Every year throughout elementary school, I always looked forward to Halloween. Our teachers allowed us to wear our costumes to class (as long as they followed the school’s regular dress code!), and they stopped their lessons after lunch for the school-wide Halloween parade.
The teachers led their classes out to the asphalt courtyard, and their students lined up single file behind them. We walked around the entire campus and massive grassy field behind the fifth graders’ playground, and we waved to the front office staff, yard duties, and parents who left work early to cheer us on as our parade streamed past.
Often, a couple of parent volunteers slipped in during our lunch recess and festively decorated each classroom with paper jack-o-lantern, ghost, and black cat cut-outs on the walls and crêpe paper streamers hanging from the ceiling. They also organized a little refreshments table for our class parties—and we always looked forward to those the most!
When we arrived back at our classrooms, we found lots of sweet treats waiting for us: juice boxes, pumpkin-shaped crunchy sugar cookies with coarse orange sanding sugar, mini chocolate cupcakes with bright orange frosting and bat-shaped sprinkles, and bowls of miniature Halloween candy bars. Yum!
Although come to think of it, it makes perfect sense that our teachers cancelled afternoon lessons… It’d be nearly impossible to get little kids to concentrate with that many sugary sweets around!
As an adult, I kind of miss those innocent little Halloween classroom parties with all of the cute costumes and fun decorations… But if I decided to host one now as an adult, these Healthy Small Batch Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting would definitely appear on my refreshments table!
They’re supremely moist with lots of sweet pumpkin and warm spice flavors, and unlike the mini cupcakes from my childhood Halloween parties, these contain no artificial ingredients, food dyes, refined flour or sugar!
Festive fall colors. Perfectly sweet and moist. Super easy to make. What’s not to love??
Let’s go over how to make these healthy small batch mini pumpkin cupcakes!
You’ll start with whole wheat pastry flour (like this!) and lots of spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. These are some of the most common spices found in store-bought jars of pumpkin spice (short for “pumpkin pie spice,” or the spices used to make pumpkin pie—no actual pumpkin included!). I prefer to make my own for a few reasons… (a) I love this cinnamon and find it has a stronger, sweeter flavor than the cinnamon usually found in store-bought pumpkin spice; (b) it’s cheaper to make my own; and (c) I keep jars of those individual spices in my pantry already!
As for the whole wheat pastry flour, it has the same health benefits as regular whole wheat flour, but it also has a lighter taste and texture! That’s because it’s made by grinding a special type of soft white wheat exceptionally finely. The lighter flavor and texture of white wheat lets the supremely moist texture and sweet flavor of these healthy small batch mini pumpkin cupcakes truly shine!
Unlike traditional pumpkin cupcake recipes that call for lots of oil or butter, you just need ½ teaspoon for these—and no egg yolks either! That really helps keep these healthy small batch mini pumpkin cupcakes low in calories (and low fat)!
Then the rest of their tender texture comes from pumpkin purée (like this—not pumpkin pie mix!) and Greek yogurt. If you’ve been around my blog before, you know how much I love using Greek yogurt! Just like the pumpkin, it adds the same moisture to your cupcake batter as extra oil or butter but for a fraction of the calories… And the Greek yogurt adds a protein boost to your healthy small batch mini pumpkin cupcakes, too!
You’ll skip the refined granulated sugar and sweeten your cupcakes with another one of my favorite ingredients: liquid stevia. Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that contains nothing refined or artificial (aka it’s clean eating friendly!). This is my current favorite because it doesn’t have any strange aftertaste like some other stevia products. Although you can find it at many health-oriented grocery stores, I buy mine online here because that’s the best price I’ve found. (And you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine, too!)
Before you add the batter to your cupcake liners, you must coat the cupcake liners with nonstick cooking spray. Low fat cupcakes, like these healthy small batch mini pumpkin cupcakes, tend to stick to liners like superglue because they don’t contain a lot of butter or oil like traditional recipes… So misting your cupcake liners first enables them to peel away from the cupcakes much more easily!
