Sometimes a girl (or guy) just needs a cupcake–especially on a Monday, right?
But when it comes to healthy frosting recipes out there, I have always been a bit disappointed in the ease and nutrition of frosting recipes. I’m sure you’ve all seen the mounds of tasty cupcake recipes out there that either use nut butter, oil, avocado, dairy yogurt, or straight up butter in the frosting recipe.
I know there are even many great vegan options out there, however, I wanted to see if I could create a cupcake recipe that wasn’t based off of oil or butter, was low in sugar, was fast and easy to put together with no equipment needed, and was still super rich and satisfying.
Because you can easily transform a muffin into a cupcake with the simple addition of frosting, and who doesn’t love that?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend loads of time making the frosting … you know what I mean?
I want my cupcakes when I want them. And this healthy Low-Fat and Sugar-Free Chocolate PB Cupcakes with Frosting recipe is perfect for the times when you just need a cupcake (or two) in your life.
I think we can all relate, right?
So, I made a small batch of chocolate peanut butter “muffins” and transformed them into a cupcake with a 1 minute frosting that is so rich and fudgy, I had a hard time believing it actually worked myself!
In fact, why is this technique not used more often?
My chocolate cravings were squashed with just one of these cupcakes. Seriously, for the love of chocolate, cupcakes and health, this simple Low-Fat and Sugar-Free Chocolate PB frosting recipe has got to catch on.
All I used in the recipe was a hefty dose of Dutch cocoa powder (which is fudgier than regular cocoa), peanut flour/powder (defatted peanuts ground into a flour so they’re oil-free), stevia, and a little water, although you could use non-dairy milk too. That’s it! You could also use a little pure maple strup instead of stevia if you don’t like stevia.
Either way, frosting is yours in a few quick stirs with some simple ingredients!
For the love of spreadability and rich chocolate smell, people, you have to try this!
You could actually eat this whole serving of frosting just like you always wanted to do as a kid and not get a stomachache, a sugar-high, or feel one ounce of guilt whatsoever!
Oh, and if you happen to have a peanut allergy, you can totally go all chocolate with this recipe. I’ve made notes in the recipe section for how you can make this without peanut powder for a double chocolate cupcake/frosting combo. It will still be rich, flavorful and so healthy too!
And if you’re wondering, why didn’t I use peanut butter, it’s because I was don’t digest roasted nut butter too so great and because I didn’t have sny on hand. I simply wanted something easy and fudgy to mix together that didn’t hurt my tummy, and this recipe checks all of those boxes and more!
Plus, I love plain roasted peanut powder without added sugars to it, and it’s really a dream to use in a variety of ways. After I made my Vegan PB + J Spread, I was inspired to try using peanut powder more often. I’m glad I did!
Oh, and about the cake part of the cupcakes, or you know … what would otherwise be muffins without the frosting.
Oh boy. These little cakes are just delightful!
So rich and dense, but they also have a light crumb texture to them too which I love and know you will too!
Keep in mind, this recipe only makes 1/2 a dozen (6) cupcakes and the frosting makes enough for just 6 cupcakes plus a little leftover for you to lick the spoon 😉 I don’t really need a dozen of these lying around for just me to eat or I’d be eating them all day, but if you want to double the batch, go ahead!
Since they’re so healthy, feel free to help yourself to 2 servings for a single serving.
- 1/2 cup of oat flour (oats ground into a flour–use GF oats if you're a gluten-free eater)
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut flour (I like Coconut Secret brand.)
- 1/2 cup Dutch (dark, alkalized) cocoa powder - I used Hershey's Dark, red label.
- 1/4 cup (about 3 tablespoons) plain peanut powder (I use Crazy Richard brand which has no added sugar or salt - I don't like PB2.) - or sub 1/4 cup more cocoa if you're allergic to peanuts
- 1 teaspoon ground chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 5 full drops liquid stevia or 1/2 tsp. pure stevia extract* (see below for subs)
- 1/2 cup plain unsweetened applesauce (or you can use 1/2 cup ripe mashed banana or canned pumpkin too)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk - I used Silk- my favorite!
- 1 cup water to thicken or more (this will vary on the brands of flour and cocoa you use, see directions below for more tips.)
- 1/4 cup (3 tablespoons) of dark cocoa powder (could use raw cacao, too)
- 1/4 tsp. pure stevia extract powder (or 3 full drops liquid - not the packets as they have additives that weaken the flavor)*See below for subs
- 4 tablespoons of cold water or enough to thicken - (See directions below for tips.)
