Dark Chocolate Muffin Cakes

Muffin cakes? Yup. Muffin cakes. When you load a “muffin” with chocolate chips and frosting, you can’t really call it a muffin anymore. And since these have more sugar than any of my other muffin recipes—plus the frosting option—they definitely qualify as cake. That being said, they still have about half as much sugar as a typical cupcake, as well as less fat.

Additionally, these delectable desserts offer nutrient-dense benefits that most cupcakes can only dream of: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, whole grains and fiber courtesy of winter squash, banana, applesauce and whole wheat flour. The beauty of these ingredients is threefold—not only do they contribute nutrition and moisture to these treats, but they also heighten the intensity of the chocolate.

Personally, I prefer these without the added fat, calories and prep time of the frosting, but some occasions merit such extras. Go for it!

Dark Chocolate Muffin Cakes

Makes 12 muffin cakes

2 cups 50/50 flour mix*
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup cooked, pureed butternut squash, Hubbard squash or pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 well-ripened medium banana
2 large eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Matt’s Mocha Frosting (optional, recipe below)

* You can buy this off the shelf, but I use a less expensive homemade mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour. If you don’t have a mix, use 1 cup each for this recipe.

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and mist a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together first five ingredients (flour mix through salt) in a large bowl.
  3. Place the next nine ingredients (squash or pumpkin through vanilla) in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Once the oven has preheated, add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Cups will be full.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into a muffin’s center comes out clean.
  7. Cool muffins in tin on a wire rack for a few minutes before removing directly to rack to cool further.
  8. Serve “as is” or top with Matt’s Mocha Frosting (recipe below).

Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to two days. Freeze or refrigerate any leftovers after that.

Matt’s Mocha Frosting

Makes enough to top 12 muffin cakes

1 tablespoon hot water
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

1/4 cup margarine, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa

  1. Combine hot water and instant coffee in a small cup or bowl and stir until coffee is dissolved.
  2. Put coffee mixture, margarine and vanilla in a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment at low speed, stir until combined.
  3. Sift powdered sugar and cocoa together and add to mixing bowl. Beat until blended.
  4. Stop to scrape down sides of bowl, and then whisk again until light and fluffy.
  5. Spread on tops of cooled muffin cakes.

P.S. Can you tell our garden is finally in full swing? Blooms at last! (The peonies in the first photo are among our favorites.)

© Liesl K. Bohan  |  SavvyBaker.com

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This blog is for sharing home-tested recipes with more whole grains, less fat and fewer calories than similar recipes. If you see something you like, or if you'd like to see more, let me know! - Liesl

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