To answer those who think it is impossible to achieve a gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, dairy-free, low-carb cupcake and still have it taste delicious, I will gladly prove you wrong with this recipe! I actually think this chocolate cake recipe is my favorite!
To those who don’t seem to care about nut-free & dairy-free options, it is something to consider. Nuts are easily over-consumed. It’s one thing to eat a few nuts for a snack, but when you started eating multiple servings of grain-free treats every day, you would be surprised at how many actual nuts you are consuming.
Addicted to Nuts
I occasionally go on “nut fasts.” During these fasts, I give up all things nuts: nut flours, nut milks (I don’t drink them anymore anyway), and my favorite, nut butters, specifically, peanut butter! As mentioned in a previous post, I have a peanut butter addiction. It’s very real. If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have one food, it would be natural peanut butter (with salt). I would be a happy camper! Problem is, my tummy may not like it as much as my addiction!
Of course, some folks have a flat-out nut allergy, but others can see improvement in their overall health (and weight loss) by ditching, or drastically reducing nut consumption.
One of the many reasons that grains and legumes are encouraged to be avoided is due to high phytic acid levels. Many people who binged on grains before can find themselves in the same predicament, over eating other foods, and nuts can be a common culprit among grain-free-ers.
So how many nuts should I be eating?
Chris Kresser says this depends on 3 things:
- Your overall health and mineral status
- Your weight and metabolic health
- Whether you are soaking, dehydrating and roasting the nuts before consuming them
There is really no easy answer or mathematical calculation that will give you a specific number of nuts per day that you should/can eat, or how many grain-free treats you can eat. From reading and research, I suggest if you have major tummy or health issues, or your weight loss has stalled, that you might want to ditch the nuts, at least for a short season, to see if your symptoms or weight loss improve.
This post is not intended to be a full explanation about whether you should be eating nuts, or how many you can eat in a day. For more information, please check out this post by Chris Kresser and make your own personal decision based on the information he presents.
Looking for more Nut-Free recipes?
Check out these popular nut-free recipes on the blog:
- Cinnamon Bread
- Nut-Free Sandwich Buns
- Triple Chocolate Cookie Cake
- Banana Bread
- Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies
- Flour-less Chocolate Torte
- Frosted “Corn” Flakes
- Elvis Cupcakes
Also be sure to check out my new cookbook, Comforting Eats, for other nut-free recipes like Hummingbird Cupcakes, Spice Cookies and Coconut Macaroons.
About the Ingredients
Coconut Flour: To make this recipe nut-free, I used coconut flour. Coconuts aren’t really nuts at all. Coconut flour is very fibrous, meaning it absorbs LOTS of moisture, and SHOULD NOT be substituted for any other flour. The coconut flour, along with the generous amount of raw cacao powder, really gives these cupcakes a wonderful texture.
Not all coconut flour is alike. I prefer Tropical Traditions or Bob’s Red Mill Coconut flour because it has been ground into a very fine flour. Even though I recommend Honeyville for purchasing blanched almond flour, I do not like their coconut flour for baking.
Chocolate: This recipe uses two forms of chocolate…raw cacao and chocolate chips. Raw cacao is actually real cacao beans that have been ground into a powder and not heated over 118 degrees F. This helps preserve vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants present in the chocolate.(Click HERE to read more about chocolate.) I switched to raw cacao powder a few months back and love it! If you can’t get your hands on the raw stuff, unsweetened cocoa powder can also be used.
The recipe also calls for chocolate chips. There are quite a few options that will work here. I have two recipes on the blog, Chocolate Chunks & Milk Chocolate Chunk Dreams that are both low-carb chocolates. I also have been using this 80% Cacao Bar and just chopping it up. (I also eat a few squares most nights… only 1 net carb per square and it is DELICIOUS.) There are also 60% cacao chips from Enjoy Life that are dairy & soy free.
My latest discovery is these 70% cacao chips! I LOVE them! This is the darkest chocolate chip I have found and yes, these chips contain minuscule amounts of organic sugar, but I would rather have these chips than the artificially sweetened stuff.
Coconut Oil: The perfect fat! I love adding coconut oil to as many recipes as I can, and especially to my baked goods. The coconut oil will contribute a slight coconut flavor which I LOVE with Chocolate! If you want, you can also use unsalted butter or ghee. I either purchase Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions or Nutiva Brand.
Coconut Milk: As most of you know, I usually make my own coconut milk. I use my homemade coconut milk in shakes and even to make puddings, but when baking, I prefer to use a good quality canned coconut milk. The milk in the can is thicker and more closely resembles heavy cream, which is preferable. If you don’t have coconut milk, you can always use cream (just be sure it doesn’t contain carrageenans).
Coffee: I like using coffee in any of my chocolate recipes. The coffee really brings out and enhances the flavors of the chocolate. (I use this Organic French Roast Coffee and LOVE IT!) If you don’t or can’t do coffee, feel free to add more coconut milk (or cream) or even water.
This is also another great way to use up leftover coffee in the morning. Simply pour the unused coffee into ice-cube trays and stash it in the freezer. When you want to make a Mocha Frappucino, just toss the coffee ice cubes in the blender. If you need the coffee in its liquid form, just place a few cubes in a bowl and in a little time, you will have melted coffee, ready for your recipe.
Gelatin: Here is another use of your Great Lakes Gelatin (orange/red can). Adding just a little gelatin to the whipped cream will help stabilize the cream, helping it to hold up and not separate. I use the same method in my Heavenly Strawberry Cake. Gelatin is optional in the whipped cream, but it will help hold the cream together.
