Partway through college, I actually began to look forward to finals week. Not because I enjoyed exams like Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series… But because I knew I’d get a break that lasted at least a week or two (if not the entire summer!) after I turned in my last test.
At the end of my junior year, I started a new studying routine. After an hour of poring over my notes or focusing on practice exams, I took a short break to clear my head and rest my brain, which was just enough time to…
Watch one round of Cupcake Wars! I stumbled upon that Food Network TV series on Hulu, and since each episode contained three rounds of competition, with one of the four bakers eliminated after each round, one episode got me through at least three hours of studying.
The show always had a panel of three judges critiquing the contestants’ treats: Florian Bellanger, a famous French pastry chef; Candace Nelson, the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes; and one guest judge, related to that particular episode’s theme. Although I marveled over almost every single cupcake all of the bakers produced, especially when performing under such short time constraints, those three judges had very high standards… And I can’t imagine how nerve wracking it must have felt to stand in front of them and serve them freshly baked cupcakes!
I now follow Candace Nelson on Instagram, and when she recently shared a post about an upcoming season of her new Netflix series, Sugar Rush, I started thinking about my Cupcake Wars study sessions…
Which resulted in a big craving for cupcakes. So I baked these Healthy Small Batch Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting to satisfy my sweet tooth! Although not nearly as exotic as some of the flavors on Cupcake Wars, these sweet treats still taste incredible. They’re supremely moist and tender with lots of rich and decadent chocolate flavor, and the gorgeous swirls of raspberry frosting add the perfect finishing touch!
Also unlike those contestants’ cupcakes? These contain no refined flour or sugar and just 35 calories!
I have no idea whether Candace Nelson would approve… But I certainly hope so!
So let’s go over how to make these healthy small batch mini dark chocolate cupcakes!
You’ll start with a mixture of white whole wheat flour and unsweetened cocoa powder. I actually recommend the regular kind of cocoa powder, like this, rather than Dutched or “special dark” cocoa powder. Those latter two have a much less prominent chocolate flavor in this particular recipe. Also, since you’re adding more cocoa powder than flour, your healthy small batch mini chocolate cupcakes will definitely taste exceptionally rich when using regular unsweetened cocoa powder!
Hint: That’s my secret trick for making really rich and decadent cupcakes without any melted chocolate… Just lots of cocoa powder!
I know that the name “white whole wheat flour” sounds a bit confusing. It’s not actually a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and regular whole wheat flour! Instead, it’s made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat (hence the name!), whereas regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. They have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!), but white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture… Which lets the moist and fluffy texture of your healthy small batch mini chocolate cupcakes truly shine!
Hint: It’s like the difference between red and green grapes! Same health benefits, just a slightly different flavor.
Whereas traditional cupcake recipes call for lots of butter or oil to keep them moist and tender, you just need 1 teaspoon in this recipe. Yes, that’s it! That really helps keep these healthy small batch mini chocolate cupcakes low fat and low calorie!
Then the rest of their tender texture comes from one of my favorite ingredients in healthy baking… Greek yogurt! Greek yogurt adds the same moisture to your batter as extra butter or oil but for a fraction of the calories. It also gives your healthy small batch mini chocolate cupcakes a protein boost!
Moist and tender… Low fat and low calorie… Lots of Greek yogurt… Does that make these breakfast food?? (I might have an even more convincing case for that later, once we get to the frosting!) 😉
You’ll skip the refined granulated sugar and sweeten your cupcakes with another two of my favorite ingredients: liquid stevia and confectioners’ style erythritol. Yes, two. You need both sweeteners!
Both the liquid stevia and confectioners’ style erythritol are plant-based, no-calorie sweeteners that contain nothing refined or artificial (aka they’re clean eating friendly). The liquid stevia is very concentrated, which is why you only need a small amount, whereas the erythritol sweetens cup-for-cup like regular sugar (just without the calories!).
I always try really, really hard to make recipe ingredient lists simple for you. I know it isn’t fun to track down extra ingredients, but I promise it’s easy for this recipe. I buy both of these sweeteners online! Here for the liquid stevia and here for the erythritol.
