When I shared my health journey last week after holding it in for 6 ½ years, keeping those struggles and that shame to myself for so long, I had no idea how you might react. I steeled myself first the worst, for being called a hypocrite and fraud, and yet…
You embraced me with the sweetest, kindest, most loving arms. Your comments, emails, and messages through social media put tears in my eyes, a warm glow in my heart, and resulted in waves of goose bumps prickling across my skin. I’m so grateful for your compassion and support…
And I had no idea just how many other people went through — or are currently going through — the same things. The same feelings. The same experiences.
I was completely taken aback by how many people wrote me to say “Me too.”
So maybe… Maybe it’s worth talking about these things more in the future. Talking, feeling, releasing… And healing from them too.
Would you mind taking a quick moment to let me know here? It’s just a one-question survey asking whether the topics from my health journey post are things you’d like to hear more about in the upcoming months. I’d be so grateful if you took a few moments to tell me yes or no.
And if you’ve written to me, whether through a blog post comment, an email, or a note on social media, thank you. So, so much. Your words have touched my heart in the most meaningful of ways, and I’m slowly making my way through writing you back and responding to every message I’ve received. ♡
While writing my health journey blog post, I thought a lot about Mexico. The wedding that weekend, the people I met, the experiences we shared, my favorite memories from the four-day vacation, how my life completely changed as a result… And how many of those strangers-turned-friends quickly grew to know me as the baker with a huge sweet tooth and massive craving for desserts.
Or, more specifically…
A craving for cookies.
By the end of the welcome dinner on the second evening, I really wanted a cookie. Nothing fancy, just a good ol’ soft and chewy cookie. Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, even a sugar cookie… I would’ve been incredibly happy with any of them.
Yet that catered authentic Mexican meal ended with popsicles. While they were handmade and looked incredible, I knew I’d turn into one myself if I ate that frozen dessert while sitting out under the stars on the restaurant’s outdoor patio with the gentle breeze blowing, so I held off and hoped to find a cookie somewhere back at the hotel.
When I couldn’t, I realized that a slice of wedding cake the following night would probably satisfy my sweet tooth instead. I mainly craved something soft and sweet, and although cake’s texture isn’t quite the same as a chewy cookie’s, it would’ve been close enough for me! But at the reception…
My friend arranged for a buffet dinner of traditional Indian food, followed by puddings and custards served in adorable single-serving tiny glass jars. No cake or cookies whatsoever.
One of the other guests laughed at my reaction about the lack of wedding cake, and we started a long discussion about our favorite cookies. Although my main requirement for fantastic cookies was texture (soft and chewy, unless it’s my favorite biscotti!), he shared that he was much pickier, especially about the cookie’s flavor, and hated anything with chocolate. Instead, he loved snickerdoodles the most, ones with the perfect balance of sweetness and cinnamon.
That lengthy conversation about cookies, cake, and snickerdoodles kept floating through my mind as I wrote my last blog post, and they somehow tangled themselves up together into one single idea that I couldn’t quite shake from my head…
Healthy Snickerdoodle Cupcakes! They have the built-in portion control of those single-serving puddings and custards from the Indian-themed wedding in Mexico… The same soft and moist texture of a wedding cake that I expected to appear at the reception… And the exact same iconic flavors as sweet, spiced, oh so irresistible snickerdoodle cookies. I even used my ultimate healthy snickerdoodles recipe as a guide, just to make sure the flavor was exactly right!
Yet unlike traditional cupcakes (and wedding cakes!), these healthy snickerdoodle cupcakes contain no refined flour or sugar. The frosting doesn’t include any butter or powdered sugar either!
Cupcakes can’t really get much better than this, right?? 😉
WHAT ARE SNICKERDOODLE CUPCAKES?
The short answer to that question? Snickerdoodle cupcakes are cupcakes that taste like snickerdoodle cookies! But… That isn’t all that helpful of an answer, especially if you’ve never heard of snickerdoodle cookies before. So let’s quickly go over what snickerdoodle cookies are!
