Friday, October 15, 2010

Comfort food made healthier: Cupcakes




















Here are a couple of recipes that sneak in a few healthful substitute-ingredients to make adorable, scrumptious cupcakes less of a guilt pleasure.
Instead of food dye in the pink frosting, for instance, a little raspberry puree gives it a lovely color. Whole wheat flour also is "disguised" with more raspberry puree in the cake dough.
The vanilla cupcakes substitute applesauce for butter, and use evaporated milk in the frosting.

Recipe: Raspberry-Lemon Cupcakes (Makes 12) Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed and drained), plus 12 fresh berries for garnish (about 12 ounces total)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk (see Tip)

Frosting

  • 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufch√Ętel), at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Instructions:
  1. To prepare cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with paper liners; coat the liners with cooking spray.
  2. Puree 2 cups raspberries and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract all the puree; discard seeds. Reserve 4 teaspoons of the puree for the frosting.
  3. Whisk whole-wheat flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Beat 3/4 cup granulated sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in eggs, vanilla and 1 teaspoon lemon zest until well combined. With the mixer on low, alternately mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined.
  5. Fill the prepared cups half full of batter. Place a scant tablespoon of raspberry puree on each cup (you may have some left over). Divide the remaining batter evenly among the cups. Use a wooden skewer or toothpick to swirl and fold the puree into the batter.
  6. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  7. To prepare frosting: Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest and the reserved 4 teaspoons raspberry puree with an electric mixer until smooth. Refrigerate the frosting until very cold, at least 2 hours. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and decorate with a raspberry on top, if desired.


Recipe: Classic Vanilla with Chocolate Frosting
(Makes 12 cupcakes) Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise (see Tip)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 12-ounce can low-fat evaporated milk, divided

Frosting

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup packed confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles for decoration
Instructions:

  1. To prepare cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Whisk whole-wheat flour, cake flour, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat granulated sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Scrape the black paste out of the vanilla bean into the sugar mixture. Add applesauce, egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. With the mixer on low, alternately mix in the dry ingredients and 1/2 cup evaporated milk, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared cups (they will be full).
  4. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. To prepare frosting: Meanwhile, whisk 2/3 cup of the remaining evaporated milk, all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan until no flour lumps remain. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it looks like a thick, stiff paste, 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue whisking for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Whisk in chocolate until completely melted. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate the frosting until thickened and cold, about 2 hours. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

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