cardamom cupcakes with chocolate frosting

chocolate cardamom cupcakes.jpg

I’m turning 25 this week. I haven’t really decided what my quarter life crisis is going to be about yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know when it happens. Last week I baked three batches of chocolate chunk ginger cookies and they didn’t turn out but I’m not sure that’s dramatic enough.

Don’t worry you guys, I promise my life is actually harder than my cookies not turning out or scheming out my next cake flavor combination. I’m currently dreaming up something with blood oranges for next week. It’s gotta be good though, because those puppies are expensive.

I was going to replace the “s” in expensive with a “$” but I decided that was too immature. I’m 25 now guys.

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I almost forgot to tell you guys that Dan got me this beautiful Le Creuset saucepan that I have been lusting over since Christmas time for my birthday. He gets ALL the boyfriend points. It is this subtle muted pink tone that goes perfect with my future kitchen pastels/white/black scheme where I have a Smeg fridge and a cute expresso machine. No, I don’t have any of those things yet but I have this saucepan so that’s a start.

I’m also super excited because my mom and little sister are coming to the cities this weekend for my birthday, yay! My mom is getting me a kombucha kit for my birthday so I’m super excited for all the free cheaper kombucha and alllll the flavors. YUM.

Onto these cupcakes.

These cupcakes are very similar to my vanilla bean cakes, minus the vanilla bean and plus a crap ton of cardamom. For this recipe, I am defining one TBSP as a crap ton. Speaking of crap, I’m kinda giggling to myself about how the frosting on these guys looks like the poop emoji. I know you were thinking it too, it’s okay.

Next I used this nifty little tool I got at Michael’s remove some of the cupcake and filled them with sprinkles. The tool basically removes a cylinder of the cake and then after you fill it you can put just the top back on. This is the one I have.

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Next up, the real star of this show. Chocolate frosting that doesn’t have fake butter in it. For some reason I can’t get that stuff to whip like I want it to and I kinda think it taste weird so I tried something new this time and used a combination of coconut cream and non hydrogenated vegetable shortening. This combo is MONEY for taste and texture and definitely one of my better frosting recipes.


To frost the cupcakes, I just turned a plastic bag inside of a wide mouth cup, filled it, and then cut the corner off to use as a make shift piping bag. That’s probably why the frosting looks like the poop emoji. One of these days I’ll use an actual piping bag and surprise myself at how not lazy I am in that moment. For now, I’ll be rocking the plastic baggy make shift piping bags. Poop emoji frosting forever.

choc cardamom cupcake

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cardamom chocolate cake with sprinkles.jpg


cardamom cupcakes with chocolate frosting

Author: Dana Zychowski

Active Time:           Total Time: 

1 hr, 15 minutes      4 hrs

Servings: 12 cupcakes

Recipe Type: Dessert


for the cake:

  • 1 cup non dairy milk
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 6 TBSP coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP cardamom
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

for the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup coconut cream *
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup non dairy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder


Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Line cup cake tin with liners and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk milk and apple cider vinegar together and let rest for 5 minutes. Combine flour, cardamom, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Add sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract to the apple cider and vinegar mixture and whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture in 1/2 cup increments and whisk to combine, being careful not to over mix.

Distribute batter evenly between liners, about 2/3 of the way full. Tap the pan on the counter to remove an air and bake for 16-19 minutes. Check if the cupcakes are done by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean with no residue then the cakes are done. Allow cupcake to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, mix vegetable shortening and coconut cream using a stand mixer to handheld mixer on high for 1-2 minutes. Add milk and vanilla and mix to combine. Next, add the powder sugar in 1/2 cup increments and whip the crap out of it, on medium to high speed. Use a spatula to push down any powdered sugar that made it’s way up the bowl. Next, add the cacao powder and whip again on high speed for 1-2 minutes. Transfer frosting to a piping bag for decorating or simply spread with a knife.

Add more sprinkles (optional) and store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Side Notes:

* Trader Joe’s carries coconut cream, else you can refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk and scoop the solids off as a substitute.

triple chocolate stout brownies


Well folks, I know I’m really late to the party where people add booze to baked goods in time for Saint Patrick’s Day but you don’t need a holiday as an excuse to make these brownies. If you’re wondering why you don’t need an excuse it’s because these brownies have 1) beer and 2) three (maybe four) kinds of chocolate in them. So, what are you waiting for?

