Healthy cake recipes might sound like a contradiction in terms. Cakes are treats, and full of sugar and fat, so how can they possibly be healthy? Well, I think it would be a sad world without cakes, and it´s not that difficult to find a healthy cake recipe. You can easily cut down the amount of sugar in any recipe without spoiling the taste, and there are lots of other ingredients that can create healthy cake recipes ?
1. Banana & Blueberry Muffins
The blueberry muffin can do no wrong as far as I am concerned, in whatever form, but if you are looking for a healthy version then this will do nicely. It is chock full of fruit in the form of bananas and blueberries - just think of the vitamins, antioxidants and fibre. Plus it uses olive oil, egg white and oats, making a tasty and healthy cake recipe.
• 300g self-raising flour
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 100g light muscovado sugar
• 50g porridge oats, plus 1 tbsp for topping
• 2 medium bananas , the riper the better
• 284ml carton buttermilk
• 5 tbsp light olive oil
• 2 egg whites
• 150g punnet blueberries
• Heat oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases. Tip the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Hold back 1 tbsp of the sugar, then mix the remainder with the flour and 50g oats. Make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas until nearly smooth. Stir the buttermilk, oil and egg whites into the mashed banana until evenly combined.
• Pour the liquid mixture into the well and stir quickly and sparingly with a wooden spoon. The mix will look lumpy and may have the odd fleck of flour still visible, but don't be tempted to over-mix. Tip in the blueberries and give it just one more stir. Divide the mix between the muffin cases - they will be quite full - then sprinkle the tops with the final tbsp of the oats and the rest of he sugar. Bake for 18-20 mins until risen and dark golden. Cool for 5 mins in the tray before lifting out onto a rack to cool completely.
2. Coffee Cake
Is coffee cake a favourite of yours? Now you can make this teatime favourite in a low-fat version, which uses yoghurt for the cake and Quark for the filling. Yoghurt actually makes a fantastic cake mix; although I haven´t made this recipe, I´ve tried it in other cakes and it works beautifully.
• 1 tbsp coffee granules, plus 1 tsp
• 225g self-raising flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 50g ground almonds
• 85g light muscovado sugar
• 50g golden caster sugar
• 25g chopped walnuts
• 2 eggs , beaten
• 250g natural yogurt
• 75ml walnut oil
• 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
• 2 tsp coffee granules
• 140g light mascarpone
• 100g Quark
• 1 tbsp icing sugar
• ¼ tsp vanilla extract
• 140g fondant icing sugar
• 1 tsp coffee granules
• 1 tbsp finely chopped walnuts
• Heat oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4. Oil and bottom-line a 20cm round (6cm deep) loose-bottom tin. For the cake, mix the coffee with 2 tsp warm water and set aside. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the baking powder, ground almonds, both sugars (use fingers to rub out any lumps from the muscovado) and walnuts, then make a dip in the centre. Put the eggs, yogurt, oil and coffee mix into the dip and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon so everything is evenly mixed. Spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth the top to level it, then bake for 40-45 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin briefly, then turn it out and peel off the lining paper. Leave to cool completely while you make the filling and icing.
• Make the syrup for the filling: put the caster sugar and coffee into a small, heavy-based saucepan, then pour in 3 tbsp water. Heat gently, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Once dissolved, raise the heat, then boil at a fast rolling boil for about 2½-3 mins until thickened and syrupy. Pour into a small heatproof bowl and set aside to cool. When cold it should be the consistency of treacle.
• Meanwhile, finish off the filling and make the icing. Beat the mascarpone, quark, icing sugar and vanilla together until smooth, then stir in the cold coffee syrup. Set aside. For the icing, sift the fondant icing sugar into a bowl. Mix the coffee with 1 tbsp warm water, stir this into the fondant icing sugar with about 1 more tsp water to give a smooth, thick but spreadable icing. Split the cake into 3, then sandwich back together with the filling. Spread the icing over the top, scatter over the chopped walnuts and leave to set. Store in the fridge.
3. Summer Fruit Swiss Roll
Just because it´s got fruit in it doesn´t make it a healthy cake recipe, right? And how can Swiss Roll possibly be healthy, with all the cream and fat in it? Well, this recipe uses a fat-free sponge, and mixes the cream with Greek yoghurt. Sadly, it doesn´t keep well, so you´ll have to share it!
