Chocolate Citrus Cupcakes w/ Coconut Oil Frosting

Let me tell you, this recipe was a crazy adventure. It started off simple and sweet (just like every good cupcake story should) but quickly took a turn for the worse. The cupcakes were pretty easygoing actually. They worked out perfectly - chocolatey and moist (does anyone have a good synonym for 'moist' yet????). I was all ready to start a perfectly delicious coconut cream frosting when I realized I didn't have any coconut milk. So off to the store I went. I thought I might luck out and find a can where the cream had already risen to the top (if you shake the can lightly you can usually tell) but no such luck. Instead, I bought two cans and hoped that if I refrigerated them for 4 hours that would be sufficient time to allow the cream to rise. Again, no luck. It turns out you really do have to refrigerate them overnight. I headed out again to a different store around the corner in hopes that they would have cream risen cans of coconut milk.... and they did! You can see me in the picture above, happily holding my can of supposedly cream filled coconut milk. I could have sworn that it was hardened inside, but just as I was walking back up the front porch I felt the liquid glug in the can :( It was pretty sad. Also a bizarre coincidence that I was listening to the first episode of Mystery Show (which is so good please listen) because this was definitely an unsolved mystery and not at all to do with the extreme humidity of the day.

I ended up veering off the course of a coconut cream icing and decided to make something up. I've never tried (or really seen) coconut oil icing before, but I figured that since you can substitute coconut oil for butter in a lot of places, why not in icing? UPDATE: It totally works!! I haven't figured out how to make it pretty yet, or how to frost with it using an icing bag (possibly because the one I have is from the dollarstore...) but I think it can be done. 

This is not a good segue which is why I broke up the text with some pretty pictures :) I wanted to talk about this super cool lady who's website and podcast I have recently discovered. Her name is Jessica Murnane and I won't give a bio on her because she does a pretty good job of that herself (click HERE for it). Mostly, I wanted to talk about how important the things she talks about are. There are two episodes of her podcast in particular that I think are really really important: Episode 7 with Jordan Younger and One Part Pledge with Katie Dalebout. They cover similar topics, but both talk about the condition orthorexia. Essentially, orthorexia is an eating disorder which revolves around an obsession with healthy foods. The healthy lifestyle becomes so compulsive and strict that it is unhealthy and dangerous both physically and mentally. I had never heard of this eating disorder before I listened to Jessica's podcast, and I don't think most people know about it because it isn't taught alongside other eating disorders. To be clear, this post isn't about me or my experience, but I do think it is important education for people leaning towards a vegan, plant based diet. All of the women Jessica has on her podcast are strong, inspiring, and funny ladies. She talks about things that are often not discussed in the online world of health and wellness and I think she is awesome.

Another post that really inspired  me was her writing on not wanting to be pregnant. She talks about the intense judgement other people place upon her for making the decision to adopt rather than give birth. She speaks about the pressure on women and their reproductive systems, and the importance of giving women the right to make their own decisions about their bodies. Give it a read, she is super brave to put herself out there like that!

Oh right, and the cupcakes. They are really good. Try them. That's it ;)

Chocolate Citrus Cupcakes W/ Coconut Oil Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes




  • 1 cup almondmilk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • the zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil melted


  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • orange zest and pepitas for topping



To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 12 tin muffin tray with coconut oil.

Combine almondmilk and apple cider vinegar in a medium mixing bowl and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Mix in sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, orange juice, and orange zest. Whisk until there are no clumps. Stir in flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the melted coconut oil and stir until combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins until 3/4 full. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until a knife stuck in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing.

To make the icing:

Your coconut oil needs to be the right consistency. It should look like photo #4 above. You don't want it to be hard, but it has to hold together. If your coconut oil seems a bit drippy, I recommend refrigerating it for about 10 minutes.

Using the bowl of an electric mixer or handheld electric beaters cream together coconut oil, icing sugar and orange juice until smooth. Ice cupcakes, top with some orange zest and pepitas, and enjoy! The cupcakes will last for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature. If you refrigerate the extra icing it will get super hard and will need about an hour to soften again.