4 deceptively healthy desserts

Dessert is sometimes a DO-NOT-DISCUSS, taboo topic when placed next to the other D word: DIET! If you’re reading this, you must have sweet-tooth tingles from time to time... Don't worry–many of us share your love of all things sugary and decadent. The good news is, that's not a bad thing–we'll teach you how to snack responsibly, indulge your sweet tooth and still stick to a healthy, balanced diet.

Desserts sure do taste epic! But, if eaten in epic proportions it can be an #epicfail for your fitness. One thing to note about dessert is that if it’s cakey, fudgey, pastried, butter-filled or cream-topped: it’s usually filled with all those trans fats that lead to the bad kind of cholesterol. Luckily, there are some sneaky hacks to help you enjoy the best of both worlds–staying healthy and still enjoying the odd cheat treat.

Monica from Friends enjoying her dessert

So, if by now you think anything with the word cake, fudge, muffin or frosting in the title should be avoided, we wouldn't blame you. But, not everything that sounds like it’s super delicious is bad for you!

Blowing your mind?

Great–we're glad we can teach you these delicious tricks of the trade!

Easy, healthy dessert ideas

The common misconception that healthy food tastes horrible is a thing of the past. We’re making ‘healthy’ trend in a way that makes you drool. Food, and especially dessert, is meant to be enjoyed–not endured. To make sure you don't feel unnecessary guilt when indulging, we have some amazing recipes here that will leave your mouth watering and your sweet-senses salivating.

In moderation, the most decadent of desserts can be eaten and worked off without too much harm to your general well-being. But the great thing is, there are options available that SOUND LIKE HEAVEN ON A PLATE, but are really actually good for you too.

You can finally have your cake and eat it!

So, what are some healthy desserts that taste good?

DNAfit’s Head Dietician and Wellness Team Manager, Amy Wells, put together four decadently-delish (and helpfully-healthy) dessert recipes. After this, when you indulge, you’ll feel less guilty about snacking on the odd sweet treat.

Get your running shoes on, you’re off to the grocery store right now to get these ingredients.


Give up carrot cake? Never!

So, we know what you’re thinking: it has the word CARROT in it, so it must be healthy–right? Carrots are veggies, veggies are healthy... so, carrot cake should count as a vegetable surely? We wish! The thing is, everything else deliciously coating those carrots count too (sorry guys). So, if you’re eating the traditional carrot cake while reading this… stop! Put the plate down and read on for a guilt-free option...

The Carrot Cake recipe Amy has prepared for you here, has all the goodies to hit your sweet spot, but ensures you don’t have to sweat super hard to work it off.

Give it a try.


Guilt-free carrot cake


For the cake:

  • 310 g (2 cups) Dry raw oats
  • 100g   (½ cup) Xylitol
  • 15g (1Tblsp) Baking powder (low sodium)
  • 1g (1 pinch) Salt
  • 70g (1 large) Carrot (raw and grated finely)
  • 250ml (1 cup) Cow’s Milk, skimmed
  • 1 (medium) Egg
  • 5ml (1tsp) Vanilla Extract
  • 95ml (6 Tblsp) Almond butter (sugar free)

For the frosting: (YES THERE’S EVEN FROSTING!)

  • 165ml (⅔ cups) Yoghurt (natural, skimmed & unsweetened)
  • 5ml (1 tsp) Vanilla Extract
  • 25g (2 Tblsp) Xylitol
  • 180ml (¾ cup) Cream Cheese (fat-free)


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F)
  • Line a 20cm x 20cm baking tray with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a smaller bowl whisk the vanilla extract, milk, and egg.
  • Pour into the dry mixture, along with the shredded carrots.
  • Pour the batter into the greased baking dish.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  • Once cooled remove from the tin to sit on a cooling rack.
  • Blend all frosting ingredients together.
  • Add frosting while cake is completely cooled.


Oh Fudge it! 

We bet you’re thinking: “FUDGE? Healthy?”

Look, if you make this recipe and then sit down to eat the entire 12 servings in one day, then that’s where the problem lies. In large amounts, yes fudge is bad. But, that goes for pretty much anything and everything. So, make ‘moderation' your best friend.

If you make sure that the fudge is a treat for when you feel that sweet craving calling your name; and you know your workout later (or tomorrow morning) is going to pack a punch, then by all means have a slice. Fudge it! We know you work hard and you work out harder! You deserve a treat. ONE RULE: Don’t feel bad. Guilt can last a lot longer than desserts in your system–especially if you let it linger over the wrong things.