• 3 large eggs
• 115 g (4 oz) caster sugar
• 115 g (4 oz) plain flour
• 1 tbsp tepid water
Summer fruit filling
• 150 ml (5 fl oz) whipping cream
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 75 g (2½ oz) Greek-style yogurt
• 125 g (4½ oz) small strawberries, sliced
• 1 ripe peach or nectarine, chopped
• 2-3 Tbsp Icing Sugar, Sifted
• a few slices of strawberry and peach or nectarine
• Preheat the oven to 200ºc (400ºf, gas mark 6). Grease a 33 × 23 cm (13 × 9 in) swiss roll tin and line with baking parchment.
• Put the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is very thick and pale, and leaves a trail on the surface when the beaters are lifted out. (if using a hand whisk or rotary beater, set the bowl over a pan of almost boiling water, making sure the water is not touching the base of the bowl.)
• Sift half the flour over the whisked mixture and gently fold it in with a large metal spoon. Sift over the remaining flour and fold in together with the tepid water.
• Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and give it a gentle shake so that the mixture spreads evenly into the corners. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the sponge is well risen and pale golden, and springs back when pressed gently with your finger.
• Turn out onto a sheet of baking parchment slightly larger than the sponge. Peel off the lining paper. Trim the crusty edges of the sponge with a sharp knife and make a score mark 2.5 cm (1 in) from one of the shorter edges (this will make the sponge easier to roll up).
• Roll up loosely from the short side, with the paper inside, and place seam side down on a wire rack to cool.
• When the sponge is cold, carefully unroll it and remove the paper. Whip the cream with the vanilla extract until it forms soft peaks, then fol1/2 in the yogurt. Spread this mixture over the sponge, leaving a 1 cm (1/2 in) border all round. Scatter the fruit over the cream. Carefully roll up the sponge and place seam side down on a serving plate.
• Lay 2 cm strips of kitchen paper or grease-proof paper diagonally, at an equal distance apart, over the roulade, then dust with the icing sugar. Carefully remove the paper, to leave a striped effect. Decorate with the extra fruit. Keep the roll in the fridge until ready to serve. This classic fatless sponge does not keep well and is best eaten within a day of making.
4. Chocolate Tart with Hazelnut Shortbread Crust
Now you´ll really think I´m having a laugh. What can be healthy about chocolate cake? Wholewheat flour is one of the ways of making healthy cake recipes. This tart also uses low-fat milk and hazelnuts among the ingredients, and the chocolate is unsweetened. It might not be the healthiest recipe, but making it healthier is better at least.
• 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup hazelnuts
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil, or canola oil
• 1 tablespoon ice water
• 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
• 1 tablespoon water
• 3/4 cup low-fat milk
• 2 large egg yolks
• 2 1/2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua (optional)
• 4 dried egg whites (see Ingredient Note), reconstituted according to package directions (equivalent to 2 egg whites)
• 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
• Preheat oven to 400º f.
• To prepare crust: coat a 9-inch tart pan with cooking spray. Combine whole-wheat pastry flour, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, hazelnuts, 1/4 cup sugar and salt in a food processor; process until the nuts are finely ground. Add butter one piece at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until incorporated. Add oil and ice water and pulse just until incorporated. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan (it will be crumbly), spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and all the way up the sides to form a crust.
• Bake the crust until set and the edges are beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
• To prepare filling: sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl; let stand, stirring once or twice, while you prepare the rest of the filling.
• Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until steaming (but not boiling); remove from the heat to cool slightly.
• Whisk egg yolks, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon flour in a medium bowl until combined. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot milk. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining hot milk. Return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (do not boil), about 1 minute. Remove from the heat; whisk in chocolate until completely melted. Whisk in the softened gelatin and coffee liqueur (if using) until smooth.
• Beat reconstituted egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until frothy. Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Gently fold the chocolate custard into the egg whites until blended. Spoon the filling into the crust; smooth the top with the back of a spoon and chill, uncovered, until set, about 1 hour.
5. Vegan Lemon Poppy Cake
If you feel that dairy products are not good for you, then try baking vegan cakes, which can be pretty healthy. They´re also healthy in the sense of being good for people who have allergies to dairy products or eggs. Lemon and poppy seeds makes a really interesting combination as well.
