Test Kitchen Secrets: How to Bake a 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

Pictured Recipe: Blueberry Cupcakes

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.

What Sawyer Likes: The frosting.


Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes

Pictured Recipe: Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes

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.

What Sawyer Likes: The frosting. Of course.


Raspberry-Swirl Cupcakes

Pictured Recipe: Raspberry-Swirl Cupcakes

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.

What Sawyer Likes: The frosting and the raspberry on top.


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.

What Sawyer Likes: The frosting, the sprinkles and the yummy vanilla cake.


Creative Cupcake Ideas

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.