“Healthy” Chocolate Cupcakes?

Even though I’m not a huge fan of chocolate cupcakes, I was intrigued by this month’s Fitness magazine which included a recipe promising “guilt-free goodies” that are “all fudge, no pudge.” When I told my sister (Codename: Chunklet’s mom) that I was making a “healthy” sort of chocolate cupcake, she replied, “Chocolate cupcakes should NEVER be healthy. That just sounds sad to me.”

Turns out, this “healthy” version of chocolate cupcakes did not impress my co-workers or the Afternoon Drive Crew because the cupcakes were a bit dry. It could’ve been my omission of the whipped heavy cream frosting. (I substituted in a powdered sugar dusting instead.) Or it could be the non-fat Greek yogurt I used in the batter instead of the recommended 2 percent. Despite these substitutions, I will say that the cupcakes were indeed chocolatey and had the consistency of a Hostess cupcake sans the cream center, chocolate glaze, and frosting swirl on top. At which point, you should probably just go for the Hostess cupcake. I guess Chunklet’s mom was right!

The Fitness recipe did teach me a great tip: Fill empty muffin pan slots halfway with water to help distribute heat evenly!

Here’s the recipe:

2 large eggs
3 tbsp. vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 tsp. instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 c. hot water
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1&1/2 c. sugar
1&1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. unsweetened natural cocoa powder plus more for dusting
1&1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. 2 percent plain Greek yogurt
3/4 c. heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans with 18 cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, espresso and vanilla. Whisk in sugar. In another large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Stir in Greek yogurt until just combined.
3. Divide batter evenly among liners. Bake until tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Remove from oven. Leave cupcakes in pan 10 to 20 minutes, then remove them and set on wire racks to cool completely.
4. Just before serving, whip cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spoon a small dollop of whipped cream onto each cupcake and dust with cocoa powder.


51 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. InCucinaDaME
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 01:33:42

    I am going to bake this next, they look so good and must be so yummy; btw I am a huge fan of chocolate cupcakes 🙂

  2. Three-Cookies
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 04:49:49

    I wonder that is omitted from these cupcakes to justify the healthy claim. I see there is no butter but is butter healthy or unhealthy? It has sugar. This healthy cupcake can increase stress:)

  3. mary
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 05:34:48

    They look good and this is a HUGE chocolate cupcake house – but I think I’m in agreement with your sister – if you’re going to have dessert – have dessert! Mary x

  4. peachkins
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 06:09:40

    healthy chocolate does sound kind of sad….healthy and chocolate should never be together in a sentence…

  5. Alice
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 06:42:27

    Poor, sad cupcakes!!! … Well, you know that the diet-serious folks will “indulge” in diet sodas that taste sad too, so I’m sure this would be great for those folks 🙂 … the rest of us will be happy to entertain the calories that come with eating a great slice of chocolate cake! 🙂 make the michael roustangs chocolate cake to make up for it… I have friends that *fight* for slices of that one!

  6. Andi Winslow
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 07:34:38

    Good try, but if we are going to indulge then I agree eat the regular cupcake. your pictures are beauiful…………..You can also put in a couple of ice cubes in the empty pots. That is what my mother did………………….So that is what I do….have a great day andi

  7. saffronandhoney
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 07:38:55

    Interesting about filling the pan with water! These look really chocolate-y which I like.

  8. Liz
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 07:44:33

    I think my family would have the same reaction as your sis…but worth a try! Sorry they fell short of the mark.

  9. Eileen
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 08:22:16

    I never knew the fill-empty-muffin-tins-with-water trick. Good one! Sorry these were a bust, but it was worth a shot.

  10. Jeannie
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 08:23:35

    Looks chocolatey enough to me, maybe you can bake for shorter period to avoid it getting too dry.

  11. kitchenbelleicious
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 08:35:14

    I love that they look and sound so absolutely divine and delicious and yet healthy too! WOW! great recipe

  12. spicegirlfla
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 08:40:50

    Well they certainly look good and just got me craving some chocolate!! My mother had taught me the empty muffin tin trick and I will also purposely leave one open if I want to create a bit of steam in my oven.

  13. sally
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 08:44:37

    Sorry to hear that the healthy chocolate cupcakes didn’t turn out. Thanks for the tip on the empty muffin tins though.

  14. Miriam Barton
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 09:17:09

    Awesome treat!! Miriram@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  15. UB Rodriguez
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 10:37:15

    I thought it was pretty good! I’m not a fan of thick frosting, so this was cool for me…and it was healthy? coulda fooled me! LOL

  16. Krissy
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 10:37:34

    Even though your cupcakes are very pretty, I agree with your sister…even though chocolate does have a healthy side, that’s not why we like it. I say, eat a healthy salad and then eat a good cupcake.

  17. rebecca
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 11:04:44

    i agree cupcakes should be cupcakes and in moderation enjoy the soup 🙂

  18. Bizzy
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 11:30:39

    Hi, I use oil in most of my cakes in place of butter. Also, I see you use yogurt. Good for you,

  19. Ronda
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 12:49:03

    I like that baking tip to fill the extra slots with water.

  20. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 13:47:56

    Oh boo, well this will just make them appreciate the goodies you normally bring. I’m with Chunklet’s mom on this one. Or as Katherine sometimes says, if you want low-fat lasagna, just have salmon. In other words, don’t force it. Plenty of healthy things taste wonderful.