What you need to know about your sweetener
In this recipe, I used KAL Stevia. The unfortunately thing about KAL is that they have recently changed their recipe and started putting maltodextrin in their Stevia. They have only added it to their regular Pure KAL Stevia and not to their Organic variety so I will be purchasing it next to test it. This is disappointing. Luckily, I still have a full bottle of the old formula that doesn’t contain the maltodextrin, but I am researching other stevias to use in the future. So far, I like Sweet Leaf Organic Powdered Stevia. For this recipe (and for my Sweet Tea), I used double the amount of Sweet Leaf Organic Stevia as I did of KAL Stevia. I will post more on this topic later but I wanted to give everyone a heads up if you are using KAL stevia. READ your labels!
The great thing about this recipe, as well as all of my recipes, is that you can use whatever sweetener you prefer. A question I get asked often is what is the conversion factor when using a different sweetener than the one that the recipe calls for. My simple answer is that it’s impossible for me to test every brand of stevia or every type of sweetener. What has ALWAYS worked is just tasting the batter, and adding as much sweetener as you need to get the sweetness YOU desire. Again, no formula but this method works.
Kitchen Tools you will need
You can really make these into any shape you would like. I chose three options:
For Cupcakes: Just use a standard muffin pan and liners. The cupcakes will require a bit more time in the oven, but don’t overbake.
Large Whoopie Pies: For the large pies, I used my muffin top pan, the same one I use to make my Tasty Sandwich Buns (from my cookbooks) and Melissa’s Sandwich Buns from the blog. If you use your muffin top pan, please promise me you will share your pie with a friend since when you put 2 halves together, it’s like eating 2 whole cupcakes. Share the love.
Medium Whoopie Pies: This is an opportunity to use the smaller, whoopie pie pan. These are a great size for portion control (or your child’s lunch box).
Baby Whoopie Pies: Use a small scoop (1-1/2 tbsp.) to divide the cake batter. Just be sure to NOT overbake. This would be perfect for parties!
Scoops: If you have followed me long enough, you know I love my scoops, especially for baking. For cupcakes and large whoopie pies, I used a large (4 tbsp. or 1/4 cup) scoop. For the medium size whoopie pies, I used a medium (3 tbsp.) scoop. Using the scoops ensures that the batter is evenly divided for even baking.
Rubber Spatula: Also called a Kiddy Cheater! No more letting the kids lick the bowl if you use a spatula, but you will probably get enough batter for an extra cake by using this handy tool! Every kitchen should have one!
For a truly dairy-free whoopie pie or cupcake, use the Easy Chocolate Truffle recipe for filling or topping. You can also use the Fudge sauce recipe from my Copy Cat Little Debbie Brownies or even my chocolate ganache recipe. Be sure to add a few fresh strawberries, yum! Also, try my Cream Cheese Frosting from my cookbooks for a wonderful variation.
I hope everyone enjoys the recipe!
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- Scant 1/4 tsp. KAL Stevia or sweetener of choice (to taste)**
- 1 tbsp. coconut sugar (optional)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- 5 large eggs
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
- 1/2 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup coconut milk (preferably canned)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup brewed strong coffee, cold (or more coconut milk)
- 2 oz. dark chocolate chips (see post above for different options)
- **I also experimented and used 1/2 tsp. of Sweet Leaf Organic Stevia. 1/4 cup or more of coconut sugar would also work. Be sure to taste the batter and add more if needed
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 servings KAL stevia, or sweetener of choice (to taste)
- 1 tsp. Gelatin (see notes)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- For cupcakes, place 9 cupcake liners in cupcake pan and set a side.
- For large whoopie pies, oil the wells of a muffin top pan (9) and set aside.
- For medium size whoopie pies, generously grease (with coconut oil or butter) 18 wells of a whoopie pie pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, blend dry ingredients with whisk until well blended. (You can also use a sieve to sift ingredients and make sure there are no lumps and the ingredients are well incorporated.)
- Add remaining ingredients (including chopped chocolate) to bowl and whisk until blended.
- Taste for sweetness and adjust if needed.
- Let stand 3 minutes and then blend again with wooden spoon.
- For cupcakes and large whoopie pies, use a large (1/4 cup) scoop, and divide batter into cupcake liners or into oiled muffin top pans.
- For medium size whoopie pies, use a medium (3 tbsp.) scoop and divide batter into the whoopie pie pans.
- For cupcakes, Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. DO NOT overbake!
- For large whoopie pies, bake 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. DO NOT overbake!
- For medium whoppie pies, bake 10-12 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. DO NOT overbake!
- Run a knife around the outside of the whoopie pies and carefully remove with a small spatula.
- Cool on wire rack.
- Add cream, vanilla and sweetener to Magic Bullet.
- If using gelatin, sprinkle over cream and swirl around until gelatin is dissolved.
- Blend until thick.
- Refrigerate until needed.
- Cupcakes: Frost cupcakes with desired frosting
- Whoopie Pies: Using a heaping small scoop (1-1/2 tbsp. scoop), top the flat side of the cooled whoopie pie with whipped cream filling and then top with the other half of the pie.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate.
- Let set at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before eating for optimal texture and taste.
- For Dairy Free Chocolate Frosting/Filling, follow the directions for the Chocolate Truffles (recipe on the blog) and spread the frosting after it has thickened to the right consistency (but not hardened).
- 230 Calories, 18 grams Fat, 8 Net Carbs, 6 grams Protein