- 2 teaspoons plain peanut powder or 2 tbsp. more cocoa powder
- To make the cupcakes, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grab a bowl and add the oat flour, coconut flour, flax ,chia, cocoa powder, peanut powder, stevia, and baking soda. Sift together with a fork just enough to combine the ingredients.
- Next, dollop in the applesauce and then add the almond milk.
- Now add the 1 cup of water and start stirring. You'll notice it starts to thicken quickly. Keep stirring. It will not be runny like regular cupcake batter, and you want it to be a thicker, dense batter which is just the result of the natural fibers in the ingredients. (White refined flour has no fiber and thickens with gluten instead.)
- At this point you may want to add more water if your ingredients are still not combined well enough. It should be consistent in texture even though it's thick (a.k.a no powder residue leftover but not runny either.)
- Spoon the cupcake batter into a nonstick cupcake/muffin baking tin. I don't spray my pans since they are non-stick, but if you want to spray yours, it won't hurt anything.
- You'll want to fill the muffin cups right up to the top. They won't rise much since there is no gluten so you don't have to worry about them exploding over the top!:)
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until they are firm on top and have darkened a bit. Stick a toothpick in to test to make sure they're done.
- Let them cool at least 30 minutes on the counter or pop them in the freezer at least 15 minutes to cool down before you frost them. I made mine the night before and refrigerated them in the pan, then made the frosting the next day.
- Remove from the pans gently with a case knife (flat knife) or a flat small metal spatula. Be very gentle and make sure they are completely cool before removing them from the pan. If not, they may stick to the bottom and break apart.
- Place them on a plate and frost away, or enjoy alone as muffins or frosting-free cupcakes!
- Grab a small bowl or coffee mug, add the ingredients in the order listed, and stir at least 45 seconds. It will thicken up immediately, and boom! You have frosting! Just spread on your cupcakes after they have cooled, and you can either use a flat knife (non-serrated) or you can use the back of a spoon. If you have a hard time with it sticking to your cupcakes, just wet the back of the spoon and then spread again. Simple as that!
- *Peanut Subs* - To make the frosting completely peanut free, just use extra cocoa powder in place of the peanut powder. I highly suggest the Chocolate PB combo if you tolerate peanuts though!
- *Sweetener Subs for Stevia* - if you don't like stevia or don't have pure stevia on hand, I recommend using 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup in the cupcakes and only use 3/4 cup of the water called for. For the frosting, use 2 tbsp. maple syrup instead of stevia and only 2 tbsp. of water. I am sure coconut sugar would work in the cakes as well, but I'm not sure about the frosting since it's more granulated. Feel free to experiment!
- *Flour Subs* - Feel free to experiment with other flours in place of oat flour, however, I have not tested any out myself, so I can't promise what will happen if you do. I don't recommend a substitute for coconut flour directly as it's very unique, but feel free to experiment with flax meal, which may work but won't produce a light and airy cupcake like coconut flour will.
Since sweets should be enjoyed to their full capacity, you’ll also love knowing these Low-Fat, Sugar-Free Chocolate PB Cupcakes are also 100 percent free of animal ingredients. They also have fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, loads of antioxidants, plant protein, and also a large dose of iron, magnesium, and B vitamins.
Don’t tell your friends these are healthy, though–they’ll never know!
Ingredients I Used:
- Hershey’s Special Dark Dutch Cocoa Powder
- JIF Peanut Powder- plain
- Coconut Secret Coconut Flour
- Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats (choose GF if you’re a gluten-free eater) ground into a flour
- NuNaturals Pure White Stevia Extract (not stevia powder with additives)
- Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
- Organic Unsweetened Applesauce by Vermont Village
- Garden of Life ground chia
- Garden of Life ground flax
I hope you all get a chance to make these! Just keep in mind that you’ll need to handle them with care. Since I made them gluten-free for those of you who eat a gluten-free diet, (I’m not gluten-free), they should be handled gently when removing them from the pan.
Also, store these well in the fridge covered for a few days, or freeze them if you like. They’ll thaw in about 20 minutes on the counter if you want to defrost one for dessert later. I don’t know about you, but I’m leaving mine in the fridge—they’re not going to last long!:)
What’s your favorite cupcake flavor? It might be the next one I choose to make! 🙂