These Healthy Cupcakes are light, fluffy, and moist. They’re also less sweet than most conventional cupcakes, both in the cake and in the pretty pink frosting, but they are still SO delicious! 

cupcakes-with-strawberry-frosting

Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes

I love making classic desserts that have all of the texture and flavor we expect, but that are a little less sweet. This cupcake recipe is one of the staples in our repertoire for kids birthday parties and holidays and it is exactly what you want from a cupcake—fluffy, loaded with vanilla flavor, and sweet enough that no one will mistake it for a muffin.

“Lower sugar” is a more specific description than “healthy” in this recipe as it’s really the sugar content that’s different here. 

A batch of these lower sugar cupcakes—they have 1/4-½ cup less sugar than other classic recipes, plus significantly less sweetness in the frosting options—are a great kids dessert option. They’re even a good option for a first birthday cupcake. I’ve served these to kids of all ages, as well as adults, and no one is ever the wiser as far as the sugar content goes!

ingredients-in-healthy-vanilla-cupcakesIngredients You Need

Here’s a look at the ingredients you’ll need to make this cupcake recipe.

TIP: The texture of the batter will be best if the eggs and milk aren’t freezing cold and the butter is soft at room temperature.

how-to-make-healthy-vanilla-cupcakes-step-by-step

Step-by-Step Instructions

The process for making these cupcakes is similar to any other cupcake. Here’s a look at the steps involved. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full information.

  1. Cream the butter and the sugar with a handheld mixer until light and fluffy. (photo 1)
  2. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine. Beat in the vanilla. (photo 2)
  3. Add the dry ingredients and the milk, alternating and gently beating together in between. . (photo 3)
  4. Divide the batter among paper liners and bake. (photo 4)

TIP: It’s rare that I use electric mixers in any of my recipes since I know how chaotic homes with little kids can be, but you really do need to add air to the butter and sugar to create a fluffy cupcake.

baked-healthy-vanilla-cupcakes

How can I ensure these are light and fluffy?

Having the butter softened at room temperature (so when you pick up the stick of butter, it feels soft), and beating the butter and sugar for at least 3 minutes. That and not over-baking and allowing the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack, not in the pan so they don’t continue cooking, are my best tips

Can I make these gluten-free?

Try using this cup for cup gluten free flour blend in place of the all-purpose.

Can I make these toddler cupcakes with whole wheat flour?

If you want to use a whole grain flour, I recommend using whole wheat pastry flour as it will be less dense than straight up whole-wheat. Or, use half whole-wheat and half all-purpose.

interior-of-healthy-vanilla-cupcakes

Easy Frosting Options

I have a few options that you can consider:

TIP: My lower sugar Chocolate Cake is another great option (and it’s egg-free) for a less sweet, but still super yummy, dessert!

healthy vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles on teal towel

Tips for Making the Best Healthy Cupcakes

  • Be sure to beat the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes until it’s fluffy for the best texture results.
  • To avoid over baking, set your timer for the lower end of the time range and check the centers with a cake tester. If it comes out cleanly, and the edges are lightly golden brown and the tops are firm to the touch, pull them from the oven.
  • Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool soon after you pull them from the oven to ensure that they stop baking.
  • Be sure the butter is soft at room temperature and pull the eggs and butter from the fridge about an hour before you start baking if possible.
  • These are best on the day they are made. If needed, you can make these up to 24 hours ahead of time. Let cool fully and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Frost right before serving if possible.
  • It is possible to use plain whole milk Greek yogurt or sour cream in for half of the butter if desired. The results will not be as light and fluffy snd texture-wise, they will be a little less like a classic cupcake.
  • It is possible to lower the sugar further to ⅓ cup. The texture will not be as light and fluffy and they will be a little less like a classic cupcake.
  • Gluten-free: Use cup for cup gluten-flour.
  • Top with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting, yogurt frosting in my Smash Cake, or Quick Chocolate Frosting.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you make these cupcakes so please comment below!

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cupcakes-with-strawberry-frosting

Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes (So Easy!)

These Healthy Vanilla Cupcakes are light, fluffy, and moist. They’re also less sweet than most conventional cupcakes, both in the cake and in the pretty pink frosting, but they are still SO delicious! 
4.97 from 170 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Calories 166kcal
Servings 12

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
  • Add the butter and sugar to a medium bowl. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer on medium-high speed until light, fluffy, and thick or about 3-5 minutes. 
  • Add in the eggs one at a time, beating in between to fully incorporate each egg. Add in the vanilla.
  • Add the baking powder, salt, and half of the flour to the bowl. Beat on the lowest speed. Add half of the milk. Beat on the lowest speed. Add the remaining flour and milk and beat on the lowest speed to just combine the batter.  
  • Divide the batter among the paper liners, filling each cup with about ¼ cup batter.  
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes or until just golden brown around the edges and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely. 
  • Frost as desired.

