These cupcakes are rich and fudge-y with a bit of sweetness from the cherry filling. The frosting is decadent with no refined sugar, and they are gluten and dairy-free, as always.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
First add oats, shredded coconut and almonds to a food processor or blender, process until you have a very fine flour. Sift to make sure you break up any lumps. Place flour mixture in a medium mixing bowl, add the cocoa powder, baking powder and sea salt and whisk together.
Now to a blender (or you can use a hand held mixer and small bowl), add the banana, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and almond extract, combine well (no lumps).
Bake at 375 degrees F for 16-20 minutes. After 5 minutes remove from pan and place on cooling rack. Cool completely.
Next, make frosting: In small saucepan over low heat, add mini chocolate chips, almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt, stirring constantly, while everything melts together. Once mixture is completely smooth, let it set at room temperature for 20 minutes. Then place it in refrigerator, stirring every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes or until frosting is firm enough to spread on cupcakes. If it gets to hard, just warm it up on a very low heat, stirring constantly. (You don’t want it too soft.)
While frosting is firming up you can fill the cupcakes. After cupcakes have cooled completely, using a paring knife cut a cone out of the top of the cupcake, about 1 1/2” in diameter. (Be careful not to cut through the bottom of the cupcake.) Cut the top of the cone off and reserve it to place back on top of filled cupcake. Now, fill a ziplock bag with preserves, seal it and cut one corner off (this acts as a pastry bag) and squeeze filling into cupcake holes. Place reserved tops back on top of cupcakes.
Now you are ready to frost the cupcakes. Use a couple of tablespoons of frosting per cupcake. Store frosted cupcakes in air tight container for first day then they can be store in refrigerator for up to a week. But don’t expect them to last that long. If you have any frosting left it can be stored in refrigerator for up to a week. Just warm it up on a very low heat to soften enough to spread.