  21. eatinglikeahorse
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 15:11:43

    Well they look great! Thanks for the water-in-spare-cups trick; didn’t know that 😉

  22. TrafficDiva
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 15:16:30

    Another Afternoon Drive taster comment: I’m not sure WHAT Yummy is talking about! These cupcakes may have been “a bit” dry, but sometimes you don’t want a heavy heavy cake with too much chocolate. I think this was the perfect balance sweet, but not too sweet. As UB mentioned above, you could have fooled me that these were healthly! The chocolate flavor really comes thru without being too overpowering. I disagree that these were a “bust”…if that were the case, why were there zeeerrroo leftovers?!

    Yummy Chunklet’s Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes….WINNING! =)

  23. Yuri - Chef Pandita
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 17:16:21

    They look good to me 🙂 it’s been a while since I had a chocolate cupcake…

  24. Thu
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 18:37:17

    Oh yum – when I see the words chocolate and healthy I know it’s the right food for me 😉 I might even be tempted to try this one day! Photos look great – thanks for sharing.

  25. ceciliag
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 19:40:38

    wow, they look good. But i am wondering what is your favourite chocolate cup cake recipe! c

  26. Tasty Mayhem
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 19:51:33

    Like the water tip. They LOOK good. Sounds like someone liked them…no leftovers. 🙂

  27. Betty
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 20:40:53

    I think it would be interesting to try them out with the 2% yogurt and the topping, because sometimes I just NEED something chocolate and I really don’t want it to be a gazillion calories. I might just give them a go! 🙂

  28. cooking varieties
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 00:29:18

    hi yummy chunklet, you tried it, so you can comment better.
    It is also true, that sometimes, a health freak can divert so much away from the original recipe and the taste differ so much, to a point where you call this recipe by another name…
    i prefer originals, they have been tested and tasted.. delicious

  29. Mother's Secret Home Recipes
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 00:29:58

    Love chocolates as i love ur recipes

  30. Cakelaw
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 00:37:38

    It sounds as if these were definitely worth a try, and they look gorgeous.

  31. Grumpy Grateful Mom
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 01:35:03

    They look delicious to me! I like to make spinach and zucchini brownies.

  32. kitchen flavours
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 02:38:54

    They look chocolaty! And thanks for the tips on empty muffin pan!

  33. chutneyandspice
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 06:12:19

    sounds like a dream come true, a healthy cupcake! I expect these were pretty good and maybe a bit of cream cheese topping would make them moist without being too unhealthy? I love the orange plate.

  34. HollyL
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 13:38:16

    I MUST MAKE THESE!! Yumm! 🙂

  35. Caroline
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 14:24:50

    I love the healthy aspect of these, but I agree with what people said before…if you’re gonna have a cupcake, may as well just go big! I’m sure these were still fabulous though. 🙂

  36. Tanvi
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:54:58

    WOW..really healthy ! Love this recipe of cupcakes with yogurt..

  37. Juliana
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:27:01

    Wow, this chocolate cupcakes look so tempting…and healthy? Great , I can have a couple of them…like the idea of filling the pan with water.
    Hope you are having a nice week 🙂

  38. Kelly
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 18:27:49

    favourite line: “chocolate cupcakes should never be healthy” followed by “all fudge, no pudge” – too funny what they’ll come up with! In any event, these cupcakes do look pretty divine. Love the expresso!

  39. Laural @ Being Healthier
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 05:49:45

    no those don’t look healthy – you should probably send a dozen to me so that I can verify their healthiness. yep, must send for review. your welcome. 🙂

  40. Annabelle
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 09:10:05

    Those are absolutely perfect! I think chocolate cupcakes are some of my favorite sweets and they also help me remember my childhood.

  41. Kristin & Megan (@BonBonRoseGirls)
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 10:54:16

    I couldn’t believe the difference that water tip made when my mama taught me it!

  42. foodfashionandflow
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 15:19:32

    I was laughing when I read what your sister said. I feel that way too, but these look really good and I never ever get tired of chocolate.

  43. Ameena
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 15:56:12

    I agree with your sister…the words chocolate and healthy usually do not go together! But these do look fabulous!

  44. Vianney Rodriguez (@sweetlifebake)
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 20:03:19

    sorry your co workers didn’t like, healthy chocolate…hmmm I enjoy sinfully sweet, lol


  45. Louise
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 21:16:02

    I probably shouldn’t be saying this since tomorrow is Vanilla Cupcake Day but, I would much rather be celebrating Chocolate Cupcake Day with your delicious looking “Healthy” Chocolate Cupcakes!!!

    Thanks for sharing, Yummy!

  46. Purabi Naha
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 00:30:44

    These look yummy and guilt-free!! I am all for them!

  47. muppy
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 05:16:32

    haha yeh healthy and chocolate cupcake really don’t go together!

  48. Tiffany
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 08:05:56

    Anything that is healthy with chocolate I am up for trying!!

  49. Inger Wilkerson
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 14:54:03

    Sounds like my experience with the chocolate beet cake. Ok but not spectacular–and chocolate anything should be amazing (though I’m still not giving up on something healthy…)

  50. Elaine
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 01:43:12

    I heartily agree with your sister Codename: Chunklet’s mom!

  51. Lisa @smartfoodandfit
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 17:02:45

    That’s too bad your co-workers didn’t enjoy them. They look great, I’m going to try this recipe. I’ve noticed that when I bake “healthier” versions of cupcake, I need to add a bit more liquid or I’ll use pumpkin puree or unsweetened applesauce. Either way your chocolate cupcakes look amazing!

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