Lightened Up Chocolate Cupcakes

Fluffy Lightened Up Chocolate Cupcakes that save on calories but still taste amazing. Topped with low-fat chocolate icing, no one ever guesses they’re healthy!less calorie chocolate cupcake recipe, low fat cupcakes, low fat chocolate dessert, healthier cupcakes, ATK chocolate cupcakes, ATK Comfort Food Makeovers

Lightened Up Chocolate Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I sent an email over to America’s Test Kitchen to see if we could work on a project together. I was so excited when I got a very positive yes back from them. They wanted to know if I could help promote their Comfort Food Makeovers cookbook. They got a very excited yes in reply!

Comfort Food Makeovers is such a clever book that takes your and my favorite classics and popular restaurant dishes and gives them a makeover for the better. The goal was to drop fat and calories without sacrificing flavor, and if anyone could pull this off successfully it would be America’s Test Kitchen. The best part is they aren’t subbing in things like artificial sweeteners in the dessert, or on the other end of spectrum,  there’s no cauliflower hiding in the mac-n-cheese. They use everyday classic ingredients but cook smarter. I love their approach to cooking!

If you are an old-timer to the blog you know that I’m an America’s Test Kitchen lover (fondly known as ATK to their fans). Husband got me three of their cookbooks a few years ago for Mother’s Day and I blog the recipes often. What I love is that they take the time to teach what they are doing and why they are doing it. They include way more than just a recipe and pictures; reading their cookbooks is like a mini cooking class which I love. So when presented with an opportunity to work with a new cookbook of theirs I jumped at the chance.

Comfort Food Makeovers doesn’t even come out until this Friday (March 1), so ATK sent me over to look at the recipe index for the book. Once I got through all of the delicious pictures and description of the book I stared in wonder at all it includes. Mozzerella sticks, Pork Lo Mein (compared to P.F. Chang’s), baked ziti, cheesy garlic bread, chicken marsala, and potato salad. Then comes cinnamon rolls, carrot cake, lightened up chocolate cupcakes, and key lime bars… can carrot cake really be lightened up?!

They let me pick out 6 recipes from the huge list and then they emailed the recipes over to me (the book isn’t out yet remember). So I just got a taste of what’s to come and boy oh boy am I hungry for the rest. America’s Test Kitchen also agreed to giveaway a copy of the book today! You can enter using the Rafflecopter tool below, and if you don’t want to wait to see if you are the winner you can always preorder your copy of the book here.

Now onto some cupcakes!

I was really excited to get the recipes and to see the approach that ATK was using to achieve a lighter version of such classic dishes. We’ve all heard of replacing applesauce for oil or even ground black beans in brownies, so how would they reduce the calories in cupcakes?! Well friends, I’m pleased to announce that they just swapped canola oil for butter and went from there… nothing too crazy and the results were phenomenal. I make a lot of cake and cupcakes and these lightened up chocolate cupcakes were probably the best I’ve ever made. I’m not buttering you up for the book; I’m telling you so you make them! The texture was perfect, which is normally my complaint when it comes to homemade cupcakes/reduced fat desserts and the flavor was very rich.

Thomas was out of town when I made them, so I saved him some as a little test (he LOVES cake). I just had him eat a few when he got back and asked him what he thought. He said they were excellent but he would call them dark chocolate cupcakes, not just chocolate (hence the richness and color). I explained that they were lower fat than normal and he was sincerely surprised but totally happy with the results.

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I’m actually going to share a second recipe from the book on Thursday (mac-n-cheese!), but in the mean time enjoy these cupcakes and get excited about this book. The recipes aren’t written in the traditional double column format. You get a whole page per recipe with a paragraph at the top titled “why this works”. I love knowing what ATK tried, liked, didn’t like, and why they settled on what they did. They spill it all in that first paragraph. Each recipe also comes with the “before and afters” of calories, fat, and saturated fat right on the page (more detailed nutrition info is in the back of the book too). The stats for these lightened up chocolate cupcakes looked like this:
fat Not too shabby if you ask me. And my icing was a bit thinner than intended, so I was only able to get about 1 tablespoon on each cupcake which means even less calories. The thin icing was still delicious and the cupcakes tasted a lot like my grandma’s sheet cake which is a good thing.

Can I leave out the instant espresso powder?

Yes! The original recipe calls for 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder to be added with the chocolate and cocoa. Leaving it out was the only thing I changed.

How do I measure boiling water?

To properly measure boiling water allow a larger amount of water than you need to come to a boil in a small saucepan and then carefully measure out the amount of water needed once it has begun to boil.

What is the best cocoa powder to use?

