I was sending you a pink bowed box with twelve moist and fudgy cupcakes nestled inside. Just a simple gift from one dear friend to another. I even hand wrote a note and tucked it inside to let you know that each bitty brownie cake is only 100 calories. And whole grain. And nonfat. And made from real, wholesome ingredients.
You’d have been downright smitten with me.
Unfortunately, I ate them all. One by one. Crumb after moist crumb.
I hope you’ll understand. What’s that saying about it being the thought that counts? Well, that.
Very truly yours,
Chocolate covered in Seattle
It is a rare occasion that I pull something from my oven that does not contain butter and a full week’s worth of sugar as recommended by USDA dietary guidelines. Because in my mind, if you can be mindful and eat just one of an ooey gooey, then there’s no reason not to push the limits of decadence and sweet splendor.
But sometimes it’s equally as splendid when those ooey gooeys are wholesome and light. When they feel good and taste good too.
Each of these cupcakes is moist, tender, soft crumbed, and plenty chocolatey. And unlike lots of healthy baking projects I’ve tried, these are ones I would serve to someone other than Daniel. Healthy yet fabulous enough to share with friends and strangers. They’re gently sweet and have a decidedly lighter texture than most of the non fat cake recipes I’ve tried.
And I may be mistaken… but I think that any calories saved in cake form should be spent in frosting? Someone tell me where I’m wrong.
I make these all the time for Daniel and I to have for a light dessert. I even took to freezing them (unfrosted), and then pulling one out on a casual Wednesday night, warming it in the microwave, and plopping a scoop of ice cream on top for a healthier brownie sundae.
Here is how you can have your cake and eat it too, all for 100 calories:
Combine a cup of milk with 1 teaspoon of vinegar, preferably apple cider vinegar. Set that aside for a few minutes so that it can curdle, like buttermilk.
You can use dairy milk or nondairy milk, nonfat milk or whole. I’ve tried all varieties- everything from almond milk to 1% to soy. All work well. The point is to create a light buttermilk (though using less acid than a traditional buttermilk), which will chemically react with the baking soda in the recipe to help the cupcakes rise while baking.
In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: 1/2 cup all purpose white flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (you can also use whole wheat pastry flour with even better results), 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set this mixture aside.
Note: I’ve used all variations of flour blends. Using all white flour produces the lightest, fluffiest texture, and the one most closely resembling a standard, full-fat cupcake. The balance I’ve chosen- using 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat- is quite perfect. Nutritionally, you’re getting a better-for-you dessert, and the texture isn’t compromised. Using all whole wheat flour turns out well too, it’s just that the cupcakes bake up denser. If you want to use 100% whole grains in the recipe, though, I’d recommend whole wheat pastry flour, as it lends a softer, more tender texture than traditional whole wheat flour. Use whatever you like.
Now, in a large mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cup brown sugar with 1/2 cup of apple sauce and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
I’m replacing the fat in the recipe with applesauce here with great results. The cupcakes are extra moist from the substitution, but they are a bit heavier in texture because of it. I really like this aspect though, and find their slight density satisfying.
Pour in the milk mixture. You’ll notice that the milk has begun to separate and curdle.
Give all wet ingredients a thorough stir.
Add your dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir just until incorporated. The batter will be much thinner and more runny than traditional cake batters, almost like a pancake batter.
Line a 12 cup cupcake tin with paper liners and lightly spritz each of them with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the batter evenly among the cups and bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan set on top of a wire cooling rack before removing from the pan to cool completely. When they’re cool, frost with your favorite fluffy whipped vanilla frosting, or try mine: Best Whipped Frosting
100 Calorie Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
- 1 cup nonfat or low fat milk, dairy or nondairy
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup all purpose flour –OR- whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Spritz them lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, stir together milk and vinegar. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, applesauce, and vanilla. Pour in the now curdled milk and mix all ingredients well.
Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. The batter will be thin and wet, similar to a runny pancake batter. Divide it evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing to cool completely.
Once the cupcakes are cool, top them with my favorite light and fluffy whipped frosting, found here: Best Whipped Frosting.
Nutrition for 1 cupcake (unfrosted):
Calories: 108.7, Fat: 0.6g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 15.4mg, Carb: 29.7g, Fiber: 1.2g, Sugars: 20.5g, Protein 2.2g