How to make a healthier cupcake

Don't want the guilt from indulging in cupcakes? Here are some healthier ways to bake your own.

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Is there such thing as a healthy (or at least healthier) cupcake that still tastes delicious? While healthier cupcakes probably won’t have quite the same satisfaction as their full-fat, full-sugar counterparts, they do offer a way to indulge in something sweet, but without all the guilt.

Whether you want low sugar, dairy-free, reduced-fat, gluten-free or all of the above, recipes abound – but baking it well takes precision and it can be hard to get it just right when using alternative ingredients.

Luckily, there are some healthy (and easy) replacements you can use with your favourite recipes that will satisfy your sweet tooth as well as your scales.

• For a quick way to reduce the amount of butter in a recipe, ­substitute natural apple sauce for half of the amount of butter called for in a recipe. For example, if the recipe calls for 200 grams of ­butter, use 100 grams of butter plus 100 grams of apple sauce.

• You can also try baking with no butter at all, by replacing all of the butter in a recipe with prune purée. You can make your own or simply pick up prune purée from the baby-food section of the supermarket.

• For recipes with cream, substitute reduced-fat cream for full fat. Note: reduced-fat cream will give you better results than using fat-free cream.

• To lower the fat content in ­cupcakes, eliminate egg yolks. Eggs have about 75 calories and five grams of fat per egg and all the fat is found in the yolk. To curb the fat, try using two egg whites for each whole egg called for.

• To get some whole grains in your cupcakes, use whole-wheat pastry flour for half of the flour called for when baking. Note: it should be whole-wheat pastry flour, not whole-wheat flour.

• For many recipes, you can reduce the amount of sugar called for by half, without substituting anything at all. Use vanilla extract, ­almond extract, cinnamon or nutmeg to boost the flavour.

• When making cream-cheese frosting, use reduced-fat cream cheese.

• For a lower-calorie cupcake, look for recipes that use batter made with courgette, sweet potato, pumpkin, beetroot or carrot.