Special thanks to Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own. #CollectiveBias #ShareItForward
Last spring, after a stressful year of MCATs and applications, my old college roommate finally received acceptance letters form two different medical schools. She bounced back and forth between which one to attend and consulted her dad, also a doctor, for his opinion multiple times. A few days before the deadline, she finally settled on the prestigious school slightly farther away, located in Colorado.
So over a year ago, just a week before my birthday in June, we hung out one last time before she moved partway across the country. To celebrate her decision, we cruised down the freeway to the big city 20 minutes away, and we savored a special dinner at a sophisticated restaurant she’d been dying to try her whole life. At the end of the evening, we gave each other the biggest hugs imaginable.
With her hectic class schedule, I hadn’t heard from her since she packed her bags until she wrote a month ago, explaining that she planned on heading back home to her parents’ place for a quick two-week summer vacation. She asked if I’d be around and even offered to make the three-hour trek to where I live. I immediately agreed, so last Friday afternoon, we finally met up… More than twelve months later!
We stopped by one of her favorite haunts in town, a build-your-own gourmet salad shop, where we laughed, chatted, and caught up just like old times. For the final two years of college, we lived in different apartments, but we still met on campus once a week to trade stories and stay close. Our few hours on Friday felt like that all over again, as if less than a week had passed—instead of over a year!
Before she hopped in her truck to head home, I handed her a plate of these Chocolate Coke Cupcakes with Cherry Vanilla Frosting to share with her family. The light fruity swirls on top perfectly complemented the rich chocolaty base, while the creamy and tender texture of each component married together into one beautiful bite. With their classy appearance and decadent taste, nobody will guess these cupcakes are lightened up and healthy!
I started with my favorite low-calorie dark chocolate cupcake base. Just yesterday, a reader wrote me that those cupcakes are the best she’s ever had and that they taste better than a bakery’s. That’s the biggest compliment I could’ve asked for—I’d like to own a bakery storefront someday!
I tweaked that recipe every so slightly by mixing in Diet Coke I bought from Walmart, instead of the milk I typically include. The texture turned out a shade lighter and more tender, due to the soda’s carbonation, and the extra sweetener made the cupcakes even moister than the originals. I may have eaten two in one sitting… They’re so addictive!
And this upcoming Sunday, July 6, Coca Cola is hosting a nationwide Share a Coke Event at Walmart stores across the US. Everyone—yes, you too!—is invited to stop by and share a bottle of coke with their family and friends.
Alternating additions are mandatory. You must switch between stirring in the flour mixture and Diet Coke into the egg mixture, and stop when the ingredients are just barely incorporated. This prevents over-mixing and over-developing the gluten strands, which would result in tough, gummy cupcakes. With alternating additions, you cupcakes will stay fabulously moist!
Use foil liners, if possible. This particular chocolate batter practically sticks like superglue to paper liners, but if you forget to buy foil ones (or run out, like me), lightly spray your paper lines twice with nonstick cooking spray. The batter will still stick to the paper’s sides, but not quite as much!
And now for the frosting… Although it looks and pipes like a regular buttercream, you don’t need any butter or powdered sugar. In fact, it’s actually fat-free! My trick?
Greek yogurt and instant pudding mix. The Greek yogurt, full of healthy protein, is already thick, and the instant pudding mix just makes it even thicker. After chilling for two hours, it’ll be ready to pipe like regular frosting! (See here for my detailed instructions on how to pipe those pretty bakery-style swirls.)
Light and moist, rich and fruity, these skinny Chocolate Coke Cupcakes with Cherry Vanilla Frosting taste every bit as cute and classy as they look! The bright cherries and decadent chocolate pair together perfectly against the subtle soda backdrop. They’re wonderful for picnics, pool parties, or any special occasion where you’d like to share a sweet treat—and a coke!—with your loved ones.
Just be sure to set aside a few for yourself too!
*Note: This post was sponsored by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All text, images, and recipe are my own.