Contrary to what some people believe, snickerdoodles are not just sugar cookies with added cinnamon… There’s a bit more to them than that!
Traditional snickerdoodles contain lots of butter and sugar, just like classic sugar cookies, but they also contain two key ingredients. The first one is obvious… Cinnamon! All snickerdoodles are rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking, which gives them a cozy spiced coating with a teensy bit of a crisp exterior. Some recipes (like mine!) also include cinnamon in the cookie dough to create an even richer flavor.
The second key ingredient is what truly sets snickerdoodles apart from classic sugar cookies. It’s cream of tartar! Cream of tartar is also called tartaric acid, potassium bitartrate, and potassium hydrogen tartrate. (← I used to be a chemist, so I love nerdy scientific names like that!)
Cream of tartar is a fine white powder that’s a natural byproduct from the wine making process (aka it comes from grapevines!). It’s acidic, so it reacts with baking soda (a base!) to give snickerdoodle cookies a lighter and chewier texture. It also gives them that subtle tang that’s such an important part of their iconic flavor.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HEALTHY SNICKERDOODLE CUPCAKES
Now with that out of the way… Let’s go over how to make the best healthy snickerdoodle cupcakes!
You’ll start with white whole wheat flour. I know, I know… It sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? However, white whole wheat flour actually exists — and it’s not just a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and regular whole wheat flour!
Instead, white whole wheat flour is 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 both have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!), but white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture. That lets the moist texture and spice flavor of these healthy snickerdoodle cupcakes truly shine!
Tip: I also included my favorite gluten-free alternatives in the Notes section of the recipe, if you’d like to make your healthy snickerdoodle cupcakes gluten-free!
Next, you’ll need those two key snickerdoodle ingredients: cinnamon and cream of tartar. I highly recommend Saigon cinnamon! It has a stronger, richer, and sweeter flavor than regular cinnamon, which gives these snickerdoodle cupcakes an even more irresistible flavor. It’s basically the only kind of cinnamon I use in my baking now, and I buy mine online here because it’s so inexpensive and affordable!
Remember how I mentioned cream of tartar is an acid? And how it reacts with baking soda to create a lighter texture? That’s true in these healthy snickerdoodle cupcakes too! You’ll use both baking powder and baking soda to get the best light, tender, and moist texture.
Hint: All three of these ingredients — cream of tartar, baking powder, and baking soda — are required to make these cupcakes. Please don’t ask if you can omit or substitute any of them! They’re all inexpensive, shelf-stable, and keep for ages. I promise it’s worth buying all three!
Unlike traditional cupcakes that call for a full stick or two of butter, you just need ½ tablespoon for this recipe. That really helps keep your healthy snickerdoodle cupcakes low calorie and low fat! Yet they’re still just as rich, butter, and moist as “regular” cupcakes, thanks to a few other ingredients.
The first one? Vanilla extract! This is one of my favorite tricks in healthy baking. Vanilla extract can imitate and enhance butter’s rich flavor. Therefore, by using a bit more vanilla extract than is typically found in traditional “indulgent” recipes, your healthy snickerdoodle cupcakes taste just as rich and buttery — yet are still really low calorie!
The second ingredient is one of my all-time favorite ingredients in healthy baking recipes. If you’ve browsed through my recipes before, I’m sure you know what it is…
Greek yogurt! I’ve used it to make cakes, cupcakes, brownies, muffins, scones, granola bars, and even frosting. Here, 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 snickerdoodle cupcakes a protein boost!
You’ll sweeten your cupcakes with two ingredients: liquid stevia and confectioners’ style erythritol. Both of these are plant-based, no-calorie sweeteners that contain nothing refined or artificial (aka they’re clean eating friendly!). Stevia is highly concentrated, whereas erythritol is typically a 1-to-1 substitute for granulated sugar.
