Ross and I were invited to a "friends-giving" with some of his co-workers today. I volunteered to bring brussels sprouts and, selfishly, I also decided to bring gluten-free, diary-free cupcakes so there would be a dessert I could partake in. (I really hate being that person at a social gathering).
I knew immediately that I'd make the pumpkin spice cupcakes from the Babycakes cookbook, but I was stumped on frosting. The cookbook does have a recipe, but it involved buying more random, expensive ingredients than I already had for the cupcakes. (By the way, the cupcake recipe isn't mine to share, but I was happy to see that the cookbook author has made it available online here. The only change I made was replacing a half cup of the GF all-purpose flour with a half cup of sweet rice flour.)
Back to the frosting: I love, love, love cream cheese frosting, but I couldn't find the brand of vegan cream cheese I wanted at the grocery store, so I decided to go the more natural route and make a cashew frosting similar to those I'd seen on the Edible Perspective and Choosing Raw blogs. Thus, maple cashew frosting was born. It's not overly sweet, and it's not as creamy as a dairy-based frosting would be, but we really liked it. I hope you do, too!
Maple Cashew Frosting
1 heaping cup raw, unsalted cashews
4 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs refined coconut oil
1-2 Tbs water or non-dairy milk of choice, to reach desired consistency
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla extract, to taste
Measure the cashews into a small bowl the night before, fill the bowl with water, and place in the fridge overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
When you're ready to make the frosting, drain the cashews and dump them in the food processor. Add maple syrup, coconut oil, water, lemon juice, and vanilla. Blend, blend, blend. This could take a while. Scrape down the sides as needed, and continue to process until they reach a smooth consistency. (Note: this is not buttercream, so it won't be quite that smooth, but it should get pretty creamy.) Taste and add more vanilla as desired.
Slather on your cupcake of choice and enjoy licking the spatula afterward!