Healthy Cupcakes: Pumpkin Cider

Continuing with her healthy crusade, Rebecca has another recipe for cupcakes with fewer calories and less guilt then their original recipe.

I love pumpkin everything in the Fall! This season, I was thrilled to try the new Pumpkin Hard Cider from Woodchuck. (Also try Harpoon Pumpkin Cider!) This 6.9% cider is not too sweet, nicely spiced, and has turned into one of my favorites of the season. I could go on about Pumpkin Cider/Beer for paragraphs on end, so I will cut to the baking.

I wanted to try and bake with the cider, so I decided to try mixing it into my basic “healthy” cupcake recipe. The recipe is simple: 1 box spice cake, 1 can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling), and 1 bottle Woodchuck Pumpkin Hard Cider. I used Guinness in a recipe like this around St. Patty’s day, so I was hopeful for success!

The batter smelled delicious, with notes of apple and spice, and distributed evenly into 24 cupcake wrappers. As those were baking, I got to work on the cinnamon spice cream cheese frosting.

I also made this portion of the recipe “semi-homemade” and mixed an 8oz tub of light whipped cream cheese with 1/2 tub of whipped cream cheese frosting. Since tub frosting tends to be extremely sweet, I wanted to cut it with a rich creamy flavor. After I whipped those together in the mixer, I added a TON of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. The texture was thick, rich, and full of spice.

The finished product tasted of pumpkin, apple, and cinnamon; I also added a sugar-free caramel drizzle to finish 1/2 the batch. They come in at 5 WW points, for those of you tracking. Give this easy recipe a try if you want to indulge in the season, without all the indulgence of extra fat and calories!

– Recipe by our Healthy Guest Crusader, Rebecca (Baltimore, MD)

Healthy Cupcakes: Italian Wedding Cake Re-make

Continuing with her healthy crusade, Rebecca has another recipe for cupcakes with fewer calories and less guilt then their original recipe.

One of my favorite cupcakes, that I have not had in a while, is the “Italian Wedding Cake” cupcake from IcedGems bakery. This pineapple almond shortening cake with cream cheese frosting is light, fluffy, decadent, and flavorful. I knew I wanted to recreate these flavors for my next “lightened up” recipe, so I decided to try a few new substitutions to recreate the almond, pineapple, and coconut flavors of the Italian Wedding Cupcake.

To make the cake, I started with a basic white cake mix and used a can of crushed pineapple in juice (not heavy syrup). The additional moisture from the pineapple was going to be my oil substitute. I did include 2 eggs in this recipe to ensure that the cake would rise. For added texture, I included ¼ of a cup of coconut flakes and ¼ of a cup of crushed pecans. Once it was well mixed, I added 2 tablespoons of almond extract, to really give it that almond kick I was looking for!

I recently found new cupcake baking cups that wouldn’t “fade” after baking and was very excited to test them out! So while the cakes were baking in the new StayBright baking cups, I moved on to the frosting.

IcedGems’ cream cheese frosting is rich and thick, like cheesecake, so I wanted to try and create a cheesecake flavor, without the added sugar and cream cheese. I used an 8oz. container of Whipped Weight Watchers Cream Cheese, mixed with sugar-free cheesecake pudding mix that had been dissolved in 8oz. of skim milk. The texture was similar to very thick pudding, but it had a nice cream cheese flavor. The pudding mix served as a wonderful, alternative to sugar in this recipe, cutting back on the calories and WW points!

This recipe made 24 cupcakes and remained at 4 Points, which is very reasonable for a dessert. I was very pleased with the flavors and texture and would make this recipe again, though the next time IcedGems is featuring their Italian Wedding Cake, I will be sure to stop by the truck for one!

– Recipe by our Healthy Guest Crusader, Rebecca (Baltimore, MD)