Sunday, 2 June 2013

RECIPE: Skinny peanut butter swirl brownie cupcakes (gluten-free)

That's quite a long title, I know. The thing is, I originally wanted to make a peanut butter swirl brownie traybake, but one of my housemates, Alex, has a somewhat annoying nut allergy - I swear, as a baker who loves putting nuts in everything, it frustrates me more than it does her! Making PB brownies and leaving Alex out altogether would have just been too mean, so what did I come up with to satisfy us both? Behold: brownie cupcakes. This way, I could easily leave a couple totally PB free (although she'll never know the joy she's missing...)

You may be wondering how these cupcakes, in all their decadent chocolatey peanut buttery goodness, can possibly fit in with the ole #summerbod quest, but they really are skinny! OK, obviously it would be healthier to have an apple instead, but in comparison to the majority of other cakes (629 calories for a slice of carrot cake in Costa?! I think not), these are totally diet-friendly. Don't take this as completely accurate, but I calculate they're somewhere in the region of 220 calories per cake.

Allow me to explain their skinniness: Firstly, there's absolutely NO BUTTER! Or oil. Or general fatty stuff which usually plays a key role in cake/brownies. Using vanilla yoghurt ensures they're still sufficiently moist and squidgy. Secondly, NO FLOUR! Say whaaaaat!? For real. The ground up oats give enough floury texture, and I mean c'mon, everyone knows oats are superstars in the "slow release energy" game. Thirdly, they're generally full of skinny versions of usual ingredients, such as reduced fat PB, which is considered a good fat and helps keep your hair shiny and your skin glowing. Always good.

But enough about the health benefits... LET'S TALK ABOUT HOW DELICIOUS THEY ARE! As regular blog readers may know, I am a complete and utter peanut butter nutter (wow, that pleased me a lot. I'm also a fan of rhymes.) Peanut butter and chocolate, however, is a combo that's hard to beat - the sweet and salty flavours together are perfection. The USA know this, yet sadly here in the UK it's less ubiquitous. Tragic. OMG the texture of these babies though, particularly when warm... So deliciously dense, the perfect marriage between a brownie and a cupcake.

Warm in the microwave and serve with ice cream (mine is Ben and Jerry's Peanut Butter Me Up!) for an amazing pudding
My housemate Zoe, midway through her brownie cake: "Mmm fudgy. The peanut butter works so well. They're really good!"
Me: "Thanks, they're skinny too."
Zoe: "NO WAY!?"

So, um, yeah. Don't just take my word for it. Take Zoe's.

This recipe makes 9 brownie cupcakes and is ridiculously easy to make. You just chuck everything in a blender. Yes, really. A blender.


175g fat free or low fat vanilla yoghurt
85g skimmed milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
200g caster sugar
75g cocoa powder
50g porridge oats
100g reduced fat smooth peanut butter (or normal if that's all you have)

Mmmm melted peanut butter. (Reusing the cocoa bowl to save on washing up, natch.)


1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with 9 paper cases. Whack all the ingredients except the peanut butter into a blender (starting with the liquids for easy blending), and give it a good ole whizz until all the oats are ground up and you have a smooth mix. Scrape down the sides halfway through to make sure you get all the ingredients, and the mixture should be quite runny when fully blended. Divide the mixture equally between the paper cases.

The chocolate mix equally divided (difficult to do without making  a mess!)
2. Melt the peanut butter in the microwave on full power for 30 seconds, give it a stir, then repeat. It should be runny enough, but if it's not, whack it in for a bit longer. Dollop the peanut butter on to the top of the brownie cakes, and give it a little swirl with a teaspoon, but don't completely mix in.

PB dolloped and swirled (and two left nut-free!)
3. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes (I did mine for a solid 23) until the cakes have risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of one comes out almost clean (but not fully, as they continue cooking once out of the oven, and the fudgy texture is what we're going for anyway.) Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Or... eat them while still warm. Devour and enjoy guilt-free!



  1. These look bloomin' good, may well have to try them x

    1. Thanks lovely, and let me know if you do! X

  2. I'm so happy to have found someone who loves peanut butter as much as me!!! These will be getting made very soon...

    1. Hoorah for peanut butter! Thanks Rach. Let me know how you get on with them :)

  3. YUMMYY!!! and so well adapted to a skinny version! and they're wheat free!- perfect! xxxx

    1. Thanks Katie! Yes I hope they're wheat-free-ness is another attractive factor for you in particular. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy them if you give them a a go :) x

  4. I have GOT to try this.
    Just had an exam this morning and I always get bake-syndrome after exams so might be making these this evening. Can't believe you basically just use yoghurt and oats as the base, who'da thunk it?!

    Amazing thanks, will blog about them when they're done hehe xx

    1. Thanks Veronica! I hope your exam went well and I totally know the feeling :) I know, trusty old yoghurt and oats eh? Thanks for reading and commenting, and do let me know how you get on with the recipe! X

  5. Hi,
    Just in the process of making these. So excited to eat them!!

    1. Hi Holly, ooh I'M so excited to hear you're making them. Thanks for letting me know, and I hope you enjoy the cupcakes. Let me know how they turn out :)

  6. I've just posted about my adaptation of this recipe - using Nutella and Ferrero Rochers! Thanks for the inspiration Rachel x


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