roasted broccoli and farro salad with feta sparkling champagne margaritas cranberry hazelnut seed crisps cioppino


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who are you calling cupcake?

Recipe: flourless chocolate hazelnut cupcakes

I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks on behalf of my family and myself for the tremendous outpouring of support here on the blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, via email, and snail mail. Thank you.


a rose garden in san jose that my grandmother enjoyed



I have a white silk flower in my hair that I will wear for 100 days. I noticed my mom was wearing hers too when I got her from the airport on Monday. My parents are in town this week to close on their property in Boulder. They were supposed to come last week, but… we were all in California instead.

the family visited in her honor last week



Being home is good despite the backlog of work that is piling up. The weather is all Crazytown over here. It’s nearly June and yet our mountain weather thinks it’s early April. The afternoon thunderstorms are rolling in too. When we picked Kaweah up from the kennel this weekend, they told us there had been a thunderstorm Friday afternoon. One of the dogs was freaking out and they noticed that Kaweah was totally calm – chilling out as if nothing was going on (sometimes you have to wonder if anything is really going on inside that little brain of hers). They put the freak out dog with Kaweah and the other dog calmed down right away, cuing off of our pup. I’m so proud of her – doing nothing actually helped someone else!

the do nothing dog



So my friend, Elana, is a gluten-free superstar as well as a local Boulder food blogger. Her latest book arrived in my mailbox just days before we left for Hawai’i and I couldn’t wait to try some of the recipes when I got back. It’s all about cupcakes. Gluten-free and butter-free at that. Now I know what you’re thinking… the name of my blog is use real butter and yet she doesn’t use butter in her baking? My point isn’t that food has to have butter, just don’t use the fake crap. That’s what I’m talking about – don’t use fake butter or fake anything for that matter – live life for real. Blagh blagh blagh. Get the point?

back to the cupcakes



Elana uses all natural ingredients in her baking, relying on almond and coconut flours instead of regular flour, and agave nectar instead of sugar. She offers vegan and dairy-free recipes too, because Elana wants to make sure there is something for EVERYONE. She’s awesome like that. There is even a section with savory treats. What I really liked about the recipe I chose (because it sounded so damn good!) is that nothing is a substitution. Seriously, have a look!

hazelnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, agave nectar, salt, eggs

pulse the hazelnuts and chocolate chips together



It was also ridiculously easy to make because it dirties one bowl (your food processor bowl), and takes a total of two minutes to prepare the batter. How sweet is that? Actually, it wasn’t all that sweet which is another reason I loved this recipe. Anyone can make sugary sweet taste good, but Elana emphasizes the dark chocolate and hazelnut flavors of this cupcake. It really shines when you taste it.

add eggs and agave nectar

pulse until batter is blended



The batter is on the thick side and this yielded exactly ten cupcakes. My greatest fear when baking at my elevation is that cakes will rise too quickly and crater just as quickly. These are the best-behaved cupcakes I have EVER made at high-altitude. I’m all for stability and not tearing my hair out over failed baking endeavors. Once the cupcakes cooled, I topped them with freshly whipped cream.

fill the cupcake papers to just shy of full

frost and serve



The texture is a little dense compared to regular cupcakes, but I like that rich chocolate and nutty bite. Jeremy ate two… no three and a half of them. I delivered the other six to our neighbors because it was just too dangerous to keep them around the house. They are THAT good. I’m looking forward to trying many other cupcake recipes from Elana’s book. I’ve dog-eared several which means I’m going to have to ramp up the Ass Reduction Plan.

perfect with a good cup of coffee


Full Disclosure: I received a free copy of Gluten-Free Cupcakes from Ten Speed Press without any obligation.

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes
[print recipe]
from Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (73% cacao)
1 cup hazelnuts
3 large eggs
1/4 cup (2.75 oz.) agave nectar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line ten muffin tins with paper liners. Combine the chocolate chips and hazelnuts in a food processor and process until they have the consistency of coarse sand. Add the eggs and agave nector and pulse for ten seconds until combined. Add vanilla extract and sea salt and pulse for another ten seconds. Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter into each muffin tin. I filled mine just over 3/4 full and they didn’t spill over (they rise a little bit, but nothing crazy). Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about an hour. Frost (I used whipped cream), then serve. Makes 10 cupcakes. (Sweetness is low).

30 nibbles at “who are you calling cupcake?”

  1. Mrs Ergül says:

    It must feel good to have your parents stay near. My brother and his family, my parents and my younger siblings and us all stay in the same estate. It is brilliant because I can hop over to see my little niece and nephew anytime! Glad to see you back Jen! This is one amazing great looking GF cupcake!

  2. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Beautiful flowers in her memory. I am sure she’s smiling knowing you are making such treats to make the world a more beautiful place. You can call me cupcake or whatever you want if you give me one.

  3. Kristin says:

    Speaking of a** reduction plan…my mom LOVED the macadamia shortbread. Thanks so much for the recipe. I’m afraid Mother’s Day from now on will be Danish Puff for breakfast & the shortbread for the other 2 meals.

    Hooray for Kaweah, being a comfort for the other dog. But I don’t think I’ll emphasize the do-nothing part if I share with my kids…they would probably run with it.

  4. Michelle says:

    I love chill dogs. Kaweah seems totally like a rock star.

