Monday, December 15, 2014

Vegan fudgy brownie cupcakes with matcha frosting

vegan fudgy brownie cupcakes with matcha frosting

Christmas may be a religious holiday with a very specific and serious meaning, but that doesn’t stop me from squeeing like a little girl from Thanksgiving to December 26th over gift wrapping and cookies and snow. For those of you who don’t share this seasonal joy, I apologize. I apologize for going all Martha Stewart with a constant stream of bake all the cookies! decorate all the gingerbread houses! design and print and mail out all the cards!

Okay we haven’t actually done that last one yet. It’s a goddamn Christmas miracle we got up our tree by December 14th.

christmas tree with ribbon
My mom got a little creative this year.

And of course, for a fellow with a sweet tooth as strong as mine, it’s no surprise that I love going all-out with the baked goods this time of year. You get a cake! You get a batch of cookies! You get a cinnamon roll! Nothing brings out the holiday spirit quite like giving away baked goods with reckless abandon to everyone with a mouth. 

I know. Such the overachiever. But it’s in my blood, like glucose. Christmas is the ultimate excuse to bake everything you’ve ever dreamed of baking.

Say, for example, these cupcakes. 

vegan fudgy brownie cupcakes with matcha frosting
Shown here before being bombarded with powdered sugar.

These cupcakes were a gleam in my eye long before the holiday season. I thought to myself, why, matcha would make just lovely green frosting! And to think if I decorated them with pomegranate seeds—by Jove you’ve got yourself a Christmas tree!

christmas tree
The resemblance is uncanny. source

So of course when vacation rolled around, I headed for the kitchen to make my classmates some all-natural, edible, and totally delicious little trees. And for that they should be grateful. I had to trek out to buy both matcha and a pomegranate at Whole Foods for these!

vegan fudgy brownie cupcakes with matcha frosting
There's a reason the Latin word for "work" is the same as for "suffering".

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of matcha. That said my primary experience with the stuff was a matcha latte I bought from Starbucks a while back, which I found distinctly grassy and not too much of a pleasure to drink. Add that to the fact that matcha is fucking expensive, I’ve not been keen on using it in baked goods. But with my recent resolution to make an effort to use more natural ingredients, I decided to try it. Just a bit. Just a teaspoon or so in a big-ass batch o’ buttercream.

And I’m glad I did. The green tea flavor is subtle, not at all grassy, and is wonderfully complemented by the pomegranate and, well, fudgy chocolate brownie, because I think fudgy chocolate brownies go with pretty much anything, and that includes homework.

vegan fudgy brownie cupcakes with matcha frosting
Too young for booze, the unstoppable Baby June turns to cupcakes.

The effect is even worth the time spent seeding that goddamn pomegranate. I swear. Actually doesn’t take that long, if you do it while humming Christmas carols and waiting for the brownies to bake.
Very effective system, that is.

Here’s the recipe.


Vegan fudgy brownie cupcakes with matcha frosting

Adapted from Oh She Glows


Brownie cupcakes

10 grams • flaxseed meal • 1 ½ tablespoons

45 grams • water • 3 tablespoons

95 grams • all-purpose flour • ¾ cup

168 grams • almond flour • 1 ½ cups

40 grams • cocoa powder • ½ cup

2 grams • kosher salt • ½ teaspoon

1 gram • baking soda • ¼ teaspoon

85 grams • coconut oil • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons

120 grams • nondairy chocolate chips, divided • ¾ cup

250 grams • granulated sugar • 1 ¼ cups

90 grams • nondairy milk • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons

4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon

55 grams • dried cranberries • ½ cup

Matcha frosting

180 grams • coconut oil, softened • ¾ cup

300 grams • powdered sugar • 2 ½ cups

30 grams • nondairy milk • 2 tablespoons

4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon

2 grams • matcha powder • 1 teaspoon

Pinch salt

Pomegranate seeds


Start by preheating oven to 350 degrees F and greasing 12 cupcake tins. In a small bowl, whisk together flaxseed and water. In a large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt together coconut oil and 80 grams / ½ cup chocolate. Whisk in flax mixture, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture into dry ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in cranberries.

Divide batter between cupcake tins and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting, start by beating coconut oil in an electric stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and combine once more. Add nondairy milk, vanilla, matcha powder, and salt, and beat until light and fluffy. Pipe on cupcakes; decorate with pomegranate seeds. Munch.


christmas tree cupcakes

As you may have noticed, I tried a new “technique” (LOL not actually a technique) with the photography for this post. While taking the photos at night (as usual), I mistakenly activated the flash and ended up with the ghostly cupcakes you see here. Personally I was fond of the effect. You may disagree. Feel free to let me know. I won’t get offended. Okay I will be offended but only slightly and not enough to doxx you and then tell your grandmother how disappointed she should be.

On a related subject: some happy little cupcakes you might want to try.

Avocado pound cake cupcakes with salted ganache glaze. Also green, but thanks to avocado. The salt makes all the difference.

Rainbow mini cupcakes with salty almond buttercream. These are artificially colored, but I wouldn’t say they suffer for it. Still delicious.

Cheesecake-stuffed mocha zucchini cupcakes with peanut butter glaze. I’m actually ashamed and proud of these cupcakes at the same time. My taste buds, however, do not care.

Fudgy zucchini brownie cupcakes with lavender buttercream. Another remnant of the insane zucchini season we had this year. Very much worth your time, especially with that infused frosting.


  1. I LOVE these!! I get so excited by Christmas and christmassy things. Love the ghost effect, keep yo' style, it's awesome.

    1. Aw, thank you :') I'm glad you like the pictures!

  2. I bet the almond flour in these give the batter a lovely taste :D And they do have the wow-factor too! You could win over anyone with these!
    I haven't ever used matcha myself, but I love the colour it gives cream frosting :D x

    1. They are delicious! Oh She Glows makes awesome desserts :)

  3. They look great, like little christmas trees! Too cute ^.^ Matcha is awesome.

    1. Thanks! I agree, they were almost too cute to eat :)

  4. I swear these are THE cutest Christmas cupcakes I have ever seen!! Amazing!! : )

    1. Thanks! They were almost too cute to eat....*almost* :D

  5. They turned out super cute~ I'm glad you took to time to seed that pomegranate ;)

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