Wednesday, October 27, 2010

100-Calorie Cupcakes

Before I got married, my lovely sister planned a bachelorette weekend in Chicago that involved a cupcake tour of the city. Clearly, she knows me well. And because you might not, it is absolutely essential that I explain to you my incurable love for all things cupcake.

I think it started a few years ago when I visited New York City for the first time. "Sex and the City" was all the rage (isn't it still?) and I got the opportunity to recreate an iconic scene from the show with one of my best friends. The premise of the scene itself is not important, you just need to know that it took place outside what could possibly be cupcake heaven. Sweet, delicious Magnolia Bakery, I blame you for my cupcake addiction.

Had I never set foot in that bakery, I might not have ever loved cupcakes so ferociously. They were seriously that good. Quite possibly the best I've ever had. I even bought the official Magnolia Bakery cookbook and still reference it to this day.

While I can't say for sure whether or not "Sex and the City" triggered the cupcake trend, I can say that it's still going strong.

And another television show recently picked up on it. I don't watch "The Biggest Loser," but my coworkers know I love to try out new cupcake recipes, so they were all too eager to share with me last week's turn of events. Apparently, Curtis Stone made an appearance and taught the contestants how to make cupcakes that clocked in at 100 calories. So of course I made them. (Your typical cupcake is definitely not 100 calories. Thus why we refer to them as "treats".)

Curtis Stone's 100-Calorie Cupcakes
5 egg whites
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup nonfat cream cheese
1 cup fresh raspberries, plus extra for garnish

1) Preheat your oven to 325F.

2) Place the egg whites in a bowl and whip with an electric mixer for three
     to four minutes, or until they begin to lighten up.
3) Increase the mixer's speed and whip in salt and honey until the whites begin to peak, then add in the
     vanilla. Gently fold in the yogurt.
4) In a different bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. Sift it into the egg white mixture, then spoon it
     into a cupcake pan lined with cupcake papers. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, remove and cool
5) While the cupcakes are baking, rinse the raspberries and puree them in a food processor. Heat over
     medium until they begin to reduce. Cool completely before incorporating them into the cream
     cheese, which should be at room temperature.
6) Frost the cupcakes, then garnish with a fresh strawberry.

Notes from the chef: For some reason, this cupcake batter doesn't rise so you'll need to fill each paper almost to the top to get a full cupcake. It's very light and fluffy, though, which I think is refreshing and not so filling. As for the frosting, general consensus was that it tasted too cream-cheesy and not necessarily sweet enough. I tend to agree, and wonder if adding powdered sugar would help—though it might change the calorie count.

You'll have to make them for yourself, then let me know what you think. Or how you tweak.

Question: What is your favorite cupcake flavor?

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my Element Bars giveaway! You just might win a box of 12 delicious build-your-own energy bars. (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, October 29, 2010.)

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