People ask me this question many, many, many times. Yes, I do work with real butter, sugar, and dairy while baking my sweet items. I also make "healthy/vegan/gluten-free" baked goods, using agave nectar, whole wheat/grain flour, nuts/seeds, and dried fruit. Here are three tips I do to stay slim while baking sweet items:
ONE: "Tasting versus eating" : There is a difference between "tasting" and "eating" your food. I TASTE my raspberry buttercream and chocolate mocha cupcakes to make sure it is perfect. I EAT fresh veggies, fruits, and lean protein. I stress to people to "eat REAL" food, not anything processed, marketed, or fake (butter is better than margarine).
TWO: "Be active" : I am very active person: First off, I stand/walk/reach up high all day long in a warm kitchen. I love practicing Birkam yoga at Redmond Birkam Yoga Studio (check it out: http://bikramyogaredmond.com/ ), practicing my golf swing at Willows, riding my bike on Burke Gilman trail, snowboarding at Stevens Pass, and just enjoying the Pacific Northwest.
THREE: "Drink water like there is no tomorrow" : The human body is 55-75% water. Your body needs water to function properly on a daily basis. Working in a hot kitchen and practicing hot yoga, I drink over a gallon of water daily. I know my body needs it. I also consume green tea, smoothies, fresh fruit/veg juices, and broth-based soups.
Remember all: to treat yourself right, you only have one body and one life. I would much rather have one of my homemade chocolate chip cookies than a processed, package cookie from a supermarket any day.