Apricot Strawberry Jam-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes with Orange-scented Vanilla Buttercream – Vegan, Gluten-Free

Vegan Gluten-Free Jam-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes w Orange Scented Buttercream

The cupcake craze may have been replaced by donuts, but I still hold a fondness in my heart for the good ole’ cuppie. To save word count, and your precious time, I’m going to skip a big introduction for these cuties and get on to the recipes. I will say this though, I am experimenting with recipes for a wedding cake that I’m making, and this recipe was too good not to share. A vegan, gluten/soy/nut-free vanilla cake, filled with a homemade fruit jam, and topped with an orange scented buttercream. Get ready for a sugar high. These cupcakes will fool the masses, and are perfect for birthday parties!

Vegan Gluten-free Soy-free Cupcakes!

Now, you could definitely choose to use a store-bought jam to fill these cupcakes (or choose not to fill them at all). But if you have the time, why not try making my easy Apricot Strawberry Jam?

Easy Apple Strawberry and Apricot Jam

Easy Apricot Strawberry Refrigerator Jam
vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free
yield: about 3 1/2 cups of jam

16 ounces organic apple (about 1 very large apple), peeled and diced
16 ounces organic fresh apricots, cut in half with pits removed
8 ounces organic strawberries (can be fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup natural cane sugar, or coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

In a medium or large saucepan, add the apples, apricots, strawberries and orange juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring once or twice. Add the sugar, coconut oil and xanthan gum and cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour hot jam into clean glass jars, let jars sit on your countertop for 15-20 minutes before transferring to your refrigerator to chill completely. (If you’d like to process a hot water bath and can/preserve this jam, skip the refrigerator step and check out the instructions in this post). Use jam within a few weeks to a month (unless preserved for longer shelf life). Make sure jam is cold before filling cupcakes.

Vegan Strawberry Apricot Jam-filled Vanilla Cupcakes topped with Orange-scented Vanilla Buttercream

Vanilla Cupcakes
vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free
yield: 12 cupcakes

1 cup ‘sweet’ sorghum flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, liquid*
3/4 cup organic natural cane sugar, or coconut sugar
3/4 cup vanilla coconut milk (or other vanilla non-dairy milk)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons alcohol-free, pure vanilla extract

*If your kitchen isn’t as warm as mine is, you may need to melt your coconut oil (if it’s in a solid state). The way I do this is in a double-boiler, or in a glass bowl atop a saucepan with simmering water. Place your chunk of coconut oil in the glass bowl and let it melt to a liquid.

For the cupcakes, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the flours: sorghum, millet, arrowroot, cornstarch. Sift together, then add the xanthan, baking powder, baking soda and salt and combine thoroughly. In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk the coconut oil with the sugar until well blended. Then, add the coconut milk, orange juice and vanilla. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour the wet into the dry. Use a wire whisk to mix the batter until very few lumps remain and you have a smooth batter. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4’s way and bake for 25-27 minutes, until tops are golden.

Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan before moving to a cooling rack. Cupcakes must be completely cooled before frosting.

Vegan Gluten Free Cupcakes

Orange-scented Vanilla Buttercream
vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free
yield: enough frosting to pipe/frost 12 cupcakes

3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup soy-free, vegan butter (I use earth balance soy-free)
3-4 tablespoons full-fat canned coconut milk, or vegan coffee cream
1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free, pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free, pure orange extract
large pinch of fresh orange zest (optional)

To make the buttercream, leave your vegan butter on your countertop for 10 or more minutes to become softened. In an electric stand mixer, whip the vegan butter for a few seconds, then add one cup of the powdered sugar, and whip some more. Then add 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk or cream, the extracts and zest. Whip. Then add the rest of the powdered sugar and whip until fluffy. If buttercream is a bit dry, add another tablespoon of coconut milk. Use right-away on cooled cupcakes.

