Barbara Bacal, RDN
October 18 is National Chocolate Cupcake Day!
Chocolate once called “drink of the gods” by the Maya people, has been consumed for
thousands of years. The Mayans’ would grind the cacao pod for a refreshing hot beverage.
Chocolate has health benefits because it contains flavonoids. Research has shown potential
cardiovascular health benefits from the main flavonoids found in cocoa, flavan-3-ols because of it’s
anti-inflammatory. (Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;90(5):1144-50). These anti inflammatory
effects may contribute to the overall benefits of cocoa consumption against atherosclerosis. This has beneficial actions, including antioxidant protection as well as many trace minerals including: Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, Manganese, Phosphorus, and Copper. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder has more flavonols than cocoa powder that is dutch-processed or alkalized. And it’s delicious!
Today we enjoy chocolate as a crave worthy treat in many different ways including delicious baked
goods. Celebrate National chocolate cupcake day with these delicious mini cupcakes made with
whole wheat flour to help boost up the nutrition content. Baking with a mini muffin pan provides
perfectly portion controlled snack sized chocolate morsels with just 60 calories!
~adapted from King Arthur Flour recipe
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Whole Wheat All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup Natural unsweetened cocoa (not dutch processed)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1/2 cup brewed coffee, cooled (can also use water)
4 large eggs at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line mini muffin tins with papers, and spray the insides of the papers.
1. Measure in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and sugar. Sift the dry ingredients
into a mixing bowl, to eliminate any lumps.
2. Add the softened butter and mix at low speed for 1 minutes. With the mixer running, add the oil
and continue mixing until the mixture looks like sand.
3. Combine the vanilla with the milk and coffee or water, and add all at once. Mix for 1 minute at
low speed, stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix for 30 seconds more.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well at medium-high speed between additions.
5. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, and mix for 1 minute more. The batter will be
Number of Servings: 72 mini cupcakes
Cocoa and chocolate flavonoids: implications for
Francene M Steinberg 1 , Monica M Bearden, Carl L Keen
This paper offers a review of current scientific research regarding the potential
cardiovascular health benefits of flavonoids found in cocoa and chocolate. Recent
reports indicate that the main flavonoids found in cocoa, flavan-3-ols and their
oligomeric derivatives, procyanidins, have a variety of beneficial actions, including
antioxidant protection and modulation of vascular homeostasis. These findings are
supported by similar research on other flavonoid-rich foods. Other constituents in cocoa
and chocolate that may also influence cardiovascular health are briefly reviewed. The
lipid content of chocolate is relatively high; however, one third of the lipid in cocoa butter
is composed of the fat stearic acid, which exerts a neutral cholesterolemic response in
humans. Cocoa and chocolate contribute to trace mineral intake, which is necessary for
optimum functioning of all biologic systems and for vascular tone. Thus, multiple
components in chocolate, particularly flavonoids, can contribute to the complex interplay
of nutrition and health. Applications of this knowledge include recommendations by
health professionals to encourage individuals to consume a wide range of
phytochemical-rich foods, which can include dark chocolate in moderate amounts.
Try this allergy friendly, dairy free, egg free chocolate cake recipe. If you want
to make it gluten-free use gluten free flour and make sure to use real vanilla
extract (the imitation usually contains gluten). Use a mini-muffin pan to bake
perfectly portion controlled snack sized cupcakes. The recipe will make ~40
mini cupcakes each contains: 55 calories with 8.8 grams of carbohydrate, 0.5
gram of protein and 2 grams of fat.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/3 cup neutral tasting oil, such as canola
1 cup water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini-muffin pan with paper liners or
grease very well with cooking spray (chocolate cake tends to stick).
2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a large mixing
3. In a separate bowl, combine vanilla, vinegar, oil and water. Add wet
ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until completely combined and no
4. Fill each cupcake 2/3 full (I use a cookie scoop for this)
5. Bake for ~10 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.