While your cupcakes bake, it’s time to prepare the frosting! Originally, I planned on making a spreadable dark chocolate frosting for these healthy small batch mini pumpkin cupcakes… But I nixed that idea when the cupcakes rose really tall and I realized pretty swirls of frosting would look much better! 😉
So to make this pipe-able chocolate frosting that’s more like milk chocolate in flavor, you’ll need a couple of key ingredients: Greek yogurt, cocoa powder (this kind!), instant pudding mix (this kind!), and more liquid stevia (remember, I love this one!).
I know, I know… Instant pudding mix sounds like a really strange ingredient for frosting. But it works like magic! By mixing the Greek yogurt with it and then chilling for 2 hours, the instant pudding mix thickens the frosting to be a pipe-able consistency. Without it, this frosting wouldn’t hold its shape and would need to be spread on top of the cupcakes. Such a fun trick, right?
Tip: I’ve found that not all Greek yogurt brands are equally thick! This is my favorite one for my Greek yogurt frosting because it’s the thickest brand I’ve found, which means your chocolate frosting holds its shape so much better!
Time for dessert! 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 small batch mini pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate frosting!
Healthy Small Batch Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
FOR THE CUPCAKES
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp (135g) whole wheat pastry flour or gluten free* flour (measured like this)
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tsp coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 large egg white, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp liquid stevia (see Notes!)
- 6 tbsp (92g) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix!)
- 2 tbsp (30g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 6 tbsp (90mL) nonfat milk
FOR THE FROSTING
- 1 cup (240g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt (see Notes!)
- 2 tbsp (10g) unsweetened cocoa powder (measured like this)
- 1 serving (11g) sugar-free, fat-free instant chocolate pudding mix (see Notes!)
- ¼ tsp liquid stevia (or adjusted to taste)
- To prepare the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 18 mini muffin cups with paper liners, and coat the liners with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg white, vanilla, and liquid stevia. Stir in the pumpkin purée and Greek yogurt. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the 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 9-12 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, cocoa powder, instant pudding, and liquid stevia to a large bowl. Beat with an electric hand-held mixer or stand 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 chocolate frosting on top just before serving.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Small Batch Mini Chocolate Cupcakes
♡ Healthy Small Batch Apple Crumble Bars
♡ Healthy Small Batch Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Pumpkin Pie
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Bundt Cake
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
♡ …and all of Amy’s other healthy pumpkin recipes!
I used whole eggs, and almond flour, absolutely yummy!
I’m so glad you enjoyed these cupcakes Wanda!! Thanks for taking the time to let me know! 🙂
Thank you for the recipe. It would be helpful if it said if they could freeze and if the frosting could be made the night before. I’m a little surprised to see a recipe with so many sugar substitutes paired with a frosting made with packaged pudding mix where the first ingredient is sugar. I realize you provided a link to a substitute. Surprised at the original pairing. I made a few substitutions. They are good but will try with the recommended flour. Thank you again.
LOL, I see I did not read the non-fat, non-sugar description of the pudding mix. Reinforces your message about reading the recipe carefully. My apologies. My grocery store does not sell the suggested pudding mix. Maybe I will order some for next time. Thanks again.
No worries, Debben! I know that detail about the sugar-free pudding mix can be easy to miss. It happens all the time! 🙂
If you’d prefer, the frosting can easily be made the night before! Just transfer it to an airtight container after making it and before chilling to prevent it from drying out. The unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen as well. (They don’t freeze and thaw quite as well once they’ve been frosted!)
I’m glad you enjoyed these cupcakes, and I hope you like them even more the next time you try making them!
Hi Amy- these look delicious! I don’t have a mini cupcake pan, so I would be making regular sized cupcakes. I also like mine sweeter, so I would be adding the additional sweetner. Would I also increase the baking time (as you would with the mini cupcakes)?