Coconut Mango Macro Cupcakes

photo credit (2017) by Tristan Sullivan

This tropical cupcake was created from two different instances – here are the two backstories:
 #1 – My mom has a tendency of sending me produce in the mail (yes, produce…don’t ask me why…she thinks that I can’t buy vegetables in NYC).  The reason why this is relevant is because when she came to visit me, she and my dad brought 3 pieces of luggage – 1 of them were filled with their clothes, and the other 2 were filled with food…for me!  It was an assortment of Asian vegetables, fruit, nuts, health food…it was like she brought her own grocery store with her!  One of the items she brought with her was my favorite – Philippine mangoes with their bright orangey-yellow flesh and sweet custardy flavor.  She brought about 15 pounds of mangoes that after she left, I decided to cut them all into cubes and freeze them.  So making these cupcakes was a way to somehow use up the mangoes my mom brought me.
#2 – A friend from work gave me the idea of making a coconut-flavored cupcake this past Friday – and I had been toying with the idea ever since.
Mind you, I’m not a big fan of American-style coconut-flavored desserts – I find that the coconut flavor is too overwhelming and the desserts are too sweet (especially coconut macaroons…ick).  When making this recipe, I decided to make the flavor a little more Asian-style – where the coconut flavor isn’t too overwhelming and the sweetness sits in the back of your throat like a pleasant afterthought, but still making the flavor of the coconut shine through.  It’s that nice subtle balance (similar to eating Thai-based coconut desserts) that makes me fall for that flavor over and over again.
Another thing about this recipe is that it’s almost vegan (if I hadn’t used casein protein powder, cream cheese and liquid egg replacement in the mix).  I tried to use as much coconut as I could (shredded coconut, coconut cream and coconut milk) in different places of the cupcake in order to achieve a moist consistency without the use of canola oil.
So there you have it!  I hope you enjoy this tropical protein cupcake of mine…think of it as a slice of tropical heaven as you get your protein fix…Aloha! 

Please note:  An easy way of getting coconut cream is buying a can of regular full-fat unsweetened coconut milk and refrigerating the can overnight – when you open the can, the cream and the milk will separate (the cream on the top, and the milk on the bottom).

(makes 18 cupcakes) 


For the cake batter:
6 scoops vanilla protein powder (Quest brand recommended)
2/3 cup oat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup Truvia Baking Blend
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt 
1 cup mangoes, pureed
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup liquid egg replacement (Egg Beaters brand recommended)
3/8 cup coconut milk
1 cup water

For the frosting:
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (Quest brand recommended)
3/8 cup coconut cream
3/8 cup nonfat cream cheese
1/4 cup Truvia Baking Blend
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, sift 6 scoops vanilla protein powder, oat flour, shredded coconut, Truvia Baking Blend, baking powder and salt and mix until well-combined.
3.  In a separate bowl, mix pureed mangoes, vanilla extract, egg replacement, coconut milk, and water and mix until well-combined.
4.  Pour the liquid ingredients in the same bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until the mixture is smooth with no lumps.
5.  Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and pour 1/4 cup of the cake mixture in each liner.
6.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
7.  Cool cupcakes for at least an hour before frosting.
8.  To make the frosting, whisk remaining protein powder, coconut cream, cream cheese, Truvia Baking Blend, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth.  Refrigerate frosting for at least 2-3 hours before using.  Frost cupcakes as desired.

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