(Almost) Sugar-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

So, want to hear some great news?

The air conditioner in my car is fixed!

Someone came along (an angel, I’m sure of it) and offered to help me out so as a “thank you,” I made these (almost) sugar-free cupcakes (this person is a diabetic).

Let’s just start out by saying I do not like to bake with Splenda. It doesn’t measure cup for cup with sugar like it says it does on the bag. It’s waaay sweeter than sugar and there’s a fine line between using just enough and using too much and getting a bitter aftertaste.

I also don’t like to use it because it’s an artificial sweetener, and I try to steer away from those if I can (although sometimes I don’t do such a good job of that).

The reason these are called almost sugar-free is because I used the Splenda Sugar Blend. It has a little sugar mixed in with the Splenda so it’s (ostensibly) easier to bake with. The result was light and fluffy cupcakes with no bitter aftertaste.

The frosting is a great accompaniment to these cupcakes, though it did have a slight bitterness to it (maybe because I used regular Splenda in it and not Splenda Sugar Blend). It’s smooth and creamy and otherwise lovely. I’d recommend doubling the amounts. I didn’t quite have enough to pipe onto all the cupcakes, and I wasn’t able to pipe it on high like I like to do.

All in all, these are a pretty good nearly-sugar-free alternative to a regular cupcake, so if you know of someone who is trying to cut back on their sugar intake, try this recipe.

(Almost) Sugar-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes
adapted from Recipe Girl

Cupcake Ingredients:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (sift, then measure)
1 cup Splenda Sugar Blend
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting Ingredients:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 tablespoons granulated Splenda or Splenda Sugar Blend (or 6 packets Splenda)
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon chocolate extract (or strong brewed coffee)

Directions:
To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with liners; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and boiling water. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, Splenda, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and mix on low speed until mixture is crumbly.
In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, cocoa mixture, and vanilla. Add 1/3 of the cocoa mixture to the flour mixture; beat on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat an additional 30 seconds.
Scrape down the bowl and paddle as needed. Repeat 2 more times, until all of the cocoa mixture is blended.
Scoop the batter into the liners. (You can fill them pretty full; they don’t rise quite as much as other cupcakes. Or, if you want smaller cupcakes, fill only about 3/4 full.)
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting: Pour the melted and cooled chocolate into the bowl of a stand mixer. Slowly whisk in the cream (by hand). Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed, slowly adding the remaining ingredients. Beat until smooth and fluffy.
At this point, you can spread onto cupcakes, but if you plan to use a piping bag and tip, I recommend placing it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes first. This will (slightly) thicken the frosting and make it better able to hold its shape.

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