Maple Mania II: Maple Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream


[ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT TO ENTER THE MAPLE SYRUP AND LAYER CAKE GIVEAWAY!  If you haven’t yet entered, hop on over to this post and leave a comment! ] 

Alas, I was too young to be part of the Hippie Generation (Woodstock ’69; Flower Power; Bed-Ins for PeaceTurn On, Tune In, Drop Out; and so on).  On the other hand, The Nurse was a bona fide  Child of the Sixties (she even used to draw a little flower on her cheek every day–in pen–where Marilyn Monroe’s famous mole was positioned).  Up until my twenties (and based on the example of my sister and her friends), my idea of “hippie” went something like this:

a) long, flowing, basically unkempt hair (including on head, on legs, and under arms) and fingernails;

b) torn T-shirt (must be braless underneath if female), torn blue jeans, leather thong sandals;

c) slightly nasal, slightly lilting, sandpaper-on-velvet voice, usually directed at no one in particular;

c) à la Pig Pen*, frequently trailing a cloud of dusty smoke (which smelled suspiciously like a mix of burning rose petals and oregano);

d) said “groovy” and “cool” and “cat” and “establishment” a lot.

So when I enrolled as an undergrad at the University of Windsor and, at our first faculty-student event, met a real, honest-to-goodness hippie among the grad students there, I was surprised to see that she didn’t fit all the criteria I’d so assiduously lined up in my mind. 

The major difference between the textbook hippies (no oxymoron intended) and my new acquaintance, Ms. Floaty (she acquired that sobriquet because it seemed to me she could glide across a room without actually touching feet to floor), was that the latter, at least, knew how to cook from scratch. Not only that, she knew how to cook well.

Remember the original hippie food?  Generally full of soybean cakes and tasteless variations on tempeh and tofu.  If you’ve got a copy of the  Farm Cookbook, you’ll be amazed at how many of the recipes focus on soybeans, tofu, tempeh, soymilk, miso or even ice bean (soy ice cream)–though, judging from the photos in the book, the people on the Farm do all seem to fit the classic hippie prototype.  It’s those seminal hippie vittles that brought us favorites like “Oven Fried Gluten,” “Creamed Tempeh,” “Soysage Dogs” or “Gluten Burritos.” Of course, they ate more than just tofu.  They also ate beans, and brown rice, and sprouts.  And let’s not forget where the phrase “Crunchy Granola” came from–oats and nuts and seeds and oh, probably, tofu.  (Though I think that particular stereotype has been shattered for all time courtesy of Andrea’s take on the stuff–and her latest addition, with chocolate chips!).  

Ms. Floaty had her own, surprisingly tasty, repertoire.  She proffered a moist, dark and delectable cake studded with mysterious chips that she called “carob.”  I’d never tried carob before, and loved it immediately.  I was also lucky enough to sample her oat and coconut cookies, also featuring those unusual, exotic chips.  After I asked for the recipes, I was surprised to learn that everything she baked incorporated maple syrup as a sweetener.  Of course, it made sense: before the advent of agave nectar, maple syrup (along with the occasional brown rice or barley malt syrup) was the hippies’ and nature-loving folks’ sweetener of choice. 

As I’ve mentioned before, growing up in Quebec, I assumed maple syrup was as common as my father’s ex-girlfriend (well, that’s what my mom used to say about her, anyway). So I never really thought much about maple syrup as anything but a substitute for sugar, used whenever a certain sort type of sweetness was required; it never occurred to me to showcase the auburn ambrosia as the primary flavor in its own right. 

Not until, that is, I received my amazing sample of Coombs Family Farms Pure Organic Maple Syrup in the mail a few weeks ago.  I was agog as soon as I inhaled the stuff and immediately set about creating.  In honor of my cookbook’s impending publication (it does seem to be taking a rather long time, doesn’t it??), I even devised this giveaway for a liter of pure maple syrup or a custom-baked (Sweet Freedom recipe) layer cake. 

As a lead-in to the giveaway, I thought it only fitting to bake at least one item that was entirely infused with maple flavor.