Do you really need both sweeteners? Is it possible to get away with just one? In a nutshell… I don’t recommend that. And here’s why!
When I just used liquid stevia, these cupcakes tasted good… But not quite sweet enough, even when I kept adding more. Yet when I stirred in a small amount of erythritol, it completely enhanced stevia’s sweetness (just like vanilla does with butter’s rich flavor!), and that made these healthy snickerdoodle cupcakes taste just as deliciously sweet as traditional ones that come from a bakery!
I know… It’s not too fun to track down multiple sweeteners to use in a recipe. But I actually buy both of them online (here for the liquid stevia and here for the erythritol!) because those are the best prices I’ve found, so you don’t necessarily have to make an extra trip to the grocery store!
Before adding the batter to your cupcake liners, you must coat your liners with cooking spray. This is mandatory! Low fat batters (like this one!) stick to any type of liners or muffin pans like superglue, but if you generously coat them with nonstick cooking spray first, it allows the liners to peel away from the cupcakes much more easily. (Or, if you skip the liners and just use muffin pans, your cupcakes won’t stick and should slide right out!)
Of course… Cupcakes without frosting are just muffins, right?? 😉 So while your healthy snickerdoodle cupcakes bake and cool, it’s time to whip up a batch of frosting!
With my first batch, I tried topping them with cream cheese frosting. I love the way it pairs with other spice-laden cakes and cupcakes (like carrot cake!), so I thought it would be a delicious way to finish these healthy snickerdoodle cupcakes.
However… The cream cheese flavor, as yummy as it tastes, completely overpowered that subtle iconic tang of the cream of tartar. Not good!
So for my next batch (the one I photographed!), I switched to a classic vanilla frosting. It tasted so much better… And it’s super simple to make. You don’t need any butter or powdered sugar! Just more Greek yogurt (it makes the frosting so smooth and creamy!), more liquid stevia or erythritol, and a touch of vanilla extract.
But my favorite frosting? And the one I wished I had photographed for you? Cinnamon frosting! I just added a small amount of my favorite cinnamon to the vanilla frosting, and it tasted SO perfect! So even though that’s not what you see in these photos… It’s the one I highly recommend using!
Tip: Not all brands of Greek yogurt have the same consistency. Some are a bit thinner, whereas others are exceptionally thick — and can almost hold their shape on a spoon! Those kinds create excellent frosting, and from my experience, Fage Greek yogurt is the best brand for making healthy frosting.
Then once your snickerdoodle cupcakes have fully cooled and you’ve topped them with frosting…
It’s time to enjoy one — or maybe even two or three! 😉 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 snickerdoodle cupcakes!
Healthy Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
- 2 ¼ cups (270g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 3 ½ tsp ground cinnamon (see Notes!)
- 2 ½ tsp cream of tartar (see Notes!)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tbsp (7g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp liquid stevia (see Notes!)
- ¼ cup (36g) confectioners' style erythritol (see Notes!)
- ½ cup (120g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup (240mL) nonfat milk
- frosting, for serving (see Notes!)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line 38 mini muffin cups with cupcake liners. Generously coat the liners with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter or coconut oil and egg whites. Stir in the vanilla extract, liquid stevia, and erythritol. Add the Greek yogurt, stirring until no lumps remain. Stir in ½ cup of milk. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and 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 muffin cups. Bake at 350°F for 11-14 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch. Cool in the muffin cups for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack. Once completely cool (and not before!), top the mini cupcakes with frosting just before serving.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Snickerdoodles
♡ Healthy Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough Truffles
♡ Healthy Baked Snickerdoodle Donut Holes
♡ Healthy Single-Serving Snickerdoodle Mug Cake
♡ Healthy Snickerdoodle Energy Bites
♡ Healthy Apple Pie Snickerdoodles
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodles
♡ Healthy Eggnog Snickerdoodles
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy cupcake recipes!