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Vegan Easter Bunny Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Easter is not the most vegan friendly of holidays as far as food traditions. Okay, it’s about the least as eggs are at the core of the celebration. Then add in the roast ham and leg of lamb and well…. You get the picture. Lucky for me, there are several ways to replace eggs in baking and I love to bake so today I present Vegan Easter Bunny Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting for a modern plant based life.

Growing up in a Jewish home, Easter was not a holiday I celebrated but a holiday I coveted. Those gorgeous pastel Easter baskets overflowing with giant foil wrapped chocolate bunnies, squishy yellow peeps, fruity jelly beans and multicolored marshmallow eggs, was enough to make a sugar obsessed girl feel quite deprived come springtime. I can remember looking through the Sears Catalog fantasizing which Easter basket I would order in my pretend world of celebrating the holiday.

Please know, that as an adult, I do understand that Easter is quite a spiritually religious holiday for those who celebrate and that the Easter bunny got intertwined in the ancient rituals later on which has morphed into the kid friendly characters they are today. But, that little girl with the sweet tooth still lives inside of me so I got in the kitchen and created a vegan version of these adorable Easter Bunny Coconut Cupcakes, loosely based on several recipes I found on the internet. It’s a treat that will bring a smile to all. And perhaps a sugar coma, as well. Fair warning, they are sweet!

Hubby absolutely loved the cupcake, itself, which we tasted unfrosted to make sure that I had a winner. He commented that it was dense yet very moist. I would liken the cupcake to an airy coconut pound cake.

For those of you with young children, setting up a decorating station in the kitchen would be a wonderful interactive way to get your kids involved in cooking. For everyone else, have fun creating a memorable dessert for family and friends. Please note that without the decorations they are a delicious treat year round.

Chef’s Tips:

  • I used salted vegan butter in this recipe as it’s easier to find in the market. If using unsalted butter you will need to add salt. About 1/2 tsp in the batter and 1/4 tsp in the frosting. Please note that Philadelphia vegan cream cheese, which I recommend as it has a good firm texture for the frosting, is quite salty. Add salt to taste.
  • I used a combination of egg replacements. The Bob’s Red Mill dehydrated egg replacement found in the baking aisle and vegan yogurt. Vegan cakes are tricky and I find a combination works best.
  • While unsweetened shredded coconut would cut back on the sweetness of the cupcakes, sweetened shredded coconut has more moisture which helps with the moisture in the cake itself, and the mouth feel for the coconut dredge on top. Feel free to experiment with unsweetened coconut if you want it less sweet.
  • Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled before icing.
  • The frosting uses a lot of sugar to help with the icing’s integrity and firmness. You want a thick frosting to be able to roll it in the coconut. You can use less sugar, if desired, but it will be thinner.
  • This recipe could make 24 cupcakes, but they would be very small. I chose to make 12 large cupcakes by filling the paper cups to the top. I like a good cake to frosting ratio. If you choose to make smaller cupcakes cut back on bake time to 20 minutes.
  • The frosting recipe is enough for 24 small cupcakes. You will have leftover frosting if making only 12. Refrigerate and use for another recipe. Or make a double batch of these.
  • Dandies marshmallows are vegan and fantastic. They are available at Whole Foods and other health food markets.
  • You will need a sharp kitchen scissors to cut the marshmallow in half. Make sure to cut on the diagonal.
  • It was hard to find jelly beans for the pink bunny nose. I found Nerds version which are yummy! You could also make a nose out of pink decorating gel icing or by dying mini-marshmallows, pink. I’ve pictured all products, which are all vegan.

Easter Bunny Coconut Cupcakes

For The Cupcakes:
Set the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center. Line one standard cupcake pan with paper liners.

2 1/4 cups (270 grams) AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup ( 6 oz.) salted vegan butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cups organic pure cane sugar
2 whole egg equivalent of Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacement, rehydrated according to package directions
1/4 cup vegan yogurt at room temperature, 1 egg equivalent
1 cup full fat canned coconut milk (not cream)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl adding 1/2 tsp salt if using unsalted butter. Set aside.

Open the can of coconut milk and pour entire contents into a bowl. Whisk up vigorously to incorporate the fat and the water, Then measure the one cup. Add the vanilla to that and whisk up. Set aside. Refrigerate the remaining coconut milk for another recipe.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter. Cream for a few minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides. Add the sugar and cream until incorporated and fluffy.

Add the egg replacements (Bob’s Redmill and the yogurt) one egg equivalent at a time and mix until incorporated, scraping down the sides.

Starting with and ending with the flour mixture, alternate adding the dry ingredients with the coconut cream mixture. Scraping down the sides as you go. Remove the bowl from the machine cleaning the beaters of extra batter into the mixture

Fold in the shredded coconut until evenly distributed in the batter.

Fill the 12 muffin cups to the top, evenly distributing all of the batter.

Bake on the center rack for 30-35 minutes until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate pan about 2/3 of the way through. All ovens are different so you will need to check how your oven bakes.

Let cool 20 minutes in the pan and then carefully remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in covered containers if not frosting right away.

Cupcakes filled to the top

For the Cream cheese frosting:
1/2 cup (4 oz) salted vegan butter, softened to room temperature
8 oz vegan cream cheese (I prefer Philadelphia for the texture) softened to room temperature
1/4 tsp salt ONLY if using unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups (500 grams) powdered sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter for a few minutes

Add the cream cheese and cream until very light and fluffy, scraping down sides as you go

Add in the vanilla (and salt if using )and cream to incorporate

Add in the sugar, one cup at a time and cream until the frosting is nice and light and fluffy, scraping down sides as you go.

Frost cakes immediately.

Store any leftover frosting in the fridge and soften to use again.

Vegan friendly decorating ingredients

Marshmallow Rabbit Ears
12 Dandies marshmallows (full size not minis)
Pink sanding sugar

Put a few spoons of sanding sugar on a small plate or in a small flat bottomed bowl

For elongated ears, squeeze the marshmallow lightly to elongate the marshmallow.

Using a sharp kitchen shears, cut the marshmallow in half on the diagonal.

Dip the cut side of the marshmallow in the sanding sugar to coat the interior. Repeat with the other cut marshmallows.

Assembling the cupcakes:
12 cupcakes
Cream cheese frosting
Sweetened shredded coconut
12 sets marshmallow rabbit ears
24 semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 pink jelly beans (or you can use pink get icing and draw on a nose)

I like to frost and coat all of the cupcakes in coconut, before adding the other decorations.

Mound a cup of sweetened shredded coconut on a small flat plate.

Using a small icing spatula or a butter knife, generously frost the entire cupcake. Frosting should be about 1/4 inch thick.

Roll the frosted cupcake in the coconut to fully cover the frosting. Repeat with the other cupcakes. You will need to add coconut as you go.

Place rabbit ears about 3/4 of the way back.

Add the chocolate eyes in front of the rabbit ears

Add the jelly bean nose in the center

Set out on your serving plate or store single layer only in large covered containers.

Vegan friendly dairy replacements
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Deborah Brooks
Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.

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