And where does one go to find a foolproof cupcake–of any flavor or variety your fancy might touch upon?  Why, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, of course!

I started with Isa and Terry’s recipe for Maple Cupcakes and made my usual modifications so that the treats are compatible with the NAG diet (and don’t worry–both Maple Mania recipes were prepared the week before I started my current anti-candida cleanse, so I haven’t broken the diet! If you’re interested in an ACD update, though, you can check here).  The result was a single serving treat with an incredibly light crumb and gorgeous, heady maple aroma.  I didn’t bother to include the original’s 1-1/4 teaspoons (6 ml) maple extract (the syrup I had was that good)–and these were still intensely maple.  (Whoever wins that quart must make these!). 

Made with organic coconut oil and less soymilk powder than the original, the frosting, too, was superb–airy, creamy, light and, like the cake, rife with pure maple goodness.  I’d definitely recommend these confections for a special occasion–an anti-establishment rally, maybe, or even a bed-in. 

Mum, you know it’s Chaser’s birthday next month. . . is that occasion special enough? I’m sure we could taste just a little of that frosting, don’t you think?”

Unfortunately, maple syrup is a bit too sweet for dogs, but the HH scarfed down his share of these goodies.  If you’re a fan of maple flavor, you will love these.

“Mum, we are crushed. We’re devastated.  I think you’re going to have to supply treats on demand from now on, just to make up for it.”


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*Yes, I suppose it should have been “au Pig Pen,” but really, doesn’t that sound silly?

Last Year at this Time: Lucky Comestible II (2): Almond-Quinoa Muffins

© 2009 Ricki Heller

[Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you buy using these links, at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission from the sale.]



  1. Love the “hippie” story 😀

    Holy goodness perfection, Ricki!! Love the decorating skills too 🙂

  2. WHOA WHOA WHOA RICKY!!! You’ve outdone yourself =) Those cuppers are magnificient!!!

  3. I love the story!!

    The cupcakes look amazing!

  4. Holy maple syrup, Ricki, these are groovy, cool, far out and definitely anti-establishment. And the photos are amazing. You’re one cool cat!

    And thanks for the link.

    (p.s. I always liked carob but it gives me a headache.)

  5. I could really use one of those right now–night-work snack!

  6. Oh, I will try these for sure!

  7. Oh yum!
    Whatever happened to the hippie friend?

  8. Sadly with the cost of maple syrup here these would be a once in a lifetime treat for me. But OH! Oh YUM! I want some badly!!!

  9. I want to fill my tub with pure maple syrup and bathe in it daily. while eating your cupcakes.

  10. I’m so excited – I have everything I need to make this in my kitchen! I’ll get on it tomorrow!

    These are so adorable.

  11. I admire your icing flair – these look so sweet – in all senses of the word! I am sure they make hippiedom seem very attractive 🙂

  12. These look and sound delicious! I will have to try these

  13. the frosting is beautifully done! These sound delicious.

  14. I’ve taken a note of this recipe to try. I love the sound of maple flavoured cakes.

  15. beautiful cupcakes!

  16. You know, I never eat maple syrup. Grew up on good old Aunt J, and now I just use agave — but your cupcake pictures make me want to go out and find the real stuff, right now! Yum!

  17. i’m loving all these maple recipes! (and as we speak i am eating oatmeal with maple syrup, hehe).

  18. Ok, I have to admist that The New Farm Cookbook (from ’74) is indeed one of my very favourite vegan cookbooks!
    I’m such a fan of Maple Syrup – years ago it was so hard to find in France, but now I can even get it at the discount chain…and thank goodness! (but it may not be as common as a trainée…but still, it’s progress!)

  19. These are beautiful and a recipe using some very new ingredients for me. Love trying new stuff. Have I mentioned how much I love your “This time last year” link on your posts. Being a fairly new reader to your blog I love catching up on what I missed. 🙂

  20. You have outdone yourself! These look picture perfect (nice photo!). Are you actually doing this baking now while on the candida cleanse- that would surely take me down. If you are, you absolutely have the iron will!

