6/14/19

Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes! A Low Carb and Sugar Free Hostess Cupcake Style CopyCat - Also made into pretty buttercream topped cupcakes




This week I planned on making a Hostess Cupcake CopyCat in a sugar free and low carb version, but I was busy, not in the mood, etc. One day I finally decided to buckle down and get them made and in the end, I made a few into a "Hostess" copycat but I really hate detailed, repetitive work (like putting swirls on the top of cupcakes) and I had a ton of buttercream frosting left over as I made a double batch, so I stopped with the Hostess design and topped them all with a swirl from a frosting tip... creating really fast and simple roses.  So... two styles of cupcakes that day!

I used my 'old' chocolate chocolate chip muffin recipe and simply left out the chocolate chips.  I can't use my favorite filling recipe because it's a 'regular' sugar based and uses marshmallow fluff (marshmallow cream) in it.  There are 'marshmallow fluff' sugar free mix versions but I don't have any on hand, and just decided to do a basic vanilla frosting filling instead. 


I did a chocolate cupcake (sugar free, low carb and it has a healthy boost of flaxmeal!) covered it in a sugar free chocolate ganache and topped with a vanilla buttercream frosting that matches the filling inside.

This is the chocolate 'muffin' I've been making for YEARS and LOVE IT.  I left the chocolate chips out for this but you can still use them and leave them in if you wish!


Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 c almond flour (heaped a little)
1/4 c flax meal
3/4 c unflavored or vanilla whey protein powder
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 c erythritol, granules or Just Like Sugar, etc.
3/4 c pure pumpkin puree  (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 stick real butter, melted
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/2 c half and half or cream
4 oz. sugar free chocolate chips

In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients;  almond flour, flax, protein powder, baking powder, soda, salt, cocoa and sweetener.    In another bowl mix the pumpkin, butter, eggs and vanilla.   Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon while adding the cream or half and half.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Add a little bit more cream if it's too thick or protein powder or almond flour if it's too thin. Your batter should be thicker than a cake mix yet still able to be scooped or poured into muffin tins.    Pour batter into greased or lined cupcake tins filled  either 2/3 or 1/2 full**.  Bake at 325 for approximately 25 minutes.

**Do not fill 2/3 full to get a nice flat top.  Instead just fill half way, this will give you a flat top to decorate like a Hostess Cupcake with swirls.  You will get about 14-15 of them if you fill 2/3 full for a regular frosting cupcake or about 23 of them if you fill half way for a flat Hostess cupcake.

Let cool completely while you make the chocolate ganache.

Ganache

3/4 c heavy cream
2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1- 2 t vanilla

In a double broiler type set up (a bowl over a pan of simmering water under it to melt gently but avoiding direct heat) place all the ingredients and start stirring as it slowly melts.  Continue stirring until it's all melted and liquid chocolate goodness.  Set this aside to cool a bit until your muffin/cupcakes are done and cooled.  

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


1 stick real butter
1 1/4 c powdered sweetener(s) of choice*
1 t xanthan gum
6 T heavy cream
2 T vanilla

Cream the butter, add the sweetener and xanthan and the cream, add the vanilla. Whip. If it's too thick add a little more cream by drizzling - it doesn't take much.  If it's too thin, add more sweetener. 


*If you use a good quality sweetener (I used SoNourished Erythritol with Monk Fruit) about a cup is more than enough. If you use Just Like Sugar or similar, you will want to use about a cup plus 1/4 cup of another sweetener of choice like Swerve, Pure, Ideal as the blending of 2-3 sweeteners is what gives the best flavor.  Also, add more or less to your own taste.  I don't like things sweet so I cut back, whereas most people love 'sweet' so you can add a bit more.  You can also leave the xanthan out if you don't have it, but it does help in the stability and texture. 

IF YOU USE A SWEETENER LIKE SPLENDA that is not a natural sweetener like those I've listed above, you WILL NEED MORE than the 1 cup called for.  You may need 2+ cups as it's a different texture than natural sweeteners.  I suggest not using Splenda, but if that's what you have, you will need 2-3 cups of it to make your icing sweet.

Take a LARGE SMOOTHIE SIZED STRAW (link at the bottom of this post, I find mine at the grocery store hanging on a clip-strip in a random aisle... they don't even have them near the regular straws!?).  Use this to push into the center of each cupcake and pull it back out.  This removes just a bit of the cupcake, to allow for your filling.

Fill an icing bag with your frosting and snip the end to give it about a 1 cm wide - you don't have to be precise.  But not too small and not too large.  Now insert the bag tip into the cupcake, squeeze gently as you start to slowly pull back as you will see the cupcake filling up.  As soon as you see the filling come to the top, stop and pull back.  Don't overfill, it will crack the cupcake and push out the top.  If some is out the top, just scrape it flat with a butter knife.

Dip into the ganache.  Either leave your cupcake in the liner and dip just the top, or remove it from the liner and dip it further down the sides.  To dip the entire cupcake you'll want to double or triple the chocolate ganache topping.  You'll need triple to dip them all but it will make them more like a Ding Dong - yum!

I dipped just the tops this time. 

Let set to harden for a bit.  Now using an icing bag with either a tiny round tip or snip just the very end off the bag for a tiny opening, carefully make the swirl design on top of your cupcake with the frosting.  This is time consuming and I hate repetitive, mind numbing tasks like this.  So I lasted all of about 5 cupcakes before I looked at my frosting, decided I had enough to ice them all (I had made a double batch intending on refrigerating some to use on cookies this weekend) so instead, I popped a large icing tip on a new bag, filled it with icing and did a quick swirl on top of each. 

Some product links are at the very bottom of this post if you need some ingredients or want to see what I used.


The cupcake/muffin batter


Don't overfill - you want them to have a flat top





Melting your ganache.  It will look like this when it starts to melt.  Keep going.  It will come together!


It will turn into a nice liquid ganache.  If you WANT TO you can add the sugar free chocolate chips to this if you didn't use them in the original muffin/cupcake recipe.  Or just toss in about 1/4 cup of them if you wish.


Out of the oven!
Let them cool.


Ready to dip!


Making the frosting.  I made a double batch so I used it for filling AND frosting them.


The smoothie straw inserted into the cupcakes and pulled back out to make room for a filling.


Ready to fill


Just smooth the tops with a butter knife to make them flat before dipping in the chocolate ganache.


Ready to dip!


Dipped.
And I'm FINE WITH LEAVING THEM LIKE THIS.  They are like a Hostess Ding Dong!
And for those of you like me who DO NOT LIKE FROSTING OR SWEET THINGS - THESE ARE PERFECT JUST LIKE THIS!  :)


At this point they remind me of Ding Dongs... which I like better than cupcakes.



I hate this part. I have NO patience for this so after only four or five, I quit and used the icing to frosting them!  God bless you if you have patience... you're lucky.  :)


So much faster!
Although this much icing does make them sweet!  Too sweet for me actually.  But when I eat them I just take the icing off and eat the cupcake!  Ha ha.


 This is one freshly made.



Some Products Used in this recipe - available through Amazon and Netrition

Almond Flour - I've used Bob's RedMill, NOW, Blue Diamond, Honeyville - they all ork well.
Granulated and powdered natural sweeteners - to replace the white, refined sugar in your recipes





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