CakeWalk: How to diet and still eat cupcakes

Even diet cupcakes can be good for you, relatively speaking...

CakeWalk is a weekly column by Mary Ann Porch dedicated to every baker who has ever struggled to achieve the right consistency with their icing, unsuccessfully searched for the perfect cupcake topper or just wants to learn something new. Because with a few helpful tips, cupcakes are a cakewalk.

This November, I have the honor of being a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s weddings. I’m excited beyond imagination because I’ve never been in a wedding before, but on the other hand, I’m terrified. This is also the first time I’ve had to buy a piece of clothing (in this case, the bridesmaid dress) that HAS to fit several months down the road. There aren’t any excuses if that zipper won’t go all the way up on November 7th, and I think we all know that sometimes not all the sucking it in or Spanx in the world can get the job done. So, I’m back on Weight Watchers.

In college, I lost 40 pounds from the Weight Watchers program. I’ve gained about 15 of that back, which I blame on laziness and eating too many baked goods. I would like to specifically blame the cupcake as those little guys have contributed to many a pair of ill-fitting jeans. Thanks a lot guys!
Even when you're trying to eat sensibly, sites like Weight offer terrific cupcake recipes that help you stay on track

So, in my quest to still literally have my cake and eat it too, I’ve been on the hunt for what I call diet cupcakes. Shockingly, it wasn’t as hard as I first imagined. The Weight Watchers website has 13 different recipes for cupcakes, and if you know how Weight Watchers works (i.e. a points system based on calories, fat grams, and dietary fiber), you’ll know that eating one of these cupcakes means you’ll have to skip dinner for the next three nights in order to still fit into your pants.

The recipes run the gamut – holiday treats to simple brownie cupcakes. The best part is that even those these are “good for you” cupcakes, you can still have icing! Some of the recipes include red velvet cupcakes, gingerbread cupcakes, and chocolate-filled mini vanilla cupcakes.

As far as I can tell, as long as you don’t eat the entire batch in one sitting, you’ll still be well on your way to fitting into those skinny jeans, or bridesmaid dress.

I plan on trying out the Berry-licious Cupcake recipe, and have included it below in case you’re interested in some low calorie treats. As you can see, cheating the scale is as easy as a cakewalk.

Berry-liscious Cupcake Recipe (courtesy of Weight Watchers)

4 oz Cool Whip Free Whipped Topping, half an 8 oz container
1/4 cup(s) fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp McNeil Nutritionals SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp food coloring, neon pink, divided (2 drops)
1/2 Tbsp DaVinci Gourmet Sugar free raspberry syrup, or sugar-free strawberry syrup
9 1/8 oz regular white cake dry mix, 2 cups (half an 18.25 oz package)
1 cup(s) diet cola, black cherry flavor
4 large egg white(s), about 1/2 cup
6 medium strawberries, pureed
2 spray(s) cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine whipped topping, cream cheese, Splenda, vanilla extract, 1 drop of food coloring and syrup. Using an electric mixer at medium-low speed, blend until frosting is thoroughly mixed, about 1 minute. Chill frosting in freezer for 20 minutes and then transfer to refrigerator until ready to frost cupcakes.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, soda and egg whites; add pureed strawberries and remaining drop of food coloring. Mix with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until smooth, about 45 seconds.

Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray, or line with cupcake wrappers. Evenly spoon batter into prepared muffin pan.

Bake until firm, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely in pan. Once cool, remove cupcakes from pan and evenly spread with frosting. Yields 1 cupcake per serving.

Previous CakeWalk Columns:
The return of Metalcakes (August 14, 2009)
Even Betty Crocker might have listened to Metallica... (August 7, 2009)
The history of the cupcake (July 31, 2009)
Prime peach season calls for seasonal cupcakes (July 24, 2009)
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream…cupcakes! (July 17, 2009)
Bastille Day offers perfect excuse for cupcakes that are tres chic (July 10, 2009)
Celebrate your Fourth of July with one of America’s favorite treats (July 3, 2009)
The symbolic power of the cupcake (June 26, 2009)
Giving something back to your community by simply making a cupcake (June 19, 2009)
The secret delights of regional cupcakes (June 12, 2009)
The silver dragée strikes again! (June 5, 2009)
Chic cupcakes for any budget - take that recession! (May 29, 2009)
Top me off bartender…err, baker in this case (May 22, 2009)
The importance of a moist cake (May 15, 2009)
The Savory Cupcake Dilemma of 2009 (May 8, 2009)
Will the real buttercream icing please stand up? (May 1, 2009)

Mary Ann is the founder of the New York City chapter of CupcakeCamp NYC, an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and eat cupcakes in an open environment. She is also the founder of Puff and Choux, a blog dedicated to the pastry and dessert arts. You can contact her at with any questions, ideas or just to chit chat. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MaryAPorch.


Anonymous said…
Good luck with Weight Watchers! I have been back on WW since May and have successfully lost over 30 pounds. I can also attest to the fact that I haven't deprived myself of anything - even cupcakes!! The recipes online are great and, like you said, as long as you don't eat the whole batch in one sitting, you will be just fine. Like everything else in life, it's all about moderation. So have your *diet* cupcakes - and eat them too!
This could not be more timely! Am currently in NYC for the first time in 3 yrs. for my best friend's wedding. All week I have been torn between wanting to sample all the delicious cupcakes I read about here on CttC and sticking to my diet so I can fit into the very form-fitting sexy dress I brought for the wedding. I've been eating some minis which I guess are what I consider to be diet (vs regular size)! Can't wait til Sunday - the day after the wedding - so I can let loose before we fly home to Europe. Good luck on your end!
Anonymous said…
that recipe sounds yummy and it won't hurt to try to save calories! thank you