  21. OOoh!! I love maple… these look so good! I bet the flaxseeds are a great add-in too 🙂

  22. these are not only beauuuuuutiful cuppies, Ricki – but they sound absolutely amazing! i can’t wait to make these – think i’m gonna have to soon! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! (and dan & i made a batch of your maple flaxseed cookies. best cookies we’ve ever had. seriously. we ate 3 each as soon as they cooled & the rest we enjoyed the next day with breakfast! aahahahha! thanks, Ricki!)

  23. Oh yum, those look incredible!

  24. Looks fantastic! I wonder if I could use sprouted spelt flour? Probably, right? We love maple syrup, but use it sparingly due to the expense.

  25. Oh wow hello delicious! These look perfect and amazing.

  26. Courtney says:

    Sprouts–definitely sprouts! Growing up, hippies to me wore long tie-died shirts, had long hair, and ate sprouts :o)

    These cupcakes look amazing, Ricki!


  27. those look AMAZING!!

  28. seeing as how I could probably eat maple syrup with a spoon… i could easily eat a dozen of these babies…

  29. oh my gosh! that maple buttercream sounds amazingly good!


  31. yum yum cupcakes! i have never had a maple baked good but i bet i would love it!

  32. haha, these look AMAZING, i really would like to take a bite into my screen… that doesn’t sound like a good idea though :-/ need to get back to some baking!

  33. aww ricki thanks for the compliment on the pomegranate sorbet!
    hmm did you two become good friends during the cooking journey? my mother got married in the 80s (so i guess she could’ve been a YOUNG hippie child) but she lived in taiwan, and i don’t think hippies were too popular there. 🙂

  34. Thanks for the reminder Ricki, sadly I’m in Australia so not eligible to win such yumminess this time 😛

  35. Andrea,
    You are one cool chick. Far out, man! 😉

    I didn’t really keep in touch with Ms. Floaty after university, but last I heard, she was teaching English at a university out east. 🙂

    Hope you entered the maple syrup giveaway–then you could bake your own treats!

    I’ve since changed my perception of hippies, but no, don’t think I could ever become one! 😉

    You really should give it a try! You may just never go back to ol’ Auntie J!

    I actually like the cookbook, too–lots of recipes I DO use in it (though others I never would–like some of the ones I mentioned!).

    Thanks so much! Glad you like the links to last year’s goodies. 🙂

    No, I didn’t bake these while on the cleanse (I’m not that much of a masochist!). I made them shortly after receiving my sample of the organic maple syrup, so no worries–I’m still on the ACD!

    I’m so glad you liked the cookies! Yay! I actually thought of them as almost a “breakfast cookie”–they ARE sort of like granola bars, right? 😉

    I’ve never baked with sprouted spelt flour, but I’m guessing it should be fine. And maybe you’ll win the giveaway, so you won’t have to worry about the cost of the syrup! 🙂

    I forgot about the tie-dye–of course! How groovy, thanks! 😉

    There’s nothing like it. I hope you’ve entered the giveaway–that would be the perfect chance to try some out!

  36. Oh my, do these sound amazing or what! And such an interesting recipe for frosting… I’ll have to try it!

  37. Dude! 😀

    What happened to that “I seem to have misplaced my sense of humor” thing? This post is LOADED with funny and witty Rickiness! I loved all the Hippy talk, man! 🙂

    Did you see there might be a Woodstock 2009? Most people weren’t too impressed with the one from 1999. I think people keep trying to make it have the same feeling as the original one, but that just cannot be.

    Your cupcakes look SO unbelievably delicious and inviting! I *heart* maple syrup!

  38. Ricki – these look amazing -Cupcakes are one thing – I definitely do not specialize in- my boyfriend would go crazy if I made him these!

  39. I agree, you’ve outdone yourself on this one! Looks amazing. I confess I was a bit of a hippie in my day, all but the no-bra thing. Never could quite go there!

  40. Wow! I’m a newbie, but your blog looks great! I have to say, though, that I like the “seasonal recipes” or “related recipes” linked to from the recipe postings- it just helps me browse through and find the recipes I would otherwise miss!