This fudge recipe is fudging amazing!!!!!

iStock-627559670 (1)

Chocolate nutty fudge


  • 30g (1oz) Hazelnuts (raw & unsalted)
  • 60ml (¼ cup) Cow’s Milk (skimmed)
  • 5g (1Tblsp) Cocoa powder (sugar free)
  • 5ml (1 tsp) Honey
  • 10ml (2 tsp) Peanut Butter (sugar free)
  • 30g (1 oz) Seeds (flaxseeds, ground, flour)


  • Place all ingredients in a food processor.
  • Blend together until thick and fudgey.
  • Line a small baking tray with a baking sheet.
  • Pour the fudge mixture into prepped baking tray.
  • Freeze for an hour.
  • Cut into 12 even pieces.

When you try this recipe your mind will officially be blown–healthy has never tasted so good. Find 12 friends and enjoy!


Must-have muffin

Muffins are awesome, especially when you’re on the go. They're the cake-takeaways of the world. They're small, single-portioned, easy to hold and easy to eat. It can be enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee, or even just alone–muffins are marvellous.

It’s perfect if you need a quick fuel top-up to get an important task done without having to stop and eat. You can munch on it while travelling to an important meeting, or on the walk back between offices. 

giphy (1)

It’s the flexi-snack that can satisfy a sweet craving when you need it the most amidst your busy schedule. Blueberry muffins are one of our favourites! This next recipe is not only quick and easy to eat, but it’s quick an easy to make too!

Berry, berry nice!

One-minute blueberry cinnamon muffins


  • 30 g (¼ cup) Seeds (flaxseeds, ground, flour)
  • 2.5g (½ tsp) Baking powder (low sodium)
  • 1g (¼ tsp) Xylitol
  • 2.5g (1 tsp) Cinnamon (ground/powdered)
  • 1 (medium) Egg
  • 5ml (1 tsp) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 10g (1Tbsp) Blueberries (fresh)


  • Combine all ingredients in a large coffee mug, stir well.
  • Microwave for 90 seconds on high heat.
  • Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  • The muffin will firm up as it cools.

The F word 😱: FROSTING!

It’s usually the little things that matter and in this case, the frosting is it! Frosting is like placing only the tip of the iceberg on your chosen dessert. The frosting is never meant to be the main feature. It’s the bonus bit that brings together all the flavours already in the cupcake.

If you’re sitting at home eating a giant bowl of frosting every weekend then like the Titanic, your health may sink to an all-time low.

But, if you have a yummy cupcake, made with ingredients that add the nutritional x-factor that can also boost your energy level (like nuts or fruit)–then the icing is just a tiny little tidbit to tantalise the taste buds! As long as when you crave a cupcake, you have a little chat with your new best friend: moderation, who will make sure you’re on your way to satisfying the sweet inside your soul. 

This next recipe has chocolate, zucchini, and frosting. It sounds like the delicious-factor probably outweighs the health-factor, but if you look at the recipe you'll see that the little changes (like choosing sugar-free and low-sodium) make all the difference.

Give it a go…


Chocolate zucchini cupcakes with frosting


For the cupcakes:

  • 260g (2 medium) Zucchini (courgette), raw, grated
  • 3 (medium) Egg
  • 100g (½ cup) Xylitol
  • 180ml (¾ cup) Yoghurt, natural, skimmed, unsweetened
  • 10ml (2 tsp) Vanilla extract
  • 220g (2 cups) Flour, almond
  • 30g (⅓ cup) Cocoa powder, sugar free
  • 5g (1 tsp) Baking soda
  • 2.5g (½ tsp) Baking Powder, low sodium
  • 5g (1 tsp) Salt

For the frosting:

  • 400g (2 medium) Avocado, medium, chopped
  • 40g (½ cup) Cocoa Powder
  • 2.5g (½ tsp) Vanilla extract
  • 50g (¼ cup) Xylitol


For the cup cakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F)
  • In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini, eggs, xylitol, yoghurt and vanilla. Set aside.
  • In a different bowl, mix together the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Spoon mixture into 24 prepared muffin cups, fill ¾ of each cup.
  • Bake for 25 minutes. Set aside and to cool completely.

For the frosting:

  • Place all the frosting ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
  • Allow the mixture to thicken.
  • Ice the cupcakes when you are ready to serve.

In summary

This dance with desserts is as easy as 1, 2, 3! 💃

Retraining your brain to remember that the ‘Dessert is in the Details’ is the next step. Small alterations (from sugar to sugar-free and from processed to raw) can make all the dessert-difference.

The history of desserts has made us think that anything considered a dessert is bad for your health. It’s fooled us into thinking that if something sounds delicious, it’s got to be bad. It’s made us feel guilty for reasons inexplicable. But, now you know the secret to putting the guilt behind you. Informed choices when indulging can make you go from down-and-out to deliciously daring!

Be bold, try these four deceptively delicious desserts! No more dreading the D word–you can now look forward to your dessert AND keep within your healthy diet!

For other great tips, like this, on how to make the simple changes that impact your well-being, download DNAfit’s Honest Guide to Weight Management.

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