These 3 Ingredient Cupcake Muffins are Paleo, flourless, sugar-free, grain-free, legume-free, seed-free, coconut-free and sweetener-free. There are only three ingredients and everything is done in the blender so there’s barely any cleanup. It takes about five minutes to prepare and is super easy and stress-free.
I was teetering between calling these muffins or cupcakes. You can probably tell I was indecisive! They have the consistency of muffins but the sweetness of cupcakes. They’re dense and flavorful, but also light and cakelike. You can add chopped fruit or nuts to make it chunky and the texture more muffin-like, or keep it smooth and crunch-free. They look like muffins but with icing they could easily pass as cupcakes. Icing isn’t needed (like I said, they are cupcake-grade sweet) but a little frosting certainly wouldn’t hurt anything.
So they are muffins then. No, cupcakes. Is frosting ultimately what differentiates between muffins and cupcakes? Or do they have different levels of sweetness? Different ingredients/colors/textures?
Upon research, people generally consider muffins to be “relatively healthy” when compared to cupcakes and have less eggs/butter/sugar. One point for the muffin team; these are definitely in the healthy spectrum when it comes to baking. On the flip side, muffins are often denser and chunkier whereas cupcake batter is completely smooth. The score is one to one now; these are super smooth if you stick to the recipe and don’t add anything to the batter. Someone mentioned muffins come in “solid flavors”, which describes this recipe well, but muffins are also known to be drier and denser than cupcakes (these are incredibly moist, not dry whatsoever). Conflicting, eh?
I settled for the term Cupcake Muffins and I’ll let you decide what to serve them as.
They’re light enough to eat anytime, morning or night. Just sweet enough without having that sickly sweet syrupy taste. And since they’re healthy, you can eat them for breakfast, no questions asked. (Perhaps they are muffins in disguise, then: muffins are generally more acceptable to eat in the early hours of the day than cupcakes, which are strictly for dessert only.) Maybe throw some nuts or fruit in there to start your day off strong.
These taste SO good on their own. Just the three required ingredients and you’ve got yourself a very tasty snack. I also love playing around and adding things to the batter. Nuts, chopped fruit (dates are awesome and add an extra punch of sweetness), coconut flakes, chia/flax/hemp seeds, spices (cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, etc.) and food-grade essential oils are all good options. Be careful not to add too much fruit if you decide to be creative or the cupcakes/muffins might turn out
soggy very moist.
Chopped walnuts are my personal favorite (banana bread without them just isn’t banana bread). I love the crunch of nuts in my mouth. That’s my usual addition, unless my sugar cravings are raging: then, dates will definitely partake in the fun. I like my muffins textured; these are super smooth and cake-like on their own.
My little brother’s favorite is the basic version. No extra additions, just the three stated ingredients. What can I say? He’s a Vanilla.
When they first came out of the oven, he touched the tops with his fingertips, wearing an awed expression. “Wow, it feels like a real cupcake!” True enough, they felt firm and not mushy or crumbly like a lot of the healthy desserts/breads I attempt. That was encouraging. Then he said, “I hope they taste as good as they feel.”
I was thinking I hope they taste as good as they LOOK because damn if they weren’t the prettiest things ever. The basic ones looked like proper cupcakes and held their shape *perfectly*. The ones I added blueberries to were blooming with purple from the natural juices (it tasted like sweet syrup, except totally healthy!) and oh so pretty; they seriously looked like they‘d been dyed the colors were so passionate. The camera didn’t quiet capture the beauty of them, but make them for yourself and you’ll see!
They sure did taste as good as they felt/looked. His exact words were, “These taste like heaven!” as he downed three in a row. I made him slow down, throwing a few in the fridge for later before he could eat them all.
How did they taste after being refrigerated for a few hours? Just as good as they were fresh out of the oven. I like both, but the cooler ones had a sweeter taste and a denser texture that I was fond of. The fresh ones were a tad moister and softer and lighter.
