The Healthy Breakfast Cupcake

Although I believe cupcakes are on their way out, in terms of food trends, I can’t escape them. And with Buttercup Bake Shop and Crumbs on either side of me, let’s just say my consumption of cupcakes isn’t decreasing anytime soon.And the more cupcakes I eat, the more inclined I am to create my own and not just because I’m tired of paying $3.50 a pop.

Cupcakes seem fundamentally simple:

  1. Mix flour, sugar, butter, milk
  2. Bake
  3. Frost

So why are they so difficult to replicate in a healthy form? The reason is because the blending of butter and sugar gives cupcakes that fluffy light batter that very few healthy combinations can replicate. But through trial and error I will eventually create that winning combination of flavor and calories that will be THE HEALTHY CUPCAKE. But until I’ve found that perfect recipe, I’ll continue to perfect my Healthy Breakfast Cupcake.

The Healthy Breakfast Cupcake is really just a Banana Cupcake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. This cupcake is a hybrid between a muffin and cupcake that makes for the ideal breakfast when you’re craving something sweet. Because the cupcake batter is made up of applesauce and Splenda, rather than butter and sugar, the texture of the stump tastes more like a muffin than it does a cake. But the sweet & creamy cinnamon cream cheese frosting gives it a touch of sweetness reminiscent of a cupcake that compliments a nice cup of coffee.

HEALTHY BREAKFAST CUPCAKE RECIPE (Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting)

Banana Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Banana Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcake

  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Splenda Sugar Blend
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp Canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 4 ripe bananas)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 4 oz low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts (for topping)

Preparations

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, Splenda sugar blend, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together apple sauce, Canola oil, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. While cupcakes cool, lightly toast walnuts in a sautee pan over medium heat for about 4 minutes or until fragrant.
  5. While the cupcakes and walnuts cool, mix the cream cheese, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla with a hand blender. Gradually add the confectioners sugar to taste. The cream cheese mixture should no longer taste tangy but slightly sweet.
  6. Spread cupcake tops with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. Top each cupcake with toasted walnuts. 

* Be sure to refrigerate these cupcakes if you have any leftovers since the cream cheese will spoil if left out!

A Closer Look at Atlantic Grill

Atlantic Grill has been an Upper East side staple for quite some time. This BR Guest Restaurant is noted for its fantastic seafood, sushi, and raw bar. It was most recently voted one of the 50 most popular restaurants in New York in the 2008 Zagat. Given its rave reviews and status, I figured it would be the perfect place to celebrate my mom’s birthday.

Similar to its other BR Guest counterparts, Atlantic Grill’s decor though crowded and noisy was beautifully lit and very charming. I recall celebrating many joyous occasions at my favorite of the 12 restaurant chains, Blue Water Grill, though the feeling I had upon entering this restaurant was unlike one I’d ever had.

Our party of 5 was seated at a round table with a semi circle booth and two chairs. We commenced our dining experience with a toast of blue moon, chardonay, pinot grigio, and shiraz. Everyone seemed to enjoy what they were drinking. We started the night off with a few appetizers which included the Atlantic’s Chopped Salad, a Shrimp & Lobster Spring Roll, and a Maryland Crabcake which were all the highlight off the night.

For our main courses we tried the Horseradish Crusted Scottish Salmon, the Simply Grilled Tuna with sauteed Spinach, two Pan Seared Salmon Dishes (one with mixed Vegetables and another with butternut squash ravioli and brussel sprouts), and a Crab Crusted Golden Snapper. Before beginning my dish I was already filled with disappointed because I was informed that the special, a Pan Seared Salmon with sweet potato gnocchi and brussel sprouts in a cider reduction had already sold out! But in spite of that, I still was less than thrilled with my dish. The salmon was only gently seared and lacked that golden crispy crust one would expect of a seared fish. I had also requested the salmon to be cooked medium and it appeared to be well done. And though the accompanying sides were delicious, there were very few of them. I also happened to try a bit of my sister’s spinach and did not think even that was sufficient. The texture was quite leafy where as I am used to something a bit smoother and less dry.

But even with my sub-par meal, with the exception of the appetizers, the guest of honor was more than pleased with hers and that was most important. The night was fabulous despite it all and we ended of course with my mom’s favorite Crumb’s Carrot Cake Cupcakes!