With chocolate buttercream.
Oh yes, I did.
Now, to give me credit, The G Man was spending the night with us on Friday and what kind of Meema would I be if I didn’t make some sort of treat for my adorable grandson? Besides, these are about as primal, if not strictly paleo, as a cupcake can get – no refined flours or sugars of any kind – and still be pretty darn moist and delicious. AND topped with an airy-yet-delectable chocolate frosting.
The cupcakes were good; the texture was a little more rustic than a traditional cupcake, but any baked item made with almond meal will have that quality – they were still pretty moist and tender (to say nothing of being the embodiment of chocolatey deliciousness). Without the frosting, they come in about 13 grams of carbohydrate per serving – not bad for a chocolate cupcake. The frosting was a traditional neoclassic buttercream, but I subbed the corn syrup and sugar with honey. It came out really well, but the honey flavor was a bit overwhelming at first; refrigerating the cupcakes after they’d been iced mitigated that a great deal. I also used the raw honey from our local bee keeper – next time, I’ll probably use a mild commercial honey. But considering the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of corn syrup and 3/4 cup white sugar, I think the substitution of 2/3 cup of honey was a good choice. It certainly didn’t hurt the texture of the finished product, which is part of its appeal.
A couple of things you want to keep in mind when making these – the frosting, in particular. Make sure the honey comes to a complete boil, or else the buttercream won’t firm up enough to spread or pipe, but don’t allow it boil beyond that or it’ll boil right over the top of the saucepan. Also, take care when transferring it to the glass measuring up – it will foam up a bit and overflow the container if you’re not careful. Also, I use a stand mixture for this because the eggs and honey must be beaten until completely cool before adding the butter or else it will curdle, and this takes a little time. So if you’re using a hand mixer, be prepared to stand there for awhile.
You can probably add up to 4 ounce of chocolate – I used a 70% bittersweet – to the buttercream before it becomes too stiff to spread or pipe, but I wouldn’t add any more. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, or a bowl suspended over simmering water in a saucepan, but make sure the chocolate is relatively cool to the touch before adding it to the buttercream, or you’ll run the risk of curdling the mixture.
If you plan on refrigerating the buttercream before frosting the cupcakes, bring it completely to room temperature and beat it again with the mixer to restore the texture. If you don’t bring it completely to room temperature before rebeating, it will curdle.
Note: you’ll notice this makes 10 cupcakes instead of a dozen. Sorry about that, but that’s how much batter this particular recipe makes. You will have enough frosting for a dozen though; hand the leftovers and a spoon to someone so it won’t be hanging around the kitchen, tempting you.
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon potato flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cup mild honey
- 8 ounces butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, melted
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 10 cups of a standard muffin tin; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa, salt and baking soda. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer), mix together the egg, coconut sugar, ghee, coconut milk and vanilla on low speed until well-blended. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition, until the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter equally between the 10 greased muffin tins. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely before frosting.
- To make the buttercream, grease a heat-proof 1-cup glass measuring cup. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat the yolks with an electric mixer until light in color. Meanwhile, heat the honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat just until it comes to a full boil. Immediately transfer the honey to the glass measuring cup to stop the cooking.
- If using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the hot honey into the yolks in a steady stream. Do not allow honey to fall on the beaters or they will spin it onto the sides of the bowl. If using a stand mixer, pour a small amount of honey over the yolks with the mixer turned off. Immediately beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Stop the mixer and add a larger amount of honey. Beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Continue with the remaining honey; for the last addition, use a rubber scraper to remove the honey clinging to the measuring cup. Continue beating until completely cool.
- Gradually beat in the butter and vanilla - the buttercream will not completely thicken until all of the butter has been added. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, beat in the melted chocolate - make sure the chocolate is not hot. Buttercream can be refrigerated; bring to room temperature and rebeat to restore the texture before using.
- Nutrition (per serving): 484 calories, 37.2g total fat, 175.1mg cholesterol, 141.4mg sodium, 232.6mg potassium, 33.8g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 26.9g sugar, 4.3g protein