At the Table

(Healthy) Chocolate-Raspberry Cupcakes

Well, the name of these cupcakes is almost true.  A frosted chocolate cupcake can only get so healthy, but at under 270 calories apiece, I’d say these are alright.  While planning the menu for a friend’s baby shower, I knew I wanted to make something pink (she’s having a girl), and chocolate (just because). Eating Well had a recipe for chocolate cherry cupcakes, posted here.  Raspberries sounded just as fun as cherries so I tweaked the recipe a little to make it work for us.

Makes: 12 or 13

1-1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1-1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. plus 1 T. granulated sugar
1/4 c. canola oil (or extra light olive oil)
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. nonfat buttermilk*
1 c. fresh or thawed frozen raspberries, plus extras to garnish

In a food processor or blender, puree raspberries with 1 T. granulated sugar, then press through a strainer to get rid of any seeds.

In medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and oil.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  To the egg mixture, gradually add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating between wet and dry additions. Mix until just combined.  Stir in the raspberry puree (alternately, if you want choco-cherry cupcakes, add in 1-1/2 cups chopped pitted cherries; the batter will be more like brownie batter).

Fill the cupcake cups 3/4 full and bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 23 minutes.

* If you don’t have buttermilk, 1-1/2 t. lemon juice or vinegar in 1/2 cup of milk makes a nice substitute.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Icing:

In an attempt to make my icing healthier, I cut back on the butter and tried to thicken it with whipped heavy cream instead of extra confectioners’ sugar.  Since it was so hot on the day of the shower, the icing melted a little, but I think under normal circumstances it would work fine.  Since I’m not sure, though, here is a recipe similar to the one Eating Well provided.  If you want to add whipped cream, 1/2 cup or so, folded in right before frosting/serving the cupcakes is the way to go.

4 oz. neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese)
3 T. butter, softened
2 C. confectioners’ sugar
Scant 1/2 c. raspberries
1/4 t. vanilla extract

Puree the raspberries and strain them, as you did with the raspberries for the cupcakes. Use a food processor or a mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Mix in the raspberry puree and vanilla extract, and then gradually add confectioners’ sugar until the icing is a good consistency.

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