This past weekend was a good one. The weather was sunny and warm, the flowers were blooming, and everyone came out from hibernation to soak it all in. It was like a different city, and we made the most of it with long walks with the dogs, sorbet followed by cheese-less veggie pizza (dessert first!), and relaxed conversations about the future.
Aaron and I have both been feeling the need to be re-energized after the very long, very cold winter, which was energy-sucking on multiple levels. We have a case of wanderlust and could use a vacation outside of our respective bubbles, and I keep telling him I think I need to be wowed by nature – mountains, ocean, desert – I need to reconnect with something beautiful and larger than my own life. This is part of Spring though, the desire to shake things up and make space for the new, to re-focus, reach higher and in different directions, many of which only come to light when we create physical and mental space.
I’m feeling inspired and excited, with Aaron and I dreaming about what could be and putting our heads together to pull ourselves out of Winter and into Spring, working towards being creatively, emotionally, and spiritually satisfied independent of the not-so-fun things that can often crowd our days if we let them. It’s about envisioning how we want to feel and leaning in that direction with every seemingly small choice we make, from beginning our days with a leisurely morning stroll to turning down a project because it means time away from more rewarding things. I suppose it’s really about living deliberately and thoughtfully. Slowing down our days and decisions to ultimately arrive where we hope to be more quickly.
Notes: This recipe has been in the works since last summer, when yes, it was peach season. I considered holding off for a few more months, but frozen peaches work equally as well as fresh, and why not? Peaches feel extra special in April. I didn’t plan for these cupcakes to be oil-free; they just worked out that way. I only realized after reviewing my notes that I didn’t include any oil, and I didn’t need any. The cupcakes have a moist, tender crumb thanks to the diced peaches and applesauce (peach puree would be divine instead), which pairs oh-so-well with the light and airy, vanilla-bean-specked coconut whipped cream. Subtly sweet, these gluten-free cupcakes could even be enjoyed in place of muffins at breakfast.
- 1 cup gluten-free flour (I used ⅓ cup each of brown rice flour, millet flour, and potato starch)
- ½ cup gluten-free oat flour
- ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¾ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used homemade cashew milk)
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon freshly ground flax, 3 tablespoons warm water)
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¾ cup frozen peaches, defrosted and diced (measure after you dice them), plus a few slices for garnish
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
- ¼ cup vegan powdered sugar (powdered stevia also works well, but keep in mind it is much sweeter than sugar! 1-2 packets should do the trick.)
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla bean powder
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan.
- Prepare the flax egg by whisking together the freshly ground flax seeds and warm water in a small bowl. Set the mixture aside for 5 minutes to thicken while you prepare the cupcake batter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour blend, oat flour, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and xanthan gum.
- Pour the non-dairy milk, coconut sugar, unsweetened applesauce, and prepared flax egg into the oat mixture and stir to combine. The mixture will be thick.
- Portion the batter into the cupcake pan. I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure evenly.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes cool, prepare the whipped cream topping. Open the cans of coconut milk and scoop out the top layer of solid coconut cream into the bowl of a stand mixer (Sidenote: save the remaining coconut liquid for smoothies!).
- Mix the coconut cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean powder on low speed until combined, then crank it up to high speed for 1-2 more minutes until light and fluffy.
- If you want to be a little fancy, transfer the whipped cream to an icing bag (or a plastic bag with the corner cut off) and pipe the whipped cream onto the cupcakes. Alternatively, you can simply frost them with a spatula for a more rustic look.
- Top each cupcake with a thin slice of peach and enjoy!
I used Native Forest full-fat, canned organic coconut milk. You can use your favorite brand, but I would suggest staying away from Whole Foods' 365 because it tends not to separate well and results in a watery whipped topping.
Leftover cupcakes should be kept in the fridge and will last a few days.
Photography by Aaron Scott.