Different spices can make the cupcakes better for different occasions (pumpkin pie spice for Thanksgiving, peppermint essential oil or chopped mint leaves for Christmas, coconut flakes for New Years or other wintery holidays, etc.). Just throw a few teaspoons into the batter before you bake it.
Not to mention all the fun you can have with the icing. Chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, banana, strawberry, avocado… so many options and flavors and combinations! For a peppermint flavored Christmas cupcake muffin, how about blending some fresh mint leaves and spinach and adding the puree to your homemade icing? It’ll have the festive green color and the sharp pepperminty taste plus you’ll get a serving of spinach without even tasting it (great for picky eaters, especially kiddos).
For this batch, I whipped up a super simple two-ingredient frosting… mashed banana and cacao! It was thinner than this Three-ingredient Chocolate Frosting but it still held its shape. It stayed on the cupcakes and didn’t drip off. Incredibly simple and super yummy. Sweet and chocolatey; the perfect pair for these cupcake muffins. A simple frosting for a simple muffin. I blended the mixture to get it super smooth, but usually I just mash the banana with a fork and fold the cacao in slowly.
Doesn’t it look pretty? No one would ever guess it came together with only two ingredients!
As for different shapes, all I’ve done so far are the cupcake molds but a three-ingredient dessert bread loaf is in my near future! I’m sure a square mold, a circular cake mold, a thinner pie mold and mini cupcakes would also turn out great. I baked these in non-stick silicone baking molds – they peel off so easily, it’s dreamy – but glassware is also awesome, just be sure to oil up (with coconut oil, obvs).
I buy raw almonds and soak them for +/- 12 hours. I rinse them, dehydrate for 6-12 more hours and then roast them in the oven for a few minutes. Roasting gives the nuts an intense, darker/robust taste and helps release their natural oils to make them easier to blend (especially helpful if you plan on making almond butter).
Raw almonds would certainly work, even if you don’t take all the steps to soak/dehydrate/roast them. I love the deep, roasted flavor of nuts though. It takes less than ten minutes of oven-time and virtually no prep; it’s worth it.
P.S. The batter tastes AMAZING. Try it before you add the egg, when it’s just the almonds and bananas. Such a balanced sweetness. I could eat that by itself all day. That raw batter + chocolate chips is SO happening. Soon.
Ready to make some Paleo cupcake muffins with only three ingredients?
- 1 cup almonds
- 2 medium/large bananas
- 1 egg
- Optional: chopped nuts, chocolate chips, flaked coconut, chopped fruit, seeds, spices, etc.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Put almonds in the blender and pulse for a few minutes on medium speed, until they're halfway between almond butter and almond flour. There shouldn't be any chunks of nuts left.
- Mash your bananas beforehand or add them straight to the blender. Blend until the almonds and banana are thoroughly combined and the batter is completely smooth.
- Taste the batter! Don't hold back your moans of blissful satisfaction.
- Add the egg and pulse briefly.
- Pour the batter in cupcake molds and bake for 20 minutes or until tops are firm.
- Let cool at room temperature for a few minutes.
- Enjoy your cupcake muffins fresh and warm or chilled.
I used raw almonds and soaked/dehydrated/roasted them myself, but any almonds will work. Almond flour or almond butter could probably be substituted but I haven't personally tested it.
If you add too much fruit or extra liquid, your cupcakes might be squishier/softer and not hold together as well - they’ll still be delicious though!
These will stay good for a week or so in the fridge. They're delicious eaten straight out of the oven or after being refrigerated for a few hours/days.
Simple recipes really are the best. Three ingredients, one blender, a few minutes: You can’t get much simpler than these healthy cupcake muffins. And for them to turn out so good, like actual cupcakes… consider me amazed. I predict many variations to be spun off of these simple and healthy Paleo cupcake muffins. In fact, I do have plenty of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries in the fridge…
Do you like sticking to a recipe or rearing off the rails?