Spinach Surprise!

Yesterday I decided to treat Boyfriend by making him some chocolate cupcakes. He loves Magnolia’s cupcakes, but lately has been calling me all the time to complain. “I have a stomachache… and I’m fat.” Um, yeah, you ate not one but TWO fatty and heavy cupcakes (delicious though they may be). Having successfully found a recipe for Magnolia’s banana pudding that’s not quite as good as theirs but is made of totally healthy ingredients, I decided to turn my attention to finding a healthy cupcake recipe.

After Googling for a while, I came across a recipe that wasn’t quite as healthy as I wanted, but was still really interesting. Eggless Cooking posted a recipe that they had borrowed and adapted from The Sneaky Chef, that cookbook by Missy Lapine to get kids to eat their vegetables. This particular modification called for a prune puree instead of an egg, but eggs are cheaper than prunes and I’m on unemployment, so Boyfriend didn’t get a version that fancy :) Instead, he just got the one sneaky ingredient: a puree of spinach and blueberries that’s used to make the cupcake moist. And it did! The cupcakes came out absolutely delicious, and seem just like regular cupcakes – it’s impossible to tell that they’re healthy in any way.

With my batch making 12 good-sized cupcakes (no icing though – I just threw a little powdered sugar on top to make them look pretty), the nutrition stats were pretty good.

157 calories for a cupcake? The Starbucks ones are about 450, and I’m sure Magnolia’s are even more than that because of the real cream and butter and stuff.

I thought the cupcakes were delicious, but I’m someone who sometimes makes kale smoothies for breakfast, so I’m probably not the best tester. However, when Boyfriend came home late, drunk, and wanting munchies, I told him I had baked cupcakes and he tried one. The verdict? “This is the best chocolate cupcake ever!” Even after I told him there was spinach in it, he happily kept eating (though he complained that I was treating him like a five year old by trying to get him to eta his veggies).

The only thing I didn’t love about them was the whole wheat flour gave the cupcakes a little bit of a wheat-y flavor; however, by the next day, this wheat flavor was gone. This morning, my roommate was finally around (she arrived on the red-eye from her client in California), so I had her try one. Unlike me, she’s not a big health food fan; unlike Boyfriend, she was sober; but like both of us, she loved it! I’m thrilled.

Now, for those of you on diets, I should add that these aren’t really “healthy” per se. They still have sugar and fat, and the spinach doesn’t add a ton of vitamins, but it’s still a bit healthier than what you’d get at a local bakery! Just don’t kid yourself – there is still sugar and chocolate and butter and other non-diet ingredients. (If you’re not on a diet, I would like to add that the step where you melt the butter and the chocolate together makes the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. You should probably subtract a few calories from that nutrition label considering how much of that stuff I ate before incorporating it into the mix).

When I went to the library to get the actual cookbook, I discovered that in addition to the original sneaky chef book for kids, there is another book too. Say hello to The Sneaky Chef: How to Cheat on Your Man (in the Kitchen!): Hiding Healthy Foods in Hearty Meals any Guy Will Love, and don’t tell Boyfriend that from now on that’s where all my “comfort food” recipes are coming from :)


  1. Seeing as how I LOVE SPINACH, I must just have to try this out!!! Thanks!

  2. That sounds like a book with a lot of potential.

    I saw cupcakes made with baby food on foodtv. Good cheap way to use more secret veggies, and they are already blended.

  3. Good for you Laura!

    Nearly all unhealthy foods can be adapted with the application of the 80/20 Rule. Making just one or two minor changes like you did with these cupcakes can bring about really disproportionate improvements in the health content of the recipe.

    PS: I loved this quote you wrote:
    “it’s impossible to tell that they’re healthy in any way.”–that is the definition of stealth healthfood!”

    Casual Kitchen

  4. Hmmm, sounds interesting. I might have to give these a try.

  5. That sounds interesting! I know another blogger who adds spinach to her smoothies…I never thought about it BUT I love spinach so I might like it.

    My hubs is a bit of a gourmet so I’m not sure he’ll fall for it, but a girl can try!

    I was really happy to read a happy post from you today! I hope life is getting a bit better for you!

  6. Thats awesome! I might have to try this trick on Hubby. I have tried using applesauce before too instead of butter. That works nicely! Also…have you ever tried making cake with a can of diet pop? Thats also fun and more healthy :)

  7. You need to try chocolate beet cake. It is truly the best thing ever. My husband and stepson, who are extremely veggie-averse, LOVE it.


    Oh yeah, girl, I hear you on the kale smoothies. You inspired me to start making them!

  8. Oooh, I’ve been craving cupcakes lately . . . I might have to try these! Thanks for the tip, Laura! :)

  9. I LOVE healthy versions of recipes :) I actually have a delicious one for banana bread, there’s still sugar and everything, but not too much I find. Let me know if you want it, I’d be happy to share it!

  10. Two no Six Bakers Dozen!!!


    Haha, sorry, that is the only thing that I could think of during this post w/ the Magnolia’s reference. :)

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