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

Butterscotch and a Local Blanc de Noirs

I love fall. I love rain and pumpkin spice lattes and even more excuses to drink red wine on the couch and falling leaves and seasonal ales and duck football and boots and scarves and layers. I’m very fortunate that I live in such a beautiful area of the world and Portland in the fall is pretty unbeatable. Today was definitely an indicator of incoming fall weather and I am loving it. That being said, I tried to pack in as many of the above fall loves of mine as possible into one day 🙂 Pumpkin spice cupcakes I will save for colder weather but I did take a cue from the warm amber coloring and decadent flavors of…butterscotch!

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Butterscotch is underrated. A champion of ice cream sundaes, it provided a creamy, almost spicy sweetness to the cupcakes. I decided to top them with a batch of my white chocolate cream cheese frosting and then I drizzled the cupcakes with caramel and brown sugar clusters. Couldn’t eat more than one of these babies without the elastic waistband, but it was worth every bite.

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I based my cupcakes this week off of a champagne that I’ve been holding onto for a while– one hailing from McMenamin’s Edgefield. For those unfamiliar, McMenamin’s is a chain of family owned brew pubs, hotels, restaurants and event spaces in Oregon. A lot of them are renovated historic buildings, Edgefield included. Edgefield was actually a poor farm in the early 1900s and has since been converted into an epic “campus” of restaurants, a winery, a whiskey bar, golf course, spa, hotel…the list goes on. It always makes for a great night. My boyfriend and I visited the winery a couple weeks ago and I asked the sommelier if they had any sparkling wines. They did, I tried, it was delicious. The blanc de noirs (made entirely with Pinot Noir grapes from the Willamette Valley) is fruity with heavy hints of lemon zest, apple and cranberry. (New fun fact- cranberry and butterscotch = excellent pairing). Clean and crisp, it balanced out the creamy flavors of the cupcake perfectly.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Cheers,
Jenna