Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Okay, let's start with the basics. Here is a DELICIOUS, nutritious, moist vanilla cupcake that will make you realize that being diabetic doesn't mean giving up cake! My husband and daughter (my official taste testers) were amazed at how yummy these were and couldn't believe they were actually good for you.

Promise me that you won't run away when you see the list of ingredients. Yes, there is zucchini in this cupcake! But you won't taste it and, if you don't tell your kids, they won't ever know they're eating their vegetables when they're munching on this sweet, decadent treat. Because there's not a lot of oil, it adds needed moisture (not to mention something healthy) to this recipe to boost the nutrition. Tip: To disguise that it's in there, be sure to peel all the green skin off the zucchini before finely grating it. If you want to learn more about the alternative flours used in this recipe, check out my blog: Alternative Flours for Baking.

Makes 12 cupcakes
1 cup of all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons coconut flour
6 tablespoons almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons Splenda granular (not the baking blend)
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons good vanilla extract (or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean + 1/2 tsp. extract)
1-1/4 cups peeled zucchini, finely grated (make sure it is finely grated)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Arrange a rack in center of oven. Line muffin tin with paper liners. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, coconut flour, almonds, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and Splenda with a handheld or standing mixer until thick and light-colored, about 4 minutes. (Don't underbeat this step, you need to fluff up the eggs with air.) Add canola oil and vanilla and beat another 30 seconds. Beat in the grated zucchini on low speed until fully incorporated.

4. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat on low speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the bowl once with a rubber spatula. Use a 1/3 cup measure to spoon batter into the muffin cups.

5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Test after 15 minutes and, if needed, bake another 5 to 8 minutes. The tops will only be slightly browned. Do not overbake because you don't want them to dry out.

6. Remove cupcakes to wire rack and cool completely before icing with the chilled frosting.

For the chocolate pudding frosting:
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa or higher)
2 oz. mascarpone cheese (in the speciality cheese display at the grocery)
1 small box of sugar-free, fat-free chocolate pudding mix (the one that makes 4 servings)
1 cup of 1% milk

To make frosting: Melt 2 TB chocolate chips in a double boiler until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. Add the mascarpone cheese and, with a handheld mixer, beat until light and fluffy. When chocolate mixture is well blended, add 1 cup milk and beat again. Finally, add the dry powder from the pudding mix and beat until thickened. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or longer until quite thick and set. Stir before icing cupcakes.

NOTE: This frosting is best if eaten soon after icing cupcakes, so only frost what will be eaten immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers until needed again. It will keep for 3 days if kept cool.

Nutritional Information per cupcake with 2 generous tablespoons of frosting: 193.15 calories, 23.4 g carbohydrates, 9.3 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 2.7 g fiber, 5.1 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this recipe compare with a regular cupcake with frosting?
My recipe is higher in fiber and protein, plus significantly lower in calories, carbohydrates and somewhat lower in saturated fat. For comparison, here is the average nutritional information for a purchased vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting: 310 calories, 55 g carbs, 10 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 1.5 g fiber, 3 g protein.

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