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Just Desserts: Diet-Friendly Baking Tips

Decadent cupcakes, brownies, and cookies do have a place in a healthy diet. The secret: sneak tweaks that bring your baked goods out of guilt-inducing territory and into a whole new "light."
Red Velvet Cake Whip It Good

For a lighter spin on cream cheese frosting, which is typically made with full-fat cream cheese and butter, beat together an eight-ounce block of reduced-fat cream cheese, one cup of powdered sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. The fluffy icing contains a mere 59 calories and three grams of fat per tablespoon.

Lay It On Thin

Buttercream can pack more than 140 calories and five grams of fat in just two tablespoons. Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, a food and nutrition specialist at North Dakota State University, suggests frosting your cake with nonfat whipped topping instead, or sifting on powdered sugar, which contains just 10 calories per teaspoon. Chocoholics: Melt 16 ounces of bittersweet chocolate with a quarter cup of low-fat milk, then spread the mixture on your cake or cupcake, advises Kim Galeaz, RD, a nutrition and culinary consultant in Indianapolis.