To set the theme for Valentine’s Day, tradition states it must be red, pink, chocolate, flowers, or hearts. If you don’t incorporate one of these themes, you might as well forget calling it Valentine’s related. Well, no offense to tradition, but I’ve already done all of those themes in years past and did not want to repeat it again. This year I set out to be a bit more creative with my theme and as a result I present to you these spice cupcakes.
Valentine’s day is the spiciest holiday after all, so why not celebrate with your loved one over a deliciously moist spice cupcake covered in billowy maple cream cheese frosting. As safe as gifting a heart-shaped box of chocolates is, there is nothing better than a gift made from the heart. Even more special is when that gift has your taste & health in mind.
Despite its smaller packaging, this new take on the classic layer cake is just as satisfyingly decadent. It provides festive indulgence in a perfect portion to prevent the mood-ruining guilt of over-eating. Besides making the size smaller, I made these cupcakes healthier by starting with a base of almond flour and whole-wheat pastry flour. This combination allows me to get away with using only ¼ cup of oil without sacrificing texture and flavor. Thanks to the additional amounts of healthy fat in the almond flour, the cupcakes stay moist and have a richer flavor for less calories. As if that wasn’t enough to sway you, when the almond flour is combined with all the wonderful, warm spices, the sweetness from the brown coconut sugar intensifies. This allows for just 1 cup of sugar, while other recipes use double that amount.
With the cupcakes easily made over, you might now be wondering about the frosting. Unfortunately there really isn’t any way to make frosting healthy, so instead I focus on using clean ingredients and limiting the amount used. Spice cakes are almost always finished with cream cheese frosting and there was no reason to break from that tradition here. I picked my favorite brand of ready-made organic frosting (Miss Jones) and added some maple extract and an extra bit of cinnamon to get the flavor I was looking for. The result is a smooth and spicy frosting with a bit of tang that perfectly complements the sweet cupcake layer below.
If you have not already been convinced to give these cupcakes a try, just remember that this Valentine’s Day will be one of the coldest on record for many, making the spices of these delicious cupcakes the perfect way to keep you & your love warm this holiday!
Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1¾ cups Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour
- ¾ cup Almond Flour
- 2½ tsp. Baking Powder
- 2¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon; divided
- 1 tsp. Ground Ginger
- ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
- ½ tsp. Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp. Ground Cloves
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 cup Brown Coconut Sugar (Big Tree Farms)
- ¾ cup Whole Milk
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 1 tub Cream Cheese Frosting (Miss Jones)
- ½ tsp. Maple Extract
- Preheat oven to 325º. Prepare muffin tin(s) by placing paper liners in cups. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together pastry flour, almond flour, baking powder, 2 tsp. cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cloves. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs. Add brown coconut sugar, milk, and oil. Beat with paddle attachment on medium speed until light & frothy. Turn speed down to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, beating after each addition until just incorporated.
- Divide batter equally between prepared muffin cups. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cupcakes have cooled prepare the frosting. In a medium bowl, place cream cheese frosting, maple extract, and remaining ¼ tsp. cinnamon. Stir until combined. Frost cupcakes evenly and serve.
NutritionPer Serving (1 Cupcake): 156 Calories; 4 g Protein; 6 g Total Fat; 1 g. Sat. Fat; 2 g Fiber; 83 mg Sodium; 11 g. Sugar; 21 g. Carbs; 38 mg Cholesterol.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: J. O’HARA
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
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