Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Avocado Buttercream Frosting

The idea for these cupcakes visited me in a dream. A real, honest-to-god, its-three-in-the-morning-and-I'm-under-the-covers dream. When I groggily woke up the next morning, I sweetly remembered dreams filled with chocolate cake and green avocados. As consciousness slowly regained, I remembered I had made an apple cake the night before, so I threw the idea of the avocado cake to the wayside as the prospect of a sugar-laden, pretend-healthy cake breakfast whispered to me from the kitchen. But the more I thought about it, the more delicious a chocolate avocado cake sounded. So delicious, in fact, that I couldn't think clearly the rest of the day.

My curiosity was piqued. After work, I immediately ran to the supermarket and rummaged around for the ripest avocados I could find. It took me 15 minutes and several hundred fruit handling assaults to find the ripest avocados. I was a mad woman with a mission. After all, these cupcakes had come to me in my dreams, clearly it was destiny!

By themselves, these vegan chocolate avocado cupcakes are a perfect representation of a delicious, moist cupcake with the perfect crumb. But with the avocado buttercream?

Game changer. This combination is absolutely lethal. The avocado taste in the buttercream is subtle, yet present, and has such a fantastic natural coloring. I would seriously take this avocado buttercream over the traditional buttercream any day. Any day. It is that good.

I shared these cupcakes with my fellow grad students and they were unanimously a hit. I need to dream about pastries more often.

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes
Adapted from Joy the Baker

Yields 30 cupcakes

3 cups whole wheat or all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado
2 cups water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set that aside too.

In a large bowl beat together the sugar, applesauce, mashed avocado, water, vinegar, and vanilla until well blended.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet with all at once and and beat with a whisk (by hand) until smooth.

Pour batter into cupcake tins and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting with avocado buttercream.

Avocado Buttercream Frosting
2 small to medium ripe avocados (8 ounces)
1 pound powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peel and pit the soft avocados, scraping the contents into a medium bowl. If the avocados have brown spots, avoid those spots when you scoop the meat into the bowl. You want nice and green avocado meat.

Add lemon juice and beat the avocados with a mixer on medium speed until the avocados are slightly lightened in color and smooth in texture, about 2-3 minutes. The lemon juice prevents the avocados from turning brown so you will have nice green frosting.

Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat. Add vanilla extract until combined. Store the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.