With the official start of fall, it feels like it’s also officially the quarter of the year in which we are tempted with delicious, amazing desserts every time we turn around. And while I’m certainly not opposed to a good dessert, common sense tells me that I have to watch how much junk food I ingest.
Plus, if I can take a delicious dessert and make it delicious and healthier, why wouldn’t I? Good question; I’m glad you asked! Let me introduce you to these Healthier Candy Corn Cupcakes – packed with protein and topped with a creamy Greek yogurt frosting!
Healthier Candy Corn Cupcakes – the Ingredients
These gorgeous cupcakes require only a few ingredients: a box of cake mix, Greek yogurt, red and yellow food coloring and some water.
The frosting to top the cupcakes with is a 3 ingredient recipe. If you’ve got cream cheese, Greek yogurt and a bit of powdered sugar, you’re good to go!
*You can also add a tablespoon of pudding mix (hence the pudding mix in the picture) to the frosting to give a little extra flavor.
Why Greek Yogurt?
Greek yogurt makes a great substitution for less healthy fats like oil and butter. The yogurt is thick and creamy, and you can use the nonfat kind to completely eliminate the fat. Even if you choose to use the Greek yogurt with fat, it’s healthy fat, so your body is able to digest it better than the unhealthy fats. Plus, Greek yogurt is high in protein, so when you use it in both the cupcakes and the frosting, you’re adding a significant amount of protein to a normally protein-free dessert. Score!
Make sure you use a really thick Greek yogurt for the frosting. It doesn’t matter as much in the cupcakes, but you want it to be thick for the frosting. Don’t use regular yogurt, because Greek yogurt is much thicker, and regular yogurt won’t produce a good frosting.
If your Greek yogurt seems a little thin, you can strain it for a few hours or overnight in your refrigerator. You can strain it through a cheesecloth or a coffee filter placed over a bowl. Leaving it overnight will strain out more of the whey and give you a thicker yogurt to make your frosting with. However, I didn’t have to do this with the Greek yogurt I bought, because I just made sure it was a nice thick one.
Making the Candy Corn Cupcakes
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray liberally with cooking spray.
Add one box of vanilla cake mix to a large bowl. Measure in 1 cup of Greek yogurt and stir. Pour in 1 cup of water and stir carefully.
Once the batter is fully combined, divide it evenly between two bowls. Use a few drops of yellow food coloring to dye one bowl of batter bright yellow. In the other bowl, add 6 drops of yellow and 2 drops of red to make orange batter.
Divide the yellow batter evenly between the 12 cupcake liners. Top the yellow batter evenly with the orange batter. Spread the orange batter to cover the yellow if needed. Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Do not frost them until they are completely cool.
Making the Greek Yogurt Frosting
While your cupcakes are cooling, get to work on this fabulously tasty, 3 ingredient frosting!
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add one block (8 ounces) of softened cream cheese. Measure in 1 cup of Greek yogurt. Mix on high, scraping down the sides occasionally, for 3-5 minutes, or until frosting is thick and spreadable. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and mix briefly to fully combine. Taste and adjust sweetness if necessary.
Frosting the Candy Corn Cupcakes
When cupcakes are cool, spread frosting on top of each one. To make a candy corn ‘cone’ shape, place a dollop of frosting in the middle of a cupcake. Spread it gently outward, keeping the middle dome-shaped.
Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator, because the frosting contains dairy products. If you don’t want to (or don’t have room to) store them in the fridge, do not frost until immediately before serving.
Healthy Candy Corn Cupcakes with Greek Yogurt Frosting
For the cupcakes:
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1 c. plain Greek yogurt
- 1 c. water
- red and yellow food coloring
For the Greek Yogurt Frosting:
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 c. plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1/4 c. powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake papers.
- In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, Greek yogurt and water.
- Divide the batter evenly between two bowls.
- Use a few drops of the yellow food coloring to color one bowl of batter yellow.
- Color the other bowl of batter orange by mixing yellow + red (I used 6 drops of yellow and 2 drops of red).
- Divide yellow batter evenly between the twelve muffin cups.
- Top the yellow batter evenly with the orange batter.
- Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove the cupcakes to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
To make the Greek Yogurt Frosting:
- Add cream cheese and Greek yogurt to your stand mixer. Mix on high for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally, until the frosting is thick.
- Measure powdered sugar into mixer and combine thoroughly.
- Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes. Make frosting thick and high enough to look like the little white top on a piece of candy corn.
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