Cake Small Cakes, Muffins and Baked Doughnuts

Chocolate Carrot Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

So you know when it’s Christmas?

And you’re getting all excited about christmas?

You are so going christmas shopping, you make christmassy things, you get to wrap up presents….

and then there’s the christmas food. Amirite?


Like seriously, SERIOUSLY, the food. I’m not even talking about actual legitimate Christmas food (mince pies, gingerbread, candy canes, advent calendar chocolates), but just ALL FOOD.

For some reason, when it’s around Christmas time (who am I kidding) as soon as the calendar flips to December 1st, somehow, all food becomes okay to eat in copious amounts because “it’s Christmas”….

“Do I want a brownie? Well, I’ve already eaten my advent calendar chocolate, and a chocolate chip cookie today, but hey, IT’S CHRISTMAS. Get in mah belly Mr brownie.”

Okay I don’t actually know if anyone else experiences this random Christmas eating excuse, but I certainly do.

I also use it as a baking excuse, to just constantly replenish the ‘diminished’ cookie supply…..

Now we all know how hard it is to say no to free baked goods, or just not bake before the ‘big day’ (Crimbo itself) when you know you’ll be eating loads of awesome food ALL DAY.

and what’s easier than saying no? saying yes.

Saying yes to a delicious, moist chocolate cupcake. 

I literally took me about 5 trials to come out with a geniunely good chocolate cupcake in the end;

I also found that I had to squeeze as much water as possible out of the grated carrot (added for bulk, moisture, fibre, vitamins and sweetness!) to make the cupcakes work  – so don’t skip that step!

Ima be studying my butt off for the next month for mock exams in January, so I might be missing a post out on one or two occasions, just in case you wanted to know for future reference  :/

I hope everyone has an awesome run up to the holidays!


-If you hate frosting / don’t want to make it / can’t make it, you can add 65g (~a slightly heaped 1/3 cup) of semisweet chocolate chips to the batter (sprinkle them onto the batter once it’s in the muffin cups, then poke them into the batter a bit) – this adds the same number of calories to each cupcake as the frosting

100 Calorie Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing


For the cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely grated carrot
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, , melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) low fat plain yogurt or low fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup minus 2 tbsp, (110g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) hot water

For the chocolate cream cheese frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (50g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp light cream cheese


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Put the finely grated carrot into a fine mesh strainer. Hold the strainer over a sink and squeeze the grated carrot to remove as much liquid as possible. Place into a medium bowl.
  3. To the bowl, add the melted oil, egg and yogurt/buttermilk and stir in. Add the next 6 ingredients (flour through to cocoa powder) and stir in. Lastly, stir in the hot water until just combined.
  4. Divide the batter between 12 lined muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Cool on a wire rack.
  5. For the frosting, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Use about 2 tsp to frost each cupcake.


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  • Katherine December 10, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Do you always use just square pieces of parchment paper to line your cupcake tins? I love that idea. Can’t wait to try this recipe. The cake looks very moist.

    • Izy December 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      I think I’ve only ever used parchment paper twice before for lining the muffin tins; I don’t know why I don’t do it more often, I find it so cute! It’s also useful if you have a weirdly sized muffin pan that the liners don’t fit properly ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!!

  • Heidi @ Bits of Sunshine December 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    ooooo – I am all for these! I fall into the holiday eating trap! Oh well! At least these will give me an excuse to eat two instead of 1!

    • Izy December 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      haha, that was the plan alllll along ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Erika December 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    These look so lovely!!! And I love your low-calorie option, totally perfect for the holidays when overindulgence is everywhere. They don’t look low-calorie at all!!

  • Kylie A. December 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    OMG I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I just found you through Spoon Fork Bacon and I must say you are the epitome of exactly what I strive for style-wise in my baking and photography. I’m so glad I found you, can’t wait to see what other treats you have in store!

  • carey December 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Yes, I need food help like this. Especially since I just ate a chocolate-covered macaroon that was the size of my fist.

    I love coconut oil and buttermilk in baked goods, so so much. And those parchment wrappers are adorable! (They make the winter, sugar-crazed pig version of myself think about the possibility of being able to put a lot more frosting on top.) I hope I get sweatpants for Christmas. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Izy December 13, 2012 at 11:07 am

      ahaha, I know, when I was filling the cupcake wrappers with batter, they were so tall I was thinking “I could just make like 6 HUGE cupcakes…”

      I pretty much live in my baggy jumpers and sweatpants during December holidays… for ‘warmth’… :/

  • Angela December 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Theses are so good! I found you through foodgawker and pined your awesome recipe, this is just what I needed!

