Sunday, January 14, 2007


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I've been back on the Weight Watchers Core Food Plan for 5 days now (lost 2 lbs. already!), but DH wanted a sweet treat today! So I got out my very first book "The Almost No-fat Cookbook", and made a slightly changed version of the Light and Easy Chocolate Cupcakes, with my fluffy vegan frosting (low in fat and sugar; not in any of my books). Since I have 35 points per week to play with, 4 points ( actually 3.7) is not bad for a treat!

I prefer not to use artificial sweeteners, Splenda, or stevia, so these cupcakes contain sugar, but no added fat except a little in the icing. I used part whole wheat pastry flour for a little more fiber, and I used brown sugar, coffee, and vanilla for a deeper flavor. (NOTE: it's important to use pastry flour in no-fat baking-- except for yeast breads, of course-- because you want a lower gluten flour for tenderness. Fat coats gluten and makes it tender, so, if you aren't using fat, or are using very little, you want less gluten.)

The cupcakes are tender and light, but remember that fat-free treats don't keep very well, so freeze what isn't being used in a day or two. I had one with my tea for a snack this afternoon-- yum!

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Servings: 12
Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes 

These are easy to make, but tender and moist. Be sure to use pastry flour, since there's no fat in this (see note above in text). You have the option of making a white or cocoa icing.  Remember that fat-free treats don't keep very well, so freeze what isn't being used in a day or two

8 oz medium-firm tofu OR extra-firm SILKEN tofu, drained and crumbled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water, liquid coffee (can be decaf) or coffee substitute
NOTE: Coffee accentuates the chocolate flavor.
1 Tbs vinegar (I use cider vinegar)
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup white pastry flour (preferably unbleached)
6 Tbs organic unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup nondairy milk
2 1/2 Tbs white unbleached flour
1/4 tsp agar powder
1 1/2 Tbs Earth Balance regular
1/2 cup unbleached organic granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
Light chocolate version: Add
4 tsp organic unsweetened cocoa

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 12 cupcake/muffin cups, or line with parchment tulip baking cups, unbleached paper liner cups, or silicone liners.

Blend the Wet Mix ingredients until smooth. Whisk the Dry Mix ingredients well in a medium bowl. Add the Wet Mix and whisk in just until blended-- briefly. Scoop evenly into the prepared cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on rack for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the cupcakes and place on the rack to cool thoroughly before icing.

Whisk milk into flour and agar in small saucepan until smooth (You can use an immersion blender if you wish, or even run it through a regular blender). Heat over medium-high heat, stirring or whisking constantly until it boils and thickens.

MICROWAVE OPTION: Whisk the flour, agar and milk in a microwave-proof bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds, whisk, and repeat twice, or until thick.

Cool thoroughly (place in a small bowl inside of a larger bowl of cold water). It will get quite stiff-- don't worry!

With an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy-- several minutes. Beat in the cooled flour paste (and optional cocoa, if using) with the electric beaters and mix until smooth and fluffy. Chill thoroughly before frosting. Keep the frosted cupcakes refrigerated (covered, so that they don't dry out) until serving time.

Nutrition Facts for iced cupcakes:
Nutrition (per cupcakes): 193.2 calories; 12% calories from fat; 3.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 237.1mg sodium; 232.1mg potassium; 39.7g carbohydrates; 2.3g fiber; 26.5g sugar; 37.4g net carbs; 4.2g protein; 3.7 points.

Nutrition Facts for UN-iced cupcakes:
Nutrition (per cupcake): 137.7 calories; 7% calories from fat; 1.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 193.4mg sodium; 208.3mg potassium; 29.5g carbohydrates; 2.0g fiber; 17.9g sugar; 27.5g net carbs; 3.6g protein; 2.5 points.

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Anonymous said...

Wow, chocolate iced cupcakes for only 4 points!

I don't use artificial sweeteners either, but I do use stevia. Just wondering why you don't...?

Anonymous said...

they looks very good! thanks for share it!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Judy, I get a licorice aftertaste and I HATE licorice. I also get a metallic aftertaste. Plus my husband just hated it. It also affects the structure of baking and it's expensive.

Anonymous said...

Wow, they look gorgeous! Thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

"I get a licorice aftertaste and I HATE licorice. I also get a metallic aftertaste."

That's because you are using low quality product. If they extract the white powder from the leaf canvas only, you don't get a nasty taste. I use the pure stuff, high quality in my coffee, tea, and drinks. I never noticed a licorice taste from the brand I use. I did notice it from some of the other brands before I found this current one from Emperor's Herbologist.

