It’s no secret in our marriage that I have the upper hand when it comes to ordering food in a restaurant.

Last week, while out for dessert and cocktails with some friends, I talked Ben out of ordering a red velvet cupcake.

Now before you label me as some kind of evil ordering control freak, understand that instead of that red velvet cupcake, I ordered, for the two of us: Pumpkin Caramel Creme (with mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies and Pumpkin Seed Brittle on the side), and Tabletop S’mores. With homemade marshmallows and fresh graham crackers, naturally. And since we were with friends, and our friends all like to share, there was also Creme Brulee, Caramel Apple Bread Pudding, Chocolate-Filled Croissant Donuts with Caramel Dipping Sauce, and Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream.

It’s not like the boy was deprived. And I doubt he really missed the red velvet cupcake. But nonetheless, I wanted to make it up to him.

Fortunately for us, a couple tubs of Melt Buttery Spread arrived on our doorstep the very next morning.

Melt is the latest in the healthy butter substitutes category. It is a blend of the healthiest fats and oils, like virgin coconut oil and flaxseed oil to support a healthy weight and good cholesterol levels,  but it differs from its peers in that it is organic; 100% free of artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives; soy and gluten-free; and utterly delicious. I make that last point because as someone who hardly ever shmears butter on anything, I had a hard time not licking the spoon when it was time to dig into the Melt. It has a sweet, buttery taste that simply melts in your mouth. Not that I felt too much guilt, because Melt has only 80 calories per tablespoon, which is less than other fats. Melt is also different from other butter substitutes in that works in all kinds of cooking and baking applications just like butter.

I decided to give it a shot in a gluten-free, sugar-free version of red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. This allowed me to try out Melt in its melted form, in place of melted butter or oil in a baked good. It also gave me the chance to check out how Melt holds up in creamy pillows of cupcake frosting.

So how did it turn out? We both declared these some of the best cupcakes I had ever made. The cupcakes were not too dense and not too fluffy – just as I like them – and the hint of chocolate and buttery tang was spot on for a red velvet cupcake. The frosting was light and fluffy, with just the right amount of sweet, buttery contrast to tangy cream cheese. Since low-carb baking is sometimes associated with lots of fat, it was encouraging to find out that this healthier fat option provided the same great results. We declared a Melt success.

I have more good news for you. Melt is sponsoring a Mingle with Melt contest, giving you the chance to try out Melt and host a dinner party while you’re at it. One lucky winner will receive $500 gift card to use however you like towards your Mingle with Melt party, where you’ll have the chance to show off your favorite Melt recipes to your family and friends. It could be a swanky dinner party or casual football gathering, but either way, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re feeding everyone a little more healthfully with Melt in the mix.

Oh wait, there’s more! The author of the blog from which the winner was referred will also win a $500 gift card! That’s a party for me, a party for you, and more great Melt recipes to go around. When you enter, be sure to mention Cara’s Cravings so we can have the chance to party together with Melt.

So just to summarize:
Click Here to enter the $500 Mingle with Melt Giveaway
Do it by October 31st, 2011
Mention Cara’s Cravings
Good luck and thanks for entering!


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Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 8 servings


1/2 cup (56gm) coconut flour
2 tablespoons (10gm) natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons Melt, melted over low heat
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk, or 2 tablespoons powdered buttermilk + 1/2 cup water*
1/2 cup erythritol, such as NOW Foods
1/2 teaspoon vanilla stevia extract, such as NuNaturals
7-8 drops red gel food coloring

4oz / 114gm reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 oz / 56gm Melt
1 cup erythritol, powdered (use a coffee or spice grinder to crush the granules to a fine powder)
15-20 liquid vanilla stevia drops, or to taste


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place cupcake liners in 8 wells of a muffin tin.

In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and powdered buttermilk, if using. Set aside.

In a larger bowl, combine the eggs, egg whites, Melt, buttermilk or water, erythritol, and stevia. Mix on low speed with a hand blender until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix well, beginning on low speed and increasing to high, for about 2 minutes, until well-blended and no lumps remain. Blend in food coloring until desired color is achieved.

Divide batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and Melt until fluffy (the Melt does not need to be warmed too room temperature; it will be soft enough straight from the refrigerator.) Add the powdered erythritol in several additions, beating well, until fluffy. Beat in liquid vanilla stevia drops to taste.

*Powdered buttermilk can be found in the baking section of your grocery store. If you only use buttermilk once in a while, this is a great staple to have in order to avoid the inevitable "What do I do with the rest of this quart of buttermilk I bought when I only needed a 1/2 cup?" Powdered buttermilk lasts in the refrigerator for a long time, and can be used in any recipe that calls for buttermilk. For every cup of buttermilk needed, add 4 tablespoons of powdered buttermilk with the dry ingredients, and 1 cup of water with the wet ingredients.

Nutrition Facts:

Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 159.6
Total Fat 11.9 g
Saturated Fat 28.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.5 g
Cholesterol 56.9 mg
Sodium 296.8 mg
Potassium 67.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 7.1 g
Dietary Fiber 3.2 g
Sugars 0.7 g
Protein 6.8 g

Cara Lyons,

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays for 10/4/2011.

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