Cupcakes, Lightened Up

They may come in pretty little packages, but cupcake calories can get ugly! Here are some lighter ways to enjoy these tasty pastries.
Related To:

They may come in pretty little packages, but cupcake calories can sure get ugly. Here are some lighter ways to enjoy these tasty pastries.

The Basics to Know

Some cupcakes come with almost 500 calories and more than 25 grams of fat -- courtesy of the gobs of frosting and rich ingredients such as butter and eggs. Beware of cupcakes with fillings instead of frosting (it’s just frosting hidden on the inside), and go for smaller-sized cupcakes and lower-calorie versions of some of the other ingredients.

Downsizing

Cupcakes come portion controlled -- as long as you eat just one, that is. If a recipe makes 12 large cupcakes, stretch it out to 16 smaller ones. I like to cut down the portion sizes even further but using mini muffins pans. These Mascarpone Mini Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze have about 100 calories each. Serve mini cupcakes with a fresh fruit salad, and no one will miss those giant cupcakes.

Rethink Your Batter

Make a lighter cake batter by replacing some of the oil and butter with applesauce, apple butter, marmalade (like in this recipe) or yogurt (like in these vanilla and chocolate ones. Adding fruit or veggies -- shredded carrots or zucchini -- to your batter will add texture, keep the cake moist and up the nutrients.

Top It Off Right

Most frosting recipes contain tons of butter and cups of sugar. Cream cheese frosting (a favorite in my house) has all that butter and sugar plus more fat and calories from the cream cheese. One easy solution is switching to reduced-fat cream cheese. As a general rule, think less frosting and more fruit. Consider making half of the frosting in the recipe and embellishing the top of you cupcakes with fresh fruit –- finely diced strawberries or raspberries and kiwi makes a lightly frosted cupcakes look gorgeous!

    Recipes to try:
[Photo: Redsie / Recipezaar]
TELL US: What's your cupcake secret?
Keep Reading

Next Up

50 Cupcakes

Find everything you need for your next cupcake project.

7 Fun, Filled Cupcakes

Take a bite out of these go-to cupcakes stuffed with surprise fillings, including cool chocolate-mint, creamy banana and more.

Giada Bakes Fabulous Cupcakes

See how Giada bakes crowd-pleasing cupcakes for any occasion.

Make Your Own Hostess Cupcakes

We had so much fun making our own Girl Scout Cookies, we just had to try and recreate another childhood classic: Hostess Cupcakes.

How to Bake Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Vegan recipes may seem daunting, but a few simple ingredient swaps are all it takes to make a delectable dessert without any dairy or eggs.

Top Tips for Baking Better Cupcakes

Cupcakes are easy to bake, but little tips and tricks will help you make the best batches. Here are a dozen rules of thumb — plus a bonus one — for how to bake like a pro.

Color Your Cupcakes: A Food Coloring Guide

Creating colors is part art and part science, so get ready to play. While dabbling, we discovered that frostings and food colorings vary a lot; we prefer the intensity of gel to liquid. As you mix up a batch, find your favorites among ours, then debut your own hues along the way.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes — The New Girl

Get into the Irish spirit and make Dave Lieberman's Chocolate Stout Cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day.

Get Cupcakes 24-Hours a Day

Our own Candace from Cupcake Wars, who started the cupcake craze with Sprinkles Cupcakes, has done it again. The L.A.-based shop recently announced its newest innovation: a 24-Hour-Sprinkles, as well as plans for a Sprinkles Ice Cream.