It sounds weird: a cake with no butter, shortening or oil. How could it be good? But I decided to try it, with my adaptations, of course. And I was surprised to find that it’s quite good, in fact, delicious.
The pecans that go inside the cake have fat, and there’s fat in the frosting, even if it is reduced. And, just in case you think this is a good diet recipe, just remember that wheat flour of any kind has more than 400 calories per cup. My own opinion is that flour products contribute to weight gain as much as fat and sugar products. Still, I did reduce the sugar by subbing stevia for part of it. And, all things considered, this dessert has less impact on your diet than, say, a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting….. that is, if you ration your portions. Very hard to do, because these are unbelievably good. They’re light but rich tasting and so very easy to eat.
The cupcakes will puff up as they bake and you will be thinking, oh my, such a nicely crowned cupcake. But to your dismay, they will then deflate and sink a little. I don’t know why they do that, but that’s why you need the frosting. To cover them up and make them look pretty. But to my thinking, any excuse to use cream cheese frosting is okay with me.
|Pineapple Pecan Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting |
Adapted from keyingredient.com
Rating: 9 out of 10
|INGREDIENTS: 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour |
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup sugar + 2 Tbsp. NuNaturals Stevia)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 large egg
10 oz. fresh pineapple, chopped, then processed in food processor
(or 10 oz. crushed pineapple with juice)
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
Heat oven to 350F. Set out a standard 6-cup muffin tin and a 12-cup mini-muffin tin. Line both with paper cups. Spray each of the cups inside lightly with non-stick cooking spray, if desired.
In a medium-large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and baking soda. Add the egg, pineapple and pecans and stir with a spatula or spoon just till moistened. Fill the muffin cups almost to the tops with batter. Set in oven on middle rack and bake standards about 15-18 minutes and minis about 11-14 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near center returns clean. Cool on wire racks.
When thoroughly cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 stick (2 oz.) butter or Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
4 oz. Neufchatel cheese, cold
In small bowl, beat butter till it’s fluffy and light. Gradually add sugar and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Beat till smooth. Gradually add cheese in little pieces, beating well after each addition till frosting is smooth again. Keep beating until frosting is smooth, creamy and of spreading consistency. (If you use liquid extract, you may need to add some more sugar to get the right consistency.) (This frosting requires a lot of beating, probably about 10 minutes total, but the finished frosting is so creamy and wonderful, it’s worth it.) Store unused frosting in refrigerator or freezer.