Category Archives: Cakes

Lemon Blueberry and Polenta Cakes

This morning I bought a new cake tin and was bursting to use it.  It’s a mini bundt cake pan (how cute!)

These lemon cakes were the first idea I came up with to use my new pan for 2 reasons –  1. we have a pile of lemons to use and 2. I saw this recipe only last week on  Cooking Light which really took my fancy! (Mind you I didn’t make the exact recipe, I played around with it just a little – first I only did 1/2 the quantity, I used wholemeal self raising flour, I cut the sugar down to 1/3 rather than 1/2 cup (all American recipes are too sweet) and of course added some frozen blueberries (YUM!))

One of the things I love about low fat cakes is the simple muffin style way of making them.  Two bowls are needed, one for wet and one for dry ingredients.  The fat most often used is liquid, either oil or melted butter.  Once the wet and dry ingredients have been mixed together separately, the two are combined and gently folded together until only just mixed through.  Over-mixing can develop the gluten in the flour (that’s why you knead dough) which will develop a tough, rough textured muffin or cake in this case!

Although that sounds long and complicated, this type of cake is actually really quick and easy to make.  Much faster than a traditional beat butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, blah blah…. full fat cake, and a lot less mess (well, in my kitchen there is!)

These cakes apart from looking really cute are rather delicious, especially with the polenta which gives them that slight textured crunch which I really like.  I fancied putting a glaze on them to get that lovely drizzled effect running down the bumpy edges, however they don’t need it and are just as delicous naked 🙂

In summer a few fresh blueberries could be added to the centre hole and on the top to really lift presentation.  I tried with a few de-frosted frozen blueberries but they looked a little deflated!

These little cakes could even do as a really light, portion controlled dessert – at only around 130 calories each, I think that is a pretty light dessert option.  Enjoy 🙂

Lemon and blueberry polenta cakes

  • 2/3 cup (100g) wholemeal self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal/ polenta
  • 1/3 cup  sugar
  • 1/3 cup frozen blueberries
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1  large egg
  • 1/3  cup  low fat buttermilk (I used ½ low fat milk, ½ low fat natural yoghurt)
  • 30ml (1 ½ tablespoons) olive oil

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.  Spray or brush 8 holes of a 12 hole mini bundt tin with a small amount of oil (alternately use a regular muffin pan, but they will take a little longer to cook)

Combine sifted flour, polenta, sugar, blueberries and lemon zest in a medium sized bowl, mix well to combine ingredients and coat blueberries with flour. Make a well in centre of mixture.

In a smaller bowl, whisk egg, then add buttermilk and oil, whisking well. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring gently until completely combined. Carefully spoon batter into the 8 prepared pans and smooth top. Bake at 170° for 12-14 minutes or until firm to touch. 

Allow to cool in tin for 2-3 minutes before loosening each cake gently around edges with your fingers, then flip tray onto a cooling rack allowing the cakes to pop out of the tin.  Allow to cool almost completely before drizzling with the glaze mixture, or enjoy just as they are!

Optional Icing glaze

  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 3-4 teaspoons lemon juice

Mix together to desired consistency.  Using a teaspoon, drizzle over cooled cakes

Makes 8 cakes @ 52g each

543kJ/129 calories

4g fat, 0.7g saturated fat

18g carbohydrate, 1.8g fibre

With icing glaze

589kJ/140 calories each

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Fig Date and Walnut Loaf

Last night while we were at the roller derby (yes, roller derby! which actually was fun) a friend of ours asked if I had any suitable cake recipes for someone with Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol and I immediately thought of this one.

The requirements for someone with both conditions is to choose food that is low GI, low in saturated fat and high in soluble fibre.  This cake is all of those things – low GI, low in saturated fat and a good source of soluble fibre.  The other thing to consider of course is the serving size.  Keeping to around 15g of carbohydrate for a snack serve is a good guide (which is roughly equivalent to a medium sized piece of fruit)

This is a high fibre chewy style of cake that is rather delicious straight out of the oven and can be spread with low fat cream cheese or ricotta for a few extra calories.  It is very filling and keeps suprisingly well, but I can only guarantee 4 days as in my house it is all gone by then!

Enjoy 🙂

Fig Date and Walnut Loaf or Muffins

Makes 18 muffins or 1 loaf cut into 18 slices

  • ½ cup dried figs, chopped
  • ½ cup dried dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 50g margarine (or butter if you don’t have high cholesterol)
  • 125ml water
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • ½ cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 small banana, over-ripe and mashed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Place figs, dates, sugar, butter or margarine and water in a small saucepan and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from stove, add soda, stir through well, then allow to cool.

 Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 160 degrees and grease and line the base of a loaf tin or paper line muffin trays.

 Sift together flours, ginger and cinnamon.  Add walnuts.  Mix together banana, egg and vanilla.  Add to date mixture, then fold in dry ingredients.

Spoon mixture into loaf tin or muffin tins and bake for 40 minutes/15 minutes approximately, until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.  Remove from tins and cool on wire rack

Per serve

122 calories

17g carbohydrate (approx 1 carbohydrate serve/exchange)

0.6g saturated fat

3g fibre

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Zucchini, Walnut & Cranberry Loaf

I fully embrace any way in which you can increase your vegetable intake so this sounded like a good recipe to try – plus I got a heap of cheap zucchinis recently so was looking for something to do with them other than make soup!

This cake in many ways is similar to a carrot cake (so I may try it with carrots next and will let you know how that goes).  Zucchinis make a good base for a cake as they are pretty tasteless, however they add plenty of moisture.  Walnuts add a great crunch as well as being a good source of the essential omega 3 alpha linolenic acid and dried cranberries add a nice tartness (even though they are covered in sugar!)

This cake is very moist so it keeps quite well and is not too sweet.  I urge you to try it.  Enjoy 🙂

Zucchini Walnut and Cranberry Loaf

Makes 14 serves

  • ¾ cup wholemeal plain flour
  • ¾ cup white self raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 ½ cups (200g) grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Line a loaf pan with baking paper.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Sift together flours, soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium sized bowl.  Add walnuts and cranberries and stir to coat with flour mix.  Add zucchini and set aside.  In another smaller bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla.  Add oil and sugar and whisk well. Pour egg mix into flour bowl and fold through until thoroughly combined.  Plop into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake in oven for 30-35 mins until firm to touch.  Note that this cake doesn’t rise very much when cooking.  Wait until cool before cutting. 

This mix can also be used to make individual cakes or muffins

Makes 14 yummy slices at 150 calories each

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RSPCA Cupcake Day

Monday the 16th August was RSPCA Cupcake day.  People all over Australia were encouraged to bake delicious cupcakes and sell them with all takings going to this fantastic organisation.  So of course I had to get involved, especially since the RSPCA is my number one charity.

Wanting to do something a little special I googled for ideas and found these  little piggies  on the RSPCA cupcake website and pupcakes from a blog called rasperri cupcakes which includes all the steps on how to make them – how easy.  I thought were sooo cute that I had to try making both of them and this is how they turned out…

To make the cupcakes I started with my favorite cupcake and icing recipes from Women’s Weekly

I made the up the decorations for the piggie cakes following the photo from the web.  Added rose colored food dye to the icing and used mostly pink marshmallows for the nose and ears, until I ran out and had to use apricot ones (see below)! I sliced musk sticks to top off the nose and chopped up licorice for the eyes.

For the pup cakes I followed the instructions on raspberri cupcakes, however I used smarties for the eyes instead of choc chips, I added ears (half a marshmallow like the pigs) and instead of fairy floss (where do you buy that stuff??) I used shredded coconut.

Making these cupcakes was a lot of fun and made me feel good that I was contributing to this fantastic organisation, however they did take a long time to decorate, so I won’t be doing them again any time soon (well, at least for a year, until cupcake day next year!)

And they tasted deeeelicious!

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Pear & Pinenut Cake….delicious!

This cake tastes as good as it looks – no, actually it’s better than that!

It is so light and lovely, in no way does it taste like a usual ‘low fat’ cake – even my husband agrees and he is a tough critic! 

I have even served this cake for dessert as part of a dinner party (with a low fat creme anglaise), no-one knew it was low fat and I got rave reviews.

The original recipe came from Cooking Light which is an American magazine with many more terrific sounding recipes, so stay tuned as I’m sure I will be trying all of them.

Of course, I have changed the recipe slightly as the original version I found a little too sweet so I cut down the sugar.  I added in some wholemeal flour to increase fibre and lower the GI and I replaced sour cream with yoghurt as that’s all I had!  I know you really will enjoy this 🙂

Pear & Pinenut Cake

Serves 12

  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour (I used ¾ cup white and ½ cup wholemeal)
  • 2/3 cup castor sugar
  • 60g soft butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbspn pinenuts, toasted
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn bicarb soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup low fat yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 tspn vanilla essence
  • 1 ½ pears, peeled, quartered then sliced thinly

Method 

Preheat oven to 180 °C

Grease and line a 9 inch round cake tin

Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl.

