The taste of summer– Creamsicle Cupcakes

First things first: I am still working on the perfect sugar-free gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe. I tested a fourth batch today, but it was a bit crumbly. The flavor is spot on, though. They’ve come a long way from the hockey pucks I was making when I first started this journey a year ago. Re-creating processed foods out of all natural ingredients takes some trial and error, but it is so worth it when you get it right. For me, anyway. Sticking to a whole foods plan can get monotonous if you don’t mix things up! Interestingly enough, I eat pretty much the same thing every day except when a specific craving hits me. I think we all have a routine that we stick to, food-wise. My biology professor said we do 99% of our actions without thinking. That other one percent of the time I spend in my kitchen, with a full sink of dirty dishes as evidence!

Do you remember creamsicles? They’re still around, and they even make ‘em sugar-free for us health-conscious folk. Unfortunately, the pre-packaged treats are laden with sugar alcohols (the scary kind with unpleasant side effects) and artificial sweeteners, so I stick to one mini creamsicle a couple times a week. They make up the only Splenda intake in my diet, so I think my brain is safe from whatever as yet unknown side effects the sucralose molecule is inflicting on us. We are all human guinea pigs with this stuff!

Back to creamsicles. The pairing of vanilla and orange is so fragrant and complementary, with the tang of the citrus balancing out the cloying sweetness that vanilla can impart. These moist, dense cupcakes showcase the full spectrum of the fruit’s bright flavor, containing one whole orange pureed in the batter. The health benefits of oranges are concentrated in the peel, which contain prebiotic oligosaccharides which promote intestinal health. With 13 grams effective carbs per orange, you can eat 1/2 at a time as a healthy snack. Furthermore, the flavonoids have been shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. Psh, like you need more reasons to try these cupcakes.

Top the cream cheese frosting with fruit puree to imitate the old-fashioned ice cream bar, or just drop a dollop on top with some zest.

Healthy Creamsicle Cupcakes
adapted from this recipe by Martha Rose Shulman

Makes 20 cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups almond meal, ground fine
6 eggs
Sweetener, to taste
For ALL NATURAL sugar-free sweetening, use both of the following:
-1 cup erythritol or xylitol
-1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract

4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 medium thin-skinned organic oranges (yielding 1 1/4 cups fruit puree)
1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation:

Wash oranges well and boil for 20 minutes in a microwave safe dish with a cover until fork tender. Wait until oranges are cooled, then slice them (but do NOT peel them) into sections and remove seeds. Puree in food processor until smooth. Measure out 1 and 1/4 cups of the puree and reserve the rest for a glaze to go with the cream cheese icing.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Beat eggs and sugar substitute until batter is thick and golden. Beat in vanilla extract. Stir in fruit puree, almond meal, baking powder, and sea salt. Pour into buttered silicone muffin cups, paper tins (filled at least 3/4 way full), or a bundt pan and bake for 40 minutes or until slightly browned. Do NOT overbake. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Place in tupperware container with a lid when the cupcakes are lukewarm to the touch.

~2.5 grams net carbs per cupcake!

Orange Glaze

Ingredients:
reserved orange puree
lemon juice
sweeteners, to taste
-powdered erythritol
-stevia

Preparation:
Stir lemon juice into orange puree until soupy. Add sweeteners to taste. Spread or drizzle on top of cream cheese icing.

And now for the best part. I had to swat my friend’s finger out of the bowl numerous times (but I let her lick the spatula). :)

Healthy Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes more than enough cream cheese for twelve cupcakes

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese
5 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
sweetener, to taste
For ALL NATURAL sugar-free sweetening, use both of the following:

-1 or 2 tablespoons powdered erythritol or xylitol
-stevia, to taste

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:
Bring butter to room temperature by leaving out on the counter for 20 minutes or nuking for 10 seconds. Beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract together until Smooth. Add sweeteners to taste. Spread on cooled cupcakes or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for later use. Just bring to room temperature and beat until creamy before use.

My batch made fresh this morning is mysteriously almost gone!

  • Elizabeth

    Hey this is kallyn from the lowcarber forums. You mentioned you’re trying to perfect a chocolate chip cookie recipe. Maybe this will give you some ideas for your tweaking: http://www.elanaspantry.com/desserts/video-tutorials-chocolate-chip-cookies/

  • Lauren

    Thanks for the link, kallyn!