"It also affects the structure of baking and it's expensive."
You need to use some filler when using it for baking. There is a great book out with "Real World" recipes called Stevia Sweet Recipes.

And there is a new sugar free hot cocoa called Chocodant out. It's sold on line by Emperor's Herbologist

Anonymous said...

Just curious...are your husband and the rest of your family also vegans? If not isnt it hard to have large family does that work? do you mind if people eat meat around you? does everyone just contribute something and no one cares if there is meat? I was just curious because we have a family member who is also vegan but we are not so strict. We are having a large family dinner. Wanted to know how to work around offending anyone...thanks.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Anonymous, we have worked it out this way in our (also large) family (only my husband and I are vegan, one of my grandaughters is a vegetarian)-- at our house we don't eat meat, though potluck dishes may have dairy or eggs in them sometimes. If the meal is at another family member's house, they can serve what they like, and we bring some vegan dishes.

At other's houses, they usually make something vegan as well, so there is plenty for us and everyone usually enjoys the vegan food, too, especially the desserts.

I don't like seeing people eat meat, but family get-togethers are very important for me and I'm not going to use them as a soapbox-- I just want to enjoy my family. They know what I think and how I live. Maybe it will rub off some day, but lecturing or blaming certainly won't do it!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

chocoholic anonymous: Thanks for your info. I'm aware that the quality of stevia has improved since I tried it last, but the memory is still strong and I have a bit of a mental block, never mind resistance from DH!

I also still consider stevia, even though a "natural" product, a sugar substitute. And using sugar substitutes keeps the "sweet tooth" alive. I'm currently weaning myself off of sugar in my tea and we really don't eat dessert very often, which I think is the best way in the long run.

However, I will be brave and give it another try, but I will admit that I am not really motivated to spend alot of time (and money) experimenting with it. I'm going shopping today and will check it out at my HFS.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, was just curious. I Wanted to know how other families do it...I find it awkward sometimes to put something in the dinner that everyone will like. Your grandaughter, a vegetarian? wow! thats old? Is this something she decided herself? I know from experience my children set their minds to something and that is that...No pork or beef for them...chicken and fish is fine for some reason and this has nothing to do with what we have said..what do you think?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

This particular grandaughter (I have 7, and 2 grandsons) is 14, and, yes, she decided on her own, without prompting from me.

Anonymous said...

Uh- curious. How can the frosting be Vegan if it has milk in it? Vegetarian, yes, but not vegan. Vegan- VOID of all animal products (for some this includes honey)

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Excuse me, Anonymous, but the ingredients say "nondairy milk"! I've been a vegan for 20 years, so I do know what "vegan" means!

Anonymous said...

I've seen Firm Tofu. I've seen Extra-Firm Tofu. I've seen SILKEN Tofu. I've never seen Firm or Extra-Firm SILKEN tofu. Can regular SILKEN tofu be used? Or regular Extra-Firm tofu? Or do I need to find an Asian grocery?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Anonymous, I use the brand Mori-Nu, which is widely available, even in supermarkets, even in Canada! They have soft, firm, and extra-firm. What makes the difference is the amount of water in each one, so I buy extra-firm, and then, if the recipe needs more liquid, I add it-- easier to add it than take it away!

Here is the Mori-Nu website:

If you can't find it, use regular medium-firm tofu-- maybe drain it a bit. In this recipe the taste is not such an issue. Silken tofu has a neutral flavor that I like in uddings, sauces, etc.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your quick response. I will look for the Mori Nu. You are wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know that the icing never set up. The flour, soymilk and agar set very firm, but when beaten into the other ingredients and chilled for several hours, it made a delicious pouring sauce, but certainly not something I could put in or on top of a cake. That's pretty weird, as your recipes are pretty damn foolproof, and I have never, ever had one turn out badly, so I wonder if there's a typo in there, or something got missed out?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Karen, I can't imagine what happened. I checked the ingredient list-- no problem. I have made this recipe many, many times (and, as you see in the picture, it set up). The old-fashioned recipe that I based this on did not contain agar, just flour. I added the agar because the old recipe didn't hold up with less fat in it.

You could try doubling the Earth Balance-- which should not be the whipped variety, BTW.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the fluffy vegan icing recipe! It was exactly what I have been looking for - a vegan recipe that wasn't butter-based. I tripled the recipe and iced a double layer cake for my sister-in-law's birthday. She and her kids are very suspicious of my vegan foods, but they raved about this. Thanks <3

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed this recipe in the passed and I need to revisit it! it's delicious! phenomenal texture and great flavor! I remember throwing in some almond extract to cut some of the faux-dairy taste because I can almost always tell if almond milk, rice milk or soy is used u have any other ideas?