5 Diet-Friendly Desserts to Make for Easter

Take a break from the sugar-riddled candy in your Easter basket, and instead serve a sweet dessert that won’t derail your diet. From a mini pineapple upside-down cake to raspberry-swirl cupcakes, these indulgent treats will satisfy your sweet tooth without packing on the pounds. End your Easter on a sweet note with these 5 healthy desserts.

1. Light Key Lime Bars

Citrus bars | iStock.com

Love the taste of key lime pie but hate all of its fat and calories? She Knows offers a nutritious alternative with light key lime bars. Whole-wheat flour adds a healthy touch to this dessert, while fresh lime juice and zest add refreshing flavors that your Easter guests will find irresistible. The recipe, which was adapted from Down Home With the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook, yields 12 servings.

Ingredients:

Crust: 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup canola oil

Filling: 

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated lime zest
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-by-13-inch cake pan liberally with cooking spray. Using a hand-held mixer, mix flours, sugar, and canola oil until fully combined. Press the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for at least 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Let cool on a wire cooling rack. To prepare the filling, whisk eggs and sugar together. Add in flour, lime juice, and zest, and stir well. Pour filling over the crust and bake for 24 minutes, or until top is golden and the filling has completely set. Let cool another 10 minutes and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into bars and enjoy.

2. Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut cream pie | iStock.com

Using low-fat ingredients, egg whites, and of course, ample amounts of coconut, Cooking Light creates a coconut cream pie that is much healthier than a traditional version. Over 200 calories and 10 grams of saturated fat are shaved off this dish, which manages to maintain the creamy, rich meringue flavors we all know and love. The recipe yields 12 servings, with each containing 266 calories and 11.5 grams of fat.

Ingredients:

  • ½ (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1½ cups flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute. Line dough with foil; arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake for 10 minutes; remove weights and foil, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. Combine milk and half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1½ cups coconut. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds and pod into milk mixture. Bring milk mixture to a simmer; immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather edges of cheesecloth; squeeze over bowl to release moisture. Discard solids. Combine ⅔ cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Return milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter; whisk until smooth. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 6 minutes, stirring to cool. Pour into prepared crust. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Place 3 egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Combine ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until thick. Spread meringue over pie. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Top with toasted coconut before serving.

3. Raspberry-Swirl Cupcakes

Raspberry cupcakes | iStock.com

Bursting with bright raspberry and lemon flavors, Eating Well’s raspberry-swirl cupcakes will cure your dessert cravings while appeasing your waistline. Raspberry purée is included in the frosting, and whole-wheat flour adds nutrients and a nice, nutty flavor. The recipe yields 12 servings; each contains 272 calories and 10 grams of fat. If you’d like to get a head start on this dessert, the frosting can be made and refrigerated for up to 3 days, while the baked and cooled cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen, plus 12 fresh berries for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon plus ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup nonfat buttermilk

Frosting:

  • 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Directions: To prepare cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners; coat the liners with cooking spray. Purée 2 cups raspberries and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract all the purée; discard seeds. Reserve 4 teaspoons of the purée for the frosting. Whisk whole-wheat flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat ¾ cup granulated sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined.

Beat in eggs, vanilla, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest until well combined. With the mixer on low, alternately mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Fill the prepared cups half full of batter. Place a scant tablespoon of raspberry purée on each cup. Divide the remaining batter evenly among the cups. Use a wooden skewer or toothpick to swirl and fold the purée into the batter.

Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. To prepare frosting, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, and the reserved 4 teaspoons raspberry purée with an electric mixer until smooth. Refrigerate the frosting until very cold, at least 2 hours. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and decorate with a raspberry on top, if desired.

4. Upside-Down Pineapple-Applesauce Cake

Pineapple upside-down cake | iStock.com

Cut down on sugar, fat, and calories with Hungry Girl’s recipe for upside-down pineapple-applesauce cake via Food Network. Applesauce eliminates the need for butter and oil, and pineapples, cherries, and a light glaze provide this dessert with the perfect amount of sweetness. At 189 calories and 3.5 grams of fat per serving, this is a light treat that’s worthy of any Easter dessert table.

Ingredients:

Glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon light whipped butter or light buttery spread
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (not packed)

Cake:

  • ½ of an 18.25-ounce box (about 1½ cups) moist-style yellow cake mix
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup club soda
  • ¼ cup no-sugar-added applesauce
  • 7 pineapple rings packed in juice, drained
  • 7 maraschino cherries

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a round cake pan with nonstick spray and set it aside. To make the glaze, put butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 15 seconds, just until melted. Add brown sugar and mix well. Set aside. To make the cake, combine cake mix with baking powder in a large bowl. Mix well with a hand mixer. Add club soda and applesauce, and stir until smooth. Set aside. Spread glaze evenly along the bottom of the cake pan. Blot pineapple rings and cherries with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.

Lay the pineapple rings in an even layer in the cake pan, and place one cherry in the center of each pineapple ring. Evenly pour the batter into the cake pan over the fruit layer. Bake in the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for 15 to 20 minutes, until just slightly warm. Firmly and securely place a large plate over the pan, and carefully flip so the plate is on the bottom. Gently lift the pan to release the cake. If you have trouble releasing it, pop it in the oven for a few minutes. Cut, serve, and enjoy!

5. Classic Carrot Cake

Carrot cake | iStock.com

Amy’s Healthy Baking’s classic carrot cake is filled with indulgent flavors and nutritious ingredients, including whole-wheat flour, Greek yogurt, carrots, and agave. The recipe yields nine servings. To ensure your frosting has a nice, smooth consistency, make sure you frost the cake about one to two hours before serving.

Ingredients:

Cake:
  • 1½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup nonfat milk
  • 2 cups freshly grated carrots (about 3 medium)
Frosting:
  • 8 ounces nonfat ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and coat a 9-inch square baking pan with noonstick cooking spray. To prepare the cake, which together the flour and next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the maple syrup and Greek yogurt, thoroughly mixing until no large clumps remain. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk, stirring just until incorporated, beginning and ending with the flour.

Fold in the carrots. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 28 to 31 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Cool completely to room temperature before frosting. To prepare the frosting, stir together the ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, agave, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Spread on top of the cooled cake. Let the frosting set for 1 to 2 hours before slicing and serving.

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