Guilt-Free Funfetti Cupcakes

 

The holidays are nearly over!

I’m honestly quite depressed about it, if we’re being honest.

I wait (im)patiently all year for this season: the music, the cookie cutting, the tinsel and wrappings and the fat man in the red suit… and it’s all gone within a matter of minutes. Forty minutes after three am, if we’re being precise.

Yes, even as adults, my siblings and I still woke up at three. It’s tradition. We haven’t lost the little kids inside, aching to open up new clothes and rubber spatulas under the tree (thanks, Mom and Dad!) or gift cards (you know me so well, bro and sis).

Now I’ll have to wait another 361 days before the next Christmas. I’m already missing seeing the Christmas nights twinkling against the midnight canvas and I wish my mom hadn’t rushed to put all the decorations away. I had a really cute ornaments-clustered-in-a-jar thing going on around my living room and kitchen.

Thankfully, Christmas, with all its sparkles and shiny things, transitions wonderfully into the New Year festivities where there is no shortage of sparkle, all too much guilt.

I mean, there’s the whole “resolution” thing which kind of forces me into a predicament. I’ve successfully avoided the whole diet thing this year, and I have no problems ignoring it in the new year.

But everyone around me is kind of forcing me into thinking I should diet, too. “The new year” and all. I don’t do well with being forced to do well, anything. Except shopping. Shove me into a Nordstrom and force me to find something and I’ll be happy to do your bidding.

Diets though? Meh. That means I can’t be as close as I normally am to butter, salt and sugar. And honestly, we kinda have a good thing going on here. Abandoning them would be like abandoning my soul in a seedy part of town where everyone wears jogging bras in public and slurps loudly on wheatgrass smoothies from Jamba Juice.

Noooooo thanks.

But I totally get it. It’s okay to eat smart, and I’m really trying. Today, I went on a nice long walk through the golf course with Jessie AND I successfully (begrudgingly) avoided buying a handsome looking peanut butter cookie at lunch today which was HUUUUGE. Not even my adorable pouty face nor my excessive begging and pleading made Jessie get it for me; thus I was woefully cookieless for about 20 minutes and then I was frolicking on a golf course taking pictures.

Obviously I’ve been abducted by exercise-fanatic aliens.

However, before they left my body to find a new person to transform into a crazy hiking-and-wheatgrass-drinking freak (only kidding–grass is for lawns, people) they reminded me of this brilliant idea I’ve used many times before: using diet soda in cake mix.

It’s totally awesome and makes the cake super light and moist and fluffy which is everything you want in a cupcake, minus the fat you don’t even notice. I PROMISE. My buttery, sugar-coated promise to you, my friend. I wouldn’t trick you.

Even if the word ‘diet’ isn’t in your vocabulary, pretty please try this recipe. It’s quick, easy and tastes great. Plus, Jessie didn’t even say anything when I had like 5 because I was being healthy. 

You know it’s true.

And don’t be all like “yeah, the cake may be low-fat but what’s with the frosting?!” To that I say four words: Fat free cream cheese.

Open wide!

Guilt-Free Funfetti Cupcakes

1 box funfetti cake mix (JUST the mix–you do NOT need any other ingredients. No eggs. No water. No oil. Just soda)
1 can (12 ounces) diet sprite or 7-up
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe and ingredients follow)
Rainbow sprinkles or jimmies

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with 18-20 paper liners (recipe makes around 18). Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix and the diet soda–that’s it!–until creamy and blended, about 2 minutes. Portion batter, about 2/3 full, into each muffin tin. Bake for approx. 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Do not overbake. Cool completely while you prepare frosting.

Guiltless Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg (8 oz) fat free cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened (a little butter is A-OK)
1 tsp vanilla extract
About 4 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened butter and cream cheese and the vanilla extract until creamy and blended, about 2 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar one cup at a time until a stiff but spreadable consistency is achieved.
2. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes, about 1-2 Tablespoons per cupcake. Sprinkle generously with rainbow sprinkles or jimmies. Keep covered in fridge. Eat 12. Considering walking around the block but don’t, then eat another.

I promise I’m not trying to get all healthy on you–not completely. But trust me, you will enjoy these. And if I start preaching about flaxseed and start putting tofu in cupcakes you have permission to slap me in my face.

…not too hard, though. A little pat will do just fine. Preferably if I’m slapped with a pat of butter.

Have a great Thursday!

xo, Hayley

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