Healthier Cupcake

Delicious recipes and easy tips for healthier cupcakes

EatingWell Test Kitchen Manager Stacy Fraser has baked with her son, Sawyer, since he was tall enough to reach the counter from a stepstool. When she makes cupcakes, she tries to keep the ingredients as healthy as possible for her son and his friends, and since they’re individually wrapped, she feels less tempted to overindulge. Even though they’re easier, she tries to steer clear of the boxed cake mixes and frosting tubs that contain artificial flavors, colors and ingredients she can’t pronounce.

Blueberry Cupcakes

What Stacy Likes: The “secret ingredient” in these coconut–infused blueberry cupcakes—mashed potatoes—gives the cake great texture, almost like pound cake. The fluffy frosting is just fun. Because it’s low in calories and fat, you can spread or pipe a generous amount on top of each cupcake to make them look extra festive. The frosting stiffens as it stands, so be sure to put it on the cupcakes right after you make it.

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes

What Stacy Likes: The chopped cherries blend into the ultra–rich chocolate cake, giving it a slight cherry flavor while keeping it super–moist with little added oil. The combination of reduced–fat cream cheese and sour cream gives the frosting cheesecake–like flavor with about 40 calories and 3 grams saturated fat less than a traditional cream cheese frosting.

Raspberry-Swirl Cupcakes

What Stacy Likes: Raspberry puree is the perfect color for turning the frosting a gorgeous shade of pink. For those unaccustomed to the mildly nutty flavor of whole–wheat flour (used in these cupcakes), the flavor of the raspberry puree swirled into the lemony cake make the wheat flavor undetectable.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

What Stacy Likes: These vanilla–infused cupcakes are made with applesauce as a fat–replacer for butter that’s traditionally part of vanilla cake batter. Thickened evaporated milk works as a great base for the rich and creamy chocolate frosting. Dark chocolate lovers, be sure to use bittersweet chocolate.

Creative Cupcake Ideas

To make your cupcakes look even more festive, try baking them in decorative paper cupcake liners. And jazz up the frosting with natural, plant-based food dyes (pictured here, stirred into our cream cheese frosting). Find liners and decorating supplies at wilton.com; liners, decorating supplies and natural food dyes at kingarthurflour.com.

Dinners that don't include meat are typically more likely to be low-fat. For instance, one recipe calls for replacing traditional roast beef with vegetables in a Reuben sandwich. Onions, sliced mushrooms and baby spinach get sautéed in olive oil and layered on rye bread with Russian dressing, reduced-fat Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. The sandwich has 380 calories and 16 grams of fat.

Bison is a lower fat alternative to beef. One recipe calls for substituting bison for hamburger to make kebabs. The meat is mixed with typical kebab herbs and spices -- cumin, allspice, cinnamon, parsley and cilantro. This mixture gets formed into ovals on skewers and grilled. The kebabs are served with a dip made of yogurt, mint, feta, garlic and lemon juice, with peas as a side dish. This meal has 231 calories and 11 grams of fat.

Fish is another low-fat option. One recipe calls for broiling halibut coated in olive oil, pepper and smoked paprika. This is served with a pea puree made of cooked peas, ricotta cheese and a little softened butter. This meal has 429 calories and 20 grams of fat.