EPICURIOUS: CAKES WITHOUT GUILT

Published August 22, 2021
Banana nut cake | Photo by the writer
Banana nut cake | Photo by the writer

If sugar is a dietary ingredient that you prefer to avoid — but you still lust for cakes — these mouthwateringly delicious recipes are perfect for you.

Replacing processed sugar with naturally sweet, fresh and dried fruits is the secret to being able to indulge your passion for cakes, biscuits and other sweet treats. A plus point is that you are increasing your intake of the all-important vitamins and minerals these fruits contain.

Sweetest fresh and dried fruits such as bananas, apricots, peaches, dates, mangoes, chikoos, figs, papaya, raisins, sweet cherries, apples, pears, plums, nectarines, sweet melons, pears and ripe pineapples can be used to replace sugar in baking.

Fruity cakes are sweet enough without added sugar. They really are good for you in terms of nutrition and you can enjoy these treats with a clear conscience.

APRICOT YOGURT CAKE

Ingredients

500g plain white flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
250g butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 ripe bananas, mashed
250g plain yogurt
3 tablespoons dried apricots, chopped small

Method

Put the butter into a large bowl and cream it, beating it until it is soft and smooth, using a wooden spoon. Add a little of the flour and all of the baking powder and mix thoroughly. Next, add an egg, the vanilla essence, a little more flour and mix some more. Add the remaining two eggs and a little flour and mix again. Then mix in the mashed bananas, the apricots and more of the flour. Finally, stir in the yogurt and the rest of the flour, beating the mixture well. If the mixture seems to be very runny, add more flour.

The end result should be a soft, very thick, dough. Grease a large-sized cake or loaf tin or line it with greaseproof paper, spoon in the dough and spread level. Bake on the middle shelf of an oven set to medium temperature. Cooking time is 40-50 minutes. When cooked, carefully turn out on to a cooling tray and allow to fully cool down before cutting.

BANANA NUT CAKE

Ingredients

500g wholemeal flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
250g butter
3 ripe bananas, mashed
4 eggs, beaten
250g chopped walnuts/almonds/hazelnuts
150g raisins
Milk to mix with
Sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Method

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and then rub in the butter, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the mashed bananas and beaten eggs, mixing thoroughly. Add the nuts and raisins and enough milk to make a soft, but not runny, dough. Line a large loaf tin with greaseproof paper or aluminum foil, spoon in the dough, level it and sprinkle with sesame seeds for extra nutrition and a nice appearance. Bake in the center of an oven set to medium temperature for approximately 40-45 minutes until the cake is golden brown on top. Carefully turn out on to a cooling tray. Slice when cold.

SPICED ORANGE FRUIT CAKE

Ingredients:

500g self-raising flour
250g butter
4 eggs
150g mixed dried fruit
150g chopped dates
1 teaspoon mixed cake spice
Zest and chopped flesh of a large orange.
Extra fresh orange juice to mix with if needed

Method

Cream the butter in a large baking bowl and then mix in some of the flour. Add one of the eggs, a little more flour and the cake spice and mix thoroughly. Then another egg and more flour, alternating until all of the eggs are mixed in. Stir in the dried fruit and dates, the orange zest and flesh, plus the rest of the flour. If needed, use fresh orange juice to mix the dough until it is smooth and quite thick in texture.

Line a large loaf tin or cake tin with either greaseproof paper or aluminum foil, spoon in the dough mixture and spread it level. Bake, in the center of an oven at medium temperature, for about 40-50 minutes or until the top of the cake is a beautiful golden colour. Allow to cool a little before carefully turning the cake out on to a cooling tray. Tempting as the aroma will be, do not cut into the cake until it has cooled down completely.

Published in Dawn, EOS, August 22nd, 2021

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