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These super moist cupcakes are the last thing one would presume to be a light version of any dessert, coming in at 316 calories each! Although they have substantially less sugar than the average cupcake, they are nevertheless the sweet indulgence I require at the end of EVERY day. The vanilla cake allows the fruits to take center stage creating a tropical taste that is bright and full flavored. To top it off, my Lighter Ermine Frosting (a type of buttercream) is fluffy and creamy, without being excessively rich.
A piece of Summer, all year long
In these calorie-slim cupcakes, chunks of diced candied pineapple sink to the bottom creating a sort of “right-side up” cake. When you slice into these delectable treats, you can see cubes of the sweet fruit. Because I use candied coconut and pineapple (also known as sweetened coconut and “dried” pineapple), finding the ingredients isn’t dependent on the season. Even though I love to bake these during the summer, they’re perfect in the winter to bring in a little sunshine to fight those winter blues.
♥ Make Ahead:
They’re extremely moist, and because of that are a perfect “Make Ahead” option. I bake and frost them a day in advance if I plan to bring them to a party or have them ready for a dinner I’m hosting. It certainly cuts down on the stress being able to prepare them the day before an event. Just store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready for dessert, leave them out on the counter about 20 minutes before serving so the frosting can soften back to its creamiest. Enjoy!
A Taste of Vacation
The combination of pineapple and coconut reminds me of family vacations to Baja, Mexico. My parents, brother, and I would pile into our ’56 Chevy Suburban and head south from Santa Barbara to the (fool’s) gold-laced beaches of a place called “La Fonda”. Often we’d stop there on our route to Ensenada or San Miguel, but on a rare occasion we’d get to stay in a bungalow at their hotel which sat precariously at the edge of a cliff towering over the beach.
It was a tradition that each time we visited La Fonda my dad would take me over to its “watering-hole” with him. The long, ring stained bar sat below hastily stapled grass skirting and faded Corona pennants. From my stool I would gaze out through the always opened glass doors at the beach below. The salty air and sounds of crushing waves, combined with quiet Cumbia music and the smell of stale beer was a strangely comforting mix. It meant vacation. It meant family time.
In the dim, damp, yet festive bar, my dad would sit on the stool next to mine, order himself his customary beer, and treat me to my once-a-year Virgin Piña Colada. As fond of a memory I have of that bar and my annual drink, as an adult I could never manage to choke down one of those thick, heavy “milkshakes” masquerading as a cocktail! But the blended scent of coconuts and pineapple still sends me back to that stool next to my dad each and every time.
Want some more Make Ahead dessert ideas? Click on one of these:
- Lemon Bars with Cardamom; Guiltless & Egg-less. 150 calories LESS and 1/2 the sugar of the average bar
- Chai Spiced Apple Bars, no-roll crust and under 320 Cal! Easy Weekday Baking
- Cardamom Crème Oatmeal Sandwiches, (Accidentally) Vegan and only 288 Cal each!
- Light Black Forest Cake, less than 1/2 the calories!
Light Candied Pineapple & Coconut Cupcakes, around 300 Calories each!
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup diced candied pineapple
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp clear vanilla, or regular
- 10 jumbo foil cupcake liners
- 1 batch of my Lighter Ermine Frosting, Guilt Free Roux Buttercream, with these changes:
- 1/2 tsp coconut extract (instead of vanilla)
- 1/2 cup (lightly measured, not packed), shredded sweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 325⁰ and line 10 cupcake slots with jumbo foil cupcake liners.
- Sift Flour into a large bowl. Take out 2 tbsp. and put that into a separate small bowl. Toss the diced pineapple in the flour and set the bowl aside.
- Back in the large bowl add the sugar, baking soda, and salt to the flour. Whisk to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the flour, and pour in the oil, vinegar, vanilla and buttermilk. Whisk to combine.
- Pour the pineapple flour mixture over top and fold it into the batter.-Divide the batter among the foil liners, each not being over 2/3 full.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until the cupcakes springs back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. They’ll be a blondish color.
- Cool them in the cupcake pan for 5 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack and cool completely.
- Frost with my Lighter Ermine Frosting, Guilt Free Roux Buttercream!