Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of ten books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.
Pumpkin spice fever hit hard in September, and now that we’re into December, things are getting serious. Pumpkin, it’s your time.
And we all want to celebrate, but we’d also still like to fit into something cute on New Year’s Eve. Pssst… you can do both!
With only 141 calories per portion-controlled treat, these cupcakes are an indulgence you can feel good about. Show up with a batch of these at your next holiday get-together, and watch all those cookies crumble with envy…
‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
½ cup reduced-fat cream cheese
¼ cup light butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown), room temperature
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
⅓ cup powdered sugar
1 ¾ cups moist-style spice cake mix
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
⅓ cup egg whites or fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
½ tsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. cinnamon
⅛ tsp. pumpkin pie spice, plus more for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil baking cups, or spray it with nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. With an electric mixer set to medium speed, beat until smooth, 1 – 2 minutes. Continue to beat while gradually adding powdered sugar. Beat until smooth, another 1 – 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate.
3. In another large bowl, combine cake mix, pumpkin, egg whites, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix until smooth and uniform. Evenly distribute batter among the cups of the muffin pan.
4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 16 – 18 minutes. Let cool completely, about 10 minutes in the pan and 25 minutes out of the pan.
5. Evenly frost cupcakes, and top with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
Nutritional information: (1 cupcake): 141 calories, 4.5g total fat (2.5g sat fat), 271mg sodium, 22.5g carbs, 1g fiber, 13g sugars, 2.5g protein