Baking Hacks For A Healthier Slice
Having your cake and eating it too can represent a challenging state of abstraction at the best of times. As we all attempt to surf the unrelenting tsunami of sensationalist journalism and TV-chef-come-lifestyle-guru attempts to wield influence over how we live, it’s easy to forget all that really matters is doing what genuinely makes us happy.
At times it feels baking has become a guilt-racked affair, thanks to its undeniable crumbling foundations on a history of ingredients now widely considered to be, if in any enjoyable quantity, incompatible with a healthy lifestyle. It needn’t be so, though, if we rise to the challenge that true bakers have relished for centuries, namely continuous experimentation. Thankfully, now with no shortage of inspiration shared far and wide, experimenting is easier and more promising than it’s ever been.
Baking is good for the soul - bringing equilibrium to our worlds of fast-paced trepidation, performed for the most part, in our persuit of happiness. And let’s not forget the perfectly amiable standard baking inclusions that are often overlooked in our haste to find fault with sugar and fat. Eggs for example, are highly nutritious protein sources and even full-fat dairy is now thought to be ‘good’ thing.
Add to this other approbatory ingredients like apples or carrots, which are naturally sweet and full of fibre and other ‘goodies’ of the edible world, and the balance starts to tip in favour of the good stuff.
Time For Tea (and) Cake?
To stimulate your creativity, here’s a breathtakingly delicious tea cake (also best served with a cup) which offers a well-rounded slice in nutritional terms. Nuts, seeds, high fibre fruits, olive oil, carrots, whole grains and eggs makes for an impressive array of protein and ‘good fats’, cleverly packaged with plenty of fibre. But the real secret to this cake’s amazing rich colour and flavours is using brewed tea to soak the dried fruit, adding depth as you rehydrate.
- 0.5 cup walnuts (chopped)
- 2 large carrots (grated)
- 0.5 cup olive oil
- 3 eggs (beaten)
- 2 cups wholemeal SR flour
- 1 cup tea (strong brewed black)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 0.5 cup dried apricots
- 0.5 cup dates
- 0.5 cup raw sugar
- 0.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 0.5 cup greek yoghurt
- 0.5 cup low fat cream cheese
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 handful sunflower seeds
- 1 handful pepitas
- 4 dried apricots (chopped)
Brew the black tea for five minutes until stong, and then pour over the dried fruit, leaving the fruit to soak for at least 1 hour. Beat the oil, eggs and sugar together, then stir in the grated carrots, soaked fruit, flour, cinnamon and walnuts. Mix until combined, and then pour the cake batter into a greased cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes at 180 degrees. A skewer pushed into the centre of the cake should come out clean when the cake is baked through. Allow the cake to cool, then whip the greek yoghurt, cream cheese and maple syrup together until smooth. Spread thinly over the top of the cake and sprinkle chopped apricots, pepitas and suflower seeds on top.
And forget ye not, for anytime inspiration Australian Kitchen has healthy cake recipes galore. Happy experimenting!