    • Izy December 13, 2012 at 11:09 am

      thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Johanna December 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Great looking recipe, might try making these somewhere these upcoming weeks. Usually, I’m really sceptical about low cal recipes for great desserts, but hey, this one looks genuinly good. Now I just need to find myself some coconut oil.

    • Izy December 13, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Me too! Having tried a few in the past, and them always ending up being gummy or tasteless, I’m normally suspicious. You can sub any other neutral oil or melted butter for the coconut oil ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Sara December 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Can you substitute coconut oil?

    • Izy December 11, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      yup! you can sub in the same amount of any neutral oil, or even butter if you want!

  • Bernadette @ Now Stir It Up December 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    These look soooo so good. I love that you added carrots and yogurt to them. Such a great idea.

    • Izy December 13, 2012 at 11:09 am

      Thanks! When one of my friends saw I had added carrots to the recipe, she got ridiculously confused hahah

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag December 12, 2012 at 12:32 am

    I want this to GET IN MAH BELLY too!! lovely. lovely photos!

    • Izy December 13, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Thank youuuu!!

  • Erica December 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    These look so delicious! I am also OBSESSED with coconut oil at the moment, I just ordered two HUGE jars online.

    • Izy December 13, 2012 at 11:11 am

      This is my situation too, my mum managed to find coconut oil ridiculously cheaply (like the same price as butter, seriously), so we currently have 4 1/2 jars of it. It’s the good life :’)

      • Laurence April 19, 2015 at 5:20 pm

        What is the difference of coconut oil and ofter oils? Does it tasts like coconut? How is the consitency,ect? I would love to know, because I have never justed it yet!

        Thank you and your blog is amazing1

  • Jessica | Portuguese Girl Cooks December 13, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Ugh, I’ve been totally eating cookies like it was a food group this last month. So yeah, these cupcakes may be the perfect solution. These look awesome, Izy!

    • Izy December 13, 2012 at 11:12 am

      AHAHA totally, you just summarised my December completely in that first sentence :’) Thank you!

  • ti (matimuk) December 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    wow..I really love how do you work with food and the way you fix it on images..keep it!!

  • Andrea December 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Hi, do you use mini muffin tins or the normal sized tins?

    • Izy December 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Normal sized ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Jessica December 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Looks amazing !!!

  • Pipsa January 6, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I just made these, they are divine!! Love the idea of using carrot in a chocolate cupcake. I did make a somewhat more frosting, must admit… even though I think these are magnificient with or without the frosting. Nevertheless, why not to enjoy life to the fullest, isn’t that what they say…? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Holly January 8, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Can you substitute greek yogurt for the lowfat regular? I’m assuming it will be fine but thought I’d ask!

    • Izy January 8, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      I think it should work! but you may need to replace like 2 tbsp of the greek yogurt with water so the batter isn’t too thick

  • Ashley January 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    is the chocolate creme cheese icing good? my sister says she thinks it’s a bad idea so ? ^_^

    • Izy January 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      Well I made it part of the recipe so..yeah! Haha why would I put something gross in it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Rachel January 21, 2013 at 2:18 am

    I just found your website and oh my gosh I am in love! Question though, is it the carrot JUICE you’re adding or the grated carrots? Sounds totally delicious(:

    • Izy January 21, 2013 at 2:21 am

      Thank you! It’s the actual grated carrot that you add to the batter ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe January 25, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Damn it, I want one of these. Badly. Despite the fact that the holidays are over, my body still craves all of the chocolate, cookies, and really ALL THE FOOD. I love the idea of cupcakes that come with a little less guilt!

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  • Autumn February 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    In the frosting, is it really just 1 1/2 TBS of cream cheese? I’m trying to make these now and it’s just a very powdery mix at the moment…. HELP!

    • Autumn February 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      Ooh, I think I finally got it. It just took a long time with the hand mixer. I started with cold cream cheese, so it make sense now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Yomi February 25, 2013 at 2:26 am

    I made these today and they were awesome! The cake was moist and delicious and I would have never known there was carrot in the list of ingredients nor a mere 120 calories per cupcake! I used 1/c cup cake flour and 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour, buttermilk, Callebaut dutched cocoa, and added 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. The frosting was a bit difficult to work with so I added 1 tsp buttermilk, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Izy, I have been following your blog for a few years now, and your recipes are brilliant, particularly the healthier recipes. Keep em coming girl!

    • Izy February 27, 2013 at 12:41 am

      Thanks Yomi! I’m glad you liked them ๐Ÿ™‚ I love that you used whole wheat flour, I’ll add that to the notes! The reason the frosting can be difficult I think is because of the low fat cream cheese – sometimes it makes frosting really wet so you don’t have to add any liquid, sometimes it’s too dry; I think it depends on the brands… Anyways, thank you for reading my blog for some time, I’m always excited to hear from long time readers!

