Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is synonymous with sweets. From assorted chocolates (and chocolate everything) to cakes and cookies, to heart-shaped candies, and more, there’s no shortage of indulgent desserts to wow your sweetheart (or your sweet tooth!). What’s not so sweet, though? The sugar overload followed by the not so welcome sugar crash. But this doesn’t mean you need to break up with your sweet tooth, all in the name of health. The good news is that you can have the best of both worlds: indulgent sweet treats that are totally healthy! Enter: Valentine’s Day Cake Pops. Thanks to simple healthy swaps, this recipe is equally nutritious and delicious!
Ready to satisfy your Valentine’s Day sweet tooth and feel good doing it? We’ve got you covered. Ahead, we’re spilling the secrets on how to make these healthy Valentine’s Cake Pops with ease.
How To Make Healthy Valentine’s Day Recipes: Simple Swaps
Before we get to the best part (the recipe), here are the simple healthy swaps that can transform a not-so-healthy treat into a decadent, guilt-free recipe.
Healthier Store-Bought Mixes
Using a healthy store-bought cake or cupcake mix is one of the easiest healthy baking swaps! In this recipe we used Simple Mills Almond Flour Cupcake and Cake Baking Mix — this is our favorite store-bought healthy cake mix due to its ingredients, taste, and consistency!
Generally, choosing a low-sugar cake mix that is void of trans-fats and processed ingredients is best. The good news is that there are many healthy alternatives that use natural sugars, whole food flour alternatives, and simple ingredients.
Some other healthy alternatives include:
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Cake Mix
- Miss Jones Baking Organic Cake Mix
- King Arthur Gluten Free Cake Mix
Healthy Oil Swaps
Most traditional store-bought cake mixes call for refined oils like vegetable or canola oil. Try these healthier oil swaps instead:
Healthier Oil: Swap refined oil for a healthier alternative like coconut or avocado oil — this is a 1:1 replacement.
Applesauce: Use unsweetened applesauce as a replacement for oil. Note: this will yield a moister cake! Slightly reduce the amount of other liquids in your recipe (by ¼ cup). Alternatively, use less applesauce than the amount of oil required. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, use ¾ cup of applesauce.
Yogurt: Use an unsweetened plain or vanilla yogurt in place of oil, such as Kite Hill or Siggi’s. Similar to applesauce, yogurt will yield a moist consistency — you’ll want to reduce the amount of yogurt used by ¼ cup. If your recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, use ¾ cup oil. If your recipe calls for ½ cup oil, use ¼ cup yogurt.
Plant-Based Swaps: Healthy Egg Alternative Hack
While popular plant-based egg swaps like a chia or flax egg are great alternatives, we invite you to give this less commonly known swap a try! Did you know seltzer water can be substituted in place of eggs? This is one of our favorite healthy baking hacks!
Carbonated water egg swap: Use ¼ cup plain carbonated water as a substitute for each egg. It produces the same light, fluffy consistency as an egg without changing the taste!
The Healthiest Valentine’s Day Cake Pops (with Simple Healthy Swaps )
- 1 box Simple Mills Cake Mix (or your favorite healthy cake mix)
- 3 eggs
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- ⅓ cup water*
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- ½ cup unsweetened vanilla Greek yogurt (or Kite Hill Greek-style vanilla greek yogurt for dairy-free)
*Note: if you are using the healthier baking swaps below, leave out the additional ⅓ cup of water to avoid an overly moist cake
Egg substitution: ¾ cup plain seltzer water (¼ cup per egg)
Oil substitution: 2 ½ tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips (such as Lily’s stevia-sweetened, Enjoy Life Foods, or Endangered Species Oat Milk)
- ½ tsp coconut oil
- Valentine’s Day inspired sprinkles
- Shredded coconut
- Cacao nibs
Step #1: Gather Your Ingredients
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Next, gather your ingredients, including any of the above healthier swaps.
Step #2: Add Ingredients to a Mixing Bowl
Add your store-bought cake mix into a large mixing bowl and add ingredients according to the boxed instructions, using any of the above optional swaps in place of oil or eggs. The batter should be thin but not runny.
Step #3: Bake
Once the batter is well mixed, pour the mixture into a greased glass cake pan or a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake according to instructions, about 35 minutes or until the center is fully cooked. Note: if the batter is undercooked, the cake pops will not form well.
Step #4: Cool
Once the cake is fully cooked, remove from the oven and cool fully.
Note: if the cake is still warm, avoid moving to the next step, this is crucial! If necessary, place in the fridge to cool.
Step #5: Break Cake Into Pieces
Once the cake is fully cooled, break the cake into pieces and add to a large mixing bowl.
Step #6: Add Yogurt
Once crumbled, add ½ cup of vanilla Greek-style dairy or dairy-free yogurt to the bowl. Mix completely. Chill the dough for 20-30 minutes in the fridge until firm
Step #7: Roll Into Bite-Sized Rounds
Next, roll the dough between your hands into evenly-sized bite-sized balls. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Chill the balls in the fridge or freezer for at least 20 minutes or up to one hour.
Step #8: Make The Chocolate Coating
While the dough is chilling, prepare the chocolate coating by melting chocolate chips and coconut oil together in a microwave-safe dish for 30-second increments until fully melted, stirring as needed. Set aside. Once firm, remove cake balls several at a time from the fridge or freezer. Removing the cake balls in batches prevents the cake balls from getting warm and losing their shape.
Step #9: Cover the Cake Balls With Chocolate Coating & Add Toppings
(Optional) Before adding the chocolate coating to each cake ball, add a skewer into the bottom center of each cake pop. Dip the cake balls into the chocolate mixture until fully coated. Alternatively, you may leave the cake balls on a baking sheet and spoon-pour the chocolate coating on top of each ball.
Once fully coated, add any additional toppings like sprinkles, coconut flakes, or cacao nibs. Let chocolate coating harden by placing it in the fridge to set.
Step #10: Enjoy!
Serve and enjoy! Store leftover cake pops in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for 2 weeks.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth With This Guilt-Free Recipe
Sweet tooth lovers, rejoice. You can still enjoy your favorite desserts and sweet treats, all while living a healthy lifestyle! Reaching for healthier store-bought options and using simple healthy swaps makes it possible to indulge without deprivation. Whether you’re sharing this recipe with loved ones or enjoying it on your own, give your chocolate-loving heart something to smile about.