Since y’all enjoyed the chocolate cake (made with beans!) so much, I’m going to create more desserts that don’t rely heavily on almond flour a.k.a. powdered gold for low carb bakers! Does this sound like a good plan? Leave some feedback and let me know what you think.
These moist little cake bites contain all of the decadence of a classic Southern coconut cake, with none of the highly refined ingredients that make the original only an occasional treat. You could eat these sugar-free gluten-free low carb (dairy-free!) treats every day if you wanted, getting the benefits of coconut, almonds, and eggs without the grains and sugar to spike your insulin. Us low carbers can enjoy saturated fat laden coconut products precisely because we maintain a diet free of foods that release a lot of insulin. The same goes for butter, cheese, cream, bacon… basically, everything delicious in life! That is what makes this healthy lifestyle so luxurious. Embracing it for the long term is not difficult if you focus on what you CAN have!
If a low insulin diet is healthy, then what about so-called “natural sweeteners”? If you believe that saturated fat is part of a healthy paleolithic style diet, then you should also recognize the dangers that concentrated sweeteners in any form, natural or not, pose. When combined with saturated fat, high levels of carbohydrates–found in maple syrup, evaporated cane juice (Sucanat), agave, honey, brown rice syrup, molasses, etc.–release insulin, a hormone that promotes fat storage. This insulin response can lead to insulin resistance down the line, which is associated with a host of problems, including elevated triglycerides, heart disease, and diabetes.
A higher carb, lower fat diet can also be healthy, if you’re committed to it. Overall caloric restriction has shown similar benefits to a low carb diet. Find the way of eating that suits your lifestyle, and go with it!
With my recipes, it’s all about insulin. That’s my justification for using erythritol, xylitol, and even artificial sweeteners once in a blue moon at Starbucks. And for giving guidelines for using various noncaloric sweeteners in these recipes. Not everyone agrees on these points, and that is okay! That’s what so wonderful about the blogosphere–there are recipes for all dietary plans. Just do your research before accepting “natural” options automatically as the best for your body.
For more information about this, see Good Calories, Bad Calories. Check out the Google Books preview here. Taubes is apparently coming out with a version of this tome for mass public consumption. It’s a very large, dry compendium of research, which needs to be simplified for easier reading. It is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to eat a diet based on past and current nutrition research. I’m not any sort of healthcare professional–just a student and an avid reader.
And finally, the recipe! It’s a moist, tender cake, with a loose crumb. You could definitely amp up the coconut flavor with coconut extract used for half of the vanilla. Bake it into a layer for a coconut layer cake! My cream cheese frosting flavored with a bit of coconut extract would be perfect for it.
Grain-Free Coconut Cupcakes
Makes 20 mini cupcakes
2 tablespoons organic coconut oil OR unsalted butter
1/4 cup blanched almond flour, packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (may replace 1 tsp with coconut extract)
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut, ground to a meal
1 tablespoon sifted coconut flour (sub with 2 tablespoons brown rice flour or 1 tablespoon protein powder)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup erythritol OR 1/4 cup honey OR 1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
With a Magic Bullet or food processor, grind shredded coconut into a fine, powdery meal. Scoop almond flour into measuring cup, and pack it in firmly with your hands, like you’re measuring brown sugar. Sweep it level. Add to coconut and the rest of the dry ingredients. Melt butter, and beat in eggs, vanilla extract, and coconut milk. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, and beat together for a couple of minutes. Line a mini muffin pan with mini muffin papers, and spray with extra virgin olive oil spray. Alternatively, grease mini muffin wells very well with coconut oil. Pour batter almost to the top of mini muffin cups. Rap muffin tin gently on the counter to pop air bubbles. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until springy and firm to the touch. You might have to bake these longer since my oven in this apartment runs hot. Remove cakes from muffin tins as soon as they are cool to the touch, and cool on a wire rack. Dip cakes into glaze. Serve at room temperature.
Coconut Milk Glaze
Whisk together coconut milk, and sift in coconut flour. Whisk in coconut flour until no lumps remain, then add a pinch of salt, and sweeteners. Taste and adjust sweetness level if necessary. Dip cakes into glaze and sprinkle with unsweetened coconut.
~3.5g net carbs for the whole batch of glaze