Vegan vanilla cupcakes with blue cashew buttercream

It's been almost three weeks without publishing new content here on the blog, although I've tried to keep my IG profile active and shared an easy, yummy and so creamy cauliflower soup a couple days ago (if you're interested in comforting healthy food, you can find the recipe here). Before we dig into the recipe, let me send you some feel-good vibes! Hope everyone's safe...looks like we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (*fingers crossed*).
These vegan vanilla cupcakes with naturally-colored cashew buttercream were originally made for my friends at Popcorn Shed to celebrate Mother's Day in the UK and funny enough it's not until today, three days prior to spanish mother's day, that I can finally share this recipe with lots of photos; the cupcakes came out so good, I dusted off my old piping skills and went a little bit crazy with the picture-taking part :-p; but when you are a photography freak (learning something new every day) and also a foodie you can't help but shoot like there's no tomorrow!
Also I need to make these cupcakes again to sweeten up my's been some pretty intense, stressful and emotional weeks for me. Not only because the whole lockdown situation but because it's kitten season and as you already know I love animals more than anything else in this world and can't look away when there are so many stray cat moms in my area seeking for food and shelter. My local shelter sucks but I found another non-profit organization who helped me out and we rescued a mom with her five kittens, she got sick days later but finally everything's under control and the strong mama will be adopted with one of her kittens next month!
Okay so back to the recipe, the cashew buttercream is naturally colored with blue spirulina and promise you won't taste a thing, but feel free to skip this step cause they will look equally cute. I topped them with caramel popcorn and puffed quinoa but again, use whatever your heart desires, leave the buttercream au natural or go crazy, use all the toppings I suggest and drizzle some homemade caramel sauce for extra decadence!

¡Receta en español aquí!

Vegan vanilla cupcakes with blue buttercream frosting
(makes 12 cupcakes)

- For the cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups spelt flour, sifted.
2 tablespoons potato starch.
1 teaspoon psyllium husk powder.
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla bean powder.
3/4 teaspoon baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt.
1 cup unsweetened almond milk.
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar.
1/3 cup mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil.
1/2 cup raw cane sugar.

- For the cashew buttercream frosting:
1 1/3 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight.
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, at room temperature.*
1/4 cup agave syrup.
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla powder.
1 tablespoon lemon juice.
A small pinch of salt.
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted.
3 tablespoons cacao butter, melted.
Blue spirulina powder (natural food coloring), optional.

- Toppings:
Popcorn Shed's Sea Salt mini popcorn.
Puffed quinoa.

*See 'Notes'.

- To make the vegan vanilla cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 180 ºC and line a 12-cavity cupcake pan with paper liners..
In a large mixing bowl sift together spelt flour, potato starch, psyllium husk powder, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and a small pinch of salt. Mix with a wire whisk until combined and set aside.
In a separate bowl vigorously whisk the milk, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and cane sugar. Pour this wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until no large lumps remain.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full (so they rise evenly) and bake for 20 to 22 minutes.
Carefully unmold and transfer to a cooling rack so they cool completely.

- To make the cashew buttercream:
Soak the cashews in 2 cups of water with a small pinch of salt overnight.
Rinse well and place the cashews into your high-speed blender or food processor with the almond milk. Blend really well until you get a smooth cream, you might need to stop and scrape the sides of the blender jug or bowl a few times. Add in agave syrup, vanilla powder, lemon juice and salt. Blend again until completely combined and gradually pour in the melted coconut oil and cacao butter. The buttercream should look smooth and creamy.
Finally add in a small amount of blue spirulina powder until you get a nice pastel blue tone. Transfer the cashew buttercream to an airtight container, cover the surface with plastic wrap, put the lid on and refrigerate until the cream sets and thickens. If it's too hard right before frosting the cupcakes let it thaw at room temperature until it has a pipeable consistency.
Frost your cupcakes with the blue buttercream frosting, top with caramel popcorn and puffed quinoa.
Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Coconut oil solidifies when it's cold and since it's melted in this recipe I won't recommend using cold milk because it will make the oil harden once both ingredients are blended together.