Recipe Redo – Peanut Butter Cream-Filled Cupcakes

There is nothing in the world I like better than taking a conventional sugar and flour recipe and remaking it to be low carb and gluten-free.  If I am successful, nothing gives me greater satisfaction.  And more often than not these days, I am successful.  But that wasn’t always the case.  When I started this blog, I wasn’t doing low carb or gluten free because I didn’t think I was a diabetic.  And even once I realized that I was, I still put some conventional recipes on here.  I figured my choices in that area where rather limited and that my readers, the handful that I had, would prefer to see decadent sugary treats.  There were certain things I just couldn’t see how I could make without sugar and flour.  And if I was making them for someone else, I wasn’t about to subject them to anything low carb.  If they didn’t need to forego the sugar, why should I force them to?

In a few short years, my perspective has changed dramatically.  First of all, I think is sugar is the root of all evil.  That might be stating it a tad strongly, but really, I think sugar is bad for all of us and we’d be a happier, healthier, smarter society if it was banned entirely.  And with so many great natural alternative sweeteners on the market now, it’s becoming increasingly easy to forego the sugar and still enjoy sweets.  Second of all, I now see that almost anything can be made low carb and gluten-free and still be amazing.  I say almost because there are a few things out there like butter tarts (a Canadian treat) that require liquid sugars like corn syrup to attain their gooey consistency.  But if there is a way to makeover my beloved butter tarts, trust me, I will eventually discover it.  And you know I will share it when I do!

So, this particular recipe is a do over.  In my first few months of blogging, I made my sister-in-law a birthday treat that I’d had in mind for a while.  It was my own invention, chocolate cupcakes with a peanut butter cream filling and a chocolate peanut butter ganache.  They were AWESOME, but they were made with sugar and flour because I just didn’t know how it was possible to make them otherwise.  But I’ve long since mastered low carb cupcakes, low carb peanut butter cream and low carb ganache.  So it was time to give that recipe a makeover and try them the sugar-free way.

Do I even need to tell you that they were a huge success?  I brought them to a friend’s for dinner and everyone devoured them.  No longer do I feel that slight embarrassment subjecting others to my healthy creations, because when they are good, I KNOW they are good.  My only mistake with these cupcakes was not waiting long enough for the ganache to cool before spreading it on.  Patience may be a virtue but I suck at it, and it ended up dripping down the sides which was not my intention.  Hardly mattered, though…it just meant we could lick our cupcake papers with relish!

Recipe Redo – Peanut Butter Cream-Filled Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes


  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup granulated Swerve Sweetener (or granulated erythritol)
  • 1/3 cup vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 oz Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 20 drops stevia extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • Peanut Butter Cream Filling:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener (or powdered erythritol)
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp powdered Swerve Sweetener (or powdered erythritol)
  • 12 drops stevia extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla


  1. For the cake, preheat the oven to 325F and line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, cocoa powder, protein powder, granulated erythritol, instant coffee, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, beat Greek yogurt and butter together until combined. Beat in eggs and stevia extract. Beat in almond flour mixture in two additions, alternating with almond milk, and scraping down beaters and sides of bowl as needed.
  4. Divide batter between muffin tins and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until cupcakes are set and a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. For the peanut butter cream, whip cream in a small bowl until it forms stiff peaks.
  6. Combine cream cheese and powdered erythritol in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add peanut butter and beat until combined.
  7. Fold in whipped cream until the mixture is smooth.
  8. Core cupcakes using a 1-inch biscuit or cookie cutter (if you lack both of these, you can do it with a sharp knife). Set cores aside.
  9. Place peanut butter filling into a pastry bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off, and pipe filling into cored cupcakes. You may end up with a little filling left over – set aside to use for decorating the glazed cupcakes.
  10. With a sharp knife, cut the very tops off the cores so that you have a thin disc of cake. Place a disc on top of the peanut butter filling on each cupcake and press lightly to adhere.
  11. For the ganache, melt butter, peanut butter, unsweetened chocolate and powdered erythritol together in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth.
  12. Off-heat, stir in stevia and vanilla (if you find your chocolate seizing, as it sometimes does when liquids are added, add a little more butter or oil and reheat gently, stirring until it smooths out again).
  13. Let ganache cool about 25 minutes until thickened but still spreadable. Spread over cupcakes with a knife or offset spatula.
  14. Let set 30 minutes.


Serves 12. Each serving has 9.9 g of carbs and 3.8 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 6.1 g.

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  1. Well, you have be sold on these. They look wonderful!

  2. I can only imagine what happens with those cores – I know what I would do with them! ;p

    As a fellow Canadian, I’m looking forward to those butter tarts.

  3. Would it be easy to swap Almond butter for the peanut butter? I have a child diagnosed yesterday with wheat, corn, and peanut allergies. I need to learn to cook/bake differently now.

  4. Helllllloooo gorgeous filled cupcakes!!!

  5. Geez, Carolyn, you did it again. Made me drool all over the keyboard. These look fantastic. Most of the recipes in my baking queue are from your blog.
    And now I have to Google Canadian butter tarts. I may not be able to make or eat them, but I can dream…

  6. I would totally eat low carb if I was your neighbor :) Your treats always look so good. I know I should start making some substitutions, but habits are so hard to break! That and cost :(

  7. I was wondering…they only sell non-fat greek yogurt at our little local grocery store…can I sub sour cream for your baked recipes that call for greek yogurt or would using the fat free be better (although alot higher in sugar/carbs)?

