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Fabulous Cupcakes with Half the Fat

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Fabulous Cupcakes with Half the Fat

At the International Food Blogger Conference earlier this year, my friend Stephanie O’Dea from A Year of Slow Cooking demoed the new Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System.

Ninja 3 in 1 Cooking System in Classic Black

It’s a slow cooker that also lets you steam roast, sear, simmer, saute, and – most importantly to me – steam bake.

View on Amazon.com

The recipe book that comes with the Ninja states, “Steam baking only requires you to add HALF the fat of traditional cake and loaf recipes!”

Could I really make cupcakes with half the fat and have them taste as good as traditional cupcakes?  I was given a free Ninja to review and I had to put it to the test.

The cupcake on the top was baked in my oven.
The one on the bottom was baked in the Ninja.

My Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes get their fat content half from oil and half from butter.  I cut the fat in half by removing all of the oil.  Then, I baked some of the batter in my oven and some in the Ninja.  I wanted to see what would happen to my batter when I only used half of the fat and baked it normally versus using the Ninja’s steam-infused baking exactly following the instructions laid out in their manual.

The Results


  • Oven:  Baking with half the fat in my oven yielded a dense, heavy cupcake. Note that my Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes with full-fat are never described as dense.
  • Ninja:  Baking with half the fat in the Ninja yielded a pillowy, light cupcake.  I loved the texture, but I will warn you that it was a bit different than a typical cupcake.  The texture more closely resembled that of a Chinese steamed bun (baozi) – a little chewy on the outside and airy and bread-like on the inside.


  • Both the oven and the Ninja cupcakes tasted quite good.  Cutting the fat in half did not have much of an effect on the taste of the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes.

A tin of cupcakes made in the Ninja


  • Oven:  The cupcakes didn’t dome as well as their full-fat counterparts do, but otherwise they looked great.
  • Ninja:  The majority of the cupcakes split at the top (as shown above).  I contacted the PR folks from Ninja about this to see if the split was caused by some error on my part.  I was told that this is just something that happens with steam-infused baking.  The steam-infused cupcakes are not the prettiest, but once you frost them, no one will know the difference.

Overall Enjoyment:

  • Without question, if I wanted to cut the fat of my recipes in half, I would choose to make them in the Ninja.  The cupcakes were just as enjoyable as their higher-fat counterparts.

Although I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System just to make cupcakes, I would highly recommend taking a look at the Ninja if you are on the market for a slow cooker.  Why get a standard slow cooker when you can get one that has so many different functions?!

Have you heard of the Ninja?  Have you tried it?  Leave me a note in the comments.

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9 comments on “Fabulous Cupcakes with Half the Fat”

  1. Hi Stef! I’m so glad you posted this! thank you for testing this out —- you’re definitely the cupcake expert, and I appreciate your review.

    I steam baked a pound cake the other week with half the butter. It worked— it was moist and rose nicely, but not as buttery. LOL. You’d think I’d expect that, huh? ;-0

    It’s hands-down the best slow cooker I’ve used, though. I figure you come for the slow cooker and then stay for the other stuff. (disclaimer, if you order thru my site I get a kickback. ;-) )


  2. This is incredible…cup cakes that too with half fat..this is something very useful for me.I got how you managed to cut fats..great idea! I will be following you!

  3. Catsays:

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve seen photos of the Ninja slow cooker in ads online, but haven’t investigated it. You’re right – certainly it doesn’t look like it’s large enough for a person to invest in one for a lot of cupcakes. I’d hate to go through making 24 cupcakes, let alone 200, in a slow cooker! :-) I think the price is kind of high for a slow cooker, but if it does all that you say, maybe it’s worth it. I have a Ninja blender and it sure works pretty good – much better than my old kitchen aid. If I already didn’t have so many slow cookers, I’d check it out.

  4. Nope, I haven’t heard of the Ninja until now – and I will certainly investigate it after this post. Good to know that taste wasn’t too affected.

  5. Nancysays:

    This is seriously a great idea! I love the idea of not having to use an oven and half the fat? Yes please!

    Nancy, Denver Roofing Company

  6. Glad to see cutting the fat in half didn’t make the cupcakes taste too different. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Can you make steamed cupcakes in a regular vegetable steamer or in anything else? I don’t believe I’ll be able to purchase a ninja anytime soon :(


  8. Cherriesays:

    I can’t tell you how much I love my Ninja 3-n-1 cooking system! In fact, I own 2 of these babies and haven’t used my regular stove/oven in over a week!

  9. Barbarasays:

    I love my Ninja, I use mine every day,I don’t even own a cooker now. so worth the investment

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