Vegan Cupcakes and a Vegan Cookbook Giveaway!

21 Oct

I’ve been a fan of Robin Asbell’s cookbooks for years, so when her latest one, Sweet & Easy Vegan, came out, I immediately wanted it. How lucky for me that she sent me one so that I could blog about it! And, in addition to that, I got to be part of my second Virtual Vegan Potluck. My third will be next week, so keep your eyes peeled for that—it will not be just a vegan dish, but a paleo dish as well!

Cute fall-themed cupcake liners

So, back to Robin’s book. Ever since I was a kid, my mom rarely bought cakes or cookies from the store, preferring to making them at home. This was great for my sisters and I, as through this process we not only got to spend time with our mother, but we all three became quite good bakers.

My lovely assistant whisking the ingredients.

Robin’s cookbook sums up that same ethos—making tasty treats for family and friends that are both hand made with love and care, but also made from ingredients that are better choices than many that are in traditional treats in the store.

What will you find in Sweet & Easy Vegan? Treats made with whole grains and natural sweeteners, just like it says on the cover. More than 60 recipes cover the gamut from yummy breakfast breads and cereals to delectable desserts like chocolate-orange bread pudding, lemon and pine nut cookies and this recipe, sweet potato and coconut cupcakes with coconut frosting.

They are made with coconut palm sugar, which I hadn’t tried before, but absolutely loved! It looks like dark beach sand and smells like bourbon—appropriate for something that surely comes from a tropical island. The sweet potato was lovely, but she does suggest that you could substitute pumpkin, and I do think that would be nice as well, especially this time of year when it seems to become a Pumpkinocalypse in the cooking and baking world.

My frosting turned out like more of a glaze, but I think that’s because I didn’t use the coconut cream from a can, as she instructs, but used a carton of coconut cream instead. My mistake! But the toasted flakes of coconut on top were a divine addition—don’t leave them out!

I was also lucky to have a helper for this recipe, which was a lot of fun. The best part was that she magically could speak my kitchen language–the Tiny Kitchen is so small, I rarely have anyone in there to help me, and she always knew exactly what I needed! E, I look forward to our next baking day!

If you’d like to win a copy of this book for your very own, please leave a comment below about the first vegan dessert recipe you ever tried, and how it was received by all who ate it, including you! The winner will be announced on November 15th, 2012.

Without further discussion, here’s the recipe below that Robin has so nicely let me share with you:

Sweet Potato and Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes


One 13.5 oz./400 ml can coconut milk, chilled
1/2 cup/100g palm sugar paste, granular palm sugar or Sucanat
3 Tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup/65g sweet potato purée
6 Tbsp/35g unsweetened shredded dried coconut, toasted

To make the frosting, turn the can of chilled coconut milk upside down and open the can. Pour off the liquid, reserving 3 tsp. You can save the rest for another use. Scrape out the solid coconut cream from the can; it should make 1 cup.

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut cream and sugar. Bring to a boil over a medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer, whisking constantly, until the sugar dissolves. IN a cup or small bowl, whisk the reserved 3 tbsp coconut milk, arrowroot starch and vanilla together to form a slurry. Pour into the saucepan and whisk until thoroughly blended. Cook, whisking often, until thickened, about 1 minute. Whisk in the sweet potato purée and toasted coconut. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate for about 3 hours, or until completely chilled.


1 1/2 cups/195g whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup/45g unsweetened shredded dried coconut, plus 2 Tbsp., toasted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup/150g Sucanat or granular palm sugar
1/2 cup/120ml coconut oil, melted
1 cup/245g sweet potato purée
3/4 cup/180ml coconut milk or nondairy creamer
2 Tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas mark 4. Line twelve muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup of coconut, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk until well mixed. In a medium bowl, combine the Sucanat and coconut oil and stir until well mixed. Stir in the sweet potato purée. In a cup or small bowl, whisk the coconut milk and arrowroot starch together to form a slurry. Stir into the sweet potato mixture. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until well mixed.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it evenly among them and using about a heaping 1/4 cup of batter per cupcake. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean and dry.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Turn out the cupcakes and spread a rounded 2 Tbsp of frosting on each, then sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp toasted coconut. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, the cupcakes will keep for about one week.

