Birthday Cake Smack down

Yesterday was my birthday and I wanted to make my favorite cake: Coconut Cake. I’ve been dying to try out Tosca Reno’s Clean Eating “healthy” birthday cake recipe, but I also wanted to try out this great recipe I saw in Southern Living magazine for a Sour Cream cake with coconut frosting. What’s a girl to do? Hmmm…time for a birthday cake smackdown. Healthy/Clean-Eating Cupcakes vs. Decadent Sour Cream Cake. Who will win?

The Clean Eating cupcake used whole wheat flour, agave nectar, lemon zest, and, get this – cooked pureed carrots. The Southern Living version used a Duncan Hines white cake mix with sour cream in the mixture.

The winner is….

Clean-Eating Coconut Cupcake

Surprised? I was too! I actually cut a generous slice of the Southern Living Coconut Cake for myself and had a cupcake (hey, it’s my birthday, OK?) and I was fully expecting the Southern Living Coconut Cake to blow the Clean-Eating cupcakes out of the water. But, using a side-by-side comparison, the cake had a chemical after-taste and was too sweet. The clean-eating cupcake had a wonderful hint of lemon flavor and the carrots actually provided a delicious sweetness and texture.

In full disclosure the frosting that I used for both was not exactly “clean” BUT it was definitely healthier than the typical buttercream.  Try out the recipes and let me know what YOU think.

Clean Eating Cupcake


  • 5 large egg whites
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cooked pureed sweet carrot
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder  


  • Preheat oven to 350°F Line a muffin tin with liners
  • In a large bowl combine egg whites, sea salt and lemon juice
  • Beat on high for 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form
  • Mix the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Add egg white mixture and fold in
  • Bake for 15 minutes

Southern Living Sour Cream Cake


  • 1 box white cake mix
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cups water


  • Prepare as directed on the back of the box, except add sour cream instead of oil.
  • Pour into two cake pans and bake 10 minutes less than the directions call for (due to lack of fat,  you do not want to over bake.)

Coconut Frosting


  • 1 container light sour cream
  • 1 7 oz. bag coconut
  • ½ container fat-free cool whip
  • 1 ½ cups sugar


  • Mix sour cream, sugar and coconut together until blended well. Fold in the cool whip until combined. Refrigerate for 1 ½ hours.

5 thoughts on “Birthday Cake Smack down

  1. YUM!! Maybe I will bake a coconut cake as the first item I bake in my new range! I think I can adjust the frosting to use no sugar..We will see!The clean eating cupcake sounds fantastic!!

  2. Hey Stacy –

    It’s Crystal feom Techtrain days 🙂

    Love following your posts! My husband has high cholesterol and the doctor has given him 6 months to lower it before he puts him on meds. So, I’m trying to modify my families diet and your articles are a great inspiration. Do you have any tips for lowering cholesterol?

    Take care and keep up the good work!

    • Hey Crystal!!! It is so good to hear from you! 🙂 How are you doing? Thanks for your feedback on the blog! I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s cholesterol, but I’ll do some research on lowering cholesterol and I’ll get back with you on that & I’ll devote some blog posts here on it! Thanks for the suggestion. I look forward to hearing from you again soon!

      Take care,

  3. This is a great topic. The Mediterranean Diet can help lower cholesterol. Foods such as salmon which is high in Omega-3s can help. I would recommend he eats it at least 2-3 times per week. Also I would recommend almonds or walnuts. No more fried food. No soda at all and substitute all drinks with water. There are a couple of butter spreads as well at the grocery store that can help lower cholesterol. Good luck.

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