Light Lemon & Eggnog Pound Cupcakes

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Not sure if you’ve peeped at the calendar lately but um….I have a bit of news. CHRISTMAS IS IN 7 DAYS. Yes, that’s right, SEVEN! Siete! Sept! Yedi! (I’m not just screaming random words, that’s how you say seven in Spanish, French and Russian). As you can probably tell by frantic tone of …type? I’m not ready for it. In fact, I still have about 75% of my shopping to do, not to mention the gifts I’m baking. I would probably cry if I wasn’t so jet-lagged. So, instead of preparing myself for the holiday this morning, I took a detour to bake some light lemon & eggnog pound cupcakes. Nothing will sooth your soul and combat your stress like one of these, I guarantee it.

I could technically give these away as gifts, which would mean less shopping for me. But you know what? I don’t wanna. I know the holiday is supposed to be about sharing, and gift GIVING, but that doesn’t mean you have to share EVERYTHING you make, right? I’m making other things for other people, so I don’t think it’s horribly rude or selfish of me to keep this entire plate of pound cupcakes all to myself. Well, not all to myself, Santa can have if he asks nicely.

Pound cake is one of those things that I just love to make and eat. It’s so simple, so decadent, so dense, moist and rich. It’s the perfect marriage between quick bread and cake. You get the sweet, fluffy taste and texture of cake but served up in a loaf (or muffin) shape. You can serve glazed or unglazed and can enjoy it year round. I honestly don’t know why I do not make more pound cakes.

Oh yes, I do. I don’t want to weigh 10000 pounds, that’s it. Luckily, these cupcakes are as guilt-free as they come. They are made with applesauce and oil, so you have less fat and calories and use 1/2 the amount of sugar as regular pound cakes. In fact, each little pound cupcake has less than 200 calories. So even if you had, say, 4, you’re still going to fit into your pants.

Now, after 4 of these, your pants may fit, but they won’t be comfortable. So why not keep it to one and still rock that LBD like no ones business?

Light Lemon & Eggnog Pound Cupcakes


Yields 12. Recipe inspired by Real Simple.
Prep time: About 10 minutes
Cook time: About 40 minutes


  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup low-fat eggnog
  • Lemon glaze (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake wrappers and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, corn starch and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, mix the sugar, oil and applesauce together until fully combined. Add in lemon, lemon zest, vanilla extract and eggnog, mix well. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time), mixing well after each addition.
  4. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 the way full with batter. Bake for about 40 – 42 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Transfer to a wired cooling rack and let cool completely.
  5. Glaze with your favorite glaze or dust with powdered sugar!

Nutritional information per cupcake:

Calories: 199
Fat: 7.2 grams
Carbohydrates: 28.5 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 5.1 grams 
Weight Watchers Points:  5

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  1. Posted by Elaine @ Cooking to Perfection on
    Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
    Pound cake that's healthy?! Yes please! I also love that you paired eggnog with lemon. I would have never thought to do that, but I love the sound of it!
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
      It's heaven, you have to try it!
  2. Posted by Ashley on
    Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
    Mmmmm lemon and eggnog sounds perfect-o my dear!
  3. Posted by amy donovan on
    Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
    These look just wonderful! And i love that they're lighter - always a good thing. You can just send me a dozen of these + that'll do for my Christmas gift this year. ;-)
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
      Perfect! You are officially crossed off my list.
  4. Posted by Kathryn on
    Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
    These cupcakes look way too good to give away.
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
      DUDE. My logic exactly.
  5. Posted by The Beeroness on
    Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
    I'm only about half way done with my shopping, I keep forgetting. But I would never forget a poundcake for less than 200 calories :)
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
      hahaha! You are away ahead of me.
  6. Posted by Aggie on
    Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
    Mmmm, seriously, can I have one right now?? Love this.
    • Posted by claire on
      Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
      Yes you can! Come on ovahh!
  7. Posted by Jenn Baker on
    Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
    This looks delicious and amazing! I will definitely try once I get my bearings post-holiday and can summon up sweets again.
  8. Posted by Oh My Veggies on
    Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
    Oh my gosh, love love love! Everything about these just screams deliciousness! :D
  9. Posted by Christina on
    Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
    Holy yum, these look amazing. Pound cake is so rich and delicious and mixed with eggnog and lemon makes it the perfect winter treat!
    • Posted by claire on
      Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
      Thanks Christina! It's just perfect for this time of year!
  10. Posted by Tutti Dolci on
    Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
    Adorable little cupcakes, I love the glaze!
  11. Posted by Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. on
    Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
    Girl, don't even remind me about Christmas being a week away! You've totally won me over with the words 'pound cake' and 'cupcakes'
  12. Posted by Adrienne Morris on
    Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
    Looks amazing, I can already taste it! Would you happen to have a suggestion as to how I might bake this in a loaf pan? Would you adjust the time or temperature?
    • Posted by claire on
      Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
      I'd adjust the time, probably add just a few more minutes to make sure it cooks all the way through!
      • Posted by Adrienne Morris on
        Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
        Much appreciated! Going to make a big batch tonight!
  13. Posted by Donna on
    Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
    difficult finding light eggnog in France...eggnog period!...I have, however, located the "regular" version (Borden?..In a can?)..Is there a way of "lightening" this up...or creating a similar "taste" using different ingredients?...These look amazing...and perfect for a holiday brunch/breakfast!...Also...I would love to create this in loaf version...easier during this hectic time!!...Any thoughts on oven temp and time-in-oven?...Thank you for all you do....
    • Posted by claire on
      Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
      I'd keep the oven temperature the same and probably let them cook a few more minutes longer. I'm not sure how to lighten up that eggnog, perhaps just swap in all applesauce in place of the oil to combat the calories and fat from the regular eggnog?

      You can also make the eggnog yourself, there are a few light recipes online!
  14. Posted by Lizzy Do on
    Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
    Oooh, I love this eggnog and lemon flavor combination!!! And a lower fat cupcake is PERFECT for this time of year. My counters are covered with fattening candies and cookies, but like you, I don't want to overindulge!!!
  15. Posted by Savory Simple on
    Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
    These look totally decadent!
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