Paleo chocolate cupcakes? And frosting too?!

June 10, 2014

It was at Costco when I first saw The Paleo Chocolate Lovers' Cookbook a few months ago. Hmm, a healthier way to eat chocolate - I was sold. I was already on the lookout for "healthier" baked goodies so I "bookmarked" this book in my head for purchase on my next visit. The book was nowhere to be found when I went back to Costco. Luckily, this was available in Barnes and Noble when I visited and got it for 20% off, I think, which brought down the price to almost the same one as in Costco, which was less than 20USD.

Of course, the first recipe that I tried from this book was chocolate cupcakes. I had difficulty with the recipe as it called for so many ingredients that I didn't have in our pantry - coconut oil, vanilla stevia, etc. Good thing a lot of the ingredients were available in Google Shopping Express (from Whole Foods). The next problem I had was the price - apparently the healthy stuff don't come cheap. My bill for some 5 ingredients totaled 50USD+ so I had to wait for payday before I checked the items out of my cart. Many of the ingredients I bought were not just for one-time use (e.g. several pounds of almond meal) so it was okay.

On to the cupcakes! They tasted satisfyingly chocolatey but the cake was grainy from the almond and coconut flours. If you want a smoother texture, I think you will need to grind the flours to a powdery or at least finer consistency before mixing into the batter. The frosting was good too. It was soft and therefore did not seem cookie dough-y to me but the flavors were there. It was on the sweet side so you have to adjust the amount of honey to your liking. I also used butter instead of palm shortening simply because I couldn't find the latter in Google Shopping Express (hehe).

But cupcakes or baked treats are not food that cavemen ate so they're not really "real" Paleo. (Let me put it out there and say that I'm not a Paleo diet expert nor am I on the Paleo diet.) The author explains this in the book's foreword and in a nutshell, she says that this book is not necessarily hardcore Paleo, it's about eating clean and healthy. All the recipes are gluten-free and grain-free because her family is allergic to gluten and going grain-free has improved their well-being a lot.

The chocolate cupcakes pictured above are actually these cupcakes with the cookie dough frosting. I wasn't able to take pictures of the Paleo cupcakes using my camera - it was one of those midnight baking compulsions when I made them but below is a photo from my phone. If you look closely, you would see the sort of grainy cupcake texture I was talking about.

I'm planning to try the Chocolate Chunk Buttermilk Muffins soon. Quite interesting: they're dairy-free - this recipe uses apple cider vinegar to get the buttermilk flavor without actually adding buttermilk. I think they will go well with my morning mocha. :)

Let me know if you have healthy recipe recommendations in the comments below!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting
Recipe from The Paleo Chocolate Lovers' Cookbook, makes 12 frosted cupcakes
Dry Ingredients
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/3 cup chia seed meal - I ground some chia seeds I already had on-hand with our Nutribullet
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
Wet Ingredients
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce with no added sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey - you may need less to adjust sweetness
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp liquid vanilla stevia
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
Cookie Dough Frosting Ingredients
  • 1 cup palm shortening
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Liquid vanilla stevia to taste
  • Yellow India Tree natural food coloring (optional) - I didn't use this
  • Finely chopped dark chocolate for sprinkling on top - I used dark chocolate chips

Cupcake Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients - cocoa powder, coconut flour, chia seed meal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the wet ingredients - eggs, applesauce, honey, vanilla extract, and liquid vanilla stevia, adding the melted coconut oil last.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and combine them with the electric mixer.
  6. Place 12 unbleached paper liners (also available in Google Shopping Express! hehe) in a muffin tin and fill liners three-quarters full with the batter. I suggest you level the batter before baking the cupcakes. I didn't level mine and the shape came out exactly the same as when I put them in.
  7. Bake the cupcakes for about 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let them cool completely before frosting.
Cookie Dough Frosting Directions
  1. Mix together the palm shortening, honey, vanilla extract, coconut flour, almond flour, salt, liquid vanilla stevia, and food coloring (if using). Note: Add more almond flour to make the frosting even more like cookie dough. Just note that you may need to spread the frosting in this case, as it will be more difficult to pipe.
  2. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I use a #1M Open Star Tip for piping. The frosting (as directed, without extra flour) tastes even better the day after it's made. The flours absorb some of the moisture, making it slightly thicker.
  3. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate on top.

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