  41. These look divine! Thank you for the hippie fun!

  42. These look beautiful! I wanna bite right into one. Their colour is fantastic and I love the recipe for the frosting. Coconut oil instead of margarine is genius! I’ll keep that in mind for future frostings.

  43. Those cupcakes look so good!

  44. Wow, these cupcakes look wonderful! I’m a big fan of grade B maple syrup. 🙂

  45. I love the taste of maple anything! And, who doesn’t love cupcakes?

    I love to see so many options that fit my dietary needs.
    I can’t just go out and buy any old treats.
    It’s special to be able to make any of the recipes you have on your blog without any extra tweaking of the recipe!
    The pictures are mouthwatering and artistic.
    You prove how good healthy choices can be.

  47. Also I must say that I made the flax maple cookies and they turned out perfect and are my favorite cookie at the moment. Your maple frosting sounds amazing too. I will have to try it out for the next celebration cake.

  48. Can I have one of your cupcakes please?

  49. Your dogs are the cutest. Seriously!

  50. Hi Ricki,
    I’m new to cupcake baking, mainly because I’m not an American native, and the cupcakes are typical here. Almost every weekend I bake something sweet, I really enjoy baking 🙂 and when I saw these ones I said to myself: Oh God, I have to give it a try! And, believe me: They’re SOO Goood! Amazingly Good! I had to control myself to not eat them at once :). The only problem that I had, it was that I didn’t read carefully the ingredients for the frosting, so I was running out of soymilk powder and I had no idea of what substitute I should use for it. I opened the fridge and I saw some leftover of your sweet potato filling (the truffles ones), so I followed your suggestion and topped the cupcakes with that. It matched pretty well!

    Thanks for sharing you recipes with us!
    Susana (Portugal, but living in the US).

  51. I’m in Maple Heaven!!!

  52. Okay, I know they LOOK amazing but let’s talk about how they TASTE – incredible!!

    Ate most and shared just a few, yet they were so light and perfect I don’t feel like puking. 🙂

  53. I made them for my daughters first birthday! What a hit! So good!

  54. made these last weekend for my friends & church group–Lovely, mouth-watering. YOU GO GIRL!

  55. 1/2 cup OR 240 ml of milk? By the way, thanks so much for making life easier for us metric folks!

  56. Those Maple Cupcakes sound so good!!! I have to make them! 😀


  57. Ricki, I live in South FL where coconut oil – most of the year – is in a liquid state at room temp. It’s great for when I need the oil as a liquid, but I’m wondering how my oil would work in the frosting. Do you have experience with this?

    • Hi Gopika,

      I don’t often have that problem even in 90F summers as we totally rely on our air conditioning–ah! 😉 What I do if the kitchen is warm and the oil melts: measure it out into small bowl and then pop it in the fridge until it firms up a bit. I specified “soft” because I wanted it easily scoop-able and not rock hard. The other option, if it’s too melty when you’re making the frosting, is to mix all the frosting ingredients together, then refrigerate the entire bowl of frosting until firm. THEN beat the frosting straight from the fridge until it softens and fluffs up. If your house is really warm, though, the frosting won’t hold its shape too long. . . coconut oil melts at 76F. Let me know how you make out with it!

      • Hi Ricki,

        My mother and I made the muffins yesterday when it was very hot day. I remembered that I had some jars of coconut butter. I subbed Artisana brand for the coconut oil. It was more thickly pourable than scoopable. My mother was uninterested in chilling the frosting. Our muffins came out no where as pretty – or as light – as yours, but the flavor is sublime. Nicely balanced maple flavor and sweetness without being overpowering. A definite winner.

        I substituted US Wellness plain grass-fed, organically grown whey powder for the soy powder. Not sure if this would have made the cake part denser.

        Thanks for your help.



        • Hi Gopika,
          Glad you enjoyed them anyway! I imagine the coconut butter would create a very different result from coconut oil. Also, there is no soy powder in the cupcakes themselves, only soymilk powder in the frosting. So I’m sure adding soy powder to the cupcakes would have changed the texture–just as whey in the frosting would have. Soymilk powder is quite different from whey powder!


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