Originally uploaded by Bake & Destroy!
Let the resolution to bake low-fat cupcakes begin! Inspired by the Dan Madigan book I received for x-mas, Mondo Lucha A Go Go, I decided to go with a dairy-free Mexican hot cocoa (chocolate and cinnamon) cake and a low-fat chocolate cinnamon cream cheese frosting. The frosting could easily be made vegan by replacing the cream cheese and butter with Tofutti cream cheese and your favorite soy margarine. Obviously butter isn’t super low fat, but this calls for 1/4 cup, which is only 4 Tbs of butter. I wouldn’t use fat-free cream cheese for this, out of sheer prejudice. Eating fat-free dairy just confuses your body, it’s basically empty calories. I always opt for low-fat over fat-free, a biologist friend of mine explained to me that the fat in foods signals your body to break them down into energy. I know, can you believe a biologist would actually be friends with me?
If you’re a fan of spicy chocolate, as I am, you could add a few pinches of your favorite dried ground pepper to the cake as well. Chipotle peppers lend themselves well to chocolate.
For the cupcakes you will need:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Pinch salt
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature*
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
*I don’t have a coffee maker, I have an espresso machine, so I made a 3/4 cup Americano.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, coffee, vanilla and almond. Add the flour mixture, beating until smooth. Mix in balsamic vinegar. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.
For the low-fat chocolate cinnamon cream cheese frosting you will need:
- 4 oz low-fat (or vegan) cream cheese
- 1/4 cup butter (or your favorite soy margarine)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Blend the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl until well combined. Add cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar (you might want to add the sugar a little at a time to avoid a mess and to make sure the frosting isn’t too stiff to spread.) Increase the speed and beat until fluffy.
For frosting I’m not going to pipe on with a star tip I still put it in a pastry bag and just plop a big pile onto my cupcakes. Then I spread it out with an offset spatula. This frosting is so rich you don’t need a lot to get the point across.
Viva la dolce vida!