I used Stir Crazy Winter Ale from Indeed, but you can really use any dark beer. If you want to skip on the beer, I would highly recommend coffee. You can’t go wrong with beer, chocolate, and coffee. Amiright? Continue reading

mocha oreos

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Lately I’ve been digging allllll sorts of healthy treats, like these chocolate chia balls I made for my last post and these peanut butter protein bites from Ambitious Kitchen. Balls/bites are the bomb and in case you didn’t notice, all of these things include chocolate. I ain’t sorry. This recipe isn’t really THAT healthy, but it does include chocolate. I snuck some spelt flour and coconut sugar in there so you can feel a little bit better about it.

Also, I need to document the fact that Dan legit said he liked the vegan nachos I made for the last Packer game more than the buffalo chicken wings I let him buy at the store. They were that good. We made the vegan nacho cheese from Minimalist Baker’s cookbook and just threw alllllll the toppings on: guac, peppers, black beans, refried beans, red onion and cilantro. It was epic. I ate half the pan and I don’t even care. I documented it here.

Continue reading

peanut butter date bombs


HAPPY 2016 2017! For the record, I was definitely the kid that accidentally wrote last year’s date at the top of my papers all the way through mid February.

I know I started the first post of 2016 with some memories and blah blah blah but I decided I’m not going to bore you with that this time around. I’m not one for making resolutions – but like your classic type A engineer, I like to be more “goal oriented” and set “goals”. Continue reading

classic gingerbread


Well, it’s effing freezing outside. Apparently the polar vortex is back, just hoping it doesn’t stay all winter like .. 2013? I’m trying to remember what year every conversation with my dad was about how many days they had below “XX degree” weather. I can’t handle another winter where all we talk about is how cold it is.

I will say that Snapchat’s “Polar Vortex” story is pretty hilarious. Meanwhile, my friends in California are complaining that it’s 40 degrees. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.  Continue reading

holiday cookie guide


Remember last year when I posted that holiday cookie guide with a peanut butter recipe? No? Well now that I look back I’m like wtf was I thinking? Peanut butter and cookies are not the same thing. Wanna read about it? Well, you can go here and here (for part two) but I’m also gonna recap (and repeat) some of the things I’ve learned but also think are super important for cranking out the most cookies for your cookie tins in the least amount of time.

Sound efficient? I’m an engineer.  Continue reading

cinnamon rolls



I went there. Did I manage to eat 1/3 of this pan over the course of the last three days? Also yep.

Ooey, gooey, classic cinnamon rolls just in time for all your holiday gatherings. Or you know, for you and your couch on a snowy weekend with Netflix and cozy socks. If you’re enjoying them with your family over the holidays, then maybe add some boozy coffee or hot chocolate to help you get through it. As my little sister says, “Just gonna cut the edge with some of this sparkling apple juice.” She’s fourteen.


I had every intention of making these quick rise cinnamon rolls that you could whip up in an hour on Christmas morning. That intention was also quickly diverted by the fact that I did not have any instant yeast packets in my pantry. Thus, I bring you classic cinnamon rolls. Ta-dah.  Continue reading

bourbon banana cake with vanilla buttercream

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Creme de la creme.

Don’t ask me why but the other night I said that and started singing the TI song. You know, this one. While that’s pretty embarrassing, you can just listen to like the first 5 seconds and then close the tab.

I finally got The Vanilla Bean Baking Book in the mail and have spent a lot of time just paging through the book and scrolling through Sarah’s blog. There’s something about it that forces you to admire the craftsmanship that goes into a baked good. I’m not talking quick bread or like.. a cookie here. I’m talking about pastry baking. I mean – I can’t even get my pie crust to look nice (which is why I’m #teamcake) so I’m amazed at some of the “simple” things that she makes so beautiful. While I was scrolling through her blog, I came across this banana layer cake and was inspired to whip something similar up last weekend. By “inspired” I really mean that we have like 10 frozen bananas in our freezer and I have to stop hoarding them. Continue reading

coconut sugar cupcakes with caramel buttercream frosting

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I’m not going to lie, that it feels a little silly to be posting about cupcakes and frosting in lieu of this year’s election. Today I’m sharing my post in order to #bakeamericacakeagain along with Sarah Kieffer from The Vanilla Bean Blog. Head on over to order her cookbook that comes out this week!

What I will say, is that this year – your vote is more important than ever. So if you’re reading this post and it is still November 8th, 2016 and you HAVEN’T voted yet, then you should slam your laptop shut and head over to your voting location ASAP and VOTE.  Continue reading