What better way to celebrate my birthday than publishing a new recipe? Especially one as tasty as these birthday cake protein cupcakes.
It may have taken six test batches, but I’ve finally nailed down one of the tastiest birthday cake protein cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. There’s the perfect amount of structure that you’d expect from a cupcake without being super dry like protein cupcakes tend to be. And thanks for the trusty confetti sprinkle, these cupcakes are s’fun!
The flavor and texture of these protein cupcakes is only rivaled by their nutrition facts. Without frosting (I’ll give you a few options for frosting), each cupcake has roughly 9 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fat. Any cupcake with more protein than carbs should not be this tasty and fluffy. If it’s acceptable to toot my own horn on my birthday, I’d like to exercise that right to the fullest.
How to Make Protein Cupcakes
As I mentioned above, I tested and retested this recipe about six times. That means if you have a question about ingredient modifications, I’ve probably tried it.
Fat Replacements for Baking
To keep fat and calories under control in a lot of my recipes, I use apple sauce or pumpkin (in chocolate recipes). In this recipe, I started with using both light butter and apple sauce but found the amount of apple sauce needed had too much apple flavor. It’s easy to mask subtle flavors like apple in chocolate recipes, but vanilla recipes need a bit more touch.
So, I decided to go with the ol’ faithful egg. If you wanted to swap apple sauce for some of the light butter and/or egg, it will work. Just know you’ll likely taste some apple.
Flour for Protein Cupcakes
If you’re new to my recipes, I use coconut flour a ton. It’s a super ingredient in my eyes due to its absorbency. You save a ton of carbs and calories since you don’t need much to give baked goods structure.
In this recipe’s early versions, I used coconut flour exclusively. But similar to the apple sauce, coconut flour gave off a little coconut flavor that took away from the birthday cake-ness of these protein cupcakes. Adding the all purpose flour gave them the remaining cake texture and structure without any real flavor changes. If you wanted to go coconut flour only, try adding 1/4 cup (28g) coconut flour in place of the 1/2 cup of all purpose flour.
The Best Protein Powder for Baking
I always recommend a whey concentrate or blend of whey protein for baking. They’re typically not as lean as a whey isolate or other isolate proteins, but the small difference in calories and fat content goes a long way in baking. In this recipe, I used the vanilla cupcake flavor of Dymatize 100% Whey which is my go-to for all my recipes. I’m not affiliated with Dymatize, their protein simply tastes amazing and bakes really well.
That said, you can use any protein powder you’d like. If you’re using a plant-based protein powder or an isolate protein, you may want to pull back on the amount used (maybe 2.5 scoops instead of 3) and add 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour to avoid dry cupcakes. You could also add another tablespoon of light butter or another egg. OR you could just make it as-is. There’s a good chance the cupcakes turn out fine. I just wanted to give you a few troubleshooting ideas ahead of time.
Update 3/2019: I’ve added notes to the recipe card below for using Bowmar Nutrition protein powder. If you’re unfamiliar, I’ve since inked a deal as a Bowmar athlete and use their protein powder to make my current recipes like the birthday cake low carb skillet cookie.
Protein Cupcakes Frosting
The frosting I used for these protein cupcakes is pretty complex (jk). You’ll need:
- Fat Free Cream Cheese
- Fat Free Greek Yogurt
- Protein Powder
- Pink Food Color (optional)
That’s it. As you can see in the image below, this frosting is on the creamy/moist end of the frosting spectrum.
If you wanted a more traditional frosting, you could use something like Swerve confectioners (a calorie free sugar substitute). For examples, check out my chocolate cinnamon rolls or microwavable protein birthday cake recipes.
I think that’s all I have for you on ingredient swaps and recipe modifications. Below you’ll find the full recipe. If you try these protein cupcakes, take a pic and tag me in your creation on Instagram. I’ll be sure to share it with everyone.
- 3 scoops (102g) Protein Powder, vanilla
- 1/2 C (60g) All Purpose Flour
- 3/8 C (42g) Coconut Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 3/4 C (180mL) Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
- 1/4 C (56g) Light Butter
- 1/2 C (113g) Fat Free Greek Yogurt, vanilla or plain
- 1 large Egg
- 1-2 tsp Imitation Vanilla, to taste
- 1 Tbsp (12g) Confetti Sprinkles, optional
Protein Cupcake Frosting
- 2 oz Fat Free Cream Cheese
- 1/4 C (57g) Fat Free Greek Yogurt, vanilla or plain
- 1 scoop (34g) Protein Powder, vanilla
- 1 tsp (4g) Confetti Sprinkles, optional
- 2-3 drops Pink Food Color
- Preheat an oven to 325F and line a 12-muffin tin with cupcake liners or baking cups.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and be sure to get any clumps of coconut flour completely incorporated.
- Gradually add the milk, yogurt, butter, and egg to the dry ingredients. Stir until smooth.
- Fold the sprinkles into the cupcake batter.
- Transfer the batter to the cupcake liners as evenly as possible. Each liner should be around 3/4 full.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Avoid overcooking as protein treats run a higher risk of being dry/tough with overcooking.
- Remove the cupcake liners from the muffin tin to cool.
- While your protein cupcakes cool, mix the frosting ingredients in a bowl. You can simply frost the cupcakes or add the frosting to a resealable bag with a corner cut off or a piping tool for more precise frosting. (If you're going to have leftovers, I recommend leaving the cupcakes unfrosted until you eat them since the frosting needs to be refrigerated.)
- Each cupcake has 3 Smart Points.
- For Bowmar Nutrition Protein Birthday Cake, use 4 scoops (112g) and half the Greek yogurt (1/4 C or 56 grams). Keep everything else the same.
- Macros for protein cupcakes only: 103 calories, 8.7 grams of protein, 7.3 grams of carbs, and 3.9 grams of fat each
- The frosting ingredient amounts makes enough for a thinner layer of frosting. If you'd like more frosting, simply double the frosting ingredients.
- If you wanted to go coconut flour only, try adding 1/4 cup (28g) coconut flour in place of the 1/2 cup of all purpose flour.
- The fat sources for these protein cupcakes (eggs and light butter) are more or less interchangeable with replacements like unsweetened apple sauce. If you'd like to reduce the fat/calories or need a dairy-free option, try replacing portions with alternative fat replacements.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 cupcakes Serving Size: 1 Cupcake with Frosting
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 124Total Fat: 4.2gCarbohydrates: 8.4gProtein: 11.8g
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