So this one day I was in the mood for chocolate. Ok so that basically happens every day at around 3pm. Lunch is usually my biggest meal of the day and when I’m finished, I ALWAYS want something sweet. But this time I wanted something a little more sophisticated, yet suitable for a toddler since I’d want to let Tommy have some. Something with a lot of flavor, but low in sugar.
One of the best combos in the world is chocolate and raspberries, so I thought what about something with a similar flavor? Then I opened my fridge and saw some leftover pomegranate juice we had left over from a party we had, and I remembered seeing this really cool recipe for a chocolate torte with pomegranate filling in Cook fresh magazine. Hmmmmm, what about a healthy chocolate cupcake with a hint of this fun little filling but made a little healthier? Later that day Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Pomegranate filling was born. It also has an easy-to-make chocolate butter cream frosting with no added sugar! But first as always the functional ingredients: Here’s where I get to nerd out at bit;)
Paleo flour is a gluten-free flour made up of coconut flour, arrowroot, almond flour, and tapioca. In most of my baking I use almond flour, buckwheat flour, and coconut flour, but this time I thought I’d try some one stop shopping and gave this flour a try on its own. It is gluten-free, and saves a lot of time since you only have to add one flour to the bowl.
Date paste! I used this one for the Vanilla Ricotta Cookies with Yogurt Frosting and it was such a hit that I’ve started using it more often when baking, especially for Tommy’s stuff. It’s my new favorite way to add sweetness without any refined sugar at all.
If you’ve never made date paste keep reading for the how-to. When I know I’m going to be baking a lot I’ll make a jar at the beginning of the week and use throughout.
Note- the pomegranate filling does contain a small amount of honey and coconut sugar though the amount in each cupcake is very small. If you're looking for 100% sugar free, feel free to omit the filling.
The star ingredient: Raw Cacao powder
I couldn’t help but to make this an entire post all by itself. To read more about this amazing superfood and why you should use it in your baking, read my latest post Why I'm in love with raw cacao powder you should be too over in the health & nutrition section!
How to make date paste:
8 oz dates (I used this whole bag)
Place dates in medium sized bowl and cover with hot water until they get nice & soft. (If you have more time, you can cover with colder water and let sit overnight). Pour the dates along with the water into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. This will make roughly 2 cups of date paste so you’ll have some left over for lots of fun things like spreading on toast, or using as a sweetener for anything at all.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Pomegranate Filling and Chocolate Buttercream
For the cupcakes:
½ Cup gluten free Paleo flour
¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder (I used this)
¼ tsp ground sea salt
¼ tsp baking soda
3 large eggs
½ cup date paste
Preheat oven to 350.
In medium bowl, combine paleo flour, cacao powder, sea salt, and baking soda together with a whisk. Set aside.
In larger bowl, combine the eggs and the date paste. Slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined. Spoon into muffin tins until about ½-¾ of the way full.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake as texture can become too gummy. Makes about 12 small cupcakes
For the filling
1 medium apple, grated (skin on)
1.5 cups pomegranate juice
¼ cup raw honey
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 dozen fresh or frozen cranberries
In a medium saucepan combine the grated apple, pomegranate juice, honey, coconut sugar, and cranberries to simmer over medium heat. Cover, and continue to simmer about 10-12 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken a bit. Uncover and continue to stir until it thickens a bit more (another 5-8 minutes or so). Remove from heat and pour through a strainer with a bowl underneath. Discard the pulp in the strainer (or compost) and return the liquid to the stove and fire back up to low/medium heat. Slowly sprinkle in the gelatin. Whisk until well incorporated and let sit 5 minutes before putting in fridge to cool.
For the frosting
½ stick of butter, softened (go for grass fed)
2 Tbsp unsweetened cacao powder
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp date paste
2 Tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
½ tsp vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat until smooth.
Taste tester spotting
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