When I think about three hobbies I enjoy that feel like an escape to me, the three pastimes that immediately jump into my mind include reading, working out (or doing something active outside) and baking. They all feel like something I do for myself to recharge – my “me time” – and if every day included more of each, I’d be a happy camper!
Reading is perfect at night when I want to unwind and get lost in another world before bed. Working out is wonderful in the morning and kick starts my day with a boost of energy and endorphins. And then there’s baking… To me, baking feels almost indulgent. A perfect Sunday afternoon activity that allows me to simply focus on creating something delicious for my family. A nostalgic activity that reminds me of tying on an apron and baking cookies with my mom when I was a little girl and eating way too much oatmeal raisin cookie dough.
I love putting on some music and basically destroying our kitchen with dirty dishes, a dusting of flour and a trail of crumbs. (Note: I did not say cleaning up after baking is one of my favorite pastimes.)
This past Sunday, I made my third attempt at Paleo lemon cupcakes and thank goodness these cupcakes finally turned out well! I love experimenting in the kitchen but Paleo and gluten-free baking is a bit of a beast for me. If I’m not following a cookbook or online recipe exactly, it will often take me several attempts to come up with a creation that we would deem a true success in our house. Thankfully Ryan and I are the least picky eaters in the world, so we’ve still managed to eat our way through way-too-dense muffins, pancakes that basically taste like ground up almonds and cake that crumbled into pieces on the first slice.
But these cupcakes passed the taste test from people outside of the Stomachs-of-Steel Fagan family.
Two of my close girlfriends have little ones who do not eat dairy and one of them also does not eat gluten, so I try to make some Paleo and gluten-free snacks they can enjoy when we all get together on occasion and these cupcakes passed the toddler taste test when I served them up yesterday, too!
These Paleo lemon cupcakes are lower in sugar than most cupcakes (especially if you leave the icing off, which is what we did for the little ones – does that make them muffins?) and the tangy lemon flavor stands out perfectly against the light sweetness of honey.
Paleo Lemon Cupcakes
Makes 9 cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes via Elana’s Pantry
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (I love this coconut cooking oil from Carrington Farms. It’s already melted and completely flavorless.)
- Zest of one large lemon
- Juice of one large lemon
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine coconut flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk 4 eggs. Stir in coconut oil, lemon juice, lemon zest vanilla and honey.
- Using a mixer, slowly mix egg mixture into coconut flour mixture until the batter appears smooth with no lumps. (It may take a while to mix and the batter will seem rather liquidy.)
- Spoon the batter into a silicone muffin pan sprayed with cooking spray.
- Place into the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool completely before icing the cupcakes.
Important note: I highly recommend baking these cupcakes in a silicone muffin pan without muffin liners. I’ve made them both in a traditional muffin pan with liners and in a silicone muffin pan sprayed with cooking spray without liners and found that the cupcakes slip right out of the silicone muffin pan and tend to stick to cupcake liners a bit. (I made two batches to photograph for this post and photographed them both ways.)
For the icing, I veered from Paleo and made Sprinkles’ lemon buttercream icing that was truly irresistible. If you are following a Paleo diet, this vanilla creme icing looks fantastic and I would recommending adding lemon zest to brighten up the icing with natural lemon flavor.