I have loved baking since I was about 12 years old. I took an interest in it as a means to try and find “healthier” ways to enjoy dessert. My view of “healthy” has evolved over the years. I went from making fat-free desserts, to low carb treats loaded with artificial stuff (not so healthy!) I then evolved to wanting to just not use refined sugars and flours, and more whole foods. Vegan baking was always fun. I looked at it as a challenge, to make things without any allergens or animal products that tasted just like the real thing. I still do. I love being able to develop and recommend recipes to accommodate any clients or friends healthy lifestyle!
My latest venture is in grain-free cooking. Making a recipe grain-free and vegan is a challenge because of how dense coconut flour is. You can use things like starch flours and garbanzo bean without eggs, depending on what it is. I have done it successfully in the past. Coconut flour..not so much. I used to just grind up coconut flakes, and once I made an egg-free mini protein cake that did work, but it’s most definitely better with the eggs.
Good thing I am not vegan or allergic to eggs because I am currently in love with coconut flour. This flour is very dense, and dry, So you need to add a lot of eggs to make it successful. Many people mix it with other flours (such as starch flours) because it’s really tough to get a good consistency. I have tried many coconut flour recipes over the past couple of months and with the exception of a couple of them, most have been disappointing. Too dry and dense. But if you can make it work—it’s a great substitute!
Coconut flour is low in carbs and has double the amount of fiber as wheat-bran! It also has more protein than other leading flours you would use. Swapping out coconut flour for other flours will reduce occurrences of inflammation in your body that other flours may cause. Many people love using almond meal, or other nut flours…but I am not a fan. I will get to why in a second. First…here’s the birthday cupcakes I made myself (thanks for the well wishes!) I am super proud of myself with the recipe. It is the most moist, scrumptious, satisfying coconut flour cake recipe I have ever had! Not to toot my own horn or anything. But. Go me!
Is it weird I made my own birthday cake? Regardless…this took a couple trials, but the end result was a moist, rich, chocolaty cupcake—without all of the guilt! Enjoy!
Carob Chocolate Chip Coconut Flour Cupcakes
makes: 6 muffins
© The Fitness Dish
This recipe is grain-free, low sugar, and full of healthy fats and fiber! You never tasted a coconut flour cake (not mixed with other flours) that was more moist!
- 1/4 cup carob powder
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 avocado
- 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened almond milk, hemp milk or coconut milk
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon NuNaturals liquid stevia
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup 70% cacao chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mini food processor cream together avocado and coconut oil. Then, in a large bowl or you Kitchen Aid mixer bowl mix together avo-oil blend, maple syrup, stevia, vanilla, apple cider vinegar and milk for about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Then in a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill muffin tins lined with cupcake liners 3/4 way full. Bake for about 22 minutes.
Cool completely then top with either:
1 small carton organic heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
7-10 drops NuNaturals liquid stevia (this is the only brand that is not bitter in my opinion)
Freeze bowl and whip attachment for 15 minutes. Whip on high speed until soft peeks form. Add vanilla and stevia and quickly whip for a seconds until combined. Be careful not to over whip or it will break apart.
or, another option…my new favorite…Fage total plain yogurt works well too!
This makes for a great “Smash Cake” for kids because carob is naturally caffeine free!!!
I may or may not have enjoyed two of these for lunch today.
Which will bring me to my next topic of interest. Almond meal. I notice that a lot of people have been using it, and I even considered experimenting with it.
Almond meal/ nut flours are supposed to much easier to work with (than coconut flour). I use ground nuts a lot in raw vegan pie crusts, but don’t bake with almond meal. And I am glad I haven’t! I found out some disheartening information about how healthy it really is!
Why Baking with Almond Flour is BAD BAD BAD!
Okay, so I have seen a lot of bloggers swap out flour for nut flours. I never thought much of it, except, how high calorie they must be. I’m not one for calorie counting, but take a already high calorie substance, where you should only have a handful or two per day (or Tablespoons in nut butters), and grind it down really fine, consuming a high amount of it, it can’t be that great, right?
I have always purchased raw almond butter because it’s much healthier, and the omega-6 fatty acids stay in tact and do not become rancid when heated. So why have I never put 2 and 2 together?
What did I find out:
When you grind polyunsaturated-loaded nut flour down, the surface that protects the nut from oxidizing becomes exposed (the surface & the vitamin E). The whole process puts the almond meal at a greater risk of becoming rancid, and turning into an anti-nutrient! The fat in nuts oxidize faster when they are ground up!
When we cook with almond meal, the then vulnerable, exposed nut meal’s PUFA stops being healthy and starts wreaking havoc on your body! Heating Omega-6 fatty acids is never a good thing! Think…free radicles! (who’s damage takes a toll on everything from cell membranes, to DNA/RNA strands, to blood vessels (which can then lead to plaque accumulation). The harm adds up over time in the organs and systems of the body and can cause significant impact, including premature aging and skin disease, liver damage, immune dysfunction, and even cancer.) There’s also the issue of too much phytic acid to consider. Phytic acid can block nutrient absorption in the intestines!
Nuts are meant to be a mini snack, not a meal. And when you consume nut flours in large amounts, you are eating more than us as humans are meant to eat!
You’re much better off with coconut flour (which is cheaper because of the volume needed), or, even though some may argue this– potato starch, arrowroot or tapioca starch. Heck, if you don’t have allergies, you would be better off with whole wheat flour or oat flour (they have gluten-free!) than cooking/baking with pretty much any nut flour!
Overall, desserts and treats are meant to be used in moderation. Every once in a while if you have something with nut flour/meal, it’s not going to kill you. Sometimes, it’s just the lesser of the two evils (vs. white flour and white sugar). However, I just wouldn’t use is as a dietary staple in all of your “treats” or baked goods!
Well…now that I rocked your world….let me know if you try the cupcakes. Let it be my peace offering.
Have you experimented with grain-free or gluten-free baking? What are your favorite flours to work with?
Homework: PLEASE try my cupcakes and let me know how they came out! I am really proud of this one! No subs!
Have a great weekend! What fun things do you have planned? Aside from making my cupcakes?
We have my birthday dinner planned for Friday night at my favorite restaurant! I’m so excited!