check. Picnic blanket? Check. Great location? Check. Lots of fresh and delicious food? Double check.

Unfortunately I left my darling camera at home over the weekend so you’ll just have to take my word that splendid picnic times were had yesterday. As usual we all prepared some things to share and, to comply with the eating habits of my wonderfully diverse group, I decided it was time to venture into vegan baking.

The ‘V’ word is often a little daunting. Unfortunately many make assumptions of bland, tasteless and generally odd looking food. While this is sometimes the case true vegan cooking/baking can produce the most amazingly ingenious dishes so long as your core ingredients are substituted accurately (I have one of my favourite pals, vegan chef extraordinaire Ro, to thank for this revelation over the past couple of years).

Despite the challenges one must overcome in the absence of milk, butter and eggs this is a very simple cake to prepare as there is no beating required. A simple bowl and spoon is all you need to make these vegan chocolate cupcakes!

Decorating cakes that sit below the rim of the baking cup is a rarity for me so when I realised these cakes weren’t going to rise too much it became a fun learning exercise in decorating with glaze. Ideally I’d have used fresh cherries as a garnish, but you know, cherry season is yet to grace us.

I’ll spare you my horrendous recipe sketch covered in water and cocoa, here’s a nice, neat typed version for you to try at home. Makes 12 vegan treats.


Vegan cherry + choc + coconut cupcakes

(an original recipe)

1 1/4 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup good quality, dutch-process cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup preserved morello cherries, roughly chopped

1/2 cup desiccated coconut


Vegan chocolate glaze

1/2 cup sugar

4 tbsp vegan margarine (eg, Nuttelex)

2 tbsp good quality, dutch-process cocoa

2 tbsp coconut milk

2 tsp vanilla extract


12 fresh, glacé or any other candied cherries to serve


1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and prepare a muffin tin with 12 baking cups.

2. Combine your dry ingredients  (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt) into a bowl. Then add the coconut milk, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.

3. Remove morello cherries from jar and chop roughly, placing on paper towels to remove some of the moisture. Add them to your mixture as well as your desiccated coconut and once again stir to combine ensuring the cherries are evenly distributed.

4. Place mixture in baking cups around two thirds full and bake for around 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

5. Meanwhile, combine sugar, margarine, cocoa, coconut milk and vanilla into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for five minutes then remove from heat. Stir constantly for five minutes; the glaze will begin to thicken.

6. Carefully spoon the glaze onto each cupcake make sure to bring it to edge of the baking cup. Adorn each with a glacé cherry and allow to set for 1-2 hours.

Gives these a try and I promise these will be a part of your permanent baking repertoire. Wait, actually, one of my friend’s just called me then so say that these were really great. AWW! Based on this, and my adorable animated gif, you should definitely make these right away.

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