    • Surprisingly, the non-fat greek yogurts really aren’t much higher in carbs than full fat. Usually around 6 to 8 carbs per 6 ounces. So you could use that, but you could also do sour cream. It’s up to you.

  8. I think the ganache dripping down the sides looks fabulous! It also makes me feel better about my own impatient ganache-ing.

  9. You’ve nailed it, Carolyn! Chocolate and peanut butter is the most fabulous combination on earth, and what better way to enjoy it than in a cupcake? These sound spectacular!

  10. I’ve had a couple of disasterous tries when baking low carb cakes. This recipe made me a believer!! Great flavor and consistency. My husband didn’t believe me when I told him they were low carb. Thanks!!

  11. Those look to die for!!!!! I love using almond flour to bake with, but I haven’t tried it yet with cupcakes. I wonder how subbing coconut oil for some of the butter would work?

  12. Strong words mam :) I tend to agree but diabetes is much more than sugar as you know. When I worked in WF customers would always try to look for sugar free stuff for diabetics and when I tried to explain about checking carbs first they’d be looking at me like I was crazy…Oh well, I think your doing a fantastic job and I love how you stick to your plan and aren’t tempted to stray from the food that you follow!!

  13. OMG I can’t wait to make these. They. Look. Incredible. I have to control myself from licking the screen! Too bad my husband doesn’t like peanut butter (weirdo!) Is there a variation you recommend without using the good ol’ PB?

    Thanks so much for your amazing recipes!

  14. I’m with you, sugar is just not needed. However, my pregnant self would disagree – but hoping to return back to my normal routine post pregnancy :)

  15. I don’t even think I would miss the gluten in these :)

  16. Cathy McNally says:

    These were my first low carb baking and they came out pretty well so I’m encouraged to keep going. I do have a question – do you have a ballpark sense of the calories in each??

    I do love your site, your recipes and your written “voice.”



    • Oh boy. I’d have to calculate the calories but I can assure you that it won’t be low! I will try to do that tomorrow.

  17. I’m going to be dreaming about these chocolate and pb cupcakes all day. Your recipe calls for a sweetener I’m not familiar with but I’m sure I can find a substitute.
    Shared on my Facebook page :)

    • Hi Lauren…you can use sugar easily in this recipe. Erythritol is a natural zero calorie sweetener, but I often use in in combination with stevia. For sugar in place of erythritol and stevia, you’d want 3/4 to 1 cup in the cupcake itself. Keep the peanut butter filling at 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Then make some chocolate ganache with semisweet chocolate and you’re all set!

  18. Catherine H. says:

    It’s been a long while since I’ve been able to try one of your recipes: first I had a baby (no time to cook), then I had a kitchen remodel (no place to cook), then I started dieting (thanks to said baby), and unfortunately there’s no room for your luscious desserts on this diet. But I made these last month for my six year-old’s birthday and they were unbelievable. I daydream about them. I’ve never had a high carb dessert that was better–no kidding. I was short on cocoa powder, used xylitol instead of swerve/erythritol, and had to sub some oat flour for some of the almond flour since I didn’t have enough–and they were STILL amazing. Now I have to find a birthday cake for my two year-old. I’ll report back on what I use and how it turns out.

  19. What type of Stevia extract drops do you use?

  20. do you know if Stevia Glycerite would work? I have that and pure powdered KAL stevia extract. Thanks.

    • My understanding of stevia glycerite is that it’s usually a little less sweet than the straight extract. So you might need more.

  21. Mary in Louisiana says:

    Made these for my Reese’s lovin’ husband, for his birthday. Wow, they are scrumptious and beautiful. Recipe was perfect. Now he wants the same flavors in a layer cake…can do. Thanks Carolyn

  22. I’m not a coffee person so would I be able to omit the coffee or can I replace it with something else? These look delicious!

  23. What is the xanthium gum for?

  24. Faye Paetz says:

    Oh my, these are so good! All of my friends couldn’t believe they were gluten and sugar free. Thank you

  25. Ainsley says:

    Can you just do regular coffee or does it need to be instant?

    • Carolyn says:

      Regular coffee might not mix into the batter that well. You can skip it altogether, it just enhances the chocolate flavour.

  26. I have made these a few times and people just go absolutely crazy for them. They cannot believe they are grain-free and sugar-free and say they are some of the best cupcakes they have ever had. I make mine with xylitol as the sweetener.

  27. Hi Carolyn, I was wondering if you prefer this cake recipe over the one in your dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and dark chocolate ganache? Moist and delicious is all I care about :)

    • I like the one from the layer cake best. It has a finer crumb.

      • Thank you for the reply! I’m making Reese’s cupcakes and am planning on using the layer cake recipe and my own PB cups. Tempted to add the ganache in somewhere too!

  28. Linnae Bosma says:

    I made these cupcakes for Thanksgiving dessert last year — there were 11 people and I’m the only gluten free. There were NO leftovers!! :)


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