Happy 2021! Last year went by pretty fast as our family had been staying home most of the time due to the lockdown. Hope that the pandemic mode and lockdown will be over soon and everything will slowly get back to normal. This was the first sugar-free treat I made for myself this year. Both cupcakes and buttercream were made with natural sugar substitute with a zero net carb. The source of carbohydrates from this recipe is mainly from flours and milk. I included some whole grain brown rice flour for added nutrition. It could be replaced with other kinds or whole grain flours or whole wheat flour. This recipe yields 10 cupcakes and each cupcake, with frosting included, contains about 6.1 g net carbs. For a gluten-free version, follow my blog post, Gluten-Free Tangerine Chiffon Cake, and replace the 80 g of flours with 23 g brown rice flour, 34 g rice flour, 10 g potato starch and 13 g tapioca starch. Or if you don’t have that many gluten-flours on hand, use 80 g brown rice flour then. This was what I used in my Gluten Free Earl Grey Chiffon Cake recipe; however, the cake will come out not as springy.
My buttercream recipe is the sugar-free version of my Foolproof Swiss Meringue Buttercream that is scaled-down. The preparation is much simplified which increases your success rate radically. If you are concerned about consuming uncooked white egg (like I do all the time as I have kids at home), follow my post, Ganache Filled Vanilla Chiffon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Made with Meringue Powder), to make the buttercream out of meringue powder and replace the sugar with an equal amount of either Lakanto or Swerve. Note that there are 4 g of net carbohydrates in each 6 g of meringue powder. So you will need to take that into account while you count your carbs (even though this amount is not much). And as meringue powder does contain sugar, your buttercream won’t be entirely “sugar-free”. With the use of meringue powder, the net carb for each cupcake (with frosting included) would pump up to roughly 7 g instead of 6.1 g.
Sugar-Free Sponge Cupcakes with Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream
For the Sugar-Free Sponge Cupcakes
64 g cake and pastry flour
16 g brown rice flour
A pinch of salt
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar (I used Korean apple vinegar)
50 g erythritol and oligosaccharide/monk fruit blend sugar substitute (I used Swerve or Lakanto)
30 g grapeseed or vegetable oil
30 g milk
Notes: The eggs I use are about 50 g each without shells.
For the Sugar-Free Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream
65 g egg white (from about 2 large eggs)
40 g erythritol and oligosaccharide/monk fruit blend sugar substitute (I used Swerve or Lakanto)
A pinch of salt
180 g unsalted butter, cubed and slightly softened
1 tsp instant espresso powder (dissolved in 1/4 tsp hot water)
蛋白 65克 (約2隻大蛋份量)
無鹽牛油 (少許回溫及切丁) 180克
For the Cupcakes 杯子蛋糕
Preheat the oven to 300ºF/150ºC. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake liners. Sift together the flour, brown rice flour and salt. Set aside.
In a clean mixing bowl, whip egg whites and vinegar with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar substitute in batches and continue beating until glossy and firm peaks form. Add in the yolks and beat with medium speed until incorporated, about one minute. The mixture will be very creamy, fluffy and hold soft peaks while you lift the whisk up.
Sift half of the flour mixture over the batter and fold into the batter. Fold in the milk and oil. Sift remaining flour mixture over and fold gently until smooth and just combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Divide batter evenly among the paper cases. Tap tray against the kitchen counter several times to get rid of any large air bubbles. Bake at 275ºF/135ºC until the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Every oven is different so adjust baking time accordingly. Remove from the tray after 5 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack.
*I placed the muffin tray on a silicon mat lined cookie sheet and baked with a cup of hot water in the oven. The steam and the reduced heat from the bottom of the oven prevent the cupcakes from cracking.
For the Buttercream 奶油霜
Before preparing the meringue, wipe the mixing bowl and the whisk attachment with paper towel and vinegar or lemon juice to remove any traces of grease. Add egg whites, sugar substitute and salt to the mixing bowl. Set bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until the temperature of an instant-read thermometer reaches 160°F/ 71°C in order to pasteurize the eggs (or until the sugar substitute has completely dissolved if pasteurized egg white or meringue powder is used). Keep stirring while heating so the egg whites won’t be cooked.
With an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip mixture on high speed until it is glossy and forms firm peak. If the bowl still feels warm, continue whipping with low speed until it is cool to the touch. Set aside.
Place butter cubes in a separate mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add espresso mixture and meringue (in two batches) and beat with medium speed until fully incorporated, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula if needed.
To Assemble 裝組
Spoon buttercream into a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe a rosette onto each completely cooled cupcake. Serve at room temperature.
For how to fill a piping bag and frost the cupcakes, watch the video below.
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