Saturday, September 8, 2012

Low(er)-Fat Lemon Cupcake Recipe

The past two times I have gone grocery shopping at my local Ralphs Fresh Fare I have been tempted to buy their lemon cake with lemon frosting they carry in the bakery section.  Seriously, it is like it has been calling my name!  The cake is gorgeous - I will try and snap a picture next time I go in there.  (Because that won't be weird at all).  You get half of a double layer cake for $6.99.  Not a bad price in my opinion.  What is bad is the way it is (probably) made.  I try my best to choose health(ier) alternatives when I decide to eat something that I know I shouldn't.  I was two seconds from swooping that lemon cake up and moving right along.  I mean, I could taste it.  Then I thought to myself, "Ang, you know how to make a healthier version, so settle the heck down".  Which is true.  I do know how to make cakes so they are not AS bad.  So, I pushed my cart straight to the checkout cake mix aisle.

What did I find there?
Duncan Hines Signature Lemon Supreme Cake Mix

Lemon Cake Mix!
Lemon Frosting!
Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme Creamy Frosting

No, neither of them were on sale.  Did I really care?  Short answer: Noooo.  I threw both items in my cart along with some cupcake liners (just in case) and was on my way.

Some of you may have read a previous post I made regarding a new fitness program I am trying out.  (If not, you can read it here).  So, in all honesty I really ZERO business eating ANY type of cake unless it is made from carrots, broccoli and spinach (ew and no thanks!!).  But, since I bought the stuff, I had to make it.  Right?
Well, I went to bed that night dreaming about a double layer lemon frosted cake very tired.  (I was totally okay with this, because I knew the next afternoon it was so going to be on).  Fast forward to the next afternoon:  uhm where are my cake pans??  For sure I know I had some, probably a few sets at one point.  Hmmm.  Oh, yes.  I seem to remember during one of my OCD cleaning sprees (future blog post on those, later) I told my self I would never, EVER bake a cake again.  Yeah, THAT is sure working out.

Anyway, thank goodness I had the foresight to purchase these bad boys:

Per the package directions the original recipe calls for just (3) ingredients (in addition to the cake mix that comes in the box):
  • 1 1/3 Cups Water
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs
I learned a long time ago when baking almost any type of cake, bread or muffin you can substitute the oil with an equal amount of apple sauce.  Yep, apple sauce.  It completely cuts the fat out you would be adding if using oil.  I promise no one will know the difference.  It even had the part about using applesauce on the box (near the bottom in super small print).

This is what was printed on the box: "Lower Fat Recipe: Prepare and bake following the directions above except using 1 cup water, 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce and 3 eggs. Reduce baking time 1-2 minutes"

3 eggs??!  That's a lot of fat (approx. 15 grams of fat and 6 grams of saturated fat are in (3) large eggs).

Did you know there is an easy substitute for using whole eggs in baking?  Really.  I have been using it for years.  Years.  No one can ever tell the difference and if you use the substitute instead of whole eggs it cuts all of the fat and cholesterol and about half of the calories as compared to when using whole eggs.

Some of you have probably used this trick yourselves.
If not, once you have tried it you probably won't go back.
Egg Beaters Original
You can use Egg Beaters in lieu of whole eggs.  Yep, EGG BEATERS.  Egg Beaters are simply eggs without the yolk.  Crazy, right?  Don't question this.  Just try it.  I am telling you, everyone I have told who has tried this egg substitution has LOVED it.  I mean, come on.  No more cracking eggs, dropping shells and having to try and dig the shells out of your cake batter?  (Yes, that has happened to me.  Probably a lot more than I am willing to admit).  Personally, I don't even prefer eggs.  Ever.  For anything.  But, this is like some serious stuff right here.  1/4 Cup of Egg Beaters = 1 Large Egg.  Pretty simple, right?

