This year I was invited to my first seder. It was a Passover seder. What an awesome experience! And such an honor to have been invited – thank you Abby and Steve for letting us crash it with my mom 🙂 I loved the storytelling, I loved the questions, I loved the company, and I loved the singing (even if I didn’t know the tune).
And of course, I really enjoyed being introduced to new foods. I got to try charoset, huevos haminados, gefilte fish, and the best lamb I probably ever had. Afterwards, I was sent home with leftover charoset and horseradish root and of course my mind immediately started to churn ideas on what to do with them. Well, I can tell you, if I was ever on Chopped and they gave me charoset and horseradish, I’d crush it.
There are six symbolic foods used in the Passover seder (mind you, this is not a lesson about Passover). They are horseradish (maror), romaine lettuce (chazeret), charoset, parsley (karpas), roasted lamb (zeroa), and a hard boiled egg (beitzah). Since I was sent home with charoset and maror – well, this recipe is what came out.
The other big food related item with Passover is unleavened food, particularly bread. That’s where matzah bread comes from. So, with this recipe, it was important that the cupcakes be unleavened – that also meant no egg because of it’s properties as a leavening agent.
If you’re not familiar with Passover, you might ask, what’s in charoset? There are lots of variations for charoset, but it is typically a “paste” made of fruit, nuts, and wine. Abby’s recipe included chopped apples, walnuts, raisins, apricots, Manischewitz wine, and spices. Delish!
Lastly, I had to incorporate the horseradish. If you going to eat something sharp and bitter in taste, then coating it in cream cheese and sugar should lighten it a bit 😉 Every bite or so, you’ll still get a bite of horseradish 🙂
Did I mention that this recipe is gluten-free and grain-free?
For this recipe, you will need:
2 c. charoset
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
3 flax eggs
3/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground allspice
1/4 c. + 2 T. almond flour
1/4 c. + 2 T. tapioca flour
3/4 c. coconut flour
1/4 c. + 2 T. evaporated cane sugar
2/3 c. nondairy milk (I used a 50/50 mix of almond and coconut milks)
8 oz. cream cheese
2 t. vanilla extract
3 t. fresh grated horseradish
3 c. of powdered sugar
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcakes tray(s) with 12 cupcake liners.
Prepare your flax eggs by combining 3 T. of flax meal with 9 T. of almost hot water. Water temperature is important here as it helps to activate the mucilage of the seeds, making the mixture “snotty”. Initially the mixture will appear watery.
Stir and let it sit for a few minutes. It will start to bind together, literally like snot. That’s good – it’s going to help bind the cupcake batter so that it doesn’t just fall apart when you take a bite.
In a large mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients (spices, flour, and sugar).
Next, measure out your charoset and applesauce, and add to the flour mixture.
Add the oil, vanilla extract, and nondairy milk and continue to mix the batter until well combined.
Portion equally into your cupcake liners. Note, you can fill them to the top because we haven’t added any leavening agent. Now that doesn’t mean that your cupcakes won’t rise some, but they definitely won’t billow over the liner.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
The cupcakes get a bit golden brown. Mine fell after a minute or two; they probably could have baked another 2-3 minutes.
I, of course, saw this as an opportunity for icing spackle 😉
After about 10 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the tray and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
Now, while the cupcakes are cooling, go ahead and make the icing.
The icing is a simple cream cheese icing with the addition of finely chopped horseradish.
Peel and chop about 3-4″ of a smaller sized root, 2-3″ for a larger sized root.
I wanted a much finer chop so I decided to break out the mini food processor. I first added about 4 oz. of cream cheese and 2 t. of vanilla extract to lube the horseradish.
Keep processing until you almost can’t see little pieces of horseradish.
But I promise you, they’re there 😉
Next, transfer the cream cheese mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add 1 c. of powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add another 2 oz. of cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Add another 1 c. of powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Repeat this one more time until you’ve added a total of 3 c. of powdered sugar to your cream cheese/horseradish mixture.
I didn’t get all fancy pants when I iced these – mostly because we were in too much of a hurry to eat the cupcakes. Ice them as you see fit of course.
A few words about this cupcake recipe – this is an extremely moist cupcake. It is also a very sweet cupcake. That’s all intentional. If you want a drier cupcake, up your flour content by a few tablespoons and/or remove the applesauce. Sweet works here, but if you want more balance, by all means add some kosher salt to the batter and the icing (about 1/2 t. should do it).
These cupcakes are basically paleo-friendly. You can always omit the cream cheese and make a standard vanilla icing with the horseradish using vanilla, powdered sugar, and grass-fed butter. To make it vegan, just substitute your favorite vegan cream cheese in the icing.
Finally, enjoy! Mazel tov!