Almond Butter Cupcake Disaster

Hey again, Farmer’s Daughter Bean here with another “make” post. Only this time, what I ended up making was a bit of a disaster.

Earlier this week, Tom came up with the brilliant idea of making some “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” cupcakes. I would make the cupcakes, he would make tiny crystal skulls out of marzipan to put on top and we would have “Indy 4” cupcakes to enjoy while waiting in line to see the movie. It all sounded so fun…in theory. The reality was something much worse.

To start with, I have given up sugar and white flour, so I needed to come up with an alternative. Sounds easy, right? Plenty of people substitute agave nectar for sugar, so I picked some up at Trader Joe’s and got to work. I figured the white flour shouldn’t be too hard to replace either, so I used some oat bran and almond meal instead. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the cupcakes were supposed to be Peanut Butter? But since I’m not eating that either, I just switched it out for some tasty Trader Joe’s Almond Butter instead. So far, so good. Everything went smoothly and even Tom agreed that the batter tasted really good. Sorry I didn’t take pictures of the process, but I was too wrapped up in everything to even think about bringing a camera into the mix.

Coming out of the oven, they didn’t look half bad. I’ll admit the tops were a bit sunken in, but they still looked like cupcakes. So, I let them cool and decided to taste one before frosting them. They didn’t taste bad, but the spongy texture was kind of strange. Tom said they tasted like “hippie” and something tells me that was not a compliment.

To me, they had more of the texture of a bran muffin than a cupcake. In hindsight, I think oat bran is just way too course of a substitute for white flour. Sadly, instead of Peanut Butter Cupcakes, I ended up with “hippie” Almond Butter Muffins, and weird one’s at that.

I did make some frosting too but that was an even bigger disaster, so I won’t even get into that. Tom called it “chocolate soup” and even I had to admit that’s kind of what it looked like. It tasted great, but when you coupled it with my sunken cupcakes, it was not a pretty sight.

As you can probably imagine, Tom never did get around to making those crystal skulls either (sorry, Indy). As for me, I think I’ll skip the substitutions in my cupcake recipes and stick to dark chocolate and fruit when I’m craving something sweet. Or better yet, I’ll just make proper oat bran muffins next time out!


Filed under Eat, Make

7 responses to “Almond Butter Cupcake Disaster

  1. Melissa

    Hey Christine–Have you tried Stevia as a sugar sub? I know you can get it at Trader Joe’s, but I haven’t tried it myself yet. You should be able to use whole wheat flour for lots of baking things; my mom always does. In fact, she’s the queen of substituting…for eggs, for milk, etc. Are you just trying to cut down on processed foods? You might want to check out the book Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s pretty interesting in terms of both health and being green. Sorry your cupcakes didn’t come out, but it doesn’t sound like you have too many disasters; I think you can let yourself slide on this one!

  2. Thanks Melissa! Being a huge fan of Barbara Kingsolver, I have read that book. It’s full of great ideas and I have been trying to live like that as much as possible. (The buying locally part.) I was told to eliminate sugar and white flour and stick to only whole grain flour. No sugar is difficult because I love to bake! I’ve never tried Stevia, but it’s on my “okay to eat” list. I tried the agave nectar because I’ve seen people use it on cooking shows and thought it would be easy. Eggs and milk are fine for me, so luckily I didn’t have to substitute them too. I think next time I will follow a recipe and start with an oatmeal cookie or something easier! Thanks again for the suggestions!

  3. becauseweloveit

    Sorry about the cupcakes, but I hope you don’t give up on trying to make them again. Here are a couple of things to try in addition to Melissa’s stevia suggestion (my only caution with stevia is that it is super sweet; something like a 10:1 sweetness ratio with sugar).
    Sucanat comes from sugarcane, but is significantly less processed, meaning it still has many of the vitamins and minerals that are present in cane.
    I think you are right to do away with the oat bran. The almond meal may not have been a bad idea, but you might try it with the less course, almond flour. I am still not sure if it will work because I don’t know what the gluten content is on almond flour. You need to find something close to white flour in the gluten department, which is why I would suggest, if you will permit yourself, whole wheat pastry flour.
    On the almond butter, I bet the flavor was good, but it may have effected the consistency (I am not positive on this). You may want to try a soynut butter as a half or full substitute.
    Finally, and I apologize if any or all of this is stuff you already know, if you want it to be cakish and not muffinish, always add the recently boiling water last!

  4. I’m not sure if I can use sucanat. It’s not on my acupuncturist approved list, but I will definitely ask about it. I have used almond meal before in cake recipes that turned out and I’m not sure why I didn’t just try wheat flour. The flavor was good, it was really just the consistency that was odd. Thanks for the tips! I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet. I still want to try some different recipes. 🙂

  5. Linda Romero

    I loved reading the cupcake story – the picture was great. I know Tom’s sugar skulls would have been a fantastic picture as well as another great Romero story to read.
    The beets looked pretty yummy. I’ll be looking for them next time I go to the Farmers Market.
    I miss cooking with you two!!!

  6. Linda Romero

    PS: what exactly does hippie taste like, Tom?

  7. yeti9000

    Hippie tastes like the kind of all-natural food you bought for us at crunchy arts and craft fairs when we were kids. Ha ha…just kidding, Mom!

    You know, earthy, crunchy…as if it should be topped with carob chips or something. Kind of Santa Cruz-y tasting! 🙂

    Oh and for the record, Christine and I totally miss cooking with you too!! Come visit!

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