TIP: To toast dried coconut, preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C/gas mark 1. Spread the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden, about 8 minutes, stirring after about 5 minutes of baking.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of Robin’s Vegan Potluck!


Mocha Scones with Cacao Nibs: Shaina Olmanson’s Food for my Family Blog

Jumbo Buckwheat Cakes with Strawberry Sauce: Leinana Two Moons Vegan Good Things Blog

Coconut Banana Granola: JL Fields JL Goes Vegan Blog

Sweet Polenta with Cherry Sauce: Julie Hasson’s Kitchenette Blog


PB and J Crisp: Micaela Preston, Mindful Momma

Orange Plum Bars: Lia Huber, Nourish Network

Cashew Blondies: Nava Atlas, Veg Kitchen

Nectarine Cobbler: Robin Robertson, Vegan Planet


63 Responses to “Vegan Cupcakes and a Vegan Cookbook Giveaway!”

  1. emmycooks October 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    These look delish! My aunt’s vegan chocolate cake has always been famous in our family so that was my early vegan baking inspiration–and I’ve had lots of luck with it since. I’d love a copy of this book!

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 9:41 am #

      I find it so interesting that “vegan” baking was invented long ago, back when people couldn’t afford eggs and real butter all the time, but still wanted to make treats. I’m so happy your aunt inspired you! Thank you for the comment!

  2. mydearbakes October 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    As always, another top notch recipe from tinykitchenstories! =)

  3. gail October 22, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    i tried vegan brownies and everyone loved it

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 9:41 am #

      I always find that nobody minds if treats are vegan if they’re delicious–which they usually are!

  4. hipfoodiemom October 22, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    First vegan dessert? Well, not my first- but most memorable was visiting The Flying Apron here in Redmond, WA. Gluten-free and vegan bakery. I was searching for french macarons which they did not have that day but got 4 different cookies instead: PB Joy, monster cookie, Morning Peanut Butter Bar and their Ginger Wheel Cookie. All were wonderful and delicious! Loved them all! 🙂 Now, I want to bake vegan cookies myself!

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      WOW, those cookies sound delicious, for sure! This cookbook will definitely get you on track for baking your own. Thanks so much for the comment!

  5. An Unrefined Vegan October 22, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    This book would go PERFECTLY in my kitchen :-)!

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 9:43 am #

      Annie, it was like it was made for you! (Actually, I’m surprised you didn’t write it yourself!) 🙂

      • An Unrefined Vegan October 22, 2012 at 10:18 am #

        I’m leaving cookbooks to the experts!

        • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 10:23 am #

          Annie, you’ll be depriving the world of your wonderful creations if you don’t write a cookbook! I’m actually going to be recommending your blog to a friend today who recently went vegan, because your recipes are so fantastic! 🙂

  6. Mary Horowitz October 22, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    First vegan dessert was a box mix of cupcakes. We were having vegan friends over for drinks and I wanted them to be able to eat cupcakes too…turns out the vegan ones were fluffier and more moist than my scratch cupcakes! We’ve been fans of vegan baking (and gotten good enough to bake vegan from scratch) ever since!

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 9:43 am #

      I’m always amazed at how vegan baked goods are super moist. I’m not sure how it happens, but it’s magical! Thanks for entering the contest–it sounds like you’d really enjoy the prize!

  7. tlow2323 October 22, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    These recipes look super tasty! Cool contest!

  8. veggiewhatnow October 22, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Um, I’ve never had a vegan dessert. At least not intentionally. But, I love dessert and like trying vegan foods. My biggest hurdle is that I’m allergic to nuts and soy. The cookbook would give me the chance to try out some!

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      I think you’d still have great success with this cookbook. I’m off soy myself, but don’t have a problem with nuts. I don’t think you’d have a problem with coconut, as they’re not truly a “nut”. Thanks for entering the contest!

