Looking for healthier cupcakes? These date-sweetened chocolate cupcakes are a naturally refined sugar-free treat. They also includes the option to use gluten-free flour or to sneak in some extra vegetables. How sweet is that!?
I’m a big fan of naturally fruit-sweetened treats. My banana-sweetened cake is one of my go-to’s for big celebrations. These cupcakes are actually less sweet than my banana cake, making them more of an everyday treat.
Dates are high in fiber and packed with vitamins and minerals. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The only trick with this recipe is to use a softer, sweet variety of dates. I recommend Medjool, but as long as you avoid a hard dry variety, the date puree will end up nice and smooth.
Vegetables in your Chocolate Cake?
Adding grated vegetables isn’t necessary. However, it’s a great way to make these date-sweetened chocolate cupcakes even healthier!
Here are a few options:
- Beets are ideal in this recipe because they are naturally sweet and will add to the sweetness of the cake. Beets also just disappear in chocolate cake, adding richness but little additional flavor.
- Sweet potatoes or yams will also add sweetness as well as a dose of beta-carotene.
- Carrots are always good in cake.
- Zucchini will add quite a bit of moisture. You may need to increase the baking time by 5 minutes if you add grated zucchini.
Gluten-Free or Whole Grain Flour
To be honest, I’ve never made this recipe with white, all-purpose flour. It just goes against my grain (so punny 😉 ). If you try AP flour, let me know how it goes! Otherwise, I recommend one of the following options:
- Your favorite gluten-free flour. It doesn’t need to be a baking flour mix, the flavor will be better with brown rice, GF oat flour, or light buckwheat flour.
- If you aren’t worried about gluten, use rye flour, spelt, or whole wheat.
- For a more cake-like cupcake, use soft, white pastry flour.
Date-Sweetened Chocolate Cupcakes
Looking for a deliciously healthy chocolate cupcake? This cupcake is date-sweetened for a naturally refined sugar-free treat. It also includes the option to use gluten-free flour, or sneak in some extra vegetables! See the sections above for details.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 24 cupcakes 1x
- Category: Desserts
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 1/2 lb Medjool dates (about 12 large dates)
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 3/4 cups flour (see section above for GF option)
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup of grated beets (optional, see section above for details)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (18o C).
- Split the dates in half and remove the pits. Combine the dates with the milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the dates are mushy (about 5 to 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
- Puree the dates into a smooth paste. I find this easiest using a stick blender.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and date puree. Stir until just combined. Stir in the grated beets, if you’re adding them.
- Divide the batter into a prepared muffin tin or cake pan.
- Bake until a cake tester comes out clean. It will take approximately, 18-20 min for cupcakes or 25-30 min for a cake.
- Allow to cool, then frost with a jam-sweetened cream cheese frosting. (I used homemade plum jam cream cheese frosting for the cupcakes in the photos above).
- This is not a very sweet treat. If you find it needs a bit more sweetness, dust it with icing sugar after baking.
- This recipe will make 18 cupcakes or two 8-inch round cake pans.
- Serving Size: 1 cupcake
- Calories: 161
- Sugar: 7.5g
- Sodium: 189mg
- Fat: 5.8g
- Saturated Fat: 3.2g
- Carbohydrates: 23.8g
- Fiber: 1.9g
- Protein: 4.7g
- Cholesterol: 53mg
Keywords: layer cake, cream cheese frosting, kefir frosting, party, birthday, sugar free, healthy, beet, chocolate, zucchini, carrot
I made it just as described. They were more brown than red, but the flavor was great. Not sweet, but fudgy, chocolatey. Might add 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of dates for a bit sweeter.