All righty then.  This is how I make my Lemon Cupcakes....
I follow the directions on the box, substituting the following ingredients for the original ones:
1 Cup Water
1/3 Cup Apple Sauce
3/4 Cup Egg Beaters Original

This is the applesauce I use.
Mott's Original Applesauce
 The cups are approx. 1/2 cup each.  This works out well for me.  I don't bake often, and when I do, I hardly use enough applesauce to justify buying one of the huge jars of the stuff.  It always goes bad before I can use it all.  So, this is a fine alternative.  Plus, you can keep it in the cupboard.
Easy to store AND less waste is all right by me.
I dump all of the above ingredients, along with the cake mix into my KitchenAid Mixer.  From there, I pretty much follow the directions printed on the box.
 I use the wire whip attachment to mix the ingredients.

Since my hands are free while it is mixing, I prepare my cupcake pan by lining it with cupcake liners.

I scoop even amounts of cake batter into the liners.
(I like to use a 1/4 Cup measuring cup to ensure they all have close to the same amount of batter).

Then, they go in the oven and I bake as directed. 
(Using the Egg Beaters and applesauce in lieu of oil and eggs sometimes cause the cupcakes to bake a bit faster, so I check the cupcakes a couple of minutes early to make sure they don't over bake).
After they are done, I let them cool on the top of the oven for about 30 minutes.
Once they are cool, it is time to frost them.

My younger sister, Rachel is somewhat of a "cupcake whisperer" and she makes the best cupcakes ever.  Seriously.  Everyone says so, so it must be true.  I try not to eat them because I know she is using whole eggs, oil AND butter.  But, people keep ordering them, so she is going to keep making them that way.  She makes all of her cupcakes from scratch (!!).  Like as in, not-using-a-cake-mix-from the-store kind of "scratch".  Yeah, that's not happening at my house.  Just saying.  Anyway, I called her to ask her if she had any tips for store-bought frosting.  She got all quiet after I asked her.  Hmmm. I was like, "HELLO!  Are you there, Rae?"  (I'm thinking she was thinking I need to learn how to make my own frosting).  Once she found her words, she told me she adds a stick of butter (!!) and some powdered sugar to the frosting and mixes it on the highest speed to fluff it all up.


That kind of defeats my purpose of eliminating the eggs and oil.  Scratch that idea.

This is what I did instead ~ I decided to try her idea of placing the frosting in my mixer.
I used the wire whip attachment to "fluff" the frosting.

It actually worked!

I was pretty impressed with myself.
(Don't judge)

 Since I knew I was going to be blogging about this entire experience, I decided to try my hand at using an actual cake decorating kit I bought a couple of years ago from Macy's. 

I decided to go with the "Star Tip".

Problem was, I wasn't really sure exactly what to do with it.
I called the cupcake whisperer my sister and of course, she did not answer.
I'm not one to wait around, so a quick Google search took me to this video.
Seemed EZ PZ.  I'm all about frosting "12 cupcakes in less than 1 minute".

I filled the frosting bag with my "fluffed" frosting and got busy.
That chick in the video is such a liar!  It took me like 3 whole minutes to frost 24 cupcakes!  Sheesh.

I kid, I kid.

Anyway, I realized (in the middle of my first time frosting cupcakes using an actual tool other than a butter knife) the chick in the video had a much bigger "Star Tip" than mine.
(Is it just me, or does that sound kind of dirtay?)

Here is what my cupcakes ended up looking like.


 Pretty, right?

Are you still here?  This is like the longest blog in the history of Lemon Cupcakes evaaaaa.
Hey, I'm thorough if nothing else.

Have any of you tried these lower-fat substitutes?  Did you notice a difference?  Do you have any other low-fat baking tips?
I'd love to read about them.  Please, share them in the comments.


  1. Omg!!! You Rock sista!!!

  2. So pretty! ...look like a beautiful yellow flower :) Yummy

    1. Thanks :) They were sooo good. I will refrain from admitting how many I ate *sigh*

  3. Good Job :) I'll admit, i love me some lemon box cake, and lemon can frosting too. haha!

  4. Looks delish...brilliant! I'm a new GFC follower :)

    1. Thanks! :) Your blog looks great! I will follow you :)