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In our opinion, cupcakes are the perfect dessert. Where cakes and pies can look too complicated, and cookies don’t seem formal enough, healthy cupcakes are appropriate for any occasion, from office parties to weddings.
These 25 cupcake recipes don’t just satisfy everyone from the chocoholic to the fruit fanatic; they’re also much healthier than most bakery varieties. If you’re wondering how butter-free batters, alternative flours, slashed sugar counts, and nondairy frostings can make for tasty cupcakes, you’re in for a delicious surprise.
These chocolaty, caramel-stuffed delights have all the flavors of those famous Girl Scouts Samoas, but with a few crucial differences: 1) They’re vegan, 2) They’re secretly healthier (that gooey center is made from dates!), and 3) They’re (shhh) even better than the original cookies.
Coconut flour replaces the regular refined white stuff, while coconut milk and olive oil keep these grain-free treats vegan. And the absolute cherry on top is the fact that there actually are cherries on top.
If you haven’t tried it yet, peanut powder is totally worth giving a whirl, especially in the form a baked good. Lower in fat than regular peanut butter but with all that fantastic nutty flavor, it teams up with bananas and protein powder to let these flourless cupcakes fall somewhere between “decadent dessert” and “acceptable post-workout snack.”
When you’re going grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and dairy-free, does that mean you need to go cupcake free too? Heck no. Using cacao powder, almond flour, coconut milk, and unsweetened applesauce, this recipe makes sure you’re getting a chocolaty dessert no matter what else you’re giving up.
This is the little black dress of cupcakes: simple, classy, and always a good idea. It’s also much lower in fat and sugar than your typical chocolate cupcake. Serve one alongside a tall glass of milk—cow, nut, or soy—for ultimate snacktime bliss.
This frosted version of a blueberry muffin still manages to keep the nutrition profile impressive thanks to whole-wheat flour and egg whites in the batter, and low-fat dairy for the topping. It doesn’t skimp on the blueberries either. Eat these for breakfast, and they’ll still be healthier than the average bakery muffin.
Proof that turmeric is all the rage these days: It’s even making its way into cupcakes. The anti-inflammatory herb gives these treats their deeper yellow color and an antioxidant boost. Don’t worry, though; as far as taste goes, only the pineapple and coconut flavors will come through.
Paleo may mean no dairy and no refined sugar, but it certainly doesn’t mean no dessert. This recipe cleverly makes the most of nature’s candy to sweeten up these cupcakes. Find dates in the batter (they’re the only form of sugar in it) and in the gooey ganache topping.
With only six main ingredients, these grain-free cupcakes can be adapted in so many ways to suit your preferences. Trying to stay dairy free? Use coconut cream for the yogurt. Don’t have macadamia nut oil? Try coconut butter or olive oil. Don’t want to use oil at all? Applesauce works. Just don’t skimp on the lemon—it’s the star flavor here.
Does it get any cuter than these mini versions of a classic cake? No canned pineapple rings in the recipe either. It’s all about the fresh fruit, which softens and caramelizes as it bakes, adding more natural sweetness to these gluten-free, vegan cupcakes.
Regular carrot cake is sneaky. It has a vegetable in its name, but all that sugar and thick cream cheese frosting is anything but healthy. For carrot cake that’s actually wholesome, try these cupcakes. They’re sweetened with dates, made with coconut and almond flour, and sub in a coconut whipped cream for the icing.
It may look like a lot goes into making these cupcakes, but don’t worry, you’re repeating a lot of the same ingredients. Plus, if you’re used to eating Paleo, you’ll probably have a lot of them on hand already. From pumpkin pie spice to cinnamon and maple syrup, these are the perfect fall-inspired treats, to be enjoyed any time of year.
Who needs artificial coloring and refined sugar when you can get much better color and the perfect amount of sweetness from much more natural sources like beets and dates? If you’re turning your nose up at the idea of veggies and fruits in your cupcakes, the date-sweetened, surprise chocolate filling inside each one might just win you over.
Pie isn’t the only way to use sweet potatoes for dessert. The puréed tuber gives the batter of these cupcakes plenty of vitamin A and fiber. It’s also the base for the chocolate frosting, and perfect for those of us who don’t want an overly sweet topping.
Zucchini is no stranger to baked goods, so you can count on great results when you put them in these light, barely sweetened cupcakes. A cream cheese topping gives them a slightly decadent edge—but what’s a cupcake without a dollop of rich frosting, right?
Traditional flavors come in slightly different packaging with these spiced, butter-free treats. Gingerbread, molasses, cinnamon, and nutmeg give them the taste of the gingerbread men we all know and love, but the cupcake form is ideal for when you don’t have cookie cutters or simply want to switch things up.
They may be vanilla, but these are anything but boring. Grain-free flours make them gluten-free, but you’ll be surprised at how hearty the end products are. Top with a generous layer of cream cheese frosting and a few berries for closeup-ready cupcakes.
With their earthy green color, subtle but sweet flavor, and nut-based frosting, these cupcakes deliver in the looks, taste, and nutrition departments. Plus, the green tea powder sends their antioxidant count skyrocketing, making these a matcha better choice than your standard vanilla cupcake.
If your hazelnut consumption is limited to spoonfuls of Nutella, branch out with these cupcakes. Homemade hazelnut flour keeps them grain-free while giving them a wholesome flavor that goes perfectly with the cinnamon and honey-spiked Greek yogurt cream cheese frosting.