As you’ve probably deduced by now, I like cake. Quite a lot, in fact. So much so, that I run my own cake company.
I’m always on the lookout for ways to make cake healthier though. I genuinely believe that you can make delicious cakes using more nutritious ingredients with out compromising on flavour and texture.
This is something I have explored in quite a bit of depth in creating recipes for my business. I refuse to use margarines and artificial ingredients in cakes – I do not think it makes baking any healthier. Natural is best when it comes to ingredients.
Flour is an important starting point. I use an Organic stoneground wholemeal or wholemeal spelt flour, which is much higher in nutrients than many varieties of white wheat flour. I use Total 0% fat Greek yoghurt, which works surprisingly well in baking, and Clearspring fruit purées, which are such a great discovery. They come in a wide variety of flavours. They are not cheap, but are unsweeted and very versatile in baking, particularly in vegan baking. I do find them rather addictive though as a snack too.
Replacing sugar in baking can be more tricky. Technically, it is not difficult to do, but many sugar alternatives can be very expensive. Agave syrup or Sweet Freedom are very good natural sweeteners which work well in baking, but I find I can often use £2-3 worth in one batch of cakes, which I find a bit prohibitive to use every time I bake. I have tried Rapadura cane sugar, which is very good, but again, is not cheap, coming in at £3 for 500g in my local health food shop. It is fairly traded, less processed and lower in calories though, which is a positive. I do make a compromise here and go with fairtrade unrefined sugar.
These pear and ginger muffins are my latest creation. They are low in fat and are packed with plenty of nutritious ingredients. Being very moist, they don’t keep too well, but do freeze. I’ll admit they are not the most attractive looking muffins, but are, in my opinion, the perfect way to enjoy a bit of cake every day.
Pear and Ginger Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
- 145g wholemeal or spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 150g oats
- 175g light brown soft sugar
- 250g Clearspring fruit puree (I used the pear flavour)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 125ml Total 0% Greek yoghurt
- 1 pear, finely diced
- 100g sultanas
- 4 nuggets of stem ginger, chopped into small dice
1) Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 5
2) Prepare a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases
3) Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder and spices into a large mixing bowl
4) Add the sugar and oats and stir in
5) Add the fruit purée, yoghurt and beaten eggs and stir in gently
6) Add the sultanas and ginger and stir to combine
7) Spoon the mixture into the cake cases and bake for 25-30 minutes