Nicole is a wonderful person full of passion. I so happy to have her share a piece of her journey to being Vegan. I hope you enjoy her Chocolate cup cakes too! You can learn more about her below and find out where her latest posts will be...
XO Katie Bell
Five years ago I delved into the world of veganism after being vegetarian for many years. I became vegan as part of my new years resolution and went into it knowing very little about the lifestyle. I didn’t have much support but I received a cookbook as a gift, The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone, that changed my life and I have not looked back.
My main inspiration for transitioning to the vegan lifestyle was animal welfare. When animals are raised for food, they are crammed in tiny spaces, they are denied fresh air and they are horribly mistreated. Baby cows are taken away from their mothers to become veal meat and the milk from the mothers is being bottled and shipped for our consumption. There is nothing natural about factory farming; it is a business and animal welfare is not a big priority. Factory farming impacts our health because animals are injected with growth hormones and antibiotics which is then finding their way into our bodies when we consume these products.
Veganism means to consume a diet that is devoid of animal products and byproducts. It is not, however, devoid of taste or nutrients. A well balanced vegan diet is full of vitamins, minerals, calcium, protein and iron and all these nutrients comes from plants.
I have since become dedicated to sharing easy, delicious vegan recipes and inspiring people to eat more plants. Veganism has changed my life in so many awesome ways. I started my blog, left my office job in PA and moved to NYC to pursue a health and wellness career. I released a cookbook, became a yoga teacher and now I own a yoga studio in downtown Manhattan. My love of plant based cooking has inspired me to take a plant based cooking class that I'm now in the midst of completing. And I just perfected my raw chocolate cupcake recipe that I will share with you now.
These cupcakes are made with nuts and fruit and that's it, no added sugar (not even coconut sugar), no processed ingredients, just wholesome goodness. These are super rich so if you are not going to consume them right away or are eating a cupcake once a week, freeze them. Bring these to a party, give one to your best friend, everyone will love them. And you won't be giving the gift of a sugar rush. Shall we get down to it then? These are fun to make, messy but fun. Grab your awesome food processor and have at it.
1 3/4 cups of raw walnuts 3 tbsp of raw cacao or carob powder 5-6 pitted medjool dates
Turn your food processor on high and keep it there while everything blends. The cake will be crumbly, slightly oily from the walnuts but not super sticky. The goal is to have crumbly cake, not a super sticky mixture that we make for pie crusts. So, start with 5 or 6 medjool dates and taste your cake, if you need more sweetness, add another date but too many dates will make the cake too sticky. Transfer the cake to another dish to free up your food processor so that you can make the icing.
Chocolate icing recipe:
1 ripe avocado 4 tbsp of raw cacao powder 7-8 pitted medjool dates 2 tsp of vanilla extract
Process on high, don't add any liquids, you want a thick icing. Taste and add another date or two if you need more sweetness. The icing will be super thick and a very dark chocolate.
Method: Line a cupcake pan with cupcake paper (just to make the cupcake shape, we are NOT baking). Scoop out some of the chocolate cake and press into one of the cupcake shapes. Fill the cupcake shape halfway with cake then add a tiny bit of the icing on top of the cake. Continue adding cake on top of the icing. Press the cake along the side of the icing then on top so that the icing doesn't squish out. You are making the chocolate center. When the cake reaches the top of the cupcake paper, you are done adding cake; ice the cupcake. Keep pressing the chocolate cake into each of the cupcake shapes in the pan until all the cake is gone.
You can make chocolate centers for all the cupcakes or just a couple. If you are skipping the chocolate center, press the chocolate cake into the cupcake pan and skip the icing part. Press the chocolate cake into the cupcake paper until it reaches the top of the paper; then ice the cupcake. So easy, right?! Freeze or refrigerate these babies and whip them out for company or just when you're having a sweet craving. It's harder to feel guilty when your cupcake is made from all natural ingredients. The only reason you would not want to eat a ton of these is a) they do have fat in them from the walnuts and even good fat is only good in moderation and b) even if ingredients are whole, they still have calories and if you're trying lose to weight, you cannot eat unlimited anything.
Nicole is a certified Vinyasa yoga teacher, Co-owner of The Yoga Collective yoga studio in NYC and a health and wellness blogger. She graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2014 and is passionate about plant based cooking and vegan nutrition. Nicole is the author of Fabulous Vegan Recipes, an ebook of recipes published in 2013. Her website is fabulousveganrecipes.com and yogacollectivenyc.com