These skinny dark chocolate cupcakes have a rich chocolate taste that will thrill any chocoholic. They have only 139 calories and even have a dark chocolate frosting!
When you are trying to cut calories, rich dessert recipes may seem like a thing of the past, but think again! With this healthy chocolate cupcakes recipe, you can have your cake and eat it, too!
The holidays will soon be here and most of us put on a few pounds or more between now and New Year’s Day. To combat that, I try to slim down recipes as the holidays approach so that the extra calories at Thanksgiving and Christmas won’t matter so much.
How to slim down a cupcake recipe
Low calorie cupcakes recipes mean using some healthy substitutes in place of ingredients that normally make a cupcake a calorie laden dessert. For this recipe I’ll be making the following adjustments:
For these skinny chocolate cupcakes, cocoa powder becomes a major ingredient. This recipe actually uses more cocoa powder than flour to give the finished dessert that dark chocolate flavor that is so decadent.
Keep the fat content down
This recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter instead of a whole stick or more.
Use Greek yogurt and eggs for moisture
Plain nonfat Greek yogurt and eggs will give the moisture that is lost when the butter is reduced.
General Healthy Substitutes
Whole wheat pastry flour and whole maple sugar replace normal all purpose white flour and refined sugar in the ingredient list. This doesn’t save a lot of calories but does give a lower glycemic index so your blood sugar won’t spike as much.
Once again we are flavoring the low calorie chocolate frosting recipe with cocoa. Skim milk adds the liquid (instead of butter,) and some sweetness comes from a tiny bit of sugar, instead of a lot confectioner’s sugar.
These healthy substitutes end up with super healthy cupcakes that will give you a lovely chocolate taste for those days when you want to feel a bit indulgent but don’t want the extra calories.
How sweet are these skinny dark chocolate cupcakes?
If you are looking for a sugar rush, you won’t get it with this chocolate cupcake recipe. Don’t get me wrong – There is some sweetness here, since we use pure maple syrup in the cupcakes and a tiny bit of sugar and sweetener in the frosting.
But what I am going for is a dark chocolate taste. Pure, deep, rich, dark chocolate. And this cupcake gives you that in spades.
If you enjoy the taste of a Lindt’s 70% (or more) dark chocolate candy bar, you’ll love these cupcakes. If your tastes run to a sweeter flavor, you can substitute some of the milk in the cupcake for extra maple sugar or add a bit more sugar or sweetener for the frosting. (This will change the nutritional information.)
Be sure to use normal unsweetened cocoa powder. Dutch chocolate or special dark chocolate cocoa powder will give too much of a good thing (the cupcakes will be much more bitter.)
I also used extra vanilla extract over the amount that one would normally have in a cupcake recipe. This helps to temper the cocoa amount and the combination makes for a great taste.
Let’s Make these healthy dark chocolate cupcakes!
Preparation is everything with these cupcakes. Most low fat baked goods are notoriously sticky when it comes to the cupcake liners. We want that extra cupcake to end up in our mouth, not stuck to the cupcake liner.
A good spray with Pam or other cooking spray fixes this problem! Foil cupcake liners also work a bit better than paper, reducing the need for as much spray. Sprayed liners actually release the cupcake beautifully with almost no need to peel it away.
It’s also important to take care when measuring the flour and cocoa powder. If you normally scoop directly from the flour canister or cocoa container, resist that urge.
Dipping the scoop can actually give you 1 and 1/2 times the amount that the recipe calls for, so measuring correctly by weighing and spooning is very important.
Spoon the flour into your cup so that the cupcakes won’t be as dense and weigh the cocoa. If you skip this step, you’ll be disappointed. Scooping gives extra weight and too much cocoa will make the cupcakes bitter which is not what we want.
Using this much cocoa in a recipe makes for very light dry ingredients that spray all over the place when you try to mix them. To combat this, alternate the wet and dry ingredients.
Just go back and forth between the two bowl, adding a little at a time and ending with the cocoa mixture. This will give me the most evenly blended mixture without a lot of mess around your mixing bowl.
Look at that batter! Can we say thick and fudgy? It is very thick, and an ice cream scoop makes it easy to spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
The cupcakes get baked for just 20 minutes or so. When the center is firm and a toothpick comes out clean, they are ready to cool and wait for the frosting.
Making a low calorie homemade chocolate frosting with cocoa powder
To make chocolate frosting healthy, just place the cocoa powder in a small bowl and make a well in the center. Then pour in the skim milk, vanilla extract and sugar. Mix until the ingredients are combined and the frosting is thick and rich looking.
Spread or pipe it on the cooled cupcakes. I can’t wait to try one!
Tasting these skinny dark chocolate cupcakes
Each bite of these delicious dark chocolate cupcakes is a decadent taste sensation. From the tender texture of the rich cocoa base to the thick and fudgy frosting, they are a chocolate lover’s dream.
Since they have such a sinful flavor, no one in your family will realize that they are actually a healthy dessert. The chocoholics are going to love this recipe! These cupcakes are just delicious, moist and dense and so easy to make.
And that frosting! With a generous layer of rich fudgy frosting, what is not to like?
Nutritional information for these dark chocolate cupcakes
These amazing cupcakes have only 139 calories each. They are low in saturated fat and even have a decent amount of protein from the Greek yogurt. Each cupcake has 6 WW freestyle or smart points.
More ideas for low calorie desserts
Need some more inspiration? Try one of these lower calories desserts as well. All are under 125 calories:
Try this one using Sweet Potato
Or these light as air cookies:
Would you like a reminder of these skinny dark chocolate cupcakes? Just pin this image to one of your healthy cooking boards on Pinterest.
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (80 grams)
- ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour (90 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoons pink sea salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup plain unsweetened nonfat Greek yogurt
- ⅔ cup pure maple syrup or agave syrup
- ¼ cup skim milk
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup skim milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 teaspoons granulated sugar + a bit of Splenda or stevia leaf extract to taste)
- 1 tablespoon of low fat whipped topping (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners. Spray with cooking spray.
- In the medium bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder and sea salt. In another bowl, stir the butter, eggs and vanilla.
- Mix the Greek yogurt into the wet ingredients, then stir in the maple syrup and skim milk.
- Beat the flour and yogurt mixture, alternating between the two, a little at a time until just incorporated.
- Place the batter in the lined muffin tin and bake for 20-22 minutes in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool and then transfer to a wire rack.
- To make the frosting, place the cocoa powder in a small bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the skim milk, vanilla extract and sugar/sweetener. Mix until combined and the taste is to your sweetness, and spread on the cooled cupcakes.
- Add a tablespoon of aerosol low fat whipped topping for extra sweetness (optional - 8 calories extra and 0 WW points)
- Store for 5-7 days in an airtight container.
These cupcakes are light in calories but rich with the flavor of dark chocolate. They are not sweet like a normal chocolate cupcake is but make a great treat for those times that you want a dark chocolate fix.
The cupcakes taste much better if you weigh both the cocoa and the whole wheat flour. Too much cocoa will make the cupcakes bitter.
Be sure to spray the cupcake liners with cooking spray. Most low fat baked goods stick to paper liners, and the spray will help.
If you like a sweeter taste, just substitute some of the milk for extra maple syrup and add some extra sugar or sweetener in the frosting.
WW freestyle and smart points = 6
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Serving Size:1 cupcake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1.5gUnsaturated Fat: 1.1gCholesterol: 36.5mgSodium: 303.4mgCarbohydrates: 27.4gFiber: 5.4gSugar: 14.7gProtein: 5.4g