By Dianne Bunis

By using canola oil, these cupcakes are a healthier version of the store-bought kind that are loaded with artery-clogging hydrogenated vegetable oil and artificial flavorings. Honey reduces sugar calories and Neufchatel cheese tastes as rich as regular cream cheese but with less fat.

Pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting, makes 12

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (King Arthur)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

6 tbsp. Demeara cane sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup almond milk

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 organic large egg, room temp.

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, oil, honey, milk, pumpkin, egg and vanilla using a mixer on low speed. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir lightly until just combined.

Using a ice cream scoop, spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling 3/4 full. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.

When completely cool, top with cream cheese frosting.

Maple cream cheese frosting:

8 oz.


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Neufchatel cream cheese, softened to room temp

1/4 cup butter, softened to room temp

2 cups confectioners' sugar

2 tbsp. maple syrup

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter in a bowl until well combined and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add maple syrup and vanilla to combine. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until incorporated and smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before frosting.