When I tried making these cupcakes with just the liquid stevia, they didn’t taste sweet enough to be called a dessert. In my experience, something about cocoa powder mutes stevia’s sweetness. I’m not sure why (but as an ex-chemist, I really want to know!). Yet when I added in a small amount of the confectioners’ style erythritol, these healthy small batch mini chocolate cupcakes tasted perfect! Rich, chocolaty, and completely sweet, just like regular cupcakes!
Before you add the batter to your mini muffin cups, remember to coat your cupcake liners with cooking spray. This is super important! Low fat batters, like this one, tend to stick to liners like superglue. But when you coat your liners with cooking spray first, they peel away from these healthy small batch mini chocolate cupcakes much more easily!
Tip: If you forget to coat your liners, or you don’t coat them well enough, then seal your mini cupcakes inside of an airtight container for 24 hours. This helps loosen the liners a bit more!
Time to make the frosting! How gorgeous is that bright pink color? That’s all from fruit—no food coloring in this frosting! But you can’t use just any fruit…
You need freeze dried raspberries! Fresh raspberries contain a lot of water, and regular dried raspberries are on the chewy side. Neither of those yields frosting quite as delicious as freeze dried!
Freeze dried raspberries are on the crisp and crunchy side, so you’ll grind them into a fine powder before adding them to your frosting. A blender, a food processor, and even a coffee grinder will all work!
Tip: I’ve found freeze dried raspberries at Target and Trader Joe’s!
Then for the rest of the frosting ingredients, you’ll need Greek yogurt, instant pudding mix, and more liquid stevia. I know… Instant pudding mix? In frosting?? It sounds a little weird, but it’s my secret trick to pipe-able frosting!
The instant pudding mix thickens the Greek yogurt while the frosting chills, which makes your healthy raspberry frosting just as thick and creamy as regular buttercream frosting. This means you can pipe those gorgeous swirls on top of your healthy small batch mini chocolate cupcakes!
And since this healthy frosting is made from Greek yogurt and fruit… And the cupcakes contain even more Greek yogurt… Does that officially make them breakfast food??
Either way… I’d definitely eat these any time of day—and I even might not want to share any! 😉 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 chocolate cupcakes with raspberry frosting!
Healthy Small Batch Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting
FOR THE CUPCAKES
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder (measured like this)
- ½ cup (60g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tsp coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg white, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ tsp liquid stevia (see Notes!)
- 2 tbsp (18g) confectioners’ style erythritol (see Notes!)
- ¼ cup (60g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp (135mL) nonfat milk, divided
FOR THE FROSTING
- 1 cup (26g) freeze dried raspberries
- 2 cups (480g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt (see Notes!)
- 2 servings (16g) sugar-free, fat-free instant vanilla pudding mix (see Notes!)
- ¾ tsp liquid stevia (or adjusted to taste)
- To prepare the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 20 mini muffin cups with paper liners, and generously coat the liners with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg white, vanilla, and liquid stevia. Stir in the erythritol. Stir in the Greek yogurt, mixing until no large lumps remain. Stir in ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon 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 11-14 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 freeze dried raspberries to a blender, and pulse until they’re a fine powder. Add the raspberry powder, Greek yogurt, instant pudding, and liquid stevia to a large bowl. Beat with an electric hand 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 frosting on top just before serving.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Small Batch Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
♡ Healthy Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
♡ Healthy Small Batch Apple Crumble Bars
♡ Healthy Small Batch Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
♡ Healthy Small Batch Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy cupcake recipes!
Megan - The Emotional Baker says...
These are perfect, Amy! & this cupcake to frosting ratio is spot on!! I’d love to have a few of these for a study break!! 🙂
You’re too sweet Megan — thank you!! I wish I could hand deliver some to you for a study break! ♡
Can I substitute granulated sugar instead of the liquid stevia in the cupcake recipe?
Yes! You’ll need 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar to replace the liquid stevia in the cupcake batter, and you’ll also need to decrease the milk to 6 tablespoons to compensate for the added volume. I’d love to hear what you think of these cupcakes if you end up baking them, Sue! 🙂