Peanut Butter & Chocolate Protein Cupcakes

Cupcakes are beautiful, but difficult. The recipes normally require lots of equipment and time. But these are different. Sugar free, gluten free, made in one bowl only, mixed up in a matter of minutes, no special equipment required. On top of that, as far as keto recipes go, these are pretty unique as well: there’s no almond flour in them. And no, no coconut flour either. What’s in them, then? Fairy dust? Unicorn farts? Almost: A perfectly balanced, high protein combination of flaxmeal, lupin flour and whey protein.

They are very filling cupcakes, 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.

One bowl to rule them all.

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 beauty by simply letting they touch each other or the sides of the box. But these cupcakes? You can just throw them in a sandwich zip bag and I promise you, they will arrive unscathed anywhere you take them. The frosting does not move!

I flew with some in a plastic bag, hurriedly thrown in the front pocket of my cabin bag, where they remained forgotten until near landing. After a day of long labor, when I found myself in desperate need of a moment of joy, I remembered my precious cupcakes. I opened the bag expecting to see them sadly smashed, but they still looked just perfect.

How to make the keto chocolate cupcakes

Warm the butter on a double boiler or microwave just 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 cream to the butter, and mix them together. Then, add the 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).

Step by step for the low-carb chocolate cupcakes batter.

Now 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 the powdered sweetener (I used erythritol stevia blend), mix, and sieve in the flours (3) – whey, lupin 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 and xanthan to 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.

What’s the best peanut butter for frosting?

Halved high protein chocolate cupcake with peanut butter careamel frosting.

For this frosting to be pipeable, the peanut butter has to be of the smooth type – you don’t want the peanut pieces clogging the icing nozzle. If all you have is crunchy peanut butter, you can make that work as well: 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.

Peanut butter & whey caramel frosting step by step

In a bowl, add the whey protein and 1/2 of the water (or milk). Start hydrating the whey, working with a spoon to form a thick paste. The liquid has to be added little by little to prevent the whey 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. Mix it vigorously, it’s a very sticky toffee like paste. Try it for sweetness before frosting the cupcakes, and adjust the sweetener to your liking.

Step by step pictures for the peanut butter and whey protein keto cupcake frosting.

Although the ratios I give you in the 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: You have to find the perfect balance 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 ideal piping consistency.

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Yield: 12 cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting

Low-carb chocolate cupcake with peanut butter whey protein frosting.

Rich, protein packed chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter and whey protein frosting, made in ONE BOWL! Gluten-free & keto, only 1.5 net carbs a pop.

For US Cups conversion, check Notes.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

For the chocolate cupcakes

  • 3 eggs
  • 70 grams cocoa powder
  • 90 grams keto sweetener (I used erythritol stevia blend)
  • 15 grams flaxmeal
  • 50 grams lupin flour
  • 20 grams whey protein, unflavored
  • 80 grams butter
  • 50 grams heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 120 grams warm water
  • 1 teaspoon espresso coffee powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

For the peanut butter frosting

  • 150 grams smooth natural peanut butter
  • 115 grams scoops unflavored whey protein
  • 150 grams water
  • Liquid sweetener to taste (I used 40 drops of stevia)

Instructions

For the chocolate cupcakes

1. Melt butter, without boiling it.

2. Add the cream to the liquid butter, and mix.

3. Add the cocoa powder, coffee or espresso powder, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until it forms a very thick chocolate dough.

4. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing very well between each.

5. Add the powdered sweetener and whisk.

6. Sieve in the flours: whey, lupin and flax meal, plus the xantham gum and baking powder. Mix until the flours are well incorporated.

7. Add warm water, slowly, while whisking. Let the batter sit
for a couple of minutes, and give it a last mix before filling the liners.

8. Pour the batter into 12 silicone cupcake liners or directly into the buttered holes of a muffin pan.

9. Take the tray into a preheated oven at 170 °C (338 °F) for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.

For the peanut butter frosting

1. Add water to whey, little by little, and mix until creamy and completely lump free

2. Add peanut butter and sweetener drops, and vanilla if using it

3. Mix vigorously until it has a hard caramel/soft toffee like consistency. Try it and adjust sweetener if necessary.

4. If it's too hard to pipe, add more water

5. If it's too soft to pipe, add more whey

Notes


US Cups approximate conversion:

For cupcakes:
use 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon keto sweetener, 2 tablespoons flaxmeal, 6 tablespoons lupin flour, 3 tablespoons whey protein, 1/3 cup butter, 3 1/2 tablespoons cream, 1/2 cup of warm water, other ingredients as indicated.

For frosting: 2/3 cup peanut butter, 4 1/2 scoops whey protein, 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoon of water, other ingredients as indicated.

I add stevia powder to my erythritol to make it 100% as sweet as sugar. This way, I can use less erythritol, avoiding the cooling taste that shows up when it's used in excess, while also masking the bitter aftertaste of stevia and bulking it up. There are many brands that sell this sweetener concoction prepacked, either as erythritol plus stevia, or erythritol plus monk fruit, or erythritol plus both stevia and monk fruit. I just find it cheaper to make my own 😉

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 243Total Fat: 16.2gSaturated Fat: 3.1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 46.5mgSodium: 191mgCarbohydrates: 6.6gNet Carbohydrates: 1.5gFiber: 5.1gSugar: 7gProtein: 17.7g

Nutritional information is provided as a guideline only. Different brands of ingredients may have different nutrition facts. If you are doing a very strict form of keto, such as for medical purposes, please do remake the calculations using the nutrition facts from the labels of the ingredients you selected. Net carbs calculated exclude carbs from insoluble fiber and the sugar alcohol erythritol.

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10 thoughts on “Peanut Butter & Chocolate Protein Cupcakes”

  1. These keto cupcakes looks so awesome! I really appreciate all of the tips you give for making sure they turn out perfectly!

  2. These cupcakes were absolutely delicious with the best flavor and texture! Love that they have added protein too! Will definitely be making again and again!

  3. These cupcakes were sooo good! And I love that they are gluten free and full of protein. Thanks for an amazing recipe!

  4. These keto cupcakes look so delicious and scrumptious! My family is going to love this! Can’t wait to give these a try!

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