These are simply the best low carb chocolate cupcakes around, made with sunflower seed flour to be nut-free too. Top them with super dark sugar-free chocolate frosting for a total chocolate blackout!
One thing I am very thankful for in this low carb journey is that I don’t have any food allergies. Unless you consider diabetes a kind of allergy. Or maybe it’s more of a food intolerance. Yes, that’s it. I am carb-intolerant. Which obviously puts a lot of foods on my restricted list. But nuts are not on that list, and have been integral to my growth as a low carb recipe developer. Almond flour and I are on intimate terms and I feel like I wouldn’t have become the baker I am without it. But I know that not everyone is so lucky. A great many of you are allergic to nuts or have a family member who is, and that can make low carb cooking and baking particularly difficult. So many recipes, mine included, are almond flour based. To be sure, I also work a great deal with coconut flour and I’ve come up with some amazing recipes that don’t contain any nuts at all. But almond flour is my go to and that can make many of my recipes inaccessible to those with nut allergies.
Anyone who has worked with coconut flour knows that it’s not a great substitute for almond flour. It’s an amazing ingredient on its own, but it behaves so differently that you can’t simply take an almond flour recipe and swap in the same amount of coconut flour. You really have to rework the whole recipe from the ground up, with less coconut flour, more eggs, more liquid and sometimes more fat. Readers leave me comments all the time asking how they can swap one for the other in a particular recipe and more often than not, I simply point them to a completely different recipe. It’s just too difficult to walk everyone through the ins and outs of these two VERY different flours.
I had heard of sunflower seed flour a while ago and I began recommending that as a substitute for almond flour for people who can’t have nuts. But the truth is, I hadn’t ever tried it myself and really I was guessing that it was a good replacement. I finally decided that I had to purchase some and test it out myself, so that I can truly guide my readers on substitutions. I thought it best to get some commercially ground sunflower seed flour in the hopes that it would be finely ground enough to be a true replacement for almond flour. I found this Sunflower Seed Powdered Meal on Amazon and it looked like just the thing.
I wanted it try it out as a direct replacement for almond flour in one of my already established recipes. And since my youngest child’s birthday was this past Monday, I thought I’d make some sunflower seed chocolate cupcakes to honour the occasion. I simply took the batter from my Low Carb Chocolate Pound Cake and turned it into cupcakes. And to keep it truly nut-free, I used water instead of almond milk. They baked up beautifully, rising just right and not sinking when they cooled. And they were tender and moist and taste as good as any chocolate cupcake I’ve ever had. And then I topped them with really dark chocolate frosting, called them blackout cupcakes and we devoured them. The end.
The moral of the story is that you can indeed replace almond flour with sunflower seed flour/meal and I intend to keep on working with it. Do be warned that if it’s not a chocolate recipe, it does give your baked goods a funny greenish cast. More on that to come, because I have some sunflower seed chocolate chip cookies to share with you soon!
- 2 cups sunflower seed flour
- 1/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup coconut flour or another 3/4 cup sunflower seed flour, if allergic to coconut as well
- 1/3 cup unflavoured whey protein powder
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 & 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules optional, enhances chocolate flavour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup Swerve Sweetener
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp liquid stevia extract
- 1/2 cup water
- Preheat oven to 325F and line 15 standard-sized muffin cups with paper liners (or use silicone muffin cups). You may need to do this in batches if you only have one muffin tin.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sunflower seed flour, cocoa powder, coconut flour, whey protein, baking powder, instant coffee and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat butter with sweetener until well combined. Beat in eggs, vanilla and stevia extract. Beat in half of the sunflower seed flour mixture and then beat in the water. Add remaining sunflower seed flour mixture and beat until fully combined.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups to about 3/4 full. Bake 23 to 25 minutes or until cupcakes are puffed, slightly cracked on the top and firm to the touch.
- Remove and let cool completely.
- In a glass measuring cup, combine cream and water and mix well.
- In a large bowl, beat melted butter with cocoa powder until well combined. Add 1 cup of the powdered sweetener and stir without turning on your beaters first (otherwise it will create a huge cloud of dust all over!). Then beat in the sweetener until smooth.
- Add about half of the cream/water mixture and beat together, then add remaining powdered Swerve. Add cream/water mixture a little at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Beat in vanilla extract.
- Pipe or spread frosting on cooled cupcakes and serve.
Serves 15. Each serving has 8.3 g of carbs and 4.08 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 4.22 g.
Food energy: 306kcal
Saturated fatty acids: 13.28g
Total fat: 27.47g
Calories from fat: 247
Total dietary fiber: 4.08g