  9. Rose Pizzorno October 22, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    The very first was 35 years ago when I wanted a sugar-less substitute for an Easter egg hunt. Smashed dates mixed w/roasted peanuts and vegan choc. chips, rolled into balls and then in powdered coconut; the kids couldn’t get enough of them. 2nd was Truffles using coconut milk to thin melted, vegan, dark chocolate w/almond extract, rolled into balls and then in powdered cocoa and espresso; the favorite X-mas goodie that year. Now I’m using nuts soaked and pureed to replace cream. I would love to have new recipes to play with and Nov. 15 is my B-day!

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 10:04 am #

      Thanks for entering the contest! And I’m sure you’ve got more than a few readers running to their kitchen to replicate the treats you described…which sound amazing. I’ll definitely be looking to try them myself soon! (And this book would be a great birthday present!)

  10. Stephanie October 22, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    The first vegan dish I ever tried was a cake some years back. Not only did I love it, but I was also shocked how tasty it was! It didn’t taste like patchouli with frosting 😉

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      I’m so surprised by the continued prejudice about vegan food and baked goods, like we’ve pureed some lima beans and stuck peas on top and called it dessert. I’m glad your first experience was so delicious! Thanks for entering. 🙂

  11. stephanie e October 22, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    These look great! My first vegan dessert was tofu brownies! I wasn’t sure when making them, but think they’re the best brownies I’ve ever eaten. I brought them to a friends for dinner and everyone loved them. No one knew they were vegan until after I told them. They were the most moist brownies I’ve ever made!

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      Vegan baked goods are always so moist! That’s one of the things I love about baking vegan–besides not having to check to see if I have any eggs…! 😉

  12. Lauren Bair October 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    Awesome! I’m always excited to hear about (and taste) GOOD vegan. I have never made my own vegan creations, but your baking is pure inspiration, girl!! Yummy!

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

      Aw, shucks–thank you!! This cookbook is filled with yumminess, so I can’t take full credit. Plus it was insanely fun cooking with my friend’s 15 year old daughter. I got to be totally girly and silly! She’s the only teenager I’m not scared to death of.

  13. Somer October 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Wow! Those look so fabulous and the drippy frosting may just be the best part. For my first vegan dessert I attempted gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Abysmal, yucky, bitter, crumbly failure. They ended up in the trash. Thankfully, I’ve learned a lot since then.

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

      I’m sure you have! From what I’ve experienced in gluten-free baking, it’s a lot trickier than regular baking. Damn you, gluten! Thanks for entering the contest. 🙂

  14. janet @ the taste space October 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Nice! I made vegan chocolate cake way before. Was vegan because it was just plain cheaper when I was a student. My family loved it too. When I shared the recipe with my grandmother she referred to it as wartime cake, alluding to cakes she made without dairy due to the rations! 🙂

    • tinykitchenstories October 22, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

      Isn’t that one of the awesome things about vegan baking? It’s more economical! Thanks for a great story—I’m sure your grandmother is very proud of your awesome blog that I read regularly. Thanks for the comment!

  15. lorrielorrieb October 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    Just wondering…..since I’m on this……gluten free ……experiment, what you would use instead of the flour?

    • tinykitchenstories October 23, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      There’s so many different ways, Lorrie. From rice flour and quinoa flour, if you’re still eating other grains and seeds, but for me (no grains or seeds!) it’s coconut flour, which is a very odd bird. This link was very helpful for me!

      • lorrielorrieb October 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

        Wow this is fantastic! Thanks! So far I am still eating other grains….but who knows.

        • tinykitchenstories October 24, 2012 at 10:35 am #

          I went grain-free since I found out that I react very badly to corn. Corn contains gliadin, which is very similar to gluten and the things that are in other grains. My life is much better without them, although I miss them so! (Cheated this morning and my tummy is punishing me…)

          • lorrielorrieb October 25, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

            But isn’t odd how just the change of a simple thing can make sure a difference!