  • Gary

    Yum, that looks great! Your presentation is really beautiful Lauren, great job!

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  • fight diabetes

    It looks so creamy! im sort of craving right now…

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  • Tim & Tamara

    I’m really looking forward to making these today but the first direction has me confused! :)

    Boil one orange or both? In a microwave dish with lid for 20minutes? So both oranges right? not just one? And in the microwave for 20 minutes boiling in water with a lid? Or boil them on the stove? Sorry. I’m kind of dense on these sometimes!

    But boy am I looking forward to these gorgeous looking low carb treats!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08306360367918847809 Tim & Tamara

    I’m really looking forward to making these today but the first direction has me confused! :)Boil one orange or both? In a microwave dish with lid for 20minutes? So both oranges right? not just one? And in the microwave for 20 minutes boiling in water with a lid? Or boil them on the stove? Sorry. I’m kind of dense on these sometimes!But boy am I looking forward to these gorgeous looking low carb treats!

  • Lauren

    Hi Tim&Tamara!

    Boil two oranges in the microwave for 20 minutes, or until fork tender. Hope that helps! :)

  • Chef Rachel

    Hey Lauren, how long do you boil the oranges if you don't have a microwave oven? I've not used one in 24 years and I don't plan to start. I have no idea how to translate microwave minutes to boiling on the stove….would you add water and if so how much if boiling on the stove?

    I would love it if you would include in your recipes instructions for stove top when you offer nuking directions.

    Thanks for presenting such lovely and mouthwatering recipes!

    Chef Rachel
    The Healthy Cooking Coach
    http://www.TheHealthyCookingCoach.com

  • Lauren

    Rachel – The original recipe called for the oranges being boiled for two hours, immersed in water. Hope that helps!

  • Sabrina Palmer

    Tried it in layer cake form this morning for a dinner party. I didn't realize it wouldn't rise very much, so I'm taking the two thin, but delicious layers and cutting them in half to stack. 4 layers of dreamsicle heaven. Thanks for the recipe. I'm a huge fan.

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    I love the recipe, I love the cupcakes … I have a question about the recipe, I would like to change vanilla extract to caramel, Is this possible? thanks!22dd

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  • sevenpm

    Aagh, apparently I can’t stop posting comments on your super old entries! Here’s hoping you might just see this comment here too.

    If I wanted to make this into a regular yellow cake, could I simply omit the orange fruit puree from the cupcake ingredients? I’m on the hunt for a simple yellow/vanilla cake (without beans, although I know you have a great one!)

    And this makes 20 cupcakes – do you think it would work in a 9″ pan? Because then I could always double the recipe for a 2 layer cake…

    Either way, thanks!!

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren Benning

      Hi! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the oldie but goodie recipes. :D May I ask how you found the blog? There has been an influx of comments on old entries this month.

      This particular recipe would likely not turn out well as a yellow cake. Here’s my favorite yellow cake recipe ever:

      http://healthyindulgences.net/2012/07/busy-day-cake-aka-blender-cake-moist-yellow-cake-thats-sugar-free-and-gluten-free/

      It turns out beautifully when baked in 9″ layers. The mascarpone frosting is out of the this world! Please me know what you think of any of the recipes you end up trying. ;)

      • sevenpm

        Aw nuts, I was hoping this would be my easy fix! I actually did see the other cake recipe you linked me to, and it’s absolutely gorgeous but I do avoid oat flour unfortunately :( unless you have any subs in mind? I also never have any luck with protein powder…I think I never get the weight right! (I tend to buy whey protein in single servings since I don’t use it much).

        But that frosting does sound unreal, thanks so much for the suggestion!!

        And I actually found your site through a simple google search for low-carb yellow cakes! Although I was familiar with a few of your recipes already from lowcarbfriends.

  • Emma Langdon

    you say to put the oranges in a microwave safe container, but then to boil them for 20 minutes… Should you just put them in a saucepan on the stove, cover them with water, and boil for 20 minutes? seems like a long time to have them boiling… more details please? :3

  • K.B.

    I was so excited to see another recipe that uses whole boiled orange! I found a few very old European ones, and everyone here in the States thinks I’m nuts for trying it again in modern recipes. This cupcake recipe is absolutely getting made and inflicted on the naysayers. :D