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Baking · Recipes · How To Make “Skinny” Cakes, Cookies & Brownies!
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How To Make “Skinny” Cakes, Cookies & Brownies!

I used to see recipes for “skinny” cakes, cookies, and brownies and think….Yeah right! What’s the point of even EATING these delish baked goods if you’re simply going to “ruin” them with healthy stuff!? 😉 Well, I have swallowed my pride…eaten my words…changed my tune…turned over a new leaf…and any other cliche you can think of…because after trying a few substitutions of my own I’m a believer! You CAN have your lowfat cake and eat/enjoy it too!

While I haven’t tried ALL of these ideas…I have seen each of them in several different places on Pinterest and on different websites…so I feel good about presenting them as an option for your consideration.

Just keep THIS in mind as you peruse the following “skinny” offerings:

If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter and you substitute 1/4 cup applesauce for half of the butter, you’ll save 44 grams of fat and 400 calories! Enough said.

“Skinny” FAT Substitutions:

To lighten up cakes and cupcakes, replace the fat with the same amount of light sour cream and natural applesauce. For example, if the box calls for 1/2 cup oil, replace it with 1/4 cup light sour cream and 1/4 cup applesauce. The cake is moist without being greasy and tastes great!

Switch out half of the butter in a cookie recipe for mashed avocado. This simple change will reduce fat content by 40% and cut the number of calories by nearly as much. You’ll still get the creaminess of butter and the fatty taste, but this substitution knocks out some of the “bad for you” saturated fat in favor of the “good for you” monounsaturated kind.

A substitution for oil or shortening: If you are substituting OIL, smash up canned (or cooked) beans and add enough of the bean juice to make it liquidy (not quite as runny as the oil, but a little more than mashed beans). If you are substituting for SHORTENING, mash the beans up without the bean juice. When measuring, the ratio is 1:1 (1 teaspoon of oil to 1 teaspoon of liquidy beans, OR 1 cup shortening to 1 cup mashed beans). If you are baking brownies, use black beans, if you are making banana bread or zucchini bread, use pinto beans. The basic rule is to use whatever colored bean would match your end product.

Combine 1 boxed cake mix, 1 cup plain greek yogurt and 1 cup water. Mix together and bake according to directions on the cake mix box. Works best with Devil’s Food Cake mix, but experiment! The texture is similar to a cross between a cake and a brownie. Use a 9 x 9 inch pan for a thicker cake.  Makes 12 servings at approximately 180 calories each.

Diet Soda Pop Cake and Cupcakes

There are a few different variations out there of this idea…the two most common being:

  • 1 box Yellow Cake Mix & 1 (12 oz.) can Diet 7-Up (or Diet Sprite)
    -OR-
  • 1 box Chocolate Cake Mix & 1 (12 oz.) can Diet Coke (or Diet Cherry Coke)

Mix together the soda and cake mix until smooth. Leave out the butter/oil/eggs if the mix calls for it. Mix ONLY the cake mix and can of soda pop. Bake according to directions on the box. Test with a toothpick to ensure that the cake is cooked in the center.  Makes 12 servings at approximately 171 calories each.

Diet Coke Brownies

  • 1 box fudge brownie mix
  • 1 (12 oz.) can Diet Coke

Mix together the soda and cake mix until smooth. Leave out the butter/oil/eggs if the mix calls for it. Mix ONLY the cake mix and can of soda pop. Bake according to directions on the box. Test with a toothpick to ensure that the cake is cooked in the center. Each brownie is approximately 105 calories.

Lemon Cool Whip Cookies

  • 8 oz. container of Cool Whip
  • 1 boxed Lemon cake mix
  • Juice of one lemon

Mix together the lemon cake mix and Cool Whip (you could also use Lite or Fat Free). Squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Spoon onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Optional: Mix lemon juice and powdered sugar to make a glaze. Drizzle over cookies while still warm. (OK, that part’s not so “skinny”, but it sure sounds good!)

What are YOUR favorite “skinny” cake, cookie, & brownie substitutions?


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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

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