You’ll love these rich, protein packed, ONE BOWL keto & gluten-free chocolate cupcakes! And specially this peanut butter and whey protein frosting, that gets deliciously chewy like caramel toffee. The best part: they have only 1.5 net carbs a pop!
The best high protein keto cupcakes
Cupcakes are beautiful, but recipes are often complicated, needing lots of equipment and time. But these are different: They are the easiest and fastest cupcakes ever, keto or not! Made in one bowl only, mixed up in a matter of minutes, just by hand – and that includes the frosting!
These keto peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes are super satiating, thanks to all the protein and healthy fats, last delicious for a few days if kept air tight, and don’t need to be refrigerated. They’re like a cupcake version of lembas!
The peanut butter caramel frosting is soft and chewy on the inside, and the outside sets harder, creating a toffee candy sort of texture that is to die for! And it’s the easiest frosting to make ever – just one bowl, one spoon. Mix the the 4 ingredients by hand. No creaming butter and sugar for half an hour. No pile of dishes to do. Actually, if after mixing the cupcake batter you wash the bowl, you can just use it again for the frosting: 1 bowl for the whole cupcake recipe.
They journey well too. Generally cupcakes are pretty fragile beings, that need gentle care. To be carried around they need to be put in special travel boxes, and you can still ruin their ephemeral beauty by simply letting they touch each other or the sides of the box. But these keto cupcakes? You can just throw them in a zip bag and I promise you, they will arrive unscathed anywhere you take them. The frosting does not move!
I flew with some hurriedly thrown in the front pocket of my cabin bag, where they remained forgotten until near landing. After a hard day of work, when I found myself in desperate need of a moment of joy, I looked for my precious keto cupcakes. I opened the bag expecting to see them sadly smashed, but they looked as perfect as they did in the morning.
Cupcake ingredient notes
Keto flours: As far as keto, low-carb and gluten-free cupcake recipes go, these are pretty unique: there’s no almond flour or coconut flour in them.
Instead, a combination of flax meal, lupin flour and unflavored whey protein, which is keto approved, gluten-free and super high protein! Cupcakes for the gains, yeah!
The flavors: The super rich, decadent chocolate experience comes from a mix of the best sugar-free cocoa with a tiny bit of espresso powder. Don’t worry, you won’t feel the coffee taste. Espresso powder, used in the right quantity, just intensifies the chocolate flavor. There’s some vanilla too, to round and smooth things up.
How to make
Warm the butter on a double boiler or microwave until completely melted. Do not boil the butter. If using the microwave, do it in short bursts or set it to defrost, which will gently warm up without burning.
Add the heavy cream to the butter, and mix them together. Then, add the sugar-free cocoa powder, coffee or espresso powder, vanilla, and salt. Mix it vigorously with a spatula (I broke the whisk on the first picture doing this) and it will become a very thick dough (1).
Add the eggs, one by one, breaking the yolks and incorporating them into the batter. It’s gonna be smelling divine by now, and looking almost like melted chocolate (2). Don’t eat it yet!
Add powdered sweetener (I used erythritol stevia blend), mix, and sieve in the flours (3) – unflavored whey protein, lupin flour and flax meal, plus the xanthan gum and baking powder. Mix the flours in until everything comes together without colored streaks.
The batter will seem quite stiff. Add the warm water, slowly, while mixing. The final consistency should look as in picture 4. Wait for a couple of minutes, for the flax meal and xanthan to absorb the liquid and settle, and give it a last stir before filling in the liners.
There should be enough for 12 cupcakes liners- I recommend silicone, as whey has a way (sorry, I couldn’t resist) of sticking to paper. You can also butter a muffin tray and pour the batter directly into the holes.
Put the cupcakes into the preheated oven at 170 °C (338 °F) for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
For this super easy sugar-free keto frosting, you’ll need only 4 ingredients: peanut butter, unflavored whey protein, liquid sweetener (I like stevia) and water!
For this frosting to be pipeable, the peanut butter should be smooth – you don’t want the peanut pieces clogging the icing nozzle. If all you have is crunchy peanut butter, you can make it work: for a more rustic look, you can decorate the cupcakes by just leveling the frosting on top of them with a small spatula or a butter knife.
What’s non-negotiable: natural peanut butter, made with peanuts only – maybe some salt. The consistency will not be right with other types. All natural, healthy peanut butter generally shows a layer of peanut oil on top, because it hasn’t been adulterated with palm or hydrogenated oils to keep it from separating.
Lazy people prefer to buy peanut butter with bad stuff added, but not you. You just stir your healthy, 100% peanuts peanut butter before using it and the problem is solved.
How to make peanut butter whey frosting
Add the whey protein and 1/2 of the water to a medium bowl. Start hydrating the protein, working with a spoon to form a thick paste. The liquid has to be added little by little to prevent the whey protein powder from clumping up. When the paste is smooth, add the rest of the water.
Add the peanut butter and sweetener (I used liquid stevia). You can also add vanilla for more flavor. Mix it vigorously, it’s a very sticky toffee like paste. Try the keto frosting for sweetness before frosting the cupcakes, and adjust the sweetener to your liking.
Although the ratios I give you for this keto frosting recipe work well with my ingredients, your brand of whey protein might be more drying, and your peanut butter more or less oily. Start with my suggested measures, and adjust accordingly.
Tips for the best frosting
The ideal texture for this keto frosting is somewhere between a stiff toffee consistency that’s too hard to pipe and will burst your piping bag – been there 😒 – and a caramel that’s too soft and will not hold its shape on top of the cake – been there too 😪
Both problems are easy to fix: If the caramel is too soft, add a little more whey protein – no more than 10 grams or a heaping teaspoon at a time. If it’s too hard, add a tiny bit more liquid, water or milk. Stir very well after each addition, to check if you reached the best piping consistency.
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