Whole grain & low sugar recipes

Sugar free baking

Recipes featuring whole grains and no refined sugar

Sugar Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Light, spongey chocolate cupcakes are flavoured with orange zest and topped with fluffy chocolate whipped cream.

These cupcakes are like little chocolate clouds! The cake is light and the cream is fluffy and together they make a delicious and decadent treat.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 12 cupcakes

Mildly Sweet Recipe



Sugar Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup hot water
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large orange
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, or grease muffin pan.

  2. In a small bowl, stir the cocoa into the hot water until it dissolves, set aside.

  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a medium bowl. Grate the zest from the orange into the bowl and stir to combine.

  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and applesauce. Whisk in the buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla, then the the dissolved cocoa. Whisk in the melted butter and then the flour mixture.

  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake the cupcakes until puffed and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean, about 15 - 20 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack.

  6. Frost cupcakes with sugar free chocolate whipped cream frosting.



1 1/4 cups whipping cream or heavy cream (35%)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a medium bowl, stir the cocoa powder with 1/4 cup whipping cream until blended.

  2. Add the rest of the whipping cream and the vanilla, and using an electric mixer, beat on low until soft peaks form.

  3. Spread onto cupcakes with a palette knife, or spoon frosting into a medium sized freezer bag, cut off one of the bottom corners of the bag, seal the top and pipe onto the top of the cupcakes.

  4. Notes
    Before you zest the orange, you may want to use a citrus zester to remove some long strands of zest to use as garnish on the finished cupcakes. Use the citrus zester for the decorative strands, and a microplane zester to remove the zest that is to go into the batter.

    Sugar free chocolate orange cupcakes nutrition

    Sweeter Option

    For a sweeter cupcake, replace the 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce in the Mildly Sweet recipe above with 1/4 cup sugar. Whisk the eggs with the sugar in step 4. Omit the unsweetened applesauce.

    If you would like to experiment with other sweeteners, see About Sweeteners for more information and nutrition facts on honey, maple syrup, stevia and other sweeteners.

    Sugar free chocolate orange cupcakes nutrition

    Most of the recipes on Sweet Smart are adapted from my favourite cookbooks and websites. The Sweeter Option usually calls for about 1/4 to 1/2 of the sugar used in the original recipe.

    Adapted from: Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book: Essential Recipes for Today's Home Baker.

Recipe Sweetness

Sweet Smart recipes offer 2 sweetness levels:

1. Mildly Sweet
For those looking to enjoy baked treats with low sugar content. Recipes are designed to:
  • Minimize potential blood sugar spikes
  • Reduce cravings for sweets

2. Sweeter Option
For those who want a bit more sweetness in their baked goods, but are still looking for a lower sugar option.

These recipes are not meant to replicate traditional recipes, they are meant to provide a less sweet alternative.

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