Chocolate Cupcakes for my Paleo Friends

When this blog was but a young baby blog, my dad used to pester me about sharing healthy recipes for my beloved cupcakes. I would shoo him away, my cupcakes would be grandiose, full of sugar and fat, a treat after an active and healthy week.

But over time, it wasn’t just my dad. My friends on detoxes would stare longingly at the Sunday cupcakes, the acquaintances and work buddies who were celiac or on gluten-free diets would have to shun my cupcakes when I brought them in on Mondays. Slowly the weights shifted to a world where I was the fatty, glutinous outcast.

I’m being slightly dramatic, but it was definitely a great wake-up call. Here was an opportunity to bring my darling cupcakes into an arena where friends and family wouldn’t feel bad after inhaling two or three. So yes, you read that title right. Tonight, I delved into paleo, gluten-free chocolate cupcakes. Disclaimer– I know that I have readers and friends who would still see this recipe as not 100% paleo or gluten free. Just know that I tried. I stuck my toe in the pool. I promise to continue to refine the recipes that I regularly post so that they’re appetizing to each and every one of you.

It was easier than I thought. I have so much respect for those of you that operate on a selective diet, because your shopping list is probably much shorter than mine. It was more about removing ingredients from the cupcakes and the frosting, and then making a couple substitutions. I only added one important ingredient, and that was a crumble from Paleo Eats. Paleo Eats is a company based out of Bend, Oregon, a place truly special to me. The Paleo Eats team sent me three different paleo bars to try– Coffee Bean Bar, Chai Spice Bar, and Coconut Cacao Bar. These three snacks were not only the inspiration for my cupcakes this week, they were also a delicious post-run snack as I kick off training for my next marathon. They’re chewy, flavorful and filling on their own. But as I nibbled away on Chai Spice after a run, I realized that these three bars could serve as the final touch on my paleo cupcakes.

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Cupcakes (makes 12):

  • 1 cup  cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paleo baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Frosting:

  • 3 sweet potatoes or 16 oz butternut squash
  • 2 cups melted dark chocolate
  • Paleo Eats bars for garnish

^easiest frosting ever, am I right?

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Heat oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake tin. Combine all cupcakes ingredients, first the dry, then fold in the wet. The mixture will be pretty thick, but it will resemble chocolate cupcake batter to a T. Fill your cupcake liners 3/4 liners full and bake 20 minutes. The cupcakes will resemble ooey gooey chocolate brownies, a welcome sight in my eyes. While they cool, boil 3 sweet potatoes or microwave butternut squash cubes. Then melt your dark chocolate. Combine dark chocolate and squash or potatoes. Finely break bars into small pieces. Dip cooled cupcakes first into frosting mix and then into crumble. Share with friends… or don’t…

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No bubbly this week, but a few on the horizon that I’m excited to share. Stay tuned…

Xo,
Jenna

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan and a Classic Cuvée

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan. I think I gained a few pounds just writing it. Imagine what occurred when these were made. Pure magic. Whoever began this trend of heavy, indulgent, food-coma filled weekends associated with the holidays is aok in my book, and I want to recruit them as a food and drinking buddy.

Recipe (makes 12)

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp bourbon of your choosing (I used Four Roses— personal fave)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Pecan Filling:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tsp salt

Frosting:

  • 2 tbsp bourbon of your choosing
  • 16 oz confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake tin. Combine cupcake ingredients and beat until smooth. Fill liners and bake 15 minutes. While baking/cooling, heat filling ingredients on high and whisk consistently until texture is thick. Place in fridge for an hour to thicken. One cupcakes are cooled, hollow out the middle and fill with pecan filling. Combine frosting ingredients and frost cupcakes. Garnish with pecan. Sleep.

 

 

Deutz Brut Classic is anything but boring. May even crack the top 14 in my book. Three different Champagne grapes are blended (Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir) but they’re blended so well that you won’t even be able to differentiate. Great golden color and solid bubble quantity. I tasted floral notes on first taste with apple and lemon curd on the finish. There’s an interesting bit of smokiness that ensures this pairs well with heavier tastes like chocolate and steak. ‘Twas enjoyed at a decadent holiday dinner. One so fun, that there are no pictures! 😉

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Cheers,
Jenna

 

Black Forest and a Pricey Bubbly

Wonderful week of fun in beautiful Portland. The Ducks won, karaoke occurred, we “Pray for Snow”‘d, and tried a few new restaurants.

Hitting the gym hard this week, but not before checking the box next to Black Forest on my cupcakes list. It’s a little bit rich, a little bit fruity, a little bit creamy, a little bit sweet. It’s like your entire food pyramid in one cupcake. Or ‘plate,’ or whatever the kids are calling it in school these days.

Easy to make, easy to enjoy. I just forgot about chocolate sprinkles to garnish. Next time 🙂

Recipe (makes 12):

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • t tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • cherry pie filling
  • whipped cream
  • chocolate sprinkles/shavings

Preheat the oven to 350 and line cupcake pan. Combine your dry cupcake ingredients. Add eggs, heavy whipping cream and butter and mix until smooth. Fill liners and bake for 15 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool and hollow off the tops. Place a dollop of cherry pie filling in each. Finish with whipped cream. Yes, yes, both the cherry pie filling and whipped cream were bought and not made from scratch this week. Still tastes just as good 🙂

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Two of my close friends and I have been holding weekly meetings of a Supper Club, exploring fun places to sip and nibble around Portland. We’re all very picky, some may say judgmental, but we’re also very amenable to trying weird and wacky things. This equates to awesome evenings, full of laughs, that always culminate in massive food comas.

