Red velvet cupcakes: everyone’s favorite. They’re starting to appear all over now, even at Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. The first time I fell in love with red velvet cupcakes was when I tried the SusieCakes Bakery recipe, which has frosting in the center of the cupcake (they are to die for!). As you can imagine, red velvet cupcakes can’t be the healthiest of desserts with that rich cream cheese frosting, so I went on a search for a healthy red velvet cupcake recipe. The result? A gluten-free cupcake with added fiber and protein. The secret ingredient? Garbanzo beans.
Garbanzo beans? I’ll admit, I was pretty skeptical about this recipe when I took a whiff of the blended garbanzo beans, vanilla extract, and eggs (It wasn’t exactly a pretty site either). I was in for a huge surprise though. These cupcakes were very moist AND fluffy. You wouldn’t have guessed there were garbanzo beans in them! The problem I usually come across with red velvet cupcakes is that they can be dry and flavorless, therefore relying on the cream cheese frosting to make up for it. Besides providing a better cupcake texture and lots of fiber and protein, garbanzo beans are high in antioxidant nutrients and have shown to benefit the heart. Eating even a small portion of garbanzo beans on a daily basis can help lower LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides and improve blood sugar levels.
The cream cheese frosting also has a healthy spin on it. In addition to using low-fat cream cheese, the frosting has honey in it, which has been found to be a good substitute for sugar for those with diabetic conditions because it is not as likely to create a blood sugar spike. Honey’s complex carbohydrates are probiotic, meaning that they promote the growth of intestinal bacteria in your body for better digestion. Honey’s plentiful enzymes also improve digestion while also increasing one’s energy.
There’s no better way to show your special someone that you care about them than by giving them a Valentine’s day dessert that is both sweet & nutritious. Don’t forget to use a stencil when sprinkling the red sprinkles on top in the shape of a heart. Thanks to my boyfriend, Nick, for this idea! Happy Valentine’s Day from WK!
Adapted from NPR author, Eve Turow
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes
For the Cake
15 ½ oz. can garbanzo beans
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp (1 ounce) red food coloring
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
For the Frosting
8 oz. low-fat cream cheese
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Add beans to a strainer and rinse well. Puree beans, vanilla extract and eggs in a blender or food processor. Add yogurt and continue to blend until all lumps are removed. Pour into a bowl and add cocoa powder, food coloring and sugar. In another bowl, mix together baking powder, baking soda and vinegar. The mixture should begin to fizz. Add to batter and mix in.
Grease cupcake pan or add cupcake holders and pour the batter in, about 4/5 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Place cakes onto a rack and cool.
For frosting, mix cream cheese, sugar and honey until smooth in a food processor, mixer or blender. Spread on top of cupcakes with a knife or spatula, adding red sprinkles on top.