• 3 lemons
• 1 1/4 cups nondairy creamer
• 2 2/3 cups flour
• 2 tbsp poppy seeds
• 3 tsp baking soda
• 3/4 tsp salt
• 3/4 cup vegan margarine, softened
• 2 cups sugar
• Egg replacer for 3 eggs
• 1/2 tsp vanilla
• Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease then flour 2 9-inch square or round cake pans.
• Grate 4 teaspoons of lemon rind and squeeze 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. Combine the lemon juice with the nondairy creamer and set aside.
• Combine the flour, poppy seeds, baking soda, and salt and set this aside.
• With an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the vegan margarine with the sugar and grated lemon rind for 5 minutes. Beat in the egg replacer and the vanilla.
• Reduce the speed of the electric mixer to low and beat in the flour mixture one-third at a time, alternating with one-third of the creamed mixture at a time. Beat until smooth.
• Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
6. Fruit-Filled Chocolate Meringues
Obviously, any recipe that uses sugar is not the healthiest, but the advantage of meringues is that they use egg whites rather than the whole egg. What also makes this a healthy cake recipe is that low-fat fromage frais is substituted for cream. Plus there´s fruit in the form of cherries, although make sure you rinse off the sugary syrup.
• 4 egg whites
• 1 pinches salt
• 225 g golden caster sugar
• 1 tsp cornflour
• 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tsp white wine vinegar
• 25 g cocoa powder
• 425 g tinned cherries, in syrup in syrup
• 200 g low-fat fromage frais
• Preheat the oven to 140c/gas 1. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until very stiff. Gradually add the sugar to make a stiff shiny mixture. Stir together the corn flour, vanilla and vinegar and whisk in. Sift over the cocoa then whisk in.
• Spoon twelve oval shapes onto two baking sheets lined with silicone or teflon paper. Bake for 45 minutes until the outer shell is crisp, but the centre still feels a little soft. Carefully peel off the paper and leave to cool.
• Meanwhile, drain the cherries, pouring the syrup into a small saucepan. Bring the syrup to the boil and bubble rapidly for 7-8 minutes until thick. Set aside to cool.
• Stir the cherries into the fromage frais. Spoon the mixture onto six of the meringues and then drizzle over the thickened syrup. Cover with the remaining meringue halves and serve.
7. Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream cheese frosting sounds like a recipe for clogged arteries. But not if you use the fat-free and reduced-fat versions! If you prefer a plain cake, you could omit the frosting altogether. The cake also uses fat-free milk and only one egg, plus the majority of the sweetness is provided by molasses.
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup butter, softened
• 1/4 cup molasses
• 1 large egg
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
• 2/3 cup fat-free milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Cooking spray
• 1/4 cup (2 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
• 1/3 cup Lemon Curd
• Preheat oven to 350°.
• To prepare cake, place 1/3 cup granulated sugar and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed for 2 minutes or until well combined. Add molasses and egg; beat well.
• Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through cloves) in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Spoon batter into an 8-inch square pan coated with cooking spray.
• Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack
• To prepare frosting, place cheeses, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar; beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat). Spread frosting evenly over top of cake. Top each serving with lemon curd.
8. Longevity Cake
Finally, this cake recipe has lots of healthy ingredients with vitamins and minerals. Flaxseed has excellent health benefits, blueberries have loads of antioxidants, and bananas provide potassium. Any small berries would make an interesting alternative - try redcurrants or sour cherries.
• 1/4 cup soft, no-trans-fat margarine
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 ripe, medium bananas, mashed
• 1 tsp. lemon zest
• 2 tsp. lemon juice
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 3/4 cup flour
• 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1/4 tsp. sea salt
• 1 cup frozen blueberries (or 1/3 cup dried blueberries)
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees f. Spray 8-by-8-inch or round layer cake pan with nonstick spray and lightly flour.
• Mix margarine and sugar together in large bowl until creamy. Add egg, mixing well, then add banana, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.
• In small bowl, combine flour, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine half of the flour mixture with butter mixture. Add remaining flour mixture, being careful not to over-mix. Gently fold in blueberries.
• Spoon batter into prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Bake 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes clean.
• Cool, dust with powdered sugar, and cut into squares or wedges for serving.
Healthy cake recipes aren´t that hard to find - to begin with, look for recipes that reduce fat and sugar. Wholemeal flour adds fibre and reduces consumption of refined products. Add some fruit, and you´re well on the way to a healthy cake recipe! What tips do you have for making cakes healthier?
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