Okay, so once you read this recipe, you’ll think, “That was so easy it doesn’t even NEED to be a recipe!”
But the beauty of it is, when you make them, everyone is going to say, “How did you make these??” and “What is in them??”
The truth is, you only need 2-3 simple, easily-procured ingredients to whip up a batch, and the 2-ingredient method is…FAT FREE!!! You’ll never believe it from the taste, though!
In fact, there are sort of three tiers to the diet-friendliness of this recipe: The regular-cupcake-fashioned sort, while still actually better for you than regular cupcakes, has cream cheese frosting on the top and is therefore the most fattening of the three.
Next, the cream-filled variety is even lighter, because you don’t have to use nearly as much frosting if you’re sticking it in the center of the cupcake as if you put it on top.
(I also love this method because it looks much harder than it is and also makes transporting the cupcakes much quicker and easier–just throw them on top of each other in a bowl and carry to work!)
And lastly, if you omit the cream cheese frosting altogether in favor of powdered confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top, you’ve got yourself a bona fide, fat-free, scrumptious cupcake. (The applesauce makes the cake so deliciously moist and sticky you don’t have to worry about your “bald” cupcakes being dry!)
Begin by preheating oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, empty the contents of one regular-sized white cake mix.
Take a 24-ounce jar of applesauce (about 2-1/4 cups), open it, and dump it in over the mix. Stir well, remembering that batter will still be bumpy after mixing, unlike regular cakes made with water, eggs and oil.
(Don’t bother unloading your electric mixer for this one, folks–a plain old batter spoon or wire whisk will do fine.)
Once all cake mix has been stirred into applesauce, spray or line 12 muffin cups. (This is a denser batter, so don’t expect to still get 24 cupcakes out of that mix!)
Pour or spoon batter evenly into the muffin tins. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes (start checking after 20 or so), until tops are golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in muffin pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to wire cooling rack.
Once airing on the rack, transport to refrigerator for quicker cooling time (about 15 minutes).
While muffins are cooling, prepare a frosting decorator bag (or large Ziplock!) with desired decorator’s tip dropped into an open corner. Spoon prepared cream cheese frosting (canned frosting is fine!) into bag.
Remove cooled cakes from fridge and decorate tops, if desiring regular-looking cupcakes.
(Or, if you like your cupcakes fat free, skip frosting altogether in favor of cinnamon or powdered sugar!)
For the “light” cream-filled variety, stick the frosting tip directly down into the center of the cooled cupcakes and squeeze until center tops shift slightly, indicating the cupcake is now filled with frosting. Repeat until all cupcakes are filled/decorated!