Time for a recipe for the cupcake fans out there that want something yummy to eat on a grain free diet. Cupcakes and cookies have been one of the more difficult things to consider giving up when I was contemplating the paleo diet. Since I decided to only start by going grain free, it left a few more options available to me, since I am still eating sugar. So, I tried many recipes, and let’s just face the facts…most of them were gross or just OK. This one, I have to say, is delicious! My cupcake recipe is a modification on the chocolate cake recipe in The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. If you are thinking of going grain free I highly recommend this book, which you can get for less than $10 on Amazon. I know that I have mentioned this before, but most of Elana’s recipes, in her books and on her website www.elanaspantry.com, use agave nectar. I HATE agave nectar, so I have to make adjustments to all of her recipes. For now, while I am still eating sugar, I am substituting water and coconut palm sugar for the agave nectar. So far I have not had any problems with taste or consistency. On to the recipe!
Sorry for the lack of quality in some of the photos (these were taken with my phone!)
Grain Free Chocolate Cupcakes (adapted from the Chocolate Cake recipe from Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.)
(See the shopping tips at the bottom of the post for more information on some of the ingredients used)
2 cups almond flour *
1/2 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa **
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (probably any finely ground salt will work fine)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar *** (probably any sugar will work fine)
3/4 cup water
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350. Line 12 muffin cups with liners.
In a large bowl stir together almond flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and coconut palm sugar. In most recipes this next step would say to mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, however I am lazy and don’t want to have to clean two bowls. Mix the water, eggs, and vanilla into the same bowl with the dry ingredients and use a whisk to make sure the eggs get whipped up a bit. Scoop the mixture into the muffin cups, filling about 3/4 of the way. I usually use a 1/4 measuring cup and go once around to each muffin cup, then go back again, and continue until the batter is gone and they all look about even.
Back for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let cool for as long as you can, then eat (or see the frosting recipe below to add more deliciousness to these cupcakes!)
I can eat these without frosting, and the recipe is also dairy free if you choose to do so. If you want frosting, I have included a delicious cream cheese frosting that goes well with these. Unfortunately this week I have moved on to phase two of my dietary changes…getting rid of dairy, so I am going to have to find a new frosting recipe to use! Let me know if you have any suggestions for dairy free frosting recipes without eggs. I can’t mess with raw eggs and I’ve tried to make the ones where you heat the egg while whisking it, and it was too much work and came out absolutely horrible! Please comment if you have tried to make these and let me know what you think. (UPDATE: I have a dairy free frosting, so look for that recipe in a separate post)
Here are some pictures:
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened at room temp (Don’t microwave)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temp (Don’t microwave)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (use less or more depending on how sweet you like your frosting)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl beat the butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer. Turn the speed down to low (or else you will have a cloud of sugar explode all over everything!) and slowly add the powered sugar a little bit at a time. Taste it a couple of times to decide if you want it less or more sweet and adjust as necessary. Turn the speed up and whip until the frosting is creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Spread on your cupcakes or cake once they are completely cooled.
* ALMOND FLOUR: Try to use Honeyville blanched almond flour for best results. I know the almond flour may seem expensive, but I justify it as a treat and I don’t use it too often. If you are making desserts with it, you shouldn’t be eating them in abundance so you won’t go through the 5lb bag that quickly. I think I buy one every couple of months, or maybe even less than that. They are constantly having discounts on their website, so sign up for their newsletter and keep an eye out for a coupon code. If you use other flours, you may not get the same result because as Elana says, they tend to be heavier than Honeyville’s flour. I have tried Bob’s Red Mill and I can see the difference..it’s not as fluffy or as finely ground. So, if you can buy it, stick with Honeyville.
** GHIRARDELLI COCOA: You can buy the Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa pretty much anywhere, Walmart, Target, Stop & Shop, Shaws, Whole Foods, etc, for around $5 – $6. Use can use regular cocoa, but I’m telling you it will not come out as delicious as this!
*** COCONUT PALM SUGAR: I buy the SweetTree Organic Coconut Palm Sugar from Whole foods for about $6. I use this based on what I have read about it having a lower glycemic index, but you can use regular sugar in place of this. If you do, there is a possibility that you may need to adjust the amount of water because I think the coconut palm sugar absorbs a lot of the water and regular sugar may not.