Summer Snow Cone Cupcakes

It's the summer of adorable cupcakes!

In case you missed the "Off the Grill" Cupcakes with Gummy Kebabs last week, I'm here to give you another option for upcoming picnics: Summer Snow Cone Cupcakes! These cupcakes are very simple to make and look like the perfect barbecue treat. 

If you use a gluten-free cupcake recipe, these beauties are completely gluten-free and  vegan (check out my recommended recipe below). My red coloring is natural and artificial dye-free!

Doesn't the coconut look a little like a snow cone?!

Summer Snow Cone Cupcakes - Dye-free 
12 cupcakes (get a killer recipe here, with a gluten-free option)
a batch of vegan buttercream (recipe below)
red coconut "snow" (recipe below)
an ice cream scoop
optional: cute wooden spoons or straws

Vegan Buttercream
Adapted from Wilton

1 c. organic non-hydrogenated shortening, like Spectrum
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 c. vegan powdered sugar
1 T. almond milk, plus more as needed

Beat the shortening and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Gradually add the powdered sugar until everything is combined well, scraping the sides as needed.  The icing should have pretty stiff peaks.

If it seems too stiff, add a little almond milk, a teaspoon at a time. For this recipe, you want the icing to be sticky and a little stiffer. 

Set it aside when you're done.

Red Coconut Snow
2 T. beet juice, fresh or from a powder*
a cup (or more) of finely shredded unsweetened coconut, like Let's Do Organic brand

**To make my natural beet food coloring, I suggest you look into purchasing Activz Beet Powder.  It's just powdered beets that can never go bad!  It can be found on Amazon or at The Vitamin Shoppe.  It is cheaper if you buy it locally.

Combine a small amount of powder to two tablespoons of water. Once your juice is thoroughly combined, slowly add in your coconut and stir. Add and stir additional coconut until the coconut is coated -- but not soggy -- and the color is vibrant.

Assembly of Snow Cone Cupcakes
Using your ice cream scooper, scoop a dollop of frosting onto a cupcake. Don't worry if the shape is not perfect -- you can actually fix that later.

Hold your cupcake over your coconut bowl and, with your fingers, sprinkle coconut all over your frosting. Once it is thoroughly coated, you can use your fingers to reshape the icing into a sphere shape. Repeat this process with all of your cupcakes.

If you have any leftover frosting, you can freeze it for up to three months and save it for later. If you have leftover coconut, you might want to use that immediately. Sprinkle it on top of ice cream or your other patriotic desserts :-)

Enjoy these adorable cupcakes at your next picnic or 4th of July party!