          • tinykitchenstories October 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm #


  16. Beth October 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    Those cupcakes look amazing — thanks for posting the recipe! My first vegan dessert recipe was chocolate chip cookies from The Joy of Vegan Baking, and they were definitely a hit! 🙂

    • tinykitchenstories October 23, 2012 at 11:47 am #

      Sounds like you used the perfect cookbook to start with–and who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? Yum! Thanks for commenting!

  17. shellywest October 23, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    oh! Sweet potato and coconut? What a delicious combination…

  18. lucylox October 23, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    I’ve never been brave enough to try sweet potato in a cake… But I think you lovely little cupcake beauties have persuaded me to give it a go 🙂

    • tinykitchenstories October 24, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      I hope so! Are all ingredients safe for your little ones?

      • lucylox November 4, 2012 at 3:54 am #

        they’re all fine for us… must give them a go… it’s just finding the time. So much to cook and so little time!!!

  19. Jenna Z October 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Well, I would imagine with first vegan dessert I made was something I made as a grade-schooler. I remember making no-bake chocolate oat cookies in girl scouts and those are vegan. Of course everyone loves those, what’s not to love about chocolate, peanut butter and oats!?

    • tinykitchenstories October 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      I agree, Jenna! Chocolate and peanut butter are a magical combination. Thanks for commenting!

  20. girlinafoodfrenzy October 25, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    Your cupcakes certainly look gorgeous and at first glance I thought carrot and coconut cake and was pleasantly surprised when I read Sweet Potato. Oh I’ve just been on a sweet potato kick myself, subbing them for regular potato and even carrots for the last week in salads and roasts and snacks, the best!

    I love the glaze and that runny dribble of icing, they still look divine and should also mention I have a thing for toasted coconut too 🙂

    • tinykitchenstories October 25, 2012 at 10:54 am #

      It was all I could do not to eat all the toasted coconut before I took the photos! Those big flakes taste sooooo good! I’ve been on a rutabaga (do you call them swedes?) kick lately, subbing them for potato, and loving it! 🙂

      • girlinafoodfrenzy October 25, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

        There’s a health food brand who do toasted coconut flakes at my local supermarket, highly addictive! Hmmm, rutabaga sounds familiar swedes are similar to parsnip in texture but look like turnip? Definitely sounds nutritious either way.

        • tinykitchenstories October 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

          Ooh, that’s too easy if you can just buy them! And a rutabaga is definitely the same thing you call a swede. I forgot how yummy they are!

  21. moonsword October 28, 2012 at 4:30 am #

    Vegan blueberry pie. It was so good, a bit messy and very fun!

  22. Yvonne October 29, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    When I turned vegan I began making all the cookie recipes from Dreena Burton’s cookbooks. I got hooked on the vegan baking thing.

    • tinykitchenstories October 31, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

      I haven’t heard of her–thanks for introducing me to something new!!

    • tinykitchenstories November 11, 2012 at 8:19 am #

      Hi Yvonne! You’re the winner of my competition! Please get in touch so I can send you the cookbook. Congratulations!

  23. gaiantlc November 1, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    I’m a newbie vegan. I recently made Chocolate Covered Katie’s Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie for my in-laws. Everyone loved it and couldn’t believe it was vegan, healthy and had white beans in it!

    • tinykitchenstories November 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

      Wow! Sounds delicious! A great intro to vegan baking, it sounds like. 🙂

  24. eof737 December 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    The coconut potato cupcakes sound divine… two foods I love. Must try it. 🙂


  1. Robin Asbell's The New Vegetarian » Dessert is Served, Sweet and Easy Potluck Week Two! - October 22, 2012

    […] Jennifer St James, Tiny Kitchen Stories […]

  2. Vegan Coconut Cookies | Enlightened Opportunities - October 23, 2012

    […] Vegan Cupcakes and a Vegan Cookbook Giveaway! […]

  3. Curried Sunflower Dip (And Giveaway Result!) « tinykitchenstories - November 11, 2012

    […] first order of business is to congratulate Yvonne, one of my commenters, on winning the Sweet & Easy Vegan cookbook! Yvonne, since you’re not one of my regular followers, please get in touch so I can […]

Does it make you hungry, baby?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: