Secretly Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes

Platter of Healthy chocolate cupcakesHave you met the newest addition to the culinary team at Sunset Foods? Michelle Garcia knows a thing or two about using wholesome ingredients in baking to produce delicious confections. She’s not only the former owner and founder of Bleeding Heart Bakery, Michelle is an award-winning pastry chef who has been featured on the Food Network. We couldn’t be more excited to have her join our talented crew!

It seems like desserts have been getting a bad rep lately. With the rise in gluten intolerance among people, and a trend towards healthier eating, people are less likely to give in to a little sweet indulgence at the end of a meal. But there’s good news for sweet tooths – this week’s recipe from Michelle lets you have your cake and eat it too – literally!

This week’s recipe: Secretly Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes

What you need:

For the cupcakes:

1 package Bob's Red Mill Chocolate Gluten Free Cake Mix

2 Tbs Chia seeds

1/2 stick Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

1 Cup Soy Milk

juice of ½ a lemon


For the frosting:

1 package Cherrybrook Kitchens Vanilla Frosting Mix

2 Tbs Chia Blueberry Squeeze plus extra for filling

3 1/2 sticks Earth Balance (at room temp)

2 Tbs Soy Milk

Why we like it:

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the things you love – like dessert. This recipe packs all kinds of wholesome nutrition into a perfectly portioned cupcake. The entire recipe is gluten-free, and vegan. And best of all, it actually tastes good! (If you prefer, you can easily substitute your favorite regular cake mix for the gluten-free mix in this recipe. And the vegan butter can be replaced with regular butter and the recipe will turn out just fine.) So let’s get started, shall we?

As always, you can find everything you need for this recipe at Sunset Foods. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper liners and set aside. Then get your cupcake ingredients organized.

Vegan and gluten free ingredients

We’ll start by prepping our Chia seeds. Bursting with nutrients – calcium, manganese, phosphorous, fiber and omega-3s – Chia seeds are powerful little guys indeed! In this recipe, they will act as an egg replacement, binding our ingredients together. But in order to do that, we need to soak the Chia seeds in water. Measure 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds in a small bowl and add 6 tablespoons of water. Let that mixture sit for about 15 minutes – until the Chia seeds have gelled.

Gelled chia seeds

Melt the butter and set aside to let cool slightly. Empty the contents of the cake mix into a large mixing bowl and whisk to break up any lumps.

Whisking the cake mix

Next, whisk in the soy milk and melted butter, followed by the juice of half a lemon.

Adding butter, soy, and lemon to cake mix

Whisk the mixture gently until all ingredients have been incorporated and no streaks remain. Then get ready to fill your muffin tins. We like to use an ice cream scoop to portion our muffin batter cleanly. Fill each muffin liner about 2/3 full.

Scooping batter with ice cream scoop

Dropping batter into cupcake liners

Once the batter has been used up, pop your pans into your pre-heated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cupcake comes out clean – about 30 minutes. WARNING: your kitchen is about to smell heavenly!!

While the cupcakes are baking, you can get started on the frosting. Here’s what we’ll need:

Vanilla Icing ingredients

Begin by combining the frosting mix and “butter” in a large mixing bowl. The butter will be easier to work with if it’s at room temperature.

Mixing butter and frosting mix together

Add a few drops of Blueberry squeeze, then gently mix everything together to incorporate. Add the soy milk last, and bring the frosting together.

Adding soy milk and finishing the icing


Once the cupcakes are finished baking, allow them to cool. Once coole, you are going to core each cupcake. Take a paring knife, and cut a small circle from the top of each cupcake, down toward the center of the cake, without going all the way through, like so:

Hollowing out the chocolate cupcake

Remove the circle of cake and set aside. Then take your Chia Blueberry Squeeze, and fill each opening you have created with a small amount of filling.

Cover the filling with the cake you removed, then get ready to frost your cupcakes. If you own a pastry bag and piping tip, you can get really fancy with your frosting. If not, a regular old butter knife works just as well.


If using a piping bag and tip, cut the end off the piping bag, then insert the tip into the bag, small end down. If the tip of the piping tip does not protrude from the bag end, simply trim a little more of the bag until the tip sticks out, but is still snugly in place in the bag.

Fill your pastry bag with enough frosting so that you can still comfortably hold and work with the bag – you can always reload as needed. Push the frosting down towards the tip end of the bag, removing air as you go. Stop before any frosting squirts out. Twist the open end of the bag closed, and anchor your dominant hand at the base of the twist. This hand will exude pressure on the bag as you pipe. Use your non-dominant hand to guide the piping bag as you pipe, like so:

Decorating the cupcakes with icing and sprinkles

(If you are using a knife, simply spread the frosting on top of each cupcake until smooth and pretty). You can stop there, or you can add a finishing touch, like colorful sprinkles.

Bravo! You’ve successfully created a delicious dessert that you can feel good about indulging in!

Platter of Healthy chocolate cupcakes



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