Cupcakes are a pretty great treat, one that everyone in the family can enjoy. Often, ingredients include things like sugar, flour, and egg, which some of us try to enjoy at a minimum. Between birthday parties, anniversaries, and graduations, there always seems to be an occasion where cupcakes and sweets seem to be a necessary treat.
So, in order to feel less guilty about indulging in a cupcake or two, we have listed 10 simple and healthy ingredients to either substitute or add to essentially any recipe to lessen your unhealthy intake. Read ahead for some inspiration and ideas for your next baking experience.
Flaxseed is a great seed to sprinkle on top of cupcakes, mix into them, or even be a substitute for egg if there's an allergy, intolerance, or preference to avoid animal by-products.
Flaxseed is full of nutrition, though the general public does not know it's virtually impossible to soak up all its goodness without it being consumed in its ground form. If you consume a flaxseed in its entirety, your body will naturally pass it through. So, before you add it to any of your cupcake recipes, ensure you grind it up into a powder-like state.
9 MAPLE FLAKES
Maple syrup is a very popular sugar substitute for the health-conscious baker. Even for those who just want a nicer, natural sweetness added to their treats, maple is a great way to add some wholesome goodness to your cupcake recipe.
Instead of adding maple syrup, try maple flakes! The beauty of this form of maple is that it can be ground up into a powder to substitute any sugar that a recipe calls for. By not adding liquid (maple syrup), it will not compromise your recipe in any way. Ta-da!
8 DARK CHOCOLATE
Chocolate is one of the most versatile and delicious flavors, especially when in cupcake form! When you're baking with chocolate, sometimes you do not have to use milk chocolate if you'd like to save some calories, fat, and sugar.
Dark chocolate, when baked, often takes on the sweetness of the ingredients around it. This is a great bonus when you're baking with a recipe that calls for chocolate chips. Sprinkle dark chocolate on top of your chocolate cupcakes for some added antioxidants and flavor.
7 CHIA SEED
Chia seeds are all the rage right now. From chia pudding to grinding them into smoothies, chia seeds are packed with vitamins and nutrients. They're also a great way to bind your cupcake ingredients better.
Just as chia absorbs water and forms a gooey-like substance, chia can be added to virtually any cupcake recipe without altering its flavor or texture. They bake incredibly well and provide added nutrition that none of the consumers will likely notice!
6 HEMP SEED
Hemp seeds are fantastic. They really, really are. They are great for added protein and texture. Hemp seeds are delicious even on their own. Sprinkle them on salads, on sandwiches, and on cupcakes!
You can simply mix them into any icing recipe for some added texture and protein. It's a total win-win. And no one will know just how healthy these cupcakes truly are because the hemp seeds are so small and tasty. Enjoy!
5 NUT BUTTER
Nut butter is yet another ingredient to help bind the others to ensure a nice, fluffy cupcake. It also provides a delicious flavor if combined with a flattering partner like chocolate. Nut butters come in many different textures from many different nuts.
From almonds to cashews, to peanuts and hazel, nut butter can be found in bulk and in containers. Nut butter is a great addition for some vitamins and great protein. It's a simple, healthy choice to add to any cupcake recipe.
4 COCONUT OIL
Coconut oil is a fantastic oil to bake with. When melted (which is easily done over a stovetop or between the palms of your hands), it provides an incredible substitute for any other oil that is on your recipe list. Whether they call for olive or vegetable oil, coconut oil can be safely heated above the recommended temperature that other oils are warned.
Coconut oil is also fantastic for greasing the cupcake pan as needed. And, whatever oil is left oil can be used as hand moisturizer—we're not kidding you. It's an incredibly versatile, healthy, and delicious oil to bake with.
Banana is a great substitute for egg if needed. It adds sweetness as well in one of the best natural ways. Banana is a fantastic ingredient to add to any cupcake recipe. Depending on how sweet you'd like your cupcake, the browner the banana, the sweeter it is.
Also, they're incredible when used frozen. Many people throw their banana out when they begin to brown too much. However, as we mentioned earlier, the browner the banana, the sweeter they become and better they are to bake with. True story. Just ensure there's no mold...
Vinegar is yet another incredible substitute for egg. If you have chosen to delete egg out of your diet for dietary reasons such as high cholesterol or prefer not to eat anything derived from animals, vinegar is a great and healthy substitute.
For every egg that the recipe calls for, add a tablespoon of vinegar: white or apple cider. You will not be able to taste the difference. The vinegar taste is cooked out while baking in the oven, and you won't have any guilt or allergic reaction because there's no longer egg in your cupcakes.
1 NUT MILK
When baking, many recipes call for cream or milk. This is when you can decide to substitute with any given nut milk. There are even oat milk options available.
If there is a recipe calling for cream in particular, try a can of full-fat coconut milk. Not only will it be sweeter, but it will also carry far less guilt when consumed. Nature provides us with many more options than dairy derived from animals. How beautiful is that?