RecipeSneaky Cupcakes

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
  • Calories: 100
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Total Fat: 1.5 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 1.5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 25 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 20 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2 g
  • Total Sugar: 9 g
    • Natural Sugar: 2 g
    • Added Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 170 mg

These delectable cupcakes will surely bake you happy. I use a straight-from-the-box cake mix—full disclosure: it’s not going to win any nutrition awards, but it does save time and effort. (Yes, I’m a nutritionist, but I’m also a busy mom and can appreciate the ease of boxed mixes!) Here, I add a can of pureed beans to the mix, which boosts the fiber and protein content, along with eggs and applesauce. Trust me, if you don’t spill the beans, no one would ever suspect. I tested it out on more than a dozen nieces, nephews, and neighbors, and none had any clue. Top ‘em with this Avocado Chocolate Frosting for a surprisingly scrumptious finish!

Note: This trick works for both vanilla/yellow cake mixes and chocolate. Use white beans for light-colored cake mixes; black beans for chocolate. They’re scrumptious and satisfying, and deliver true cupcake magic!

  • Prep time
  • Total Time
This recipe makes 21 cupcakes
  • • 1 can (15 ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed*
  • • 1 box (~14 ounces) yellow cake mix**
  • • 3 eggs
  • • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce

*For chocolate cupcakes, swap in 1 can of black beans and 1 box of chocolate cake mix.
**Most boxes of cupcake mix are about 14 ounces. That amount works perfectly for this recipe. Don’t worry if your boxed cake mix is slightly more or less than this amount.


Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 standard cupcake tins with paper liners and lightly mist the insides with non-stick cooking spray so the cupcakes don’t stick. Set aside.

Add the beans and one cup water to a blender and purée until completely smooth.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine bean purée, cake mix, eggs, and applesauce in a mixing bowl and stir to create a velvety batter (it’s okay if you have some small bumps throughout). Pour batter into the prepared cupcake tin; fill cupcake liners ¾ of the way full (~1/4 cup batter in each) and bake according to directions on box (for cupcakes it’s typically 19-23 minutes). To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the middle of one and they’re done when it comes out clean.

Nutrition provided for one cupcake without frosting. If topping with this Chocolate Avocado Frosting, add 45 calories per Tablespoon.