A couple of years ago, one of my close friends came over for an afternoon of cake decorating. I had bought Amanda’s online class (she’s the talented blogger behind I Am Baker!), and we planned to go through each of the tutorials to learn as many techniques as we could.
Since my friend previously worked in a bakery, she already owned most of the necessary equipment (aka many tips and piping bags!), and she whipped up a big batch of buttercream ahead of time. I baked lots of cake layers and cupcakes, so when that afternoon arrived, we were totally prepared.
We watched Amanda’s videos on how to pipe with round tips, star tips, petal tips, and more. She demonstrated rosettes, ruffles, seashells, pushed petals, Chantilly lace designs… All while making everything look so easy!
With her prior bakery experience, my friend picked up many of the piping techniques right away, but… As an overachieving perfectionist, it took me five times as long to finally make my rosettes and pushed petals look presentable — and I ran out of time to even attempt the others!
Learning more about (and getting better at!) cake decorating is still on my baking bucket list… But for now, I’m sticking with easier endeavors, like these healthy pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! They’re full of warm fall flavors, like sweet pumpkin and cozy spices, and those stunning bakery-style swirls of delicious cream cheese frosting are much easier to achieve than you’d think!
Hint: If I can do it… I know you can too! 😉
KEY INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HEALTHY PUMPKIN CUPCAKES
But before I get too far ahead of myself… Let’s talk about some of the ingredients you’ll need to make these healthy pumpkin cupcakes!
You’ll begin with white whole wheat flour (like this!), which has the exact same health benefits as regular whole wheat flour but a lighter taste and texture. That difference really helps the tender texture and sweet pumpkin flavors shine!
You’ll also whisk in homemade pumpkin pie spice. I prefer making my own because I’ve found that many store-bought blends are fairly heavy on the cinnamon and contain minimal amounts of the other spices. They taste more bland and one-dimensional to me, whereas homemade versions have a much richer and cozier flavor — and they’re really easy to make! My blend has cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
Why is it that that those spices always smell so irresistible?? Do you know? I just purchased two new pumpkin spice scented candles last week… And I’m already planning on buying more. I love how their cozy smell wafts throughout my entire house!
Anyway… Moving on…
You’ll only use a minuscule ½ tablespoon of butter or coconut oil in the entire dozen cupcakes… Because the rest of their tender texture comes from a combination of pumpkin purée (like this — not pumpkin pie mix!) and Greek yogurt. You know how much I love both ingredients! Greek yogurt and pumpkin add the same moisture to the batter as extra butter or oil but for a fraction of the calories, and the Greek yogurt gives your baked treats a protein boost, too!
As for the pumpkin… My blog should probably be renamed to “Amy’s Healthy Pumpkin Baking” every fall. It’s my favorite flavor — and I happily eat it all year round!
Tip: I’ve shared 90+ healthy pumpkin-flavored recipes on my blog so far. (← You can find all of them there!) I don’t plan on stopping any time soon either!
To sweeten your cupcakes, you’ll skip the refined sugar and use liquid stevia instead. It’s another one of my favorite ingredients! Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that contains nothing overly refined or artificial (aka it’s clean-eating friendly!).
This is the kind I use because I love its flavor and don’t notice any strange aftertaste like with some other stevia products. Although many health-oriented grocery stores stock it, I often buy mine online here because that’s the best price I’ve found. (You’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine, too!)
Tip: Many stevia brands and products have different sweetness levels, so they’re not necessarily 1-for-1 substitutes for each other. For the best results, I highly recommend using the same liquid stevia that I do!
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY PUMPKIN CUPCAKES
These healthy pumpkin cupcakes are really easy to make! You just need two bowls and a fork — and bonus points if your mixing bowls are dishwasher safe. I’m a super happy girl when I end up with fewer dishes to wash!
That’s right… I actually do not recommend using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer. Those tend to overmix batters that are low fat and sugar-free, like this one. Overmixing leads to a tough, gummy, or dense texture. However, if you gently stir by hand, your healthy pumpkin cupcakes should turn out perfectly moist and tender!
Finally, you must coat your cupcake liners with cooking spray before adding in the batter. Low fat batters stick to cupcake liners like superglue, but this nifty little trick ensures that the cupcake liners peel away just like with normal, full-fat recipes!
HOW TO MAKE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Now it’s time for those gorgeous bakery-style frosting swirls! This cream cheese frosting is super simple to make. You’ll just beat Greek yogurt, light cream cheese, more liquid stevia, and a little instant pudding mix together in a bowl until the mixture turns really thick and creamy. Then pop it in the fridge to chill for a few hours.
Yes, that’s it!
The instant pudding mix is what thickens the frosting to a pipe-able, buttercream-like consistency. You can omit it… But then you’ll have to spread your frosting on top of your cupcakes instead. Just as delicious, I promise! Just not quite as stunning as those bakery-style swirls.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit how many of these I’ve already eaten… They’re just that good! 😉
And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting!
Healthy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
FOR THE CUPCAKES
- 2 ¼ cups (270g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 2 ¾ tsp homemade pumpkin pie spice (see Notes!)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tbsp (7g) coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp (15mL) liquid stevia
- ¾ cup (183g) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix!)
- ¼ cup (60g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp (150mL) nonfat milk, divided
FOR THE FROSTING
- 1 cup (240g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt (see Notes!)
- 8 oz (1 block) light or fat-free cream cheese, well softened (see Notes!)
- 2 servings (16g) sugar-free, fat-free cheesecake instant pudding mix (see Notes!)
- ⅝ tsp liquid stevia (or adjusted to taste)
- To prepare the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, and coat the liners with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg whites, vanilla, and liquid stevia. Stir in the pumpkin purée, Greek yogurt, and 2 tablespoons of milk. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the remaining milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 3 equal parts.)
- Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners. Bake at 350°F for 19-21 minutes or until the centers feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes bake, prepare the frosting. Add the Greek yogurt, cream cheese, instant pudding, and liquid stevia to a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Cover the top of the bowl with foil, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, pipe the cream cheese frosting on top just before serving.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Snack Cake
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Bundt Cake
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
♡ Healthy Gingerbread Cupcakes + Cream Cheese Frosting
♡ Healthy Cinnamon Apple Cupcakes
♡ Healthier Carrot Cake Cupcakes + Cream Cheese Frosting
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy pumpkin recipes and cupcake recipes!