  5. Margie says:

    Miss K., you are the best!

    Hazelnuts AND chocolate? Sin, pure and simple. ;) I am SURE these items are mucho-tasty-ooooooh

  6. Janet says:

    Elana is a local goddess. So are you, of course. Thanks for the heads up about these treats. They sound like Nutella, but more real. Yum.

  7. Caitlin says:

    Those sound fascinating – while I tend towards the butter&flour end of the spectrum, playing with other types of baking is fun too. Lots of hugs your way, and yay for having your parents so close!

  8. Michelle says:

    I am one of those gluten intolerant folks and love Elana’s recipes…I had pre-ordered the cupcake cookbook but have not yet had time to bake anything…but I think this will be the first one I try…Yum!

    So glad to hear Kaweah is a calming influence…dogs are the best when you are feeling down or stressed.

  9. Mollie says:

    yay for K dog! Your comments about her make me think of the descriptions of Pooh – a bear of very little brain. :)

    Glad you are home – please take good care of yourself!

  10. Ruth Ann says:

    Go (well sort of) Kaweah!

  11. Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) says:

    Elana is amazing…I was *strictly* GF for about 6 yrs and have just recently begun eating tiny bits of gluten again but Elana’s recipes are genius.

    And clearly your cupcakes are beautiful and breathtaking images of them!

  12. farmerpam says:

    Ass reduction plan. I always get a laugh from that. :)

  13. ivonne dejesus says:

    I love this idea of flourless cupcake but would like to know where I can get the Carbs and Calories info on these recipes since I am diabetic and am working on watching my weight as well as Carb/sugar content.

    thanks

  14. Collette says:

    I can only hope that my plan of doing nothing someday pays off as well as Kaweah’s has.

  15. Elana says:

    Jen,

    Thanks so much for this review of my book!

    You are smart, funny and an incredible photographer. Know that I am just down the hill if you ever need me.

    xo Elana

  16. Nan says:

    My GF daughter’s 21st b-day is tomorrow. My May baby is all grown up now. She needs these chocolate cupcakes to celebrate her majority. She and her friends, that is… I don’t need them, but she? Definitely! Dense chocolate goodness is right up her ally.

    Beautiful roses…

  17. Colleen says:

    Those cupcakes looks so delicious. I have been trying to eat healthier but those cupcakes are demanding to be made. Thank you for the great recipe. I love your blog and look forward to reading it everyday.

  18. Claire says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this recipe. Mine are in the oven right now, and the house smells amazing.
    If you haven’t already, you should try this kind of recipe with roasted hazelnuts. It’s really like adding a whole other dimension to baked goods!

  19. Melissa says:

    Kaweah. *Sigh* I want to lay my head on her.

    And I know what you mean about just using real ingredients – that’s all I care about, too, whether you are cooking vegan, gluten-free, etc. or not. That batter looks drinkable and that’s all that matters. ;)

  20. Cookin Canuck says:

    I just want to snuggle up to your sweet puppy and take a little nap. What a dear soul.
    Chocolate and hazelnut is, hands down, my favorite dessert combination. Yeah, these cupcakes are calling my name.

  21. Jill says:

    yum

  22. Joy says:

    Those look so so good. I’m just drooling.

  23. jenyu says:

    Kristin – ha ha, yeah – Kaweah should not be a role model for anyone ;)

    Michelle – she’s just crazy.

    Michelle – I agree, dogs can be such amazing companions.

    Mollie – thanks hon. Miss you!

    Ruth Ann – :)

    Averie – Elana is a wonderful woman.

    ivonne – sorry, I don’t have that information, but I’m sure you could calculate it based on the recipe

    Elana – thank you! xo

    Colleen – why thank you, that is so sweet of you!

    Claire – funny you mention that because I actually roasted my hazelnuts (to get the skins to pop off) and you’re right, the roasted hazelnuts are sooooo heavenly.

    Melissa – she’d let you! Kaweah doesn’t care for being petted, but she LOVES to snuggle and lie on people (or have them lie on her). :)

    Cookin Canuck – they’re so easy and quick to make and the chocolate-hazelnut is perfect with coffee.

  24. Elsa says:

    I made these for my sister’s birthday last weekend and they turned out great! Since many of the guests were vegan in addition to being gluten free, I used egg-replacer in half of them and they were even better than the ones with eggs (although less cake-y and more fudge-y). For vegan topping I used whipped coconut cream which made them extremely indulgent and delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  25. Thuy says:

    Hi! Do you have any tips for baking this in a toaster oven?

  26. jenyu says:

    Thuy – Sorry, I do not. I’m sure if the oven heats hot enough and evenly enough, it’s probably fine to give it a try!

  27. 31 Fantastic Passover Desserts | Femour.com says:

    [...] Recipe here. Source: userealbutter.com [...]

  28. Mary @ Fit and Fed says:

    Love the photo of the fox, he matches the background so perfectly! Thanks for the cupcake recipe from Elena, I love chocolate and hazelnut and this is quite a healthy version of cupcakes.

  29. Mary @ Fit and Fed says:

    OK, mistake, it was your more recent post that I cruised in from that had the neighborhood fox– oops! Still love the cupcakes, though!

  30. Gluten-Free Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes says:

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