Go Em, It's Your Birthday!
If you're not local to Philadelphia or know me personally, you might not know that I have the best job on the planet aka I am an indoor cycling instructor at Flywheel Sports. One of the many things that I love about my job is the people that I am lucky enough to meet on a daily basis. I could easily write an entire blog about all of the amazing people, all of my amazing friends, that I have met in my 4+ (!) years working, sweating, and tapping-it-back at Flywheel. But, I won't (yet). This post is inspired by and dedicated to one of those incredible riders who has become a great friend of mine since meeting her in class in 2015. Not only is she always full of energy, at the top of the Torqboard, and woo-ing up a storm, but she is also one of the sweetest, friendliest people that I have ever met. Her name is Emily, aka Fitzaroni, and she is a rider at our Bryn Mawr location (although she does make exceptions and come to Philly to ride with me once in a while!).
We met in 2015, and through a little social media searching I found "our" first photo together:
Okay, so it's technically a photo of me with a mini-vegan cake. But! I took and posted this photo to show one of the many reasons why our #flyfam is the best: Emily and her husband were near a vegan bakery (which is over an hour away from Philadelphia), remembered that I (at the time just "one of their instructors," I'm sure) was vegan, stopped in, and got me something. How sweet (literally) is that?!
Since then, Emily has become a regular in a number of my weekly classes, has taken her fair share of my theme rides, participated in and supported our first (and maybe our second?!) Mooove & Gobble Charity Retreat, and has become one of my good friends. On my birthday, her and a few of my other amazing riders (Tuesday Night crew!) threw me a post-class birthday party complete with vegan cupcakes, champagne, gifts, and so much love. I really am so lucky to know all of these amazing people.
Anyway! I found out it that was her birthday (because her and her husband took my class at Incline Running on her birthday, pictured above (another best job in the world)), and I knew that I wanted to return the favor. Here's the thing: as much as I love a good cupcake (or 3), I am a health coach and would be providing post-workout snacks as the instructor. So, I made my cupcakes vegan, gluten-free, raw, and bite-sized.
I know what you're thinking, but stop it. "Treating yourself" should not actually mean hurting yourself by loading up on sugar and empty carbs. Treat yourself to goodness, and you'll receive goodness in return. These treats are packed with real fruit for natural sweetness and with nuts and coconut for good fats and protein. They're delicious, and you only need one (or maybe two after a hard workout ;)) because they are nutrient-dense and satisfying.
Happy Birthday, Emily!
No-Bake Vanilla Almond Cupcakes with Creamy Chocolate Icing
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Raw // Makes ~40 Mini Cupcakes
- 4 Pears, peeled, cored, & chopped (about 2.5-3 cups)
- 1.5 Cups Coconut Flour (you can buy this or you can pulse shredded, unsweetened coconut in your food processor until fine, like a flour)
- 1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Almond Pulp (from making homemade nut "milk;" you can sub 1/2 cup almond flour or another 1/2 cup coconut flour)
- 1/2 Cup Bee-Free Honee (see below), Grade A Maple Syrup, or Agave Nectar
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
- Splash Pure Vanilla Extract
- Pinch Sea or Pink Salt
- Optional: Dates, to sweeten (3-5 should be enough if this isn't sweet enough for you, but keep in mind that the frosting sweetens it up a lot!)
- Handful of Finely Chopped Almonds, to garnish
- 2 Cups Soaked Cashews
- 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa or Cacao
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Butter/Manna (you can use the solidified stuff from the top of a can of coconut milk, see below)
- 3/4 Cup Bee-Free Honee, Grade A Maple Syrup, or Agave Nectar
- 5 Dates, soaked & pitted
- 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- Pinch Sea or Pink Salt
1. Add the chopped pears to a food processor and pulse until smooth, like an applesauce consistency.
2. Add the coconut oil, honee, almond pulp, vanilla, and sea salt and pulse until smooth.
3. If you have a large food processor, add the flour and pulse until smooth. If yours is smaller or just really not that good (like mine), add wet mixture and coconut flour to a large bowl and either mix with your hands or beat with an electric mixture until you have a crumbly dough. If it seems dry, add a splash of water. It won't look like normal cake batter, so don't panic! It should stick together and easily form into balls when squeezed.
4. Line a mini-muffin pan with liners, fill each with a 1" ball of batter, and press firmly to flatten. Since you're not baking these, fill them to the top!
5. Place cakes into freezer to set for at least one hour.
6. To make your frosting, simply combine all ingredients into a high-speed blender and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust spices/sweetness accordingly.
7. Place frosting in refrigerator to chill and slightly firm up for at least one hour.
8. Frost your cupcakes! You can simply spoon the icing on top or use a piping bag to make beautiful swirls, this frosting frosts nicely! Also, no excuses if you don't have a piping bag, because neither did I:
9. Garnish with chopped almonds (simply pulse almonds in a food processor a few times).
10. Place iced cupcakes in refrigerator until ready to eat. Enjoy!
Approximate Nutrition Facts for 1 Cupcake with 1.25 Tablespoons of Icing (very, very loose*):
90 Calories | 5g Fat | 10g Carbs | 2.5g Fiber | 6.g Sugar | 1.5g Protein | 9mg Sodium
*it is difficult to calculate the nutrition in almond pulp, as it depends on a number of factors. Additionally, the icing amount for each is hard to guesstimate, especially because I didn't use all of it and was quite generous with how much I used (it's really good!). Take this with a grain of salt and enjoy!