Vanilla Spice Coconut Protein Cupcakes

Wow, that’s a lot of modifiers for one recipe… but the only other fitting name would be “Yummy Cupcakes of Goodness,” which isn’t nearly as specifically descriptive. They taste like an awesome mix of vanilla cupcakes and zucchini bread, not too sweet but still dessert-y. I mashed up a couple of protein-powder-based desserts and pancakes I’ve made in the past with Tone It Up’s Coconut Carrot Cupcakes, and made a couple substitutes for things I can’t easily find here in Ukraine.

They’re SUPER filling and very tasty, quite moist as long as you quickly cover them after cooking. The only problem I’ve had cooking them has been that I don’t have true cupcake pans, only mini bundt cake pans, which means the middles take a lot longer to cook. If you use cupcake pans, cook as listed in the recipe below. If you use larger mini-cake pans (about 4″ across), they’ll probably take you 4 minutes longer, but check them earlier just in case.

vanilla protein cupcakes

Don’t forget to grease or line the pans–these dense cakes are hard to get out!

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 14-17 minutes (until fork in the middle comes out clean).

  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/4 cup vanilla casein protein powder*
  • 1/4 cup flour**
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes (non-sweeted)
  • 1 tBsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp chai spices***
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tBsp vanilla sugar****
  • 3 whole eggs (med-large)*****
  • 1/4 cup olive oil******
  • 1/2 cup sour cream*******
  • splash of milk, 1% (around 2 tBsp, whatever you need for correct batter thickness)

*If you don’t have casein powder, you can just add in this much more flour… but honestly, try the casein, it’s soooo much more long-lasting of a protein and YUMMY!

**I’m using white flour because it’s hard to find anything else, but I’d LOVE to try ground oatmeal, or try rice flour for a gluten-free option. Christina or Kait, you willing to try that and get back to me? 😉  

***I have the chai spices on-hand, so I’m substituting it for 1/4 tsp nutmeg & pinch of cloves. I think any of these warm, Christmas-y spices in similar amounts would work well.

****Vanilla sugar is a flavored sugar here–it’s used instead of liquid vanilla extract, which I’ve never seen in Ukraine. The original recipe ALSO calls for 1/3 cup sugar, which I used a couple drops of Stevia for, but the second time around I didn’t use either, because our vanilla protein powders are SO sweet. If yours isn’t, try adding a little Stevia or sugar to taste–but you don’t need much. If you’re using regular sugar, maybe add a tsp of vanilla extract and work up from there.

*****So the recipe actually calls for 2 egg whites, I think jumbo size. I hate, hate, HATE wasting yolks, and I only have teeny-tiny eggs in Ukraine, so I figured 3 whole eggs was a reasonable substitute. Texture-wise, it seems okay. If I was cooking this in the states, I’d personally use 2 jumbo eggs.

******This was supposed to be canola oil. I tried the recipe both using olive oil and using butter, and olive oil created a far superior texture. I thought the taste a teensy bit odd, but The Hubs loves it.

*******Yes, another substitution! This should be plain Greek yogurt, which I think would be stellar. However, the sour cream is surprisingly great in this recipe. 

frosted protein cupcake

The frosting helped further moisten the cakes–truly yum-tastic!

For the frosting, I’ve tried a chocolate version and a lemon glaze. I didn’t measure anything, just mixed until it felt right each time.

Chocolate frosting:

  • chocolate casein protein powder (it sets up better than whey)
  • cocoa powder (1:2 up to 1:1 for cocoa-to-casein ratio)
  • water
  • powdered sugar (not much!)
  • butter (not much!)

Lemon glaze:

  • lemon juice
  • vanilla casein protein powder (this was odd texturally, maybe I’ll try the vanilla whey next time)
  • powdered sugar
  • tiny bit of butter (i’d eliminate this, next time)

I’m curious to hear the results with Greek yogurt in the batter, rice flour, and other configurations of the with or without substitutions. If you try this out, please let me know!

In the meantime: Many Happy Noms to you!

Also try: Protein-Powder Brownies


2 thoughts on “Vanilla Spice Coconut Protein Cupcakes

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