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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Light cakes a sweeter calorie deal

By Elaine Magee

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Low-fat buttermilk and other tricks help keep moisture but cut the calories in these light chocolate cupcakes.

Elaine Magee

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Q. I just enjoyed a moist and delicious chocolate cupcake from a bakery and it made me wonder if you had ever lightened a plain chocolate cupcake? If so, please pass along the recipe.

A. Cupcakes are tricky because if you reduce the sugar too much and add too much whole wheat flour, it can end up tasting like a chocolate muffin instead of a chocolate cupcake. With a delicious moist chocolate cupcake as our goal, I started with a recipe that calls for unsweetened cocoa powder (which has the highest amount of antioxidants compared to other forms of chocolate) and cut the sugar by one-third and replaced half of the white flour with whole-wheat flour. And to bring down the saturated fat and calories, I added 2 tablespoons of canola oil instead of 4 tablespoons of melted butter. I increased the buttermilk used (and switched to a low-fat buttermilk) to compensate for the melted butter we had cut out.

The lighter (and still delicious) cupcakes contain 80 percent less saturated fat, 42 percent less fat, 24 percent fewer calories and double the fiber compared to a typical chocolate cupcake without frosting.

A typical chocolate cupcake (same size) contains 140 calories, 6 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 32 mg cholesterol, and 1 gram fiber per cupcake (without frosting).


• 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour

• 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour

• 1/4 cup granulated sugar

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

• 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

• 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

• 3 tablespoons hot water

• 2 tablespoons canola oil

• 7 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

• 1 large egg, higher omega-3 if available

• 1 large egg white (or 2 tablespoons egg substitute)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.

In medium bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt if desired and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine cocoa, hot water and canola oil, beating on medium-low speed until a smooth paste forms. Add in the buttermilk, vanilla, egg and egg white and beat until combined. On low speed, blend in the flour mixture.

Spoon a scant 1/4 cup of batter into each prepared cup and bake for about 20 minutes (a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean). Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust cupcakes with powdered sugar or decorate as desired.

Makes 10-12 cupcakes.

• Per cupcake (without frosting): 107 calories, 3 g protein, 18 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g fat, .6 g saturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, .9 g polyunsaturated fat, 21 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 130 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 30 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids = .3 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids = .6 gram. Weight Watchers POINTS = 2

Elaine Magee is author of "The Recipe Doctor Cookbook" and "The Flax Cookbook." Readers may reach her through her website at www.recipedoctor.com. Personal responses can't be provided.