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TIP OF THE DAY: Healthier Cupcakes

Healthier cupcakes cut down on the refined sugar. Photo courtesy


In the search for healthier cakes and cupcakes, recipe developers have replaced some of the refined sugar with the natural sweetness of applesauce and bananas.

Another way to eliminate calories is to cut the sugar- and fat-laden frosting. Instead, use a few chocolate chips or chopped nuts to add a flourish to the top.

Hmm, this looks like a muffin, you say; and you would be correct. The difference is that cupcakes have a less dense, finer crumb, more sugar and a frosted top.

But it all comes down to marketing: Call them cupcakes and your family will be just as happy to eat them.

This recipe for Black Magic Banana Cupcakes is from Dole, which has many tasty recipes on its website.



  • 2 medium very ripe bananas, mashed or puréed (1 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1/4 cup chocolate chips or chopped nuts

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Stir together bananas, egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla in large bowl; set aside.

    2. COMBINE sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; stir into banana mixture. Stir just until moistened.

    3. LINE 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Lightly coat with vegetable spray and fill two-thirds full with batter.

    4. BAKE 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Halfway through baking, sprinkle chocolate chips or nuts on the top.

    Cupcakes originated in the U.S. in the 19th century. The name is derived from the teacup: Before the advent of muffin tins, cupcakes were often baked in individual tea cups (as well as ramekins).

    Cupcakes became popular because they baked more quickly than cakes. Equally as important, before the advent of the modern oven in the 20th century, a long-baking item like a cake could burn easily.

    Muffin tins became popular by the beginning of the 20th century, and provided an easier baking receptacle. Paper and foil liners were created for easier removal of the cupcakes from the pan.


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