  • tash March 10, 2013 at 12:49 am

    thank you sooooo much for a fantastic recipe ! i jus made these tonight they are AMAZING and dont have that horrible ‘low fat low cal’ bland taste diet food normally has. haha BEAUTIFUL. DO RECOMMEND X

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  • Jessica May 13, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Made these today for a friend’s birthday! They are WONDERFUL. so moist! I was a little skeptical to make the cream cheese frosting at first, but then I made it and it was a great decision. I LOVE the frosting. I’ve been reading your blog for only about two weeks but I am so hooked. Your photography is amazing and the food is delicious.
    Thanks for the recipe! Definitely going to keep it around for sure.

  • Viv July 4, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Hi Izy – These cupcakes look fabulous & I’m definitely going to give this recipe a whirl. In fact, I’ve only just stumbled across your blog and it’s really great, so there’s a lot I’ll be trying. Looking forward to many more 100Calorie recipes ๐Ÿ˜€ *hint* I’m nurturing my sweet-tooth despite my general Eat Clean philosophy!
    Advice please: If I wanted to reduce the sugar quantity in this recipe to, let’s say, 1/4 Cup instead of 1/2 and use Stevia to make up the rest of the sweetness, would that drastically affect the texture of the sponge?
    Thanks for a wonderful website – Viv

  • Catherine July 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Hello Izy, I’m excited to give these cupcakes a try. What is the best way to store these? Have you experimented in how much in advance these can be made? I bake for friends and family and sometimes I have such a large order, I’m wondering if these can be made in advance. Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

    • Izy July 9, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      As the cupcakes are so low fat, they don’t stay moist + fluffy for very long. They’ll probably still be fine 2 days after making them, but more than that and they get preeettty dry. Oh, and just keep them all together in an airtight container! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Catherine July 9, 2013 at 7:33 pm

        Thank you, Izy! I really appreciate that. Room temperature, I assume?

  • KIMMY July 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    how many servings for this recipe?
    Can you share if i want to make 100 pieces if it?

  • Owlicious August 12, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Can i replace coconut oil with coconut milk/cream?

    • Izy August 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      you can replace the coconut oil with an equal amount of any neutral vegetable oil. Coconut milk and cream are completely different to coconut oil.

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    You should substitute sugar for apple sauce or something, and you can decrease it by a large amount of calories.

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  • Rachel January 28, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Hi, I’m thinking of making these for the Superbowl but I have a question. If I make them without the carrots and yogurt will they still taste good. Also, would I be able to use vanilla extract instead of cocoa powder or would it ruin the recipe. please answer ASAP.

  • Rachel January 28, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Sorry for commenting twice but one more thing. If I do this will it still be low fat and if I put the carrots in would I be able to taste them.

    • Izy January 28, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Hi Rachel, The cake recipe took a lot of trial and error to come up with – the yogurt, carrots and cocoa are essential in making sure they turn out right. I doubt they would work at all if you took out any of the ingredients you mentioned because they make the cake ‘work’…
      If you want a low fat vanilla cupcake recipe, I’d suggest you go with a completely different recipe (angel food cupcakes may be more like what you’re after)

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  • Vanessa March 4, 2014 at 1:53 am

    This is an amazing recipe. I just made these for a friends birthday and no one noticed the difference (other than those I told and even then they were a hit!) However, they fell like a soufflรฉ when I took them out of the oven. Just wondering if there’s a way to avoid that from happening as I will probably use this recipe for all kinds of cakes.

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  • Montana September 20, 2014 at 9:16 am

    How do you make those cupcake cases? Is it just a square of baking paper in a cupcake tin? They look great!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Katie December 20, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Do these need to be stored in the fridge because of the carrot/yogurt in them?

    I made these cupcakes this morning and they were SO good – wonderfully soft decadent, & no one guessed they had carrots in them! I used whole wheat pastry flour & organic coconut sugar, and subbed plain yogurt for the cream cheese in the icing. Thank you so much for the recipe! It’s definitely a keeper.

    • Izy December 21, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      You could do so just to be safe but, just like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, I find that keeping it at room temperature for a few days is fine. I think the sugar acts as a preservative but there’s no harm in chilling them anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Shiralee Junghans April 13, 2015 at 10:28 am

    This is the most beautiful and moist cup cake I ever made but I would like to double the recipe who would I do this and what would I double ? Some one help pls . Shiralee

  • K.Tipi February 26, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    I saw this recipe a couple years ago but finally made it. These are SO good….they taste like rich chocolate cupcakes. Unbelievable. Now: how to keep myself from making these every weekend?!?!

  • Savitha March 14, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Hmmmm…Sounds great… and looks great too

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