Too Fit to Quit

Health and Fitness Tips and Advice

Happy National Cupcake Day!

Before you binge on high-calorie and fattening store bought or boxed cupcakes, try one of these recipes, courtesy of ­Cook Yourself Thin!

 

 

Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes
Calories per serving: 204

For the frosting
3 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
Pinch salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

For the cupcakes
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups peeled zucchini, finely grated

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. To make the frosting: Combine the egg whites, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Stir continuously over heat until the mixture is warm and the sugar is completely dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Remove the bowl from the heat. Using a handheld electric or standing mixer set on high, beat until the mixture is entirely cooled, glossy and stiff, about 7 minutes. Blend in the lemon zest until smooth — once smooth, take care not to overbeat or the mixture will get lumpy. Let frosting set and cool in the refrigerator (at least 30 minutes), while making the cupcakes.
4. To make the cupcakes: Arrange a rack in the center of the oven. Line a 12-muffin pan with cupcake liners.

5. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, almonds and baking powder; set aside. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla with a handheld or standing mixer until thick and light-colored, about 4 minutes. Beat in the zucchini on low speed until fully incorporated.

6. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the bowl once with a spatula during beating. Use a 1/3-cup measure to spoon into the muffin cups.

7. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes, turning the pan midway through baking. Transfer cupcakes out onto a wire rack and cool completely before icing with the chilled frosting.

 

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes
Calories per serving: 336

For the cupcakes
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 heaping cup peeled and finely grated sweet potato
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
3/4 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or mint chocolate bar cut into chunks
For the icing
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon green food coloring
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 tablespoons cold water

For the top
Shavings of dark chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper liners.

2. Using a handheld or standing mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes, until pale and quadrupled in size. Add the grated sweet potato and whisk again. Whisk in the ground almonds, flour, peppermint extract, salt, cocoa powder and baking powder until they are well combined. Add the chocolate chunks or chips, and using a spatula, mix so that they are evenly distributed.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners so that each liner is half-filled. This will give them enough space to puff up and rise to the top while baking.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. They will be somewhat flat on top rather than dome-shaped.

5. Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator until the cupcakes are cold. The cupcakes will need to be cold to keep the icing from sliding off.

6. While the cupcakes are baking, make the icing: With a wooden spoon or mixer, beat the butter with one heaping tablespoon of the sugar, the peppermint extract and coloring for a minute until they are all incorporated and the butter has softened slightly. Add the confectioners’ sugar one heaping tablespoon at a time, with half a teaspoon of water each time you add the sugar, and beat between each addition. Once all the sugar is added, you should have a soft green paste.

7. Ice each cold cupcake, using just over a tablespoon of frosting per cupcake. Finish by sprinkling dark chocolate shavings over the top of each one.

 

And, last but DEFINITELY not least, my favorite: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes
Calories per serving: 212

For the cupcakes
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup raw beets, peeled and finely grated
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon red food coloring
2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the icing
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 medium egg white
Small pinch salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake liners.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, sugar and salt, and using a handheld or standing mixer, beat on medium-high for about 5 minutes, until pale and doubled in size.

3. Add the grated beets, flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder and baking powder. Stir to combine.

4. Add the buttermilk and food coloring, and beat again to make sure that all the ingredients are well-incorporated.

5. Spoon batter into the cupcake liners, taking care not to fill more than two-thirds of the way up or it will overflow when cooking.

6. Bake for 30 minutes.

7. While the cupcakes are cooking, make the icing: Prepare a double boiler.

8. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of the double boiler, and stir to dissolve the sugar with a clean metal spoon for exactly 4 minutes; the mixture should be warm.

9. Remove the bowl from the heat, and beat with a hand or standing mixer on high speed, until cool and the mixture has turned into a meringue, no more than 5 minutes.

10. The mixture is ready to use when it has formed stiff peaks.

11. Pipe or spread 1 heaping tablespoon of the icing over the cooled cupcakes, and take care to ice the cakes very quickly, as the icing will start to set and is best when just made.

Check out this picture of one of the red velvet cupcakes I made using this recipe:

A good way to stop yourself from overeating is to freeze your desserts. Individually wrap your cupcakes before you ice them, then take them out one at a time when you’re ready to eat them. You can freeze them while they are iced, but they won’t last as long. Happy baking:-) (& eating!)

 

References

“”Cook Yourself Thin” Recipe Guide – MyLifetime.com.” MyLifetime.com.15 Dec. 2011. <http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/cook-yourself-thin/recipes/>.

 

Kumai, Candice, Harry Eastwood, and Allison Fishman. Cook Yourself Thin: Skinny Meals You Can Make in Minutes. New York: Hyperion, 2009.

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