I used dutch-processed cocoa with wonderful results, and would recommend it (something like Hershey’s Special Dark). You could use traditional cocoa but your cupcakes and icing will look less black and more brown than mine.

Can I substitute all-purpose flour for the bread flour?

The extra gluten in bread flour is a big part in the texture and structure of the cupcakes. So I wouldn’t switch all-purpose flour for the bread flour.

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Lightened Up Chocolate Cupcakes


  • Author: Melissa Griffithes-Bless This Mess
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 19 min
  • Total Time: 29 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Cupcakes 1x

Description

Fluffy Lightened Up Chocolate Cupcakes that save on calories but still taste amazing. Topped with low-fat chocolate icing, no one ever guesses they’re healthy!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Low- Fat Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl add the chocolate and cocoa. Pour the boiling water over the top and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes to give the chocolate time to melt. Whisk until smooth and then let the mixture cool, about 10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Whisk to combine.
  4. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled add the eggs, vinegar, and oil to the bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk everything together until well combined and a smooth batter is formed.
  5. Measure out 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin tin. Bake the cupcakes for 17-19 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Pull the done cupcakes from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan, on the rack, for 10 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan once the 10 minutes are up and allow them to cool completely on the wire rack, about 1 hour.
  6. Frost each cooled cupcake with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the chocolate frosting and serve.

Notes

The original recipe calls for 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder to be added with the chocolate and cocoa. Leaving it out was the only thing I changed.

To properly measure boiling water allow a larger amount of water than you need to come to a boil in a small saucepan and then carefully measure out the amount of water needed once it has begun to boil.

I used dutch-processed cocoa with wonderful results, and would recommend it (something like Hershey’s Special Dark). You could use traditional cocoa but your cupcakes and icing will look less black and more brown than mine.

Don’t be tempted to switch all-purpose flour for the bread flour. The extra gluten in bread flour is a big part in the texture and structure of the cupcakes.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: easy chocolate cupcake recipe, healthy chocolate cupcake recipe

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Low-Fat Chocolate Icing


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths-Bless This Mess
  • Prep Time: 5min
  • Cook Time: 0min
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x

Description

A low-fat, easy chocolate icing recipe perfect for cupcakes and cakes.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 7 tablespoons one-percent milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Combine the powdered sugar and cocoa together in the food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the milk, butter, melted chocolate, and vanilla, and pocess untill smooth.

Notes

I don’t recommend measuring out the milk over the hole in the top of the food processor… you might get a little crazy and spill some extra milk in which will make your icing too thin. This may or may not have happened to me 😉

I used dutch processed cocoa powder and would recommend it. You can use traditional but your icing won’t be as dark as mine.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: food processor icing, chocolate icing recipe, easy chocolate frosting recipe

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Enjoy these Lightened Up Chocolate Cupcakes that save on calories but still taste amazing. Topped with low-fat chocolate icing, no one ever guesses they’re healthy!

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Lynn
Lynn

These are super quick and delicious! I used regular all purpose flour, and used half a cup of batter to fill “jumbo” tins (made six) for a dinner get together. Made a buttercream frosting to top them off so they were a lot higher in fat and calories! These were so quick and simple to make, and were such a decadent, dark and moist cupcake. Very impressed. Can’t go wrong with ATK!

Julia | JuliasAlbum.com

The icing on these cupcakes is out of this world!

Stephanie Cooper
Stephanie Cooper

This would be perfect for me right now!! We are really trying to eat healthier but sometimes you just want some good comfort food! Yay for the giveaway!

driel
driel

Ooh, the cupcakes look divine. We like you, a lot!!

TJ

What a great cookbook! I’d love to win a copy 🙂

Natalie
Natalie

I haven’t heard of America Test Kitchen before. It sounds good.

Stacey Mardene
Stacey Mardene

Ummm…YES! This cookbook would be amazing!

sarahkay2003

Melissa, can you believe I only just started following this blog last week? I read your family one all the time, but I had no idea you’re such a big deal in the blogosphere. You’ve gotten even more amazing than I thought you already were 😉 xo, Sarah

Erika
Erika

I could use all the help I can get in the kitchen! I love reading your blog and trying your recipes 🙂

Jill

Great post. I love all things ATK and even have a couple of my cookbooks signed by Christopher Kimball…got to meet him at a local bookstore and I was literally star struck 🙂 I’ll be buying this book if I don’t win.

Laraine
Laraine

I am really excited about this giveaway. I have never used the ATK cookbook. I am always looking for good recipes that are easy to follow and always turn out. Thanks Melissa for getting this together. I am excited to try the cupcakes.

Kim
Kim

It would help our family eat better!

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.