Hopsie’s Healthy Easter Cupcakes

| March 31, 2013

My good friend Chef Ania Catalano has taught me that sweets can be healthy, nutritious and delicious when made with the right ingredients. 

Ania was diagnosed with hypoglycemia about 25 years ago and started exploring the world of whole foods and clean eating by enrolling in the Natural Gourmet School of Cooking in New York. Subsequently, she opened Sprouts Natural Foods Market & Café in Trumbull, Ct. Ania was always on the lookout for improved sweeteners for her baked goods and discovered agave nectar in the mid 90’s. She found it to be low glycemic, delicious and best of all, she felt great after eating it and so the inspiration for her wonderful cookbook “ Baking with Agave Nectar“ was born.

I have many favorites in Ania’s cookbook, and in keeping with this Easter Sunday, I am sharing Hopsie’s Cupcakes. Hopsie is the Catalano’s pet bunny and when Ania was testing this recipes, her daughter Sophia (4 years old at the time) commented that these cupcakes were made with all the “veggies” that Hopsie  eats.

So for all you Easter Bunnies, here is a yummy cupcake that is also good for you and a great way to eat those healthy vegetables and be sure to buy Ania’s Cookbook for more nutritious deliciousness!

Hopsie’s Cupcakes

Ingredients:cream cheese frosted cupcakes

  • 2 cups packed finely grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
  • I cup packed finely grated carrots (about 5 or 6 carrots)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup light agave nectar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped, plus extra for garnish (optional)
  • ½ cup currants or raisins (optional)



Place the zucchini and carrots in a strainer. Sprinkle with the salt and mix well.  Let it drain for 15 or 20 minutes until the moisture is released.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda , cinnamon and nutmeg.

In a separate bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the agave nectar and the canola oil. Add the eggs and beat well.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat until well combined.

Squeeze out any remaining mixture from the drained carrots and zucchini.  Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the zucchini, carrots, walnuts and currants or raisins (if using) and spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on cooling racks before frosting. Sprinkle with extra walnuts if desired.


Cream Cheese Frosting

NOTE:  Chef Ania Catalano’s book cuts fat and calories wherever possible


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese or low fat Neufchatel cheese or a combination of both
  • ¾ cup light agave nectar
  • juice of ½ lemon


Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the agave nectar, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat well until smooth and fluffy.

Check out the other frosting recipes in Baking with Agave Nectar by Ania Catalano. Click to purchase

Chefs Joe and Ania Catalano currently own Joey C’s Roadhouse and BBQ in Milford, Connecticut, where they serve awesome barbeque and TexMex specialties including some of Ania’s lighter fare and all of their sauces are made with agave nectar. www.joeycbbq.com


Charlotte Goldblatt




Photo by Seelensturm courtesy of Creative Commons