Add butter and rub into flour mix, like you do for scones.

Remove 1/2 cup of the flour mixture, place in a small bowl.  Stir the pinenuts and cinnamon into this and set aside.

Add the lemon zest, bicarb soda and baking powder to the remaining flour mixture.

In another small bowl, whisk the egg then add yoghurt, milk and vanilla.

Pour this into the flour mixture and mix until well blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Arrange the pear slices evenly, pressing into the batter (see photo).

 Sprinkle with pine nut mixture.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.

 

 

Each delicious, moist and light slice has a mere 170 calories  🙂

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Low Fat Chocolate Brownie

You would never guess that this brownie is low fat!  It is a seriously lusciously chocolatey, moist and delicious brownie.  In fact when I took some to a recent function, nobody realised that it was low fat, the brownies all disappeared really quickly and I had quite a few compliments!

The original recipe is from the Heart Foundation’s ‘Deliciously Healthy’ Cookbook. Of course I have changed it ever so slightly. I cut back the sugar a bit and used half wholemeal flour to increase the fibre content (and slightly lower the GI!)  Using Dutch cocoa is the secret to getting the gorgeous dark color and the deliciously rich chocolatey flavour.  If you can stop it from being eaten, it will keep well for up to 4 days (I haven’t managed to have any left past then to check!).  I’m sure it would also be fine to freeze for a week or so. 

Best of all, it’s really quick and easy to whip up a batch.  Enjoy 🙂

Low Fat Chocolate Brownie

Makes 32 brownies

1/2 cup of wholemeal plain flour

1/2 cup of white self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

3/4 cup Dutch cocoa

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup of sandy brown sugar 

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla essence

1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil

200g of low fat natural yoghurt

1/2 cup of apple puree

200g  frozen raspberries or other mixed berries, optional but very yummy

Method

Preheat oven to 170°C. Line an 18 x 28cm slice tray with baking paper

Sift together the flours, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa into a large bowl.  Mix in sugar, then stir through berries to coat well with flour.  Make a well in the centre

Whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla, apple puree and yoghurt in a medium bowl. Add to the flours and fold through until well combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tray and bake for approx 30 minutes.  It is cooked when the brownie is firm to touch, however it may still be a little soft right in the centre.

When cooled, cut brownie into 8 x 4 = 32 slices

Each delicious (32g) brownie has a mere 62 calories, 1.5g fat of which a tiny 0.4g is saturated and 0.8g fibre 🙂

(A 32g ‘regular’ brownie would normally have around 150 calories, 8g total fat and 4g saturated fat – unsure about fibre content but guaranteed to be less!)

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Banana Bread (or it is really cake?)

When was it that banana cake suddenly became known as banana bread?  And is there really any difference?

My understanding is that banana bread is really a low fat banana cake cooked in a loaf tin, rather than a round cake pan.  However I don’t think there is any clear definition of that, especially after I checked on calorie king and found that a serve of banana bread at McDonalds has a whopping 581 calories!  That is more calories than a Big Mac (493 calories) or a standard dinner of meat and vegetables (around 450-500 calories), yikes!  Muffin Break isn’t much better with a 107g serve having 346 calories. Mind you, 107g slice is a rather large serve.  Still again that is more calories than most sandwiches!

My banana ‘bread’ recipe is a combination of a few different recipes that I have played around with, including the one on the institute of sport website and it is really a lower fat banana cake.

I cook the cake in a large square tin rather than a loaf tin to reduce the cooking time as overcooking low fat cakes can make them tough.  It is also easier to slice into smaller slices this way.

I have to admit that I prefer to use butter as I find that using butter in low fat cakes improves the texture and flavour.  If you are watching your saturated fat intake, substitute it with margarine or oil. It will still be yummy!

Banana Bread (low fat banana cake)

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ cup wholemeal self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 ½ tablespoons (approx 50 g) butter, melted
  • ½ cup low fat natural yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed banana (made from 2 large or 3 medium-sized, very ripe bananas)

Grease and line a 9-inch (23 cm) square cake tin.

Preheat the oven to 170 C.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, bicarb soda and cinnamon. Mix in the sugar.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg and egg white.  Continue whisking while you add in the yoghurt, vanilla and banana puree.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and stir in the wet ingredients with a spatula until just combined; don’t over mix as this works the gluten and can make the ‘bread’ tough.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until the centre feels lightly-springy and just done.

Cool on a baking rack.

Easily cuts into 16 slices at 120 calories per 50g serve

This recipe can also be used to make individual muffins if preferred

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