Protein cupcakes are nothing less than totally awesome. These are low-carb and intensely chocolatey. Top them with whatever you like best. Perhaps this salted caramel cream cheese icing? It’s really good.

High protein chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel recipe - PHOTO - Women's Health & Fitness

Disclaimer: We won’t pretend this caramel sauce is high in protein or low in sugar, because ... it is caramel. But it contains no refined sugar. The secret here is to harness the naturally occurring sugars in the syrup and the coconut milk to produce a delicious and light alternative that has half the fat of traditional salted caramel. It is also simple to make, delicious, suitable for dairy-free and low FODMAP diets and has a gorgeous aroma!

Ingredients (makes 12 standard cupcakes)
•    112 g egg whites
•    100 g granulated stevia blend (or sugar)
•    25 g unsweetened cacao powder
•    65 g oat flour (or plain flour)
•    65 g rice protein powder
•    2.5 g bicarbonate of soda
•    7.5 g baking powder
•    2 g vanilla bean powder
•    ¼ tsp sea salt
•    25 g macadamia oil
•    120 g non-fat Greek yoghurt
•    30 g freshly brewed espresso, cooled
•    Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Icing

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a standard, mini muffin or cupcake tin with cupcake liners. This helps the cupcakes to retain their shape while baking. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the sweetener, cacao powder, oat flour, rice protein, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, vanilla and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the macadamia oil, Greek yoghurt, and espresso. Add the liquid ingredients including egg whites to the dry mix and beat well until the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter equally between the cupcake liners.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out fairly clean.

Do not overbake these cupcakes. They are done when there are still some moist crumbs attached to the skewer when testing.

Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.

Top with salted caramel cream cheese icing (scroll down for recipe) when cooled. It is best to ice these just before serving.

Without icing, these cupcakes will keep for several days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Once iced, they should be stored in the refrigerator.


Salted caramel cream cheese icing (makes 370 g)

This is a simple, soft cream cheese icing. It does not set firm so does not hold its shape when piped but is perfect to dollop and swirl atop a cupcake. The flavour is amazing and makes a perfect frosting for the chocolate cupcakes. (It can also be used as a dessert, or served over a fruit salad.)

•    90 g Salted Vanilla Maple Caramel
•    250 g low-fat cream cheese 
(< 5% fat)*
•    30 g granulated stevia blend
*    You can substitute full-fat cream cheese, firm ricotta, or mascarpone for the cream cheese.

If the caramel is set due to being refrigerated, gently warm it through until it is liquid again.
Just place the caramel in a small bowl and microwave in 10-second bursts, stirring in between, until it is smooth and more fluid again. Allow the caramel to cool.
Blend together the cream cheese, caramel and sweetener.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator until required. This icing is best used just prior to serving. It will keep for several days, if stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

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Recipe from Protein Baking Evolved by Vivianna Buzzi.