Vegan Gluten-Free Jam-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes w Orange Scented Buttercream

To fill cupcakes, refer to the image above. I use a large piping bag tip (bottom-wide-side) to poke holes in the center of the cuppies. Then take a teaspoon of cooled jam and plop it into the center of the cupcake. Repeat until all cupcakes are filled. Frost with my buttercream recipe above.

vegan gluten-free cuppies

Several taste testers (none with food allergies or restrictions) agreed these cupcakes were delicious! I think they are pretty great as well. I will say though, if you’re not used to a lot of sugar, these may induce a sugar coma. And while the buttercream looks pretty piped on top, I prefer a thin spread instead. Make these cupcakes for a summer birthday party and your guests will be glad you did!

vegan gluten-free cuppies

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Canned Spiced Apples

I love to can, and to make jams and preserves. It makes me feel nostalgic of a time I may have lived in a past life, or something. I love the old-fashioned feel of food preserving. I know, I know… I am a mega dorky nerd.

My mom also loves to can; she makes the most amazing pickles, relishes, canned sauces and pie fillings. It’s amazing that she finds the time to do these things. That said, it’s amazing how most of us find the time to do the things we do! Right? This year, after making relishes, pickles, fruit jams, and a list of other things (I’m sure), my mom asked me to make her apple pie filling. I of course accepted. So, for this VeganMoFo post, here is my version of my mom’s canned spiced apples.

Canning is actually very easy, just a little time-consuming. If you have everything ready and in place, it will be greatly beneficial to you during the canning process. The first thing I ever canned was homemade apple butter. Then I made grape jam, fig preserves, plum jam…. the list goes on. Once you start canning, you will become addicted and want to can everything you can think of.

Canned Spiced Apples
Ingredients:
12 pounds apples (I used 6 lbs. golden delicious + 6 lbs. jonathan apples. Do not use red delicious apples. You want a sweet, crisp apple. The fresher the apple, the better – soft, overly ripe apples are not good to use for canning)
1/4 cup lemon juice
12 cups water
1 – 12 ounce container of apple juice concentrate
4 cups natural cane sugar
3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoons ground nutmeg

6 – 1 quart (32 ounce) glass canning jars w/ lids
large stock pot for cooking apples
large stock pot, pressure canner or water bath canner – for sealing jars (I use a regular stock pot for canning, so information on using a canner can be found here– and actually the site has a ton of useful information on canning).
a jar lifter or tongs

Directions:
Wash and sterilize your canning jars and lids in boiling hot water – or in the dishwasher. Set aside on a clean towel to cool and dry.

In a large bowl, pour in the lemon juice. Peel, core and slice your apples, you want slices about 1/4 of an inch (not too thick, not too thin). Place apple slices in the bowl with the lemon juice as you slice them, toss every so often to coat. After all your apple slices are ready, prepare your liquid. In a large stock pot, bring the water to a boil, add the apple juice concentrate and sugar and stir. Dissolve completely. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Add apple slices and stir. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. You just want the apples to be blanched, and not cooked too soft. Turn off heat.

Spoon apples into jars. Fill the apples almost all the way up to the top of the jar, leaving about 2 1/2 inches of space. Then, ladle the hot liquid syrup over the apples until about 1 inch to the top of the jar. Eliminate air bubbles by gently pushing down on apples with a spoon. With a clean, damp kitchen towel, clean off any spilled liquid off of the jar, especially the rim. Seat the lid on the jar and tightly twist close the lid. Repeat these steps for all jars. You will have some liquid syrup  left over. (You could use it as a base for apple cider! I mixed half the leftover liquid syrup with water and it made a yummy cider).

Now, to create a vacuum seal for your jars in a hot water bath: Add enough water to the stock pot to cover the jars by 2 inches. Bring water to a boil. Carefully lower the jars into the boiling water using the tongs, leaving 1/2 inch space between jars. Wait for the water to return to a boil and then wait 8 minutes (i.e., process for 8 minutes).Turn off heat, remove jars and place them on a flat surface where they can rest undisturbed for 8 hours. After this time, test the lids by pressing down on them. If they are tight and don’t move, the seals are good. Canned apples will stay good for up to one year if stored in a cool, dry place.

You can use the apples for pies, cobblers, tarts, as a topping for ice cream or pancakes… as a filling for muffins… the possibilities are almost endless.