Copycat Hostess Cupcakes. The classic childhood treat made over to be low carb, dairy free and grain free. Healthy indulgences!
Today is my 41st birthday. And you might think I made these low carb dairy-free Hostess Cupcakes to celebrate but I did not. See, in order to bring you a recipe, I have to make it, photograph it and write about it several days or even weeks in advance. So these pretty little things were actually made several weeks ago, and they weren’t with my birthday in mind at all. I just wanted them. Waiting until my birthday to make them was just not good enough for me. And really, should we have to wait for birthdays or other special occasions to eat cake? I think not.
I made these dairy-free for no other reason than I wanted to. I don’t have any issues with dairy myself and copious amounts of butter, cream and cheese pass my lips on a daily basis. But I’ve had a can of coconut milk in the fridge for some time, for the express purpose of making low carb coconut whipped cream. I thought it would make a great filling for some copycat Hostess Cupcakes. And I figured since I was going that far, I might as well go whole hog and make everything dairy-free. Food intolerances often got hand in hand, sadly, and many readers have expressed that they have a dairy intolerance along with a gluten or wheat intolerance. I am nothing if not accommodating to my readership!
It was good to challenge myself in this way. I figured it would be easy to adjust my standard recipes for dairy-free ingredients, and for the most part it was. But I learned a few little things in the process, useful tidbits for the dairy-free folks. I already knew that coconut oil makes things more tender than butter. Since these cupcakes needed to be sturdy enough to be filled, I used a little less coconut oil than I normally would butter. I also found that coconut whipped cream won’t stay as whipped at room temperature as traditional whipped cream, so I had to refrigerate the cupcakes to keep the filling from becoming too runny. And finally, coconut oil chocolate ganache…oh my. Very different than butter-based chocolate ganache. It was very runny when I first made it, so I couldn’t get it to stay on the tops of the cakes. I tried refrigerating it to thicken it up, but then it hardened up too quickly so I had to remelt it. Finally I whisked in some cocoa powder to firm it up and let it cool until it was just barely pourable. I spooned it over the tops of the cakes and spread it around.
The results of my dairy-free experiment were utterly delicious. And for those of you that aren’t coconut lovers, they didn’t taste like coconut at all. My kids, who can be a little funny when I use “different” ingredients, went absolutely gaga over these. They met all of my own expectations…chocolatey cupcakes with a creamy vanilla center and a chocolate glaze on top. Like the cupcakes of my youth without the guilt.
Copycat Hostess Cupcakes – Low Carb, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
- 2 cups almond flour
- ⅔ cup dark cocoa
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- ⅓ cup egg white protein powder
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee optional, improves chocolate flavour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- ¾ cup Swerve Sweetener
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- Preheat oven to 325F and line 15 muffins cups with paper liners (parchment ones are best for non-stickability). I realize this is an awkward number of cupcakes but it's how the recipe came out! I did my last 3 after the first 12 were baked.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, cocoa powder, coconut flour, meringue powder, instant coffee, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat coconut oil with sweetener until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
- Beat in half of the almond flour mixture, and then almond milk.Beat in remaining almond flour mixture until well combined.
- Fill each muffin cup about ⅔ full with batter and bake 18 to 22 minutes, until just firm to the touch and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove and let cool 10 minutes in pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Using a knife or a 1 inch round cookie cutter, core each cupcake and cut just the top off each core (to put back on the filled cupcakes).
- Remove can of coconut milk from the fridge and flip it upside down. Open can and pour off all the coconut water (reserve for smoothies or some other use).
- Scoop out all of the coconut cream and place in large bowl.
- Add 3 tablespoon powdered sweetener and vanilla extract and beat until it resembles whipped cream.
- Spoon filling into center of each cupcake and then top with thin top from cupcake cores. You will have some leftover cream filling and will use some of it for the white squiggles across the top.
- Refrigerate cupcakes while preparing ganache.
- Melt coconut oil, chocolate and sweetener in a small pot over low heat, stirring until smooth.
- Stir in cocoa powder until smooth.
- Let sit 20 to 30 minutes until thickened, (but don't let it completely cool or it will become too hard - you want it thick enough to spread over the tops of the cakes).
- Remove cupcakes from fridge and use a spoon to spread ganache over the top of each. Chill until set.
- For the white writing across the top, mix 2 tablespoon of leftover coconut cream filling with remaining 2 tablespoon powdered Swerve until smooth.
- Spoon into a plastic baggie with the very tip cut off and pipe onto cooled cupcakes in whatever design you wish.