Notes

  • These are best on the day they are made. If needed, you can make these up to 24 hours ahead of time. Let cool fully and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Frost right before serving if possible.
  • Store any leftover cupcakes, once frosted, in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Let sit for a bit at room temperature before serving to allow them to soften up (the cupcakes firm up in the fridge).
  • Be sure to beat the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes until it's fluffy for the best texture results.
  • To avoid over baking, set your timer for the lower end of the time range and check the centers with a cake tester. If it comes out cleanly, and the edges are lightly golden brown and the tops are firm to the touch, pull them from the oven.
  • Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool soon after you pull them from the oven to ensure that they stop baking.
  • Be sure the butter is soft at room temperature and pull the eggs and butter from the fridge about an hour before you start baking if possible.
  • Gluten-free: Use cup for cup gluten-flour.
  • It is possible to use plain whole milk Greek yogurt or sour cream in for half of the butter if desired. The results will not be as light and fluffy snd texture-wise, they will be a little less like a classic cupcake.
  • It is possible to lower the sugar further to ⅓ cup. The texture will not be as light and fluffy and they will be a little less like a classic cupcake.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake, Calories: 166kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Sodium: 109mg, Potassium: 41mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 292IU, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

 

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Very tasty, even with all the substitutions. Made them with half wholemeal flour and half yogurt, and even cut down sugar to around 30g for half a batch. We loved them 😊

  2. 5 stars
    Pinkalicious! Amy, we have loved
    your recipes since our daughter was tiny. She’s home sick today on a gross rainy winter day, so we whipped these up and added a tiny bit of natural red food dye. They were perfectly pink and went along great with her favorite show Pinkalicious. Thank you!

    1. I haven’t tested it with that option so I can’t say for sure. They may have guidance on their website though.

  3. 5 stars
    I made these for my one year old bday and everyone liked them! My sub says he wants the same for his 4th birthday but chocolate! Do you think i could sub 1/4 flour for 1/4 cocoa powder S it would turn out?
    I know you have a chocolate cupcake recipe but it looks quite different!

  4. Hey there! Love this recipe ❤️ 🧁 the calories for this recipe, do they include the calories with frosting or without frosting?
    Thanks!!

  5. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe! I am wondering now if I am actually a good baker or was it just because I followed this recipe!!?

    Ran out of cup cake covers so had to go straight into the metal cupcake tray. Results were AMAZING! Crunchy? On the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. Made it with my toddler he had two, my hubby and I ate the rest! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I have tried so many of Amy’s recipes and both me and my daughter love them all! These cupcakes and her avocado blueberry muffins are our favorite!
    For this cupcake recipe I followed her yogurt frosting that I used last year, but added in the ground freeze dried strawberries… DELICIOUS!
    Thank you for a great, easy to use food resource Amy!

  7. 5 stars
    Great and easy recipe that results in perfect combo of fluffy and filling with enough sweetness to replace a higher sugar cake without complaints.

    Made a test 1/2 batch, which filled one 6-inch cake and three cupcakes baked for 16 mins/12 mins respectively in my Breville on convection bake. Added 3/4 tsp almond extract and will be making again for daughter’s 2nd birthday.

    Having done a healthier, no sugar added cake for her first birthday, I can highly recommend this recipe, which may replace my standard cupcake recipe. It’s essentially the same but double the sugar.

  8. Hi! We are going to be on vacation for my daughter’s birthday – was wondering if you think these would freeze well (without the frosting) so that I could just frost there? Thanks!

  9. 5 stars
    Tried half of 1 batch (6 muffins) to see if it’ll be great as my son’s birthday cupcakes, and it turned out great!

    Made some substitutes and tweaks as well:
    I used Spelt flour throughout as 1-1 sub, and used coconut sugar cos that’s what I had on hand. I also added 2tsp calamansi juice cos i wanted a bit of tartness/sour flavor and i suppose that helped to offset the lack of airiness from using the coconut sugar (white granulated is still the best for that type of stuff).

    The resulting flavor had a bit of tartness only – i probsbly should have added a bit more calamsi juice and cut down a bit on baking powder – but definitely airy! I will be using this for my son’s birthday cupcake topped with strawberry frosting using mascarpone.

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