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The secret to baking healthier cupcakes

By Stacy Fraser, April 28, 2010 - 12:09pm

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Cupcakes are not just for kids anymore. They’re perfect for wedding showers, baby showers, whimsical weddings and even Mother’s Day. This year, my mom will be visiting us on Mother’s Day and my son, Sawyer, and I are already planning to bake her a special batch of healthier Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes to show her how much we love her. 

When I make cupcakes at home or when I’m developing new recipes in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, I try to keep the ingredients as healthy as possible. To limit saturated fat and keep calories in check, I use tricks like replacing the butter in the batter with nontraditional ingredients including applesauce, pureed raspberries, chopped cherries and even mashed potato (you can’t even taste the potato!). (Get 5 easy and delicious healthier cupcake recipes here.)

About two weeks before his second birthday, my son, Sawyer, made his birthday cake request. He held up a tiny index finger on each hand and decisively ordered, “One blue cake and one pink cake.” I thought, blue and pink cupcakes, of course. (Want to make a cake instead? Check out these 10 light and luscious spring cake recipes for Banana Cream Layer Cake and more.)

With cupcakes, there’s no messy cake cutting. And they’re a lot easier to make than a three-tier fire truck cake or princess castle. For the “pink” cake, I swirled fresh raspberry puree into lemon-flavored cupcake batter and into the frosting to make it look pink, as in Raspberry-Swirl Cupcakes. To satisfy Sawyer’s request for “blue” cake, I added lots of fresh blueberries to a cupcake batter and mixed blueberry preserves into fluffy meringue frosting for Blueberry Cupcakes (which ended up a little more purple than blue, but he didn’t seem to mind).

Having a child has renewed my own love for cupcakes. And it is a fun challenge to make them healthier. (Find out my secret ingredient swaps to make healthier cupcakes here.) I’ll never forget the look of pure joy on Sawyer’s face when I presented the tower of blue and pink cupcakes on the day of his birthday party. I bit into one and knew that my recipe was a success, but the real treat was seeing his smile covered in blue and pink frosting.

How do you make your cupcakes healthier? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Stacy Fraser, Healthy Cooking Blog, Dessert, Recipe Makeover

Stacy Fraser
Stacy Fraser is Test Kitchen manager at EatingWell. With a background in ecological agriculture and many past growing seasons under her belt, Stacy began her study of food in the field, literally. Before joining the crew at EatingWell, Stacy managed the kitchen of breakfast and lunch hot spot Penny Cluse, in downtown Burlington, Vermont, where she learned how to make simple, delicious food from fresh ingredients.

Stacy asks: How do you make your cupcakes healthier?

Tell us what you think:

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