Last week we tried Renata. Renata is… (according to Renata) “A contemporary Italian restaurant dwelling within the season at hand and deriving inspiration from the diverse regional cuisines of Italy and the bounty of the Pacific Northwest.”

In general, my mantra is to focus on the good stuff in life. So while it was definitely overhyped, there were standout aspects. I recommend the Bucatini all’ Amatriciana, spicy spaghetti with thick tube noodles, inspired by Southern Italy. I also recommend our bubbly for the night (albeit, not at the price that we paid)-NV Pievalta “Perlugo” Verdicchio Extra Dry.

We were definitely those annoying 20-somethings. “We want a full-bodied, acidic, not-too-sweet, effervescent wine. Can you help?” No wonder we went through five servers. Though none of us were on the same page, preference-wise, this sparkling wine was a middle-of-the-road bubbly that paired well with pasta, pork, octopus, spaghetti, pizza and chocolate. It had light flavors of pineapple and peach, tiny bubbles and a comfortable color. One sturdy thumb up.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Cheers,
Jenna

Peanut Butter Fudge and a Patriotic Bubbly

Hello, hello!

At this point, my Nike colleagues believe any cupcakes that I make are a myth. It’s become a bit of a running joke that I’ll bring in cupcakes “next Monday, next Monday…” The irony being that for one of the most prolific sports companies in the world, they end up feeding me an inordinate amount of indulgent goodies. So it’s definitely time to return the favor.

The lovely thing about this passion of mine is that it will always be there whenever I have the time and effort. Which is a rarity these days 🙂 But this beautiful weekend afforded enjoyable time exploring Naked Falls in Washougal, Washington, celebrating a dear friend’s birthday and a surprising amount of productivity today! Peanut Butter & Chocolate was the original request, but Peanut Butter Fudge sounded way yummier. I based these cupcakes off of my original chocolate fudge cake recipe and topped them with a swirl of creamy peanut butter frosting. It’s way too hot to gorge on these too much tonight, so it looks like I’ll finally make good on my word at work tomorrow!

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Recipe (makes 12):

Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chocolate pudding

Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 12 oz confectioners sugar

Set oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tin. Combine cake ingredients and beat until smooth. Ladle into liner and bake for 20 minutes. While cupcakes bake/cool, whip frosting ingredients. Add more peanut butter to your taste. Make sure your cupcakes are fully cooled and frost away!

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The last Chandon I enjoyed was a bit of a let down. It was too tart and even though I paired it with creamy cupcakes, they weren’t creamy enough to cut through the acidity. I’m a sucker for marketing so maybe the beautiful Patriotic wrapping on this bottle made it even better. The Brut Classic was a wee bit tangy but when paired with the dryness of the peanut butter, a match was made. I recommend this varietal for any weekend barbecues that you have coming up.

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Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Cheers,
Jenna

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Hello, hello!

A busy week traveling, working, having the BEST reunion with an old friend in SF and running my hardest race by far– the inaugural Shamrock Half Marathon in Portland. It was dumping rain, a majority of it was uphill and I was surviving on very few hours of sleep after an evening flight. BUT the finish line was crossed, and for that, I am grateful!

SF

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shamrock

I chose a Baileys cupcake this year for St. Paddy’s day (PLEASE spell it correctly if you’re going to be around Irish folk for the festivities). It’s simple, creamy, not overpowering and caters to the chocolate crowd and the vanilla crowd.

Recipe (makes 12):

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package chocolate pudding (Yes, chocolate pudding. Portion size- snack pack)
  • 1/4 cup Bailey’s
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter

Frosting

  • 16 oz confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (note, this is half the amount I normally use for buttercream)
  • 1/2 cup Bailey’s

Set oven for 375. Line cupcake tin with your most festive liners. Combine ingredients and beat until smooth. This will be thicker than many of the cupcake batters detailed on this site, thanks in part to the pudding. Fill liners about 2/3 full and bake for 16 minutes.

While they cool, beat frosting ingredients. You may want to add a little bit more Bailey’s, that’s your preference. Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, frost and enjoy!

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I always struggle with alcohol related holidays. I’ve never been able to choose a Champagne that compares/complements whisk[e]y, tequila, rum, etc. So I always end up adding said alcohol or a nod to it, to the cupcake. In essence, I’m just trying to get you twice as intoxicated. Enjoy 🙂

This week’s sparkling was a gift from one of my dearest girlfriends for my birthday. She surprised me with a bottle of Chandon Rosé the day of and it was consumed shortly thereafter. Interestingly enough, the Chandon may have paired well with this cupcake. It had crazy acidity, far more than I thought it would, which the Bailey’s would cut through. It was also a little bit bitter which I did not anticipate. At the time I was eating a spicy shellfish dish, which I would not recommend pairing it with, but it would go nicely with creamy pastas or cheese.

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Chandon 3

Hope everyone has a wonderful week and parties safely 🙂

Cheers,
Jenna