Friday, April 18, 2014

Whole Wheat Tropical Cupcakes

Whole Wheat Tropical Cupcakes
I am always on the search for a healthier cupcake recipe that will provide a few nutritious ingredients while still feeling like a treat.  My daughter loves cupcakes, but since I try to turn even the most healthful of muffins into "cupcakes" by adding a layer of peanut butter or cream cheese on top, she doesn't really trust me anymore.  So imagine her surprise when I made these and they really do taste like cupcakes. Granted they are a bit hearty since they are made with all whole wheat flour, so if your family is pickier than mine or not used to whole grain texture, you could definitely use half white flour as well.  I just try to stay away from simple carbohydrates as much as possible and leave treats like that to occasions when I am not in control of the baking process (like a friend's birthday party or an event at school, etc...)

Instead of the usual butter and sugar used in most cake recipes, I opted for organic virgin coconut oil and raw honey.  Not only do they add an intense tropical flavor, but they provide hidden nutrients that you would not expect in a cupcake.  Coconut oil* has been shown to boost the immune system, aid in weight loss, digestion, blood sugar regulation and the maintenance of a healthy level of cholesterol, among other things.  It is a saturated fat and as such, should be used sparingly, but as someone who does not consume a large amount of saturated fat often found in animal and dairy products, I consider it a vital part of my everyday diet.  Raw honey, which I don't use very often since it is quite expensive, is one of the healthiest sweeteners available.  It has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties while providing a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and phytonutrients.  Of course regular honey, maple syrup, or even plain white organic sugar could be used in place of the raw honey, if desired.

I made these for a bake sale at my daughter's preschool because as an avid baker it is hard to say no when asked for donations.  But all too often I have seen my healthful treats (usually made with expensive organic ingredients) get passed over for brightly colored cupcakes and old fashioned chocolate chip cookies.  I just can't bring myself to make something that I wouldn't normally serve my own family.  I added the Nutella frosting and the chocolate eggs on top in the hopes of attracting kids and I think they were my most successful sale yet.  I just hope that everyone who purchased one enjoyed them as much as my family and I did.  And I can rest assured that I helped to add a slight nutritional boost to someone's afternoon snack.


Whole Wheat Tropical Cupcakes

2 1/4 C. organic whole wheat pastry flour
dry & wet ingredients
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. virgin organic coconut oil
1/2 C. raw honey
1/2 C. organic white sugar
1 T. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 C. organic 2% milk
3 organic eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and the raw honey together.  Add the sugar and the vanilla in with the oil and honey and pour into the flour mixture. Stir well (batter will be very thick). Add in the milk and combine fully.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time until the batter is smooth.  Pour batter into a paper lined muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

pouring the batter
starting to bake